Wine spill onto brand new macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Darold, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. Darold macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2007
    I have had my Macbook for about a month now. Last night a friend spilled wine onto my computer when I was out of the room. I don't know how much got onto the keyboard, but when I took the battery out, there was liquid in that compartment. I left it battery-less and unplugged for 12 hours. This morning I fired it up, and it wouldn't start without the power chord attached. I am currently running the computer without the battery inside (as it doesn't seem to make a difference).

    For the most part, everything seems to be functioning properly when plugged directly into a power source with one exception: The computer will only run for a few minutes before shutting off. One other note: I haven't heard the computers fan functioning since the accident.

    Final note: I am oversee's for the next two months. This poses two problems. I am currently in Austria, and my German is basic at best. I don't know of any apple stores here, and if I did find someone to service the computer, I might not be able to communicate very well with them unless they speak English. Also, the computer is my primary means of communication with my family and girlfriend back at home. I also use it for homework, updating my website, planning my trip, etc etc etc.

    I know everyone has spills, but I haven't heard of one that occurred outside of the owners home country. What should I do? I am a graduating college student (The computer was a graduation gift), with few financial resources. While it might be expensive for me to fix, it will be even worse to be computer-less. I don't want to cause any extra damage. What should I look into doing?

    Should I neglect to mention the spill if I bring the computer in? Where should I bring it? What components need to be replaced? The files on this computer are irreplaceable. I have been storing all my trips pictures on the laptop. Are these files salvageable if the computer calls it quits? Is it bad for the computer to continue to use it for emergencies? I got the extended warranty from apple. Is this useless in situations like this? Did I essentially throw that warranty out the window?

    Thank you so much for your time. I apologize for the frantic post, but I don't know what I need to do.
  2. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    For the fan thing try downloading SMC fancontrol if you havent yet. That way ou can crank up the RPM's to see if your book is just being quiet or if the fans are really not spinning.
  3. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    There'd be little point neglecting to mention the spill, I'd imagine they'd see what had happened straight away. I'm not sure if you did throw the warranty out the window, but it's quite probable. I don't think it covers accidental damage?

    Theoretically your files should be recoverable depending on the extent of the damage, however you shouldn't have tried to use it so soon after it had happened, I can't imagine that did the computer any good.

    If as you say the computer will function for a few minutes, is it not possible to systematically backup your files piece by piece? Or is it too big a task?

    Take it into an Apple store and see what they say. There'll probably be quite a charge levvied for repairing it because it won't be covered by warranty, but like you've said it's better than not having a computer.

    Good luck!
  4. Darold thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2007
    Well, I tired using .mac to back my stuff up, but there seems to be some issues with it. I have a .mac account, but things won't finish after they have completed the actual upload.

    My current goal is to get the guy to pay for repairs, and take it to a NON-apple place to get them done. This way, after a little clean-up, perhaps I can keep my warranty... Which I am sure I will need within three years now.

    It's just such a downer. Oh well.

    I will try the fan program, thanks for the input.
  5. brbubba macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2006
    Well if your friend was the one who spilled wine on the computer then your friend is liable for the cost of the repair or fair market value of the computer pre-spill. It's likely that they will have to replace the mobo if the spill got onto any interior components.
  6. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    I'm a brave soul, but I take the following two points into account with my plan: A machine has to be 90% working to boot at all. The machine is toast, and worthless, unless you fix it.

    I'd buy some isopropyl alcohol. I'd strip down the machine, salvage the HD and DVD drive and set them aside. I'd get the keyboard assembly, motherboard, frame and case and give them a really good clean. For the case, I'd also use an oxygen-type cleaner to remove the wine-stain if it was red wine.

    I'd leave everything to dry for a couple of days.

    I'd do a partial reassembly and make sure the fans etc work (they're probably gummed up) then finish off the reassembly.

    Then I'd sell it, be open about the spill and take the hit in sale value, and buy a new machine, since I depend on a reliable machine for work.

    That's what I'd do.
  7. brbubba macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2006
    If you are going to go to that much trouble you might as well bring it into apple, be mum about the spill, and see if they will fix it for you.
  8. Darold thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2007
    Thanks for the info everyone. The computer is running great on wall-power now. The fan is running. I haven't tried teh battery again, and the keys are a little sticky. Also, it may be my imagination, but the computer seems to be running a little slower.

    I am going to wait until I get back home to the states, bring the computer to a NON-apple store, and have it cleaned out really well. I might also have the keyboard replaced. THEN, bring it into apple and just not say anything about the spill. If they mention it, I will probably fess up and pay for what needs to be replaced.
  9. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    As someone who has worked in consumer electronics repair, including the UK Samsung monitor warranty operation, I urge you to just 'fess up.

    If you 'fess, they MAY work with you. If not, they WILL know a foreign liquid got into it, and deny your repair at cost to you.

    If you live in Austin, come see me and I'll put it on the bench for you for free - anything to help out a fellow mac user.
  10. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
  11. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Jun 3, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    dex22's approach only works if you're a qualified astronaut...but is the best bet atm if you can do it

    otherwise...go to apple...this is what they're for
  12. dex22 macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2003
    Round Rock, TX
    Well, yes, but when your working background is electronics, specifically PCB design and manufacture, component level repairs and etc... In 1984 I was designing memory expansions for the Amiga and Atari ST, if anyone remembers the cards with the built in battery backed clock? Those were mine. I also worked with Alan Miles and Bruce Gordon on the development of the Sam Coupe (that'll jog the memory of a few bits out there...)

    So, not exactly rocket science, but cleaning a MacBook is relatively easy in the grand scheme of things, as long as you observe static precautions, and use lots of plastic cups (so the right screws end up in the right holes in the right order)...
  13. banjomamo macrumors regular

    May 9, 2006
    you absolutely cannot lie to apple about a spill. there is a special component called a spill sensor that allows them to know if something spilled onto it. they have them in motorola razr phones too.
  14. classof2011 macrumors regular

    Dec 2, 2006
    Flying with American Airlines
    Isn't that those little white dots that turn red whenever a liquid touches it?

    Of course, maybe the spill didn't reach the little white dot. Just maybe.
  15. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Don't wait 2 months. You'll lose the 90 complimentary support, of which you should have 60 days left.

    Make a long distance phone call to Apple Support. (1-800-275-2273). If the toll free number doesn't take calls from outside the U.S., you can try skype or it should give you another number to dial.

    You'll speak with someone who speaks English. Be honest and Apple will give you a quote/estimate or advice, esp. about finding an authorized retailer in Europe. They won't charge you for aksing about the quote. So you'll just have to pay your long distance bill, which shouldn't be bad depending on what carrier you have. Or try the Austrian support number.

    I think there's no official Apple store in Germany or Austria. There's an authorized retailer in Switzerland though, in Zürich close to the train station if I remember correctly. The closest official store is probably in the UK.

    Just call. My friend did that from Germany and ended up shipping her iBook back to the states to get fixed.

    Lastly, try a local computer repair place in Austria. Go with a friend so you don't get ripped off. Might be cheaper and waiting for more problems to arise. Another friend's Dell died in Germany and had a local place repair it. The HD died, and it was replace and they backed up all the data too for about 200 euros, decent.
  16. Darold thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2007
    Thanks for the reply everyone. I have been very busy, and haven't had time to check out the messages until now.

    I am definitely going to bring it into Apple. I may call them this weekend, although I can't live without my computer because it is my only source of contact with the states and friends over here (Skype).

    Right now it is working well on power, but the battery is (as the germans say), Kaput. The battery charge lights still show up, but nothing works when plugged into the computer.

Share This Page