Liquid spill repair tips

posted in: Liquid spill | 43

In this post I provide a few liquid spill repair tips.

IMPORTANT: If you spilled something on your laptop you should stop using it right away, even if it appears to be running good. Right after the spill you should turn it off, unplug the power adapter and remove the battery. The laptop should be disassembled as soon as possible and all internal parts should be inspected for liquid damage.



Liquid spills are very unpredictable. Even a small liquid spill can cause serious damage.

IF YOU SPILLED A SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID

Let’s say you spilled less than a teaspoon of liquid on the keyboard and it stopped working properly, but anything else works fine.

In this case it could be enough to remove just the keyboard to evaluate the damage. Turn off the laptop, unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery. Now remove the keyboard and take a closer look underneath.

Search for any liquid presence under the keyboard.

– If you see liquid on the motherboard, you’ll have to disassemble the laptop completely for the further inspection.
– If the motherboard appears to be completely dry, do not disassemble it any further. Replace the keyboard with a new one. Hopefully replacing the keyboard will fix it.

IF YOU SPILLED SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF LIQUID

If you spilled a lot of liquid on the laptop, turn it off right away. Unplug the power adapter and remove the battery as soon as possible.

Most likely it will be necessary to remove the top cover and inspect the motherboard for the damage evaluation.

Search for any liquid presence on the back side of the top cover and motherboard.

If the motherboard is wet, remove it from the laptop and inspect the other side.

HOW TO CLEAN UP LIQUID DAMAGE

Wipe it out liquid with a soft cloth. Ideally, use an air compressor to dry the motherboard.

Be very careful wiping the motherboard because it has too many small components.

If you find any corrosion, you can clean it up with a toothbrush and 91%-99% isopropyl alcohol.

Make sure the motherboard (or any other internal component) is completely dry before testing it.

IF YOU SPILLED SOME LIQUID ON THE SCREEN

If you spilled liquid on the screen, wipe it out clean as soon as possible. The liquid might get inside the screen and damage it.

In one of the previous post I explained how to clean the screen with liquid damage. Believe me, it’s not easy. But if it happens, just replace the whole screen.

HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE LAPTOP AFTER CLEANING

You’ll have to assemble it back together step by step.

First, assemble just main components: motherboard, CPU with the cooling fan and RAM modules. Now turn it on and test basic image on the screen.

If it turns on and you can see the image, start adding other parts one by one and test after each step.

If the laptop doesn’t start after cleaning, take another look at the motherboard and other components. Maybe you missed a small damaged area. Try cleaning it again.

If it still doesn’t turn on, most likely the motherboard (or other component) is damaged.

HOW TO RECOVER DATA FROM HARD DRIVE

Let’s say the laptop is dead and you cannot do anything to make it work. You still should be able to recover personal data from the hard drive. I assume the hard drive wasn’t damaged by liquid.

You can access data using a USB enclosure.



43 Responses

  1. @ frisca,

    can i actually remove the keypad and put a new on my own?

    Keypad or keyboard?
    Yes, you can but it requires some technical skills.
    It will be very helpful to have the laptop disassembly manual.

  2. Thanks for the tips they are great. The cardboard oven comment sounds interesting… I think as with any electronic device, the important thing is to power it down and remove the battery asap to avoid damgage (not always possible such as with iphones). Remember that if you do need to clean it then use non-ionised water!

  3. can i actually remove the keypad and put a new on my own?

  4. Another way in case of water, is to create a cardboard box oven, covered with aluminum foil and an incandescent lamp with 60w. Leave the motherboard wet inside the box closed for five hours. The motherboard will be dry and ready for reuse

  5. Another excellent way to recover a board after liquid spill is to wrap it in absorbant kitchen roll or similar, and place in a container filled with dry rice. Leave it overnight and the rice should draw out any remaining moisture. its not an exact science but it does work most of the time

  6. @ Alexa,

    I spilled coffee about 2 months ago. Laptop work but keyboard doens’t type letters I and K. What should I do?

    It sounds like you’ll have to replace the keyboard. You cannot fix individual keys if they stopped working.

  7. I spilled coffee about 2 months ago. Laptop work but keyboard doens’t type letters I and K. What should I do?

  8. Thanks for the USB enclosure trick.
    Took me a while to figure out how to take ownership over files though. Got all my files now.

  9. I wasn’t so lucky :(
    Found a very small damaged area on motherboad. It had oxidation liky on a car battery. Tried cleaning it but the laptop is dead.
    One drop of water killed the motheboard I guess.

  10. Paul M.

    I got lucky. A few days ago spilled some green tea on the keyboard. It started typing on its own after that.
    I removed the keyboard and the bottom was dry.
    A new keyboard just arrived and it works great. No problem so far.

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