Spilt Coffee on Macbook, still turns on but slow

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by msingh7, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. msingh7 macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Hello Everyone. So my sister spilt coffee on her Early 2011 13" Macbook Pro. No applecare or other warranty. I Immediately had her shut it down and turn it over to let the coffee spill out. A day went by and she said a good amount of coffe had leaked out of the computer. She then said there was a period of shutting on and off when it was plugged into the charger, with the unit not getting past the apple chime. I had her unplug it and close the computer until I could come pick it up.

    I decided to open it up to see if i can clean up any of the damage. The logic board did have a good amount of coffee residue on it on the bottom side, but not much on the CPU side. I used some rubbing alcohol and q-tips to clean the board up as much as i could. I gave it a day to dry and they put it back together. To no surprise, it did not turn on when pressing the power button. I attached the charger and presto, it turns on! Here are the things I noticed as it turned on:

    1) Extremely slow and Laggy
    2) Half of the keyboard and the power button do NOT work
    3) CPU %System usage is at a constant 80-86%
    4) the kernel_task in activity monitor is at a constant 325-330%
    5) Applications and everything still work, just at an extremely slow speed
    6) CPU fan speed is constantly on and at high speed, even though there is no heat coming off the CPU
    7) trackpad works, but is very sticky

    From what it looks like, it seems that along with the keyboard and power button problems, the temperature sensors are faulty. Is there any way to fix this without getting a new logic board? I can open up the unit again and try to clean up more. The only thing that is concerning me is that once the unit goes off, i might not be able to turn it on again.

    Any help would be appreciated. I have no problem opening up the computer and taking it apart. I also only want to take it to apple as a last resort.

  2. bizzle, Dec 19, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012

    bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    I'd spend some more time cleaning the board. I have a lot of experience in liquid damage clean ups and have revived dozens of machines with these types of spills. Qtips don't really cut it when it comes to scrubbing off sugar water and cream, so unless it is was black coffee, you have a bit more work to do.

    Remove the logic board and use a fresh toothbruth (nothing fancy, the cheapest most harsh one you can find) and rubbing alcohol and start scrubbing the entire board. You'd be surprised there are usually spots on the board with residue that you may not see, so I always clean the entire board. Let it dry overnight and try again. Sounds like you are going to at least need to replace the top case unless you want to strip the entire unit and take the keyboard out of the top case (about fifty screws under the black plastic sheet) and clean that out as well.

    You can short two pins on the logic board to power on the unit. They are circled in orange.

    Attached Files:

  3. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    If the machine was at all plugged in, or still had the battery in while there was coffee in it, it's possible there was permanent damage.

    It's recommended that a machine come into contact with no power at all until it is cleaned. Although with the built in batteries that can be hard...
  4. bizzle macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    It unplugs with no screws other than the bottom case.
  5. msingh7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    okay so i took the laptop apart again. didnt clean again this time but just took all the components out to see if there was any liquid still around. I put everything back together and tried to turn it on. this time, the power button actually worked and got to the login screen. all the keys were working and the CPU and fan were working normally.

    I closed the screen to put the back lid back on. Now when i turn it on, it goes only to the white screen for about 5 seconds then turns off. The only way I can power it back on is if I reset the SMC.

    I did a little diagnosing and found a few things:

    1) The laptop WILL boot without the HD plugged in. I plugged in the HD to another computer as an external and it is functioning fine.

    2) it will try to boot off the optical drive, but will shut off mid way

    3) computer will NOT boot off an external

    4) does not seem to charge from the AC adapter anymore

    5) I tried to check the RAM, but that seems fine as well

    Looks more and more like the logic board or a combo of many little issues.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    You'd think by spilling a cup of joe things would be faster.
  7. iMacC2D macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2010
    Issue 2 will most likely be because of the coffee travelling through the keyboard and ruining the keyboard electronics, so that will need to be changed.

    Now, I suspect issues 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and possibly 7 are all related. If a sensor is not reading correctly, it will cause the system to throttle back, which results in what appears to be high CPU utilisation by kernel_task and incredibly slow performance as a result. Also, the fan will run at its maximum speed as a failsafe when it is unable to read the temperature value from the faulty sensor.

    One such sensor is built into the Trackpad, and is called the Palm Rest Proximity sensor, responsible for reading out the temperature from the top side of the Battery (which is directly below the trackpad and palm rest). Not to say it will be the Trackpad, as it could all be related to the Keyboard alone, but the Trackpad is certainly a very likely candidate.

    I would get an Apple Authorised Service Provider to run Apple Service Toolkit (AST), specifically the Mac Resource Inspector (MRI) test over that unit, as it checks to ensure the sensors are reading correctly. They should be able to run this test quickly over the counter. You may find that it only needs some relatively simple parts (by comparison), such as a Keyboard/Top Case Assembly and Trackpad to return it to a fully functioning unit.
  8. richnyc macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2012
  9. msingh7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    im letting all the components dry more overnight. I will try again in the morning and if all else fails, I have an appointment made at the genius bar. I just hope they can give me a thorough explanation of what is actually wrong and not just "the logic board"
  10. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    They won't tell you anything because they won't diagnose it without you agreeing to pay. In addition, they usually don't fix the logic board itself because it's a lot of work and Q&A, so they just replace. In your case, it's better to go and buy a new laptop and sell the current one on eBay to get at least $150-250 out of it.
  11. msingh7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    okay now its getting a bit weird.

    I was trying to get into the apple diagnostics by holding down the letter "D" on the keyboard and instead of going into diagnostics, it went into the log on screen. the weird part is that as soon as i take my finger off the D key, the laptop shuts down within seconds. If i keep on the D key, it will stay on.

    Any suggestions?
  12. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    Nobody can help you with an hardware damaged computer. You are trying to keep alive a dead horse. Just give up.
  13. jcrandall23 macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2011
    Sounds like a short in the keyboard, and possibly more. You can get a replacement on eBay for around $40. It's a pain to remove and replace, but I've fixed several machines with a thorough cleaning and a new keyboard. Best of luck.
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Like someone else said, you're trying to keep a dead horse alive. If there was a chance it was ruined by the decision to turn it off and on (unless I read that wrong). As the above poster said, it is likely a short in the logic board. A repair by Apple is senseless; a self-repair may be possible. I'm sure you can get your hands on a new logic board. If it is not worth your time, sell for parts and buy another machine.
  15. msingh7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    well the laptop works when any key is pressed down, not just the letter D. So this seems like a short in the keyboard, mainly the power button portion. Im just curious about the battery not charging, so il have apple take a look. there is also an AASP in the area so I can take it to them as well for a quote.

    Il report back on some answers.
  16. satchow macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2011
    I predict they will quote $875 to fix this.
  17. iMacC2D macrumors 6502a

    Jun 24, 2010
    Except... maybe... a Hardware Technician? There are absolutely viable options worth trying before writing the machine off. Once we've exhausted those, then we'll decide whether or not to give up.

    The inability to stay powered on is a short in the keyboard by the sound of it. I don't honestly think that a short in the Logic Board is causing this behavior, especially as the keys and power button were only partially functioning previously. It's likely to be a progression of this issue rather than an entirely new one. I had to repair my own MacBook after receiving it second-hand for the exact same issue. Out came the old Top Case (Keyboard), in went the new one. Cleaned up the corrosion on the board and it's now in to its 12th month since that repair.

    The battery issue does sound a little more sinister, but it could be something as simple as the connection between it and the Logic Board that needs cleaning. At the very worst, the charging circuit is no longer functioning, which could be the result of a damaged fuse or battery IC - but lets not jump to conclusions just yet.
  18. msingh7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    I am thinking the same thing at this point. I have found a small repair shop near my apartment in NYC that says they can diagnose the laptop for about $25. I was thinking of buying a replacement keyboard and magsafe port off of ebay but figured that I rather have a full diagnosis before I start spending money on parts.

    But I do agree that this does not seem like the logic board anymore, which was my biggest concern. I will report back once I get some answers. thanks!
  19. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Jan 21, 2008
    I had a small spill once.

    Have had some issues but to a much lesser extent. Only about 15% of keyboard wasn't working, the backlight of the keyboard wasn't working, and it wouldn't ever go to sleep at all (just kept waking/sleeping/waking/sleeping). Would shut down out of nowhere...

    I opened it and saw no liquid damage. So I just took out the battery, soaked the keyboard in contact cleaner, left it overnight upside down.

    Magically everything works and has been working for two years. (Including the backlight of the keyboard.)

    So keyboard might be one of your issues. Try disconnecting it and plugging in a USB keyboard, just for kicks... It's still cheaper.

    edit: It was instant coffee with milk, no sugar.
  20. msingh7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012

    The computer can now boot and stay on without holding any keys on the keyboard down. Not sure if it was just a matter of time for more liquid to dry or what, but its sure a good sign.

    Another thing I have noticed is that even though the charger is plugged in, it doesnt even provide power to the laptop. it will show that it is plugged in, but a decrease in battery percentage with the laptop plugged in can be seen. I will try to do some troubleshooting on this tomorrow.

Share This Page