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Water damage to laptop


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#1 mainbored

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 11:36 AM

My son spilled a large glass of water on his HP Pavillion (model: 15e078ea) laptop a couple of months ago. He did lots of things right and lots wrong to deal with it, like not removing the battery immediately and though he went on to turn it upside down and leave it in the drying cupboard for a few days, he then put the battery back in and powered up to see if it was working. It wasn’t.

When, much later and undoubtedly thoroughly dried out (the laptop that is!) he brought the offending item to me, I tried the machine from the mains, without the battery. It booted to the logon screen. Despite our initial excitement, the keyboard did not respond so it was not possible to log on to establish what other damage there may be. We plugged it in to a working external keyboard but that didn’t work either. He took it away and later tried running it again, telling me of his concern that the fan made a lot of noise and then the laptop switched off.

 

I deduced at this point that the motherboard has not failed so there is hope. So after some research I decided I needed to take the laptop apart to look for water damage check the state of the fan. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC-jRi4j4E4). Although not a complete novice (I have had pcs in bits to repair/upgrade over the years) I succeeded in doing so. The innards were filthy, the fan gunged up (nothing to do with water I think but everything to do with his unkempt lifestyle), but I carefully cleaned everything with isopropyl alcohol, including between the keyboard layers. The motherboard itself looks surprisingly pristine despite the state of the rest of the innards and I could see no sign of water damage (e.g. oxidisation). I put it together again and powered up (mains only-without battery). It still boots to the logon screen (shows current date and time) but keyboard still not functioning and though mouse pointer responds, moving about screen, it won’t click on anything. The fan is working again, quiet and smooth.

 

My question at this point is, while not expensive to buy a new battery and keyboard from ebay, is there any point? Am I missing something else? Any advice would be much appreciated.



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#2 mjd420nova

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 01:18 PM

Keyboards and their associated connector and cable, often only long enough to delicately connect properly.  Often the ribbon cable connector is at fault, either the ribbon edges not all the way into the slot before the cage is snapped in place.  damage results when the ribbon is pulled out of the connector before the snap is released.  Kinks can also cause a break in the conductor, even if it doesn't look broken.  An external USB mouse/keyboard would confirm if its the keyboard/cable or the MOBO has some junk lodged in a critical point.



#3 mainbored

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 02:34 PM

Thanks for your speedy reply mjd420ova. Keyboard was fine before and I have tried external keyboard since damage but it didn't work. Its possible I could have caused additional damage to connector and/or cable during dissassembing/cleaning but hard to say as keyboard wasn't working anyway. I am wondering why an external keyboard didn't work which is why one of my questions is, is there any point in replacing the keyboard? Also to clarify, I am using an external mouse which is working and the mousepad is also responding. It is just the keyboard that is non-responsive. So if external keyboard also doesn't work do you think that means the problem is at a point on the mobo? And is this something I can repair?



#4 mjd420nova

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Posted 16 November 2015 - 09:26 PM

Water tends to collect any dust and dirt and wash it under the chips. Disassembly and a through cleaning could restore the MOBO.  If the external keyboard didn't work, then the fault is on the MOBO.






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