The power of rubbing alcohol and an oven (on a Macbook Pro)

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Well this is interesting.

I literally found a Macbook Pro sticking out of my neighbors trash can. I went to go have a look at it, and it looked like it was perfectly fine, so I went to my neighbors and asked them, why was that poor Macbook in the trash. They told me it was covered in water for hours (the wife left it outside, and we had some really bad storms a while ago). She said it didn't work at all, wouldn't do anything at all. Apparently right as she got it out, the first thing she tried to do was turn it on, when it was still soaking with water. Then she plugged it in and let it charge for like 2 days, while still being wet. When it wouldn't work, she just threw it in her closet, and about a week later she just threw it in the trash.

So I took it home, took it apart, and it was awful. Corrosion everywhere, there were burn marks, and it looked awful. So I took the logic board out and used a toothbrush to clean it off with some water. I cleaned it pretty dang well, and all the corrosion and burn marks were gone. Put it back together, tried to turn it on. Nothing. No signs of life in that poor laptop.


I tried to clean it more, and messed around a bit with it, but it just wouldn't do anything. Threw it in my garage and didn't touch it for a couple days.


Then, one of my friends was talking about how he had to stick his xbox in the oven to fix the RROD, and I literally just got a random idea, lets shove the old Macbook logic board into the oven. I took it apart, and I found some rubbing alcohol. I heard about how it can apparently help clean up corrosion on circuit boards, so I poured some on the motherboard, and wiped it off. Then I stuck the motherboard into the oven for about 10 minutes or so. After that, it was hot, so why not stick it in the freezer? Just so everyone knows, I wasn't expecting this to work, I was just fooling around at this point.


Then I put everything together, and plug it in.... and.... nothing.

So i just left it there, and a minute later... I heard a grinding noise and a disc just came out the drive. Then the macbook turned on. It actually turned on.

Only 2 problems, the battery didn't work, and the screen was totally messed up. However, the macbook is working perfectly fine so far besides those issues.


Anyways, anyone know what I can do about the screen? It has some pretty bad water damage, I'll post a pic. But yeah, I'm really surprised this actually worked lol. Sorry for the large wall of text there, just excited that I got this to work.

I found the specs: It's a 2010 Macbook Pro, with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4gb of ram, and a 250GB Hard Drive
 

Attachments

madrag

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2007
360
72
Nice one!

I don't believe it will hold for long, but at least you made it have a chance to say goodbye :)
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Nice one!

I don't believe it will hold for long, but at least you made it have a chance to say goodbye :)
Well, hopefully it will last, but honestly I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with it. I don't want to sell it, because well it was water damaged and it could fail anytime. But still, it's pretty cool to just get a free Macbook.
Now i need to fix the LCD damage somehow...
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,756
33,700
Boston
Impressive, I can't imagine it not working for a long time, I mean if you cleaned up the corrosion and re-flowed the solder then why not.
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
Can you share pictures of the laptop internals before and after you cleaned them?
I wish I took some pics of it before I cleaned it lol, since the entire logic board was basically covered in corrosion.

So I tried to see if the screen was fixable or not, but it looks like I'm out of luck. All the water damage is under the LCD panel, and appears to be deep in the layers of the backlight.
I'm debating whether it's worth spending $150 on a new screen and battery or not.
 

christarp

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2013
455
500
I wish I took some pics of it before I cleaned it lol, since the entire logic board was basically covered in corrosion.

So I tried to see if the screen was fixable or not, but it looks like I'm out of luck. All the water damage is under the LCD panel, and appears to be deep in the layers of the backlight.
I'm debating whether it's worth spending $150 on a new screen and battery or not.
$150 for a 2010 macbook isn't too bad IMO.
 

Codeseven

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2008
784
304
If it was my neighbor, whom I'm friends with, I would have been sure to let them know I got it running again and ask if there was anything important on the hard drive that they thought they had lost forever.
 

reflecti0nX

macrumors newbie
Mar 3, 2015
26
1
I wish I took some pics of it before I cleaned it lol, since the entire logic board was basically covered in corrosion.

So I tried to see if the screen was fixable or not, but it looks like I'm out of luck. All the water damage is under the LCD panel, and appears to be deep in the layers of the backlight.
I'm debating whether it's worth spending $150 on a new screen and battery or not.
In some cases oven reflow is only a temporary fix and the logic board will break again. At that point, another reflow may or may not help.

I'd say that if it doesn't break in the next 4-5 months, it will likely last a long time, but there is a good chance it will break again by then.

I'm assuming this is a 13" MacBook Pro. Looks like you can buy a used OEM battery on eBay for about $25, so for very little money and time to swap the battery you could make sure that the charging circuit works and that there are no battery-related issues with the laptop.

I wouldn't spend time/money on LCD until the laptop remains working for at least a couple of weeks. Looks like you can buy a good Grade B LCD on eBay for about $35. The repair is fairly difficult, but if you don't mind spending a couple of hours on this hobby project, you could do it yourself.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2010+LCD+Replacement/4311
 

AlexxRyzhkov

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 17, 2014
133
3
If it was my neighbor, whom I'm friends with, I would have been sure to let them know I got it running again and ask if there was anything important on the hard drive that they thought they had lost forever.
I let her know if she wanted it, and she told me that she didn't want it since she already bought a new Air.
The macbook had issues booting, so I had to use internet recovery and reload OS X, so all her old stuff was gone, but she didn't really seem to care.

So one thing is I'm wondering how hard it would be to clean out the keyboard, because the backlight is very uneven. Also I might replace the circuit board that has the Magsafe port, since it's a little finicky and it shouldn't cost much.


In some cases oven reflow is only a temporary fix and the logic board will break again. At that point, another reflow may or may not help.

I'd say that if it doesn't break in the next 4-5 months, it will likely last a long time, but there is a good chance it will break again by then.

I'm assuming this is a 13" MacBook Pro. Looks like you can buy a used OEM battery on eBay for about $25, so for very little money and time to swap the battery you could make sure that the charging circuit works and that there are no battery-related issues with the laptop.

I wouldn't spend time/money on LCD until the laptop remains working for at least a couple of weeks. Looks like you can buy a good Grade B LCD on eBay for about $35. The repair is fairly difficult, but if you don't mind spending a couple of hours on this hobby project, you could do it yourself.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2010+LCD+Replacement/4311
Honestly, I'm not sure whether it was the oven that fixed it, or the rubbing alcohol. But hopefully the mac doesn't die. The screen replacement doesn't look too hard, but I will need new glass along with an LCD, since this one's cracked.

Also does anyone know the quality of those $20-$30 new batteries off of eBay? Are those any good? Or would a used OEM Battery be better?
 

Codeseven

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2008
784
304
I let her know if she wanted it, and she told me that she didn't want it since she already bought a new Air.
The macbook had issues booting, so I had to use internet recovery and reload OS X, so all her old stuff was gone, but she didn't really seem to care.

Cool.

Ya, these laptops seem to be
bulletproof. My ol' 2008 is still going strong despite several instances over the years of me dropping it onto concrete, stepping on it and spilling stuff into it (one time it was a whole glass of water on a running keyboard, I immediately flipped it upside down a smacked it a bunch of times like it was a baby choking on something!) each time I thought it was done for it just came back to life.

Once, I thought I had turned it off, put it in an insulated backpack and zipped it shut. A few hours later there was a strange whining sound coming from somewhere. I finally noticed it was coming from the slightly open zipper on the backpack:eek: My MBP was literally SCREAMING! I've never heard the fan whirling like a jet engine before. The aluminum unibody was so hot I almost couldn't grasp it to get it out of the bag! I opened the lid and friggin' threw it in the frigerator till the fans 'finally' started slowing down, geez.

One of the best investments in tech hardware I've ever made (well, actually it was a 50th birthday present from my wife :D). That's why I won't have any problem with dropping a few grand on a new one.
 
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