How to save your laptop after liquid or water spill
At MyCrazyMachine.com we’ve heard the best and worst stories of liquid damaged laptops.
There was the party guy, who brought his laptop in 3 times due to beer spills.
There was the “multi-tasker” who brought her laptop into the shower with her.
Then the evil cat, that just happened to knock over a glass of wine on a $1,500 Macbook Pro.
Without sounding like a laptop nazi, the moral of the stories are – KEEP YOUR ELECTRONICS AWAY FROM LIQUIDS.
Sounds easy enough right? But who hasnt been tempted to have a beverage while engaging with friends on Facebook, or writing a term paper. I myself, break my own safety rule more times than I can catch myself.
But lets move on. What do you do when your laptop has suffered a liquid or water spill?
- Unplug the laptop from the power adapter. Take out the power cord.
- IMMEDIATELY take out the battery. If you have access to the CMOS battery, unplug that too.
- Open the laptop as far as it will open and lay on a flat surface upside down.
4. Wipe off any access liquid with a dry towel on all sides.
5. DO NOT TURN ON LAPTOP – RESIST THE TEMPTATION
6. Determine type of liquid spill.
While water can short out or over time damage critical circuit components, it is the least caustic and damaging.
The most caustic and corrosive liquids are sugary juices, wines, beer and liquids that turn “sticky” when dried. These are the most difficult to treat and must be treated immediately.
Step 7 – Intended for the tech savvy and professionals ONLY.
It requires you to disassemble your laptop.
We are not responsible for any misinformation or causing any further damage to your components.
Disassemble your laptop immediately after the liquid spill. Time is of the essence and the longer you wait, the more damage the liquid spill can inflict damage.
Remove – Battery, keyboard, top panel/housing, optical drives, hard drives, wi-fi cards, memory modules and finally the motherboard.
Carefully inspect all components and towel dry the wet areas, soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Be sure to check underneath taped wires, ribbon cables, laptop housing, optical drives, hard drive, vents, fans and devices. Liquid tends to seep underneath tape and stay there.
If the liquid is sugary/sticky, the area MUST BE CLEANED. Any left over residue will eventually eat away at the solder joints and circuit pins.
Inspect the motherboard closely for any signs of spills and corrosion.
Use a clean toothbrush and a a 99.8% or better Isopropyl alcohol solution. Alcohol both dries out liquids and is a great cleaning solution.
I use Techspray 99.8% Isopropyl alcohol. It is non-agressive, fast evaporating and great for electronics.
Dip the toothbrush into the Alcohol, and shake off any excess.
Gently, start cleaning off the liquid spill residue and dabbing with a clean cloth. Repeat until the component is clean of any traces of residue. Again, I stress GENTLY, as there are many fragile components on a laptop that can easily break such as ribbon connector latches.
**For severe liquid spillage from sticky substances that may have dried, I would use luke-warm distilled water (heat in a pot) and mild dishwashing soap. Use the toothbrush & distilled water solution to loosen and clean sticky substances.
After cleaning, use the 99.8% alcohol to clean the area again, and to expedite the drying/evaporation of water.
Step 10 – DRYING
This is probably the most crucial and important step in the entire restoration project. I can not stress enough not to rush this.
Take all components, and lay them on a towel in a warm or heated room. Let the components AIR DRY for a minimum of 3-4 days.
If you have a ceiling or circulating fan, this will improve drying process.
There is some debate whether the drying time can be shorter by using a hair dryer or just air drying 1-2 days. I have never risked damaging a motherboard due to impatience, so if you can’t resist the temptation to speed through the drying process, and decide to fire it up – drop me a note. I’d love to see if the drying time can be less than what works for us.
Reassemble the laptop and fire her up.
Most likely if this was a spill on the keyboard, your keyboard is permanently damaged and will have to be replaced. Most laptop keyboards are designed with a protective seal/sheathing/tape on the bottom, to contain any liquid spills and prevent it from reaching critical and more expensive internal components.
I’ve had some luck washing some keyboards in a sink with hot water and soap. The drying time for a keyboard would be 7-10 days. Most keyboards are about $20-$50 so I would not invest too much time trying to salvage it.
If water has seeped into the LCD, the LCD will have to be replaced. Remove the LCD immediately to check for and remove any residue.
Recently, we recieved a laptop for repair that had Norton’s GoBack (now Norton Ghost) installed.
While slaving the hard drive to one of our workstations, I noticed the HD was showing up in BIOS but not in Windows.
What Norton’s GoBack does is take over the Master Boot Record (MBR) of Windows and creates its own restore points.
Windows does/will not recognize the hard drive if Norton’s GoBack is installed. You will need to use a utility to remove GoBack before Windows can recognize the hard drive.
- Download the file: ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_…ack/NGBBoot.iso
- If that link doesn’t work, you can download it from the other link below (look for a gold button that says “Download”): http://service1.symantec.com/support/gobac…nam&seg=ag
- Burn this image to a CD as an ISO file. Most CD burning programs can burn iso images, but if you have a doubt, get a copy of Nero or PowerISO.
- Boot to this CD. Restart your PC, and continually hit F12 until the one time boot selection pops up (ESC in some HP/Compaq Machines)
- You’ll get a menu. Choose the first option, which should read something like “Unhook Norton GoBack from MBR.”
If you get another prompt to unhook GoBack from the MBR select “YES”. This will take about 1-2 hours to uninstall (?)
When everything is uninstalled, you will get another prompt to “Repair the MBR” (I think its selection #2). Make sure you do this.
Then your hard drive will be unhooked from the gripes of the crappy Norton’s software and you will have access to your Hard drive and Windows will now be able to see the hard drive.
This video will walk you through to downloading your favorite video or music file from Google, YouTube or any other Flash embedded video site. The video is about a year old, but as far as I know, techniques still works.
This is a short rant about why HP sucks. First of all, about 70% of the laptops we repair are HP’s.
That may not say much as HP holds a huge market share in the laptop world. A few years ago, the Nvidia corp made a deal with HP to install their video chips on laptops ranging from the DV2000 to the DV9000.
The poor architecture of the HP models eventully will take its toll. After a while, when dust and debris accumulates in the laptop, the system begins to over heat and separates the video chip from the motherboard. Eventually, your laptop will shut down, lose wireless connectivity or show no video.
This instructional video is about a year old and will walk you through the steps of removing viruses, trojans, spyware from your computer. The techniques and software are still relevant. If you are using a free anti-virus, I would use Microsoft Security Essentials or AVG Free.
If you have purchased an HP laptop from models DV2000 – DV9000 then you may have one of the faulty models with the overheating issue (no video, no wifi, bad video). Of course, we at MCM have the technology to repair this and have repaired over a hundred of them.
You are eligible to have the faulty Nvidia chip replaced and/or receive compensation. The time to file is 1/13/11.
This is to inform you that the claims phase of the NVIDIA GPU class action settlement begins on January 13, 2011.
On December 20, 2010, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, Read more