MBA Water Damage / Keyboard Questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by dnspade, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. dnspade macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2012
    Have scoured threads here and and have found a lot of useful info so far - thanks to those who have contributed.

    In the fog of flu, I spilled some water on my mba. I flipped it over, depowered, and immediately put it over a fha vent for drying. 24 hours later, it booted and has been operational for the last 3 days with the only issues being 3 or 4 keys that dont work (like the apostrophe key!).

    Brought it to the Genius Bar and felt like I got a used car sales job; refused three times to quote me a price on replacing top panel and wanted me to replace both the logic board and the SSD, which was, roughly, the same price as buying new. Gave me a big show about corrosion (although it was hidden under the SSD) and essentially that my mba was dead man walking.

    My questions are these:

    1) None of my research indicates that liquid damage is fatal, particularly if it was just water and it didnt short the components immediately. Is this true, or is the GB agent characterizing my MBA having terminal cancer more correct?

    2) Cleaning corrosion - nothing much explicit on what to do here. In the old days of my Raytheon stint, I wouldve wiped it down with Iso and MEK, but am sure at least MEK is no longer allowed. What chems do I use? Am assuming a nylon electronics brush will tackle this, or do I need to use something more aggressive? Once I clean this, is there anything else needed to preclude future corrosion, or is this going to be a recurring task?

    3) Assuming I get back to the actual keyboard, is it repairable? There are specific keys and wondering if I just need to clean the circuitry under those keys.

    Appreciate the help as this will put the puzzle pieces together.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    All bets are off when it comes to water damage. However you are correct that if the initial spill doesn't kill it, the odds of it working fine in the future are greatly increased in your favor.

    You will want to clean the corroded area thoroughly and dry it. Then put something over it so it's not exposed to air; this should prevent it from recurring/spreading. I've found that a thin layer of hot glue works pretty well.

    Keyboard issues are usually not repairable without replacing the top case.
  3. joshaarons macrumors newbie


    Jul 13, 2011
    Boston Area
    I agree that if it's still running that's a great sign. If your MBA is a solid state model, that def helps. Just be aware that even just water contains molecules that eventually begin to corrode. Generally liquid spills aren't always fatal, but down the line keep and eye on out for weird behavior.

    I fix Liquid Spilled Mac's for a living, generally on the air the keyboard takes the brunt of the spill. If you can clean any areas you see with rubbing alcohol I would suggest that and just cross your fingers.

    Just fyi, for the MBA we do Liquid Spill repair on those at flat rate for $475.00 plus shipping. Apple's option for the depot is I believe $787.75 for the 11 and 13 inch models.

    Any questions feel free to ask. Also, you can checkout for take-apart instructions if you need them

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