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Water damage - whole glass of iced tea


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#1 tyl604

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 02:03 PM

Dell Inspiron 600m. Guys, this has been a great laptop and I hate to dump it over a stupid mistake. I knocked over a glass of tea completely across the keyboard. Immediately turned the laptop upside down to shake the water out, removed power cord, then turned it on its side and blew it for a few minutes with a heated hair dryer. No power when I plugged it back in. Then removed keyboard. There was a bit of water below the keyboard but really not too much. I dried it with a cloth then let it sit overnight.

Put it back together but still no power even with the power cord hooked up - no light, nothing. Took it to an indy and they said I had probably fried the mother board since I had water and power together. $250 for another mother board and who knows what else might be fried? When I took the battery out, it was already showing a couple of blue powdery spots; ie corrosion after only 18 hours. That was a shock.

I have no problem trying to take it apart and look because it will probably end up in the dump anyway. But does anyone have a suggestion? What should I look for, how do I find and test the mother board, etc....

Thanks for your suggestions.

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#2 Queen-Evie

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 03:47 PM

When you used the hair dryer, what heat setting did you use?
While you can find info on the internet that says to use a hair dryer, it's really not a good idea to do so.
The heat can damage electrical components.

The motherboard could very well be fried. My husband spilled something on a laptop keyboard, fried the laptop, and we ended up getting a new computer. We'd been wanting one anyway, so we had a perfect reason to get one.

I'm curious-was your tea sweet tea? If it was, sugar is one of the worst things to spill in a keyboard.

I cannot answer your "what do I look for" questions, but I did want you to know I feel your pain.

#3 dpunisher

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:59 PM

Pull it completely apart. Remove CPU, memory and any other cards/connector that physically plug into the motherboard. If there is ANY residue on the board, grab a gallon of distilled water, soak it, then dry it. Hair dryer is your friend. You can also use an oven (turn to "warm", shut off, insert board) to evap any water. The plastic used in CPU and other sockets are your limiting factors for heat. Compressed air to blow out female connectors are also handy.

I worked awhile at an electronics repair shop that specialized in electronic cash register/POS systems. You would be surprised at the amounts of water/soda/beer/booze/food that gets spilled on/in those things. Damage occurs to uncovered powered traces quickly. On motherboards most traces are covered with plastic or some sort of enamel. Most problems occur when water gets into connectors/under SMDs and causes a short/alters resistance. Some keyboards are about impossible to dry without baking them.

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#4 tyl604

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 09:58 AM

Dpunisher - thanks for your advice. Before I received your email, I removed the battery, wire brushed the contacts, wire brushed the contacts inside the laptop, and put it back together. Magically it came back on - just for a minute - and started loading Windows XP. So I figured the motherboard was not trashed.

It took several iterations of wirebrushing, and restarting. I alternated between Safe mode, normal opening of XP, and also tried the repair console which promised to fix problems with Windows. Finally it is now opening normally in XP and seems to be working fine.

It feels just a bit touchy as if the contacts on the battery are not quite there or perhaps there is a bit of rust someplace other than the battery - but it is working! :thumbsup:

If it fails again or the touchiness begins to be a bother, I will follow your directions about removing and cleaning everything with distilled water. And thank you again for that advice.

So - at least for now - problem solved.

Evie - thanks for your input. As this is the South, of course it was sweet iced tea; however as I am a modern man, it was done with Sweet'N Low.

PS - this is really a great forum.

Edited by tyl604, 18 August 2009 - 10:01 AM.





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