Question about the aftermath of a liquid spill

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by swindmill, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. swindmill macrumors 6502a


    Mar 17, 2005
    My brother spilled a beer on my Macbook while we were sitting in a cafe a few days ago. I immediately turned it off and flipped it over. As I turned it off, I noticed that the screen was going black. I turned it on several hours later and the screen was still black but there was some flickering of white. The next day, it turned on and all has seemed fine since then.

    My question is whether I'm likely in the clear or whether it may suffer the effects of this spill later on. In other words, once an electronic device dries out and works again, is free from permanent damage or does it just appear to be?
  2. Chase817 macrumors member


    Jul 6, 2008
    It should be fine unless there is residue left inside, which might be the case.
  3. andalusia macrumors 68030


    Apr 10, 2009
    Manchester, UK
    I would recommend drying it out for a few more days... to be safe. Also, start a backup regime if you don't already have one. If you can't stand to be without it for a few more days, eg if you need it for work, then borrow another machine if you can. This is to safeguard it from future problems.
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Also keep in mind that you're probably not going to ever have any repairs done under warranty now, because they'll just point to the spill as the cause of any problem no matter how ridiculous.
  5. WannaApple? macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2008
    I had a tea spill as well about a month ago. After worrying and not being able to be without my computer for a week due to work while it dried and then worrying about any residue, I took it basically 90% apart myself, wiped up all interior wetness and then proceeded to remove all my keys and clean those. I'm sure the liquid sensors are red, but I havent had any problems with my computer since.
    It isnt hard to take it apart, just time consuming. There are a bunch of photos online and videos with detailed instructions on how to do it if interested.
  6. Stachelsk macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2008
    Simply put, NO.

    I would think (this I'm not positive about) that opening it up, and cleaning off contacts would help to prolong it's life, but it could die at any time. There's quite a few stories on here, eBay, and elsewhere from people who claimed that their device survived a liquid spill, but mysteriously died weeks, months, or years later...
  7. swindmill thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 17, 2005
    Thanks for the input. I ask, in part, because if I replace it now and cut my losses by selling the 'possibly damaged' MacBook for whatever it's worth post-spill, my brother would cover most of my losses. I don't want to do that unless I'm taking a substantial loss by holding onto this MacBook though. It sounds like the bottom line is that I keep the current MacBook at my own peril.
  8. l.a.rossmann macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2009
    You shouldn't think of putting power through it before

    a) cleaning every little bit of residue off.

    Apple uses WAY TOO MUCH thermal compound. It ****s up the GPU when the beer gets under the heatsink, breaks the TIM off, and allows it to dry/hover over all the other little things around the GPU chip. It doesn't take more than a few turn ons to **** this up. I've seen that stuff get onto the board. It doesn't matter if the beer has dried off, it's still there, attracting OTHER minerals that DO conduct electricity to parts of the board they shouldn't be. Even a single strand of certain kinds of string can conduct electricity well enough to **** something up. My favorite case was a white strand that took my friend days to find that was causing a buzz in an entire patchbay at avatar studios two years ago.

    b) drying it in a "forceful" fashion

    I modified a dehumidifier from the 1970s(before companies cared about efficiency something about A/C units from that era are awesome as well, they can make your room into a frozen tundra in 30 seconds) with a part to accept PCBs, and use a certain cleaning solution very hard before I do this. I also make use of another cleaning machine that gets where I can't beforehand.

    I tried drying a logic board for five days and it still wouldn't work, but the modded dehumidifier so that it was targeting just the tiny space the board was in did it in a half hour. This machine uses more electricity than everything else in my house combined; however, with the decreased physical space it "sees", it literally rips liquid and leftover residue after cleaning off the boards.

    I offer that service here for people local. I might be willing to barter in exchange for competent web design, as it is obvious I need it. :(

    My main point, if you don't read anything else, which I've derived from numerous painful experiences before I had the proper tools or knowledge:

    Do not put power through it until you are sure the board is 100% clean, and 100% dry. If you do not have the tools or the experience to know when this is done, then don't put power through it until you find someone who does.

    It took me six months to realize that the same thing I use to get rid of electrolytic capacitor fluid on audio amplifier PCBs when 91% alcohol/electronics "cleaner" and a brush failed, would do wonders on Mac logic boards. If I knew this six months ago, I would have a lot less dead macbooks. Since I changed my methods I went from 30% to 100% success rate without changing parts on the boards, and they last too. Hopefully some of the information above helps you get another few years out of your machine. :)

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