Spilled tea on rMPR and it survived

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pendragon1984, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. pendragon1984, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

    pendragon1984 macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yesterday afternoon I somehow managed to tip about an ounce or two of warm (not hot) tea (without sugar) on my rMPB. And I had just bought this computer a few months ago!!!! The irony is that I was trying to move the tea away from the computer to avoid an accident when somehow my brain forgot to continue to tell my hand to hold onto the mug. WTF right?

    This is what I did.

    1. I immediately (within 1 or 2 seconds) turned the computer upside down.

    2. I ran to the gents holding the computer upside down.

    3. I shut it down holding it upside down.

    4. I used paper towels to dry it off the best I could.

    5. I used the hand blow dryer on it for a few minutes.

    6. Went home.

    7. Took back off and disconnected battery.

    8. Removed all the keys where the spill occurred. This is when I starting feeling positive. I only saw moisture under one of the keys and there wasn't much.

    9. I put the vacuum on low, used the curtain attachment, and went over the keyboard with it for 10-20 minutes.

    10. Propped the computer upside down with a heater fan some distance away for 7 hours.

    11. Turned the heater fan to just be on the fan setting without heat and left it on the computer over night. (Also put one of those dehumidifiers with the little white balls next to the computer, but I don't think it did anything.)

    12. In the morning I vacuumed the keyboard again.

    13. I wanted to be sure no tea had gotten on the logic board, but removing it looked like a chore. I would have to reapply thermal paste etc. However, the left fan is easy to remove and was right under where the spill occurred. So, I took it out to see whether I could see any moisture. There was none under the fan. Also, I noticed that the keyboard looks fairly well sealed off from the logic board. It's covered in black plastic that seems to be glued together.

    14. I decided to put the computer back together and start her up.

    15. I had to spend some time on two of the keys cleaning them, because they were making popping noises. They are better now.

    As far as I can tell the rMPB is fine. The keys work, the computer charges and runs on the battery, and the backlight still works.

    So, how lucky was I? Or is it the case that if you act fast and dry out the computer that your chances are pretty good for small spills? Inspecting the keyboard it looks like it's pretty well sealed up. Not water proof or even water resistant completely, but probably somewhat water resistant.

    Anyway, hoping my luck continues! Who knows whether it'll break later on. But as far as I can tell there is nothing wrong. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I can't afford to replace the computer if it breaks. So, I'll be screwed!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I think the small amount that was spilled and your quick reflexes helped. There's no way to know about any possible long term but so far the news is encouraging.

    It seems one thing that tends to fail or cause problems is the track pad, so keep an eye on that.

    Bummers on the accident though :(
  3. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well, tea didn't get on the track pad. It was all with the area of the q to v keys on the keyboard.

    As far as I can tell not much tea even got under the keys. But who knows!
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I think the best way to make sure that there's completely no moisture left in the rMBP is to buy a pack of uncooked rice grains.

    Then, buy a tupperware that's big enough to house the entire base of the rMBP.

    Place the rMBP into the tupperware, with the lid open. Prop it up at a slight angle.

    Then, fill the tupperware with rice, enough to bury the entire keyboard, but make sure the screen hinge area is still exposed and not covered with rice. Stuff up the ports with tissue or cotton though, you wouldn't want any rice getting into them.

    Leave it this way for 9 hours. The rice grains will absorb the moisture (like desiccant) and hopefully all moisture will be gone after that.
  5. pendragon1984, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014

    pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    I have read that rice actually isn't very effective. I do worry about moisture still in the computer, but not sure what to do. Need the computer for my work. So, can't really put it away another 9 hours.
  6. CivRules macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2013
    Scary awesome!

    Firstly, WOW!

    I love the detailed report of what happened and how you dealt with the situation. Clap Clap, well done for not panicking as so many do!

    TBH, you've done a fantastic job. IMO by simply using the system and keeping it on for a sustained period, any residual moisture left over will be burnt away by any excess heat generated by the computer just being on.

    I'm not a computer expert, however if you're truly worried then take it to your nearest laptop maintenance store and see if they can help.

    Good Luck and WELL DONE! :)
  7. jondunford macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2013
    Going for a poo Moderator
    did it have milk in

    MacBooks like tea with milk and no sugar
  8. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    Thanks for the positive remarks, because I feel like a f...ing moron for spilling tea on my computer. I mean I have no idea what went wrong with my nervous system that instant. Maybe too much caffeine? Who knows!


    It did have a little milk in it. haha!
  9. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    Still going strong!

    Any advice on keyboard skins?
  10. GreyMatta macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2007
    Personally I wouldn't do the rice thing in case it gets in the vents etc :eek:

    The multiple vents at the back would take ages to block with cotton wool
  11. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston
    I had the same EXACT experience as you a few days before christmas. Was getting up for the morning, set my rMBP aside since I was doing some morning browsing in bed, and my shirt caught the end of the table next to my bed and sent the end of my drink all over the bed and the MBP. Flipped it immediately and started calling local shops to see who'd let me borrow their pentalobe screwdriver, since I'm home for the holidays and left my tools in LA :/

    My situation played out pretty eerily close to yours, took it apart, blowdryer, etc - Ended up pulling the fans and the right side I/O board (HDMI, SD, USB3) and was satisfied by that seeing as there was no sign of liquid underneath.

    The only thing I didn't do is pull the keys, I feel like I always break one of the clips when I attempt this, any tips on getting then safely unsnapped?

    Cheers to being lucky!
  12. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    We've both had a stressful experience recently.

    Check out this video for info on how to remove the keys. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCT-CldP_r4

    Note: there are two types of keyboards. Removing the plastic key itself should be the same as that video. However, the plastic hinges underneath may be different. I could get the keys off but not the plastic hinges for the keys.

    If you break a key you can order a new one here. http://www.replacementlaptopkeys.com They are about 10 dollars a piece. So, it would add up, but you're unlikely to break more than 1.

    My 'Z' key sounds a little weird now. I don't know if it was the tea or if I damaged it taking it out. I tried cleaning it but cannot get the plastic hinge off. Anyway, I ordered a new 'Z' from that website. When it arrives I will try again to remove the plastic hinge. I figure if I break it, I'll have a replacement at hand.

    Would you agree from taking the computer apart that the keyboard on the rMBP is pretty well sealed off from the components underneath?


    So, to be clear, your computer is working? How sticky is the keyboard?
  13. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    You forgot step #1800089767 -- bury the **** thing in a bag of rice for 34 days.

    Just kidding. Sounds like you did an good job avoiding disaster. Fingers crossed for you.
  14. fs454 macrumors 68000

    Dec 7, 2007
    Los Angeles / Boston

    Not sticky at all, surprisingly - and yes, the computer works great, I waited about 12 hours to boot it back up and also had the battery physically disconnected from the logic board during that time while I investigated. It was a cup with melting ice which previously had grapefruit juice in it minutes prior so the stuff that had spilled on the surface and the stray drops all dried sticky, so I want to be sure there's no signs under the right half of the keyboard.

    I do agree, though! The black film covering the bottom of the keyboard is MUCH more sealed off than it used to be, I believe due to the fact that the airflow is now primarily pulled from those lower, front vents rather than primarily through the keyboard on the non-retina models.
  15. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yea it's a much better design. Pulling air through the keyboard wasn't smart. The keyboard is the most likely place for a spill I think.
  16. Adonys macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    Southern California
  17. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    HAHA! Well, I guess that's what I want to know. Looking at this rMPB I'd say it's more spill resistant that the old models. But don't go testing that! Well... Unless you have a lot of money you want to burn.
  18. Fzang macrumors 65816


    Jun 15, 2013
    All that remains to be asked now is, what kind of tea was it?
  19. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    It was English Breakfast tea.

    rMPB is still going strong.
  20. pendragon1984 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2013
    Computer is still working fine. No crashes or weird symptoms.

    However, 5 of the keys sometimes make popping noises. I have taken the keys off and the brackets underneath and cleaned them. However, this didn't fix the problem entirely. I suspect the issue is with the little rubber cups that act as a spring for the keys.

    Does anyone know how to replace the rubber cups? They seem to be glued on.

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