MBA stopped working after check from Genius Bar

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jhp78, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. jhp78 macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2014
    Hi there,

    we have a MacBook Air and spilled some liquid over it. No sugary stuff etc, just
    plain green tea :) Anyway, it was still working, we let it dry for 2 days, turned it back on and it was still working. A little slow, but anyway. I run the hardware test and it reported a sensor error of the hard drive temperature sensor, so I reset the SMC which didn't solve the problem. Still, the SSD was fine, etc.

    After the reset it only worked when closed and shut down, when open more than an inch. Looked like some problem with the ac logic. I hooked it to a keyboard rebooted into target mode and made a copy of the hard drive, which worked fine. So, funnyly if not connected to an AC it turned on itself and was working with external moniter, etc.

    We then went to an Apple Store and I showed the guy that it turns on, when you close the lid and it made the bootup noise (so apparently the boot test passed) and then open the lid to show that it turns off.

    The really nice guy headed into the back to check the computer and came back 3 minutes later, explaining that the watered components need to be replaced and that it will always be $750 + tax, which I did not expect, seems way more than its worth, but so it is.

    Now the strange thing: Right after he came back the MBA was dead. I don't know what he did, but when I gave it to him, it turned on and when he came back, it did not, also now the AC does not even light up, so even the battery is dead now. This is kind of bad, because I thought I could maybe sell it for parts, which is now not really an option anymore or use the hard drive, etc. I even cannot delete the harddrive, if I would like to sell it.

    Can anyone help with what they are doing at the Genius Bar? Maybe they turn something off for safety, etc.

    I am new to this forum, but maybe someone has a good idea about this. Any suggestions are very welcome.

  2. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Unofrtunately it would be difficult to prove for sure what happened, and if the Genius Bar really did something to break it, unless its something obvious. We'd have to look at the internals to really be sure of anything.

    It's definitely possible that the Genius broke something and made a bad situation already worse. It's also possible that something inside was corroded in such a way that any attempt to open the MacBook Air to have a look would've finished the job already done by the tea. And it's even possible that water damage made your MacBook Air just get worse and worse over time and this could've happened even without anyone cracking it open.

    Do you still have the Genius bar paperwork assessing the damage? If so, does it make clear that the MacBook Air was still turning on and booting when brought in? If you... you MIGHT be able to politely but firmly press your case with Apple and see what they'll do for you. The fact that there was already damage will put you on some weak footing though.
  3. jhp78 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2014
    Thanks for your fast reply. That was really quick.

    I did not want to imply that they broke something. If they did I expect them to tell me and be responsible as I am for the spill of water and the consequences.
    It was more like a search for "yes, they push these three buttons to turn the power off before they open it and you need to click your ruby slippers three times to make turn it back on :)" Most likely it just corroded too much at the right place and exactly at the time when they checked.

    I guess I was disappointed with apple with the guy even acknowledging that it's more reasonable to buy a new one "with improved Haswell processor" than attempt a repair. Lesson learned, water should not be used with laptops. :)

    Thanks for your help!
  4. macs4nw macrumors 601


    I know this is not what you want to hear, and I'm sorry to hear what happened to your MBA, but this happens all the time, just read the forums. I yell it from the rooftops all the time (figuratively, of course), to whomever wants to listen: get a cheap keyboard protector folks; it may be the best 20-25 bucks you've spent!

    Now let's get back to your MBA. With the genius bar, you're on shaky ground as the liquid sensors have been activated, proving prior internal damage. You could pursue it with Apple, and have nothing to lose, but everything to gain, if you calmly explain to a supervisor what you explained to us in your post. Persistence sometimes pays off.

    Failing that consider this: I know $750 is a huge amount of money for a repair of a laptop, but ask yourself, can you buy a new equivalent MBA for that amount, or even a refurb? We all make costly mistakes sometimes, and this time it was you who had a little 'mishap'. Not trying to be harsh here, but chalk it up to experience, cough up the $750, get an Apple repair with warranty, and move on.
  5. Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    This is the most likely scenario. I can't begin to count the number of liquid damaged (or drop damaged) Macs that I opened or colleagues opened that "worked" beforehand but would fail to boot following an internal inspection. I don't know that there was ever an official policy to "not inspect liquid damaged Macs/devices" but many seasoned technicians / Genius will take this stance as the possibility of dealing with a non-understanding customer outweighs the possible benefit of finding an easy solution for someone in a tough spot. For them it's a lot easier to just say "Oh, it had something spilled on it? Let me double check the options... Ok, so the only option outside of purchasing a new Mac that we can offer is the Tier 4...."

    This is also a big part of the reason for the flat Tier 4 repair costs (the $755+tax that you were quoted) with liquid damaged Macs. Apple has to ensure that a repaired Mac is operating properly and is in a condition that they can warranty for a minimum of 90 days (if outside AppleCare). With liquid damage it's not uncommon at all to see a component with some spill residue work perfectly, pass all tests and then fail two weeks later. Apple's approach to this is to replace any and all affected components, whether or not they show signs of failure at the time, for that flat fee. It doesn't seem like it when you're on the customer end but as a former Genius and technician I can assure you that more often than not the $755~ ends up being cheaper in the long run for most liquid damaged repairs.

    With that said... You might check out a local Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) and get a quote from them. Technically they're supposed to only offer the same Tier 4 repair that Apple quoted you for Macs that are in warranty, however most of them will provide options to just replace the immediately affected components though. This might be the better option if for example only your top case (keyboard, power button, etc) was damaged.

    In your situation I'd wager that the logic board, possibly SSD and probably the top case are all damaged though. The Apple repair is probably the cheaper option but it never hurts to get a second opinion.

    One of the long standing theories on how Macs are cooled points to not only the rear vent but to the keyboard as a source of air intake. In my experience as a Genius and service technician I've noticed a lot more heat related complaints from folks who use keyboard covers on their portable Macs, which reinforces that idea. Add to that the number of still liquid damaged Macs I've seen with keyboard covers (liquid still enters from the rear vent, side ports, through the trackpad, etc) and I really can't recommend them.

    I think the better advice is to use a bit more caution when using your Macs around drinks/liquid.
  6. Beachguy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2011
    Have you considered buying a used logic board from, say, eBay, and replacing it yourself?

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