Power and Volume buttons pressing themselves?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Aes, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Aes, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017

    Aes macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2014
    (Cross post from macbook forum, figured this would be a better place for this inquiry)

    Hey everyone,

    So I've been having a weird problem after a very unfortunate accident occurred to my Macbook Pro retina 15" from 2012.

    I know it's completely and utterly stupid and I know I should've taken better care, but I somehow managed to spill a shot of vodka onto the keyboard.. I immediately flipped it upside down and held the power button until the machine switched off. I let it dry, upside down for about 5 days before attempting to boot it again. I'm devastated because I've loved and have (until now) taken great care of this computer for 6 years now.

    Anyway.. On boot I was very pleasantly surprised that the machine booted normally, so I quickly backed up all my important files, just in case my luck wasn't to last.. And I'm glad I did, because a day later I began having an odd issue where it seems as though the power and volume up buttons are pressing themselves(?)

    The laptop boots fine, but after a few seconds the volume up indicator appears on the screen as if I'm pressing the volume up button - If i press volume down, it shoots right back up to max volume. Then, I'm given the shutdown prompt menu as if I've pressed the power button, then the machine shuts down.

    I figure these buttons are somehow stuck or short circuited. They are not sticky but I'm going to take the buttons off shortly to see if there is any sort of gunk or residue under said keys.

    I can't really afford to bring the computer in to a repair shop at the moment but I have a fair amount of experience with disassembling laptops and PCs, I've just never tackled one as complex as the Mbook Pro. I've already ordered a pentelobe screwdriver and some other tools as I figure I'm probably going to have to take her apart.

    Would any of you perhaps have any advice as to which components I should inspect/clean first? Is it likely that I've shorted something on the logic board, or could this be an isolated issue with the keyboard or a controller somewhere?

    Any input you may have is massively appreciated and I thank you for reading,
  2. prisstratton, Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017

    prisstratton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2011
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I did a similar thing with my MBP, but with beer. I flipped it upside down and shutdown the system normally, so it never shorted at all. I left it upside down for several days then stripped the whole thing down.

    I am not berating you here, but everyone always tries to turn on their MBP after such an event and it is the worst thing to do. If it did not have a short previous to this you might cause one.

    I had read several posts about things like this and how to proceed, so I did not try to turn mine back on. I stripped down the whole thing and as I removed each part I gently scrubbed it with a soft toothbrush dipped in 100 % isopropyl alcohol (probably the best you will find is 99 % at Walmart, unless you look for the proper electronic repair stuff, which will cost you a lot more). After I had taken it apart I reassembled and it works fine.

    Some thoughts: your power button and volume controls are all located close together on your keyboard, so that suggests you spilled on the upper right side. Underneath that is a MagSafe DC-In Board, so you might want to focus some extra attention on that. If your cleaning does not repair that problem the board can be replaced. The fact that only two of your keys are affected would lead you to think that it is localized with those keys.

    If you proceed to strip it down I would recommend you follow the guides on ifixit.com. When I removed parts as detailed in each step they all went on a separate piece of paper that I labelled with the step and parts involved. I was going to take pictures of every step, but if you are following the ifixit guide then it is not necessary.

    How far you want or need to take the teardown is up to you, I think I used a combination of “full teardown” and/or “upper case assembly”, but I did not remove the display. As you get into it you may see traces of your accident and it might give you an idea of where to focus. But do not jump ahead without checking the guides, everything comes apart in a logical order.

    If you proceed with this it may look a little daunting at first, but if you take your time and focus on each step as a separate event you should be okay. There are loads of tiny ribbon cables and attachments that you really need to be very careful with, you do not want to break one. If at any point you are not sure about something….STOP, do not force the issue and break something. Search on the web and cross-reference what you are trying to do (YouTube), the comment area on ifixit can also help with this. Also some parts you remove have different sized screws, do not rely on you remembering which screw went in what hole, make notes.

    Guides for your MBP on ifixit web site, here:


    Good luck, I hope this works out well for you. It might look a little overwhelming, but a successful repair also provides a lot of satisfaction.

    I successfully repaired my 17" MBP and the MacBook Air in my sig. The Air was given to me as unrepairable because of liquid damage with pepsi. Both are now working fine.
  3. Aes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2014

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful and extensive reply, you're very kind and I truly appreciate it.

    I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get any response.

    I'll begin the process later this evening, wish me luck! I'll get back to you with my results.
  4. Aes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2014
    Which tools did you use for the disassembly?
  5. prisstratton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2011
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I purchased a kit from OWC:


    It had everything I needed for my model with the exception of the tri-wing for removing the battery in the MBP. The ifixit site will tell you at each step what tool is required. Parts and tools are available on their site specifically aimed at the repair guide you have chosen to follow.

    You definitely need to make sure you have the right tools for the job.

    Good Luck !!

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4 October 2, 2017