MacBook Pro Wet Through Backpack

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by BentSpace, May 14, 2013.

  1. BentSpace macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Yesterday I was riding my bike around town and had my laptop in my backpack. It's started raining all of a sudden and me and my bag got a little wet. When I got to where I was going I opened my mid-2012 13" MacBook Pro, which I just got back in January. Since it was in sleep mode so it just came on as soon as I opened it. I noticed that there was maybe a teaspoon of water sitting in there some up on the screen and some sitting on the keyboard. Water somehow went through my backpack and got in between the screen and keyboard. I immediate shut it off by holding down the power button and turned it upside down with the screen open and propped it up on my water bottle so the keyboard was facing straight down and wiped off the water on the screen and keyboard with a cloth. In trying to do this I accidentally hit the power button and the screen came on and started to boot up. I immediately turned it off again by holding down the power button. When I had it upside down and cleaned off, no other water dripped down from behind the keyboard.

    I did some research on my phone and called around a bit and based on what a third party mac techican said I went home borrowed the right size screw driver and opened the botttom case and very carefully unplugged the battery. I did not notice any moisture in the parts I could see. Then I put the MacBook in a large plasitc container upside down with the back case off and the keyboard facing straight down and the screen open. I spread about a half pound of a desiccant called DRIERITE which is made out of ANHYDROUS CALCIUM SULFATE on the bottom of the plastic container not touching the computer and sealed up the top with plastic wrap. I was planning to leave it in there for a couple days, maybe longer, hoping that the desiccant will help any water that maybe in there dry up ASAP. Again not sure if any water made it down in between the keys, but there is a good chance that some might have. How hard is it for water to get through the keys to the good parts and start ruining things?

    Is there any kind of barrier stopping it?

    Not sure what I should do now and if I've done the right thing so far?

    Haven't told Apple yet what happened, didn't know if they would immediately flag my computer as water damaged and void my warranty even if no water made it through the keys.
  2. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Could be worse. At least it wasn't tap water. Rain water should have a lot less minerals in it than tap water, so although there is still some risk of corrosion if any got under the keyboard, it's diminished by the fact that it was rain water.

    You've pretty much done everything I would probably do in your situation, except I would completely dismantle the whole system down to its individual parts prior to placing into the plastic bag.

    The next thing I would do is get rid of that backpack and get a better one.
  3. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    Congratulations! You are one of the only people I've seen in this situation who was smart enough to turn the damn machine off and leave it that way.

    There's the potential for corrosion damage later down the road, but in keeping it off you've minimized the potential that a short could fry your entire system, which is what kills them entirely in liquid damage scenarios. If you are feeling adventurous, cleaning the components with pure or near-pure isopropyl alcohol will remove corrosive agents, but will also void your warranty if not already so voided (it's hard to be sure from your comments how much water actually got inside-- but I would guess not much).

    Finally, a recommendation:

    One of the more durable sleeves I've used, and waterproof to boot.
  4. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Yea, not sure how much, if any water got under the keys.

    Never taking apart a MacBook, in fact this is my first Mac. Looks like you need several specialized screwdrivers to get everything out and I suppose there is always a risk of me making things worse by digging in there.

    At this point, should I take it out of the drying chamber and try to disassamble and clean it or should I just wait and let it dry?


    Are those water sensors visible without having to take it all apart?


    Thanks for the sleeve recommendation, definately have to get it one if it survives.
  5. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    It will only void it if it's obvious that you opened the machine and changed things. In my opinion put things back as they were and don't worry about that. If you aren't comfortable that you can reassemble a machine as it was, you should take it to a shop rather than try to do it yourself. There are no stickers on the inside saying void if broken. I assume it's a retina macbook pro. You can remove the bottom and certain parts on the cmbp with a standard screwdriver and without any warranty risks.

    It can take weeks to dry fully. The screwdrivers needed for disassembling certain parts aren't standard types as you've noticed. It's the kind of thing that you shouldn't try unless you're comfortable with it. So this is a retina macbook pro or the normal one? The normal one just uses Torx screws on the bottom case. There are also parts that are difficult to access. I think the keyboard is sealed. As you can see, the standard 13" mbp is different from the retina 13" macbook pro.
  6. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Check to see if any of the moisture sensors turned pink.
  7. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    It's the normal one, not retina. The bottom of the case came off with a #00 size Phillips screwdriver. Though it looks like everything else is other types. Haven't touched anything yet, expect removing the cover and disconnecting the battery. So I have to leave it in there for weeks?

    I probably could take it apart, if I collected all the nesacary tools but it's a little scary as I have changed parts on a PC laptop before, but never completly disassembled and cleaned one. A little worried that I might damage something, by way of static or otherwise. Are you sure that alcohol will not damage anything?


    Where are the moisture sensors?


    Can you see them without having to disassemble anything?
  8. glasgood, May 15, 2013
    Last edited: May 15, 2013

    glasgood macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2012
    Water damaged MacBook's seem to be very common, especially going by the numerous listings on ebay and gumtree.

    Maybe Jony Ive should look at the spill proof keyboards found on some of the Thinkpad range.
  9. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Yea, seems like since they made the keyboard now permenately attached to the upper case, they could have designed it so water doesn't so easily get inside.

  10. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    As long as the water didn't make it anywhere that might have shorted it out before you turned it off, you should be fine.

    I spilled more than half a glass of water right onto my keyboard. Turned it upside down, turned it off, dried the outside as well as i could, took off the back cover and dried the few drops that had made it to the bottom. Then let it sit in a bag full of rice with a single large desiccant packet for 5 days.

    When I put it back together it booted right up. It's been several months since then, and it hasn't had a single hardware problem. (knock wood!). Sounds like you got a lot less water in there than I, and that you're being very aggressive with the desiccant. Unless you live in a really humid climate, a week should do the trick. Two if you're paranoid.

    Edited to add: if you don't want a bulky case, you can always wrap it in a plastic bag before putting it in your backpack on rainy days.
  11. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Currently in Oregon and the humidity outside is 75%. Though I'm hoping the humidity in my drying chamber is a lot less.


    Once I get it back online, is there a way to test that all the hardware is still fully functional and wan't damaged?
  12. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Thanks, are those LSI tabs visible through the topside of the keyboard?
  13. stormyuklondon1, May 16, 2013
    Last edited: May 16, 2013

    stormyuklondon1 macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2006
    to the op, all is not lost, there is hope..
    Yesterday, my 2012 13" macbook pro decided to pull a pint glass full of cream soda over itself (well, thats what I told the wife it did, naughty pooter.) which disappeared into every nook and cranny of the keyboard. with cat like reactions I managed to turn it off, before up ending it, and removing the base.
    The liquid had made its way through the laptop, and was all over the inside. after a quick sob and wail, I removed the memory and hard drive before leaving it over night in an airing cupboard to dry out.
    tried it this afternoon,I didn't hold out much hope of a recovery so I didnt wait any longer, and I'm typing this entry on it now :D
    speaking to a chap in my local pc repair shop he reckoned that as it was diet cream soda(all the flavour, no computer destroying sugar!) and it was turned off immediately, its saved it. I imagine the life has been cut short, but hey, it means when I want to upgrade I can tell the wife it because this one finally let go..;)
  14. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Thanks for the encouragement. At this point I think it might be more risky to try to pull everything apart and start cleaning it. Do you think a week in the chamber would be sufficent to make sure it's totally dry?

    If it is still working, I wonder if I should just sell it, if it's going to have a shortened lifespan.
  15. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Were you speaking generally or in this specific case in which I have it in the chamber with desiscant and the cover off?

    Cause it's been a week now and I'm debating wether to put the cover back on and fire it up or to wait longer.
  16. BentSpace thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2013
    Well, I put my computer back together today and it seems to be working fine so far. :) Should I do that hardware test now or should I wait awhile more till doing that?

    Is it stressful to the hardware to do that test?

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