partial fixed - H20 damage to MacBook, drying out with rice/bag

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by mtbdudex, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. mtbdudex macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Background to this story:
    We live in SE Michigan and have been without power for 6+ days now, since Sunday 6/8 3am.

    We have a basic 5,000 Watt generator, enough for one 20A/240V circuit, which I can power the fridge and one other circuit.
    Due to this, our normal routine is totally gone and we are winging it day-by-day.
    Therefore, our MacBook has been moved from its usual spot on the island to a circuit plug that has power while the fridge power is active.

    Two days ago while cleaning the kitchen with sponge, my 4 year old son decided to help out, he wiped down our MacBook keyboard with a dripping sponge!!!! aghhhhh. My wife did not notice this until 30 minutes later, too late.

    Now, the space bar key and a few others don't work, and worse is the shut down button tries repeattely(sp) to shut down.

    A friend at work suggested putting the whole MacBook in a sealed bag with un-cooked rice, so here I am trying that.
    Hopefully it will dry out the moisture and it works ok, if Not I'll be back here finding out what else to do.
    The MacBook is 2 years old, out of warranty, taking to Apple store is out of scope for now.
  2. Vster macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2005
    Celina, TX
    That's seems to be a good idea. If the rice acts like the little silica gel packets in leather shoes and whatnot, it may just work! Good luck! :)
  3. urbanskywalker macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2007
    I fixed an ibook once when the apartment above where I was staying rained dirty clothes wash through the floor (a lot of water). My ibook was on and keyboard open. When I found it the power was short circuiting. I immediately unplugged it, wiped the water off the keyboard, took the batter out and left it upside down for two days. They I Took the keyboard out and used a hair dryer to blow air in the vents and all around the case. At first the sound did not work and the speakers crackled, but after using the hairdryer they came back 100%. The keyboard never full recovered, and wen I would use certain keys the the wrong letter or number would result. Since is was under warranty I took it in for repair and they replaced the keyboard no questions asked. After that everything worked perfectly.
  4. Elven macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2008
  5. ki2594 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2008
    Carmel, IN.
    oh man i feel u. im in west bloomfield rite now and all my friends lost power for like 3-4 days, i was luckly on the other side of the storm so i didn't get hit...hope everything goes well for you!
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    If anything you can cook that rice up real nice afterward and eat it. ;)
    But really, it sounds like it may be toast and with or without warranty, Apple doesn't cover water damage.

    You may be able to find an inexpensive logic board on ebay and try to repair it yourself. I'd venture to guess that's what went.
  7. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan






  8. Neil321 macrumors 68040


    Nov 6, 2007
    Britain, Avatar Created By Bartelby

    Found this link for you,the only problem is i don't know if the the spacebar needs to work properly to be able to remap the keys to start with,good luck
  9. KoolStar macrumors demi-god


    Oct 16, 2006
    You could always use an external usb keyboard. If Not while at home but then to set up the software.
  10. mixmacface macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2008
    in the 7th layer of hell.
    when i read what your 4 yr old did, i gasped and my mother asked what was wrong.. i told her and she did not express the same sympathy. but you do have mine. i know that won't help your beloved mb. . but best of luck repairing it.
  11. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Try letting it dry out a little longer. I dishwashed a keyboard that had a repeating h key after a week of drying out. A few weeks after that, the keyboard was fully functional again.
  12. Bobioden macrumors 68000


    Sep 23, 2007
    I agree, give it some more time. I have read that you shouldn't even attempt to turn it on until after a week or so.
  13. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    A couple of mistakes I made.

    -I should have removed battery immediately so no power to circuits after the H20 intrusion? Did not do that.
    -Continued to use it after the incident. Power to circuit board trying to dry out not good idea.

    I was thinking to take the MacBook apart (good or bad idea?), and even applying some rubbing alcohol to"trouble area" if I'm smart enough to ID those for better drying.
    Good/Bad idea?
    Or, just let it dry by itself for 5-7 days w/o battery for more moisture escape area?

    I did take apart my 60GB iPod and replace a cracked screen, so if I know what to do I'm willing to follow directions. (is MAcFixIt the correct forum for this discussion, I've not visited there in quite a while)
  14. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Thx for kind words, we are so bummed and don't have $1k lying around for another laptop, this one is perfectly fine and I'm hoping it will dry out more.

    As adult I am responsible and accountable for my children's actions, that is clear. My wife and I agree and take 100% responsbility, not a 4 year olds fault, he was only trying to help Mommy and Daddy.

    Under "normal" daily usage the chance of this happening at our home is very-very low, MacBook usually is on the kitchen Island top level, away from H20, and only our 6 year old is allowed on that w/o any liquids nearby is rule, she follows that.

    With the power outage, the fridge circuit also had 2 outlets along the back wall kitchen counter area, so we moved the MacBook there with its recharger, and that put it in vulnerable spot for this incident.
  15. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    Good idea, I tried this morning with a USB keyboard and external mouse (reaching over the ext keyboard does not work so well from HMI viewpoint) works, but is cumbersome.

    Will keep this as last ditch effort is more drying/other does not work.
  16. Jabberwocky246 macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2008
    So sorry to hear. I'm sure it's frustrating, but you can't get too mad at your son since he was trying to help.

    If your keyboard doesn't come back after a week or so, I encourage you to screw up your courage and try replacing the keyboard yourself.

    If there aren't any other problems (like the battery not working/charging or random shutdowns), you can consider yourself EXTREMELY lucky. The top case, including the trackpad and keyboard are all one unit and replacements are available on eBay for $60 to $80 including shipping. Try to get one that says Version 2, they have newer connectors that are less prone to breakage.

    For complete replacement instructions, try and click on the 1, 2, 3 links. I find that if you follow the instructions to the letter and keep the screws in the exact order you take them out, reassembling becomes a piece of cake (just reverse the order). Double stick tape works really well for holding your screws. Just make sure you take your time, read ahead and don't get impatient. If I can do it, anyone can.

    Best of luck.
  17. obiwan559 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2008
  18. MacBooksRock macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2007
    You can purchase a new keyboard off of eBay for $50 +/-

    The power button isn't trying to shut down periodically anymore, is it?
  19. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    So I was "Doctor Mike" last night, see attached picts:
    Followed the MacFixIt instructions, those are PRICELESS! Thx for pointing me.
    Not hard, just have the right tools, 000 screwdriver (so small) and the instructions. Plus, patience, and my wife to divert the kids from what daddy is doing on the kitchen table.....:rolleyes::rolleyes:

    I was too busy working to take dis-assembly picts, but here are result ones:

    I made a sketch of every screw take-out position and taped them on the paper, this way re-assemble is easy. There are way too many screw size variations! Apple should commonize some. Those pink plastic tools I got from a trip to Japan, they carry those in the auto accessory supply stores, I use them all the time for prying stuff apart w/o breaking.

    Keyboard removed, upside down:
    Bottom right of this pict, circle button is the power on/off button that was sticking.

    I found this sticker humorous, what the heck does "better" mean there?
    Seriously, I did not put that there as a joke, it was in my MacBook like that.

    What I did:
    Spray Electrical contact cleaner bought from Radio Shack, $10, on the front side (normal keyboard side) and the backside. Wiped front side with clean washcloth, carefully wiped backside, did no damage to anything.
    Then, I really soaked it and used the canned air to dry it. I could feel the power on/off button just "felt better" than before, the space bar key, hard to tell. Everything appeared dry instantly after the can air. I then put back together.

    Power on/off is not cycling/shorting out any more, so no more "are you sure you want to power down" dialog box popping up every 2-3 minutes, and if you would not hit "cancel" it would shut down.
    >>Happy :D:D
    But, space bar still does not work, nor the LH Command button that is next to it. The RH Command button works fine.
    >> Sad :(:(

    So, for now we will live with it as is, and I'll try the re-map utility mentioned above, and map the RH Command button as a space bar. Downside to that is cut/paste only from edit menu, oh well.

    Possible might buy keyboard as some of you gave me info, for now we'll save some $$$'s.
  20. mtbdudex thread starter macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    I'm going to Apple Genius tomorrow in SE Michigan to see how much a genuine Apple keyboard pad service part will cost vs eBay one.

    Where the heck do those eBayer's get Genuine Apple parts?
    Are they legit?

    I tried today after work, but they would not just give me service part pricing w/o having the hardware in hand, their policy.

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