Liquid spill repair tips

posted in: Liquid spill | 45

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.



45 Responses

  1. spilled small amount of water on my laptop, after drying up thoroughly, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, even fan is working fine – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help?

  2. Delilah cline

    What about liquids other than water? I had mt dew spilled on mine and now it will power on but no part of the keyboard works.

  3. Kevin Gillenwater

    UPDATE: I was able to remove the keyboard combining information the I found from several sources and then just proceeding carefully.

    The way that I was able to remove it was to:

    1. Remove the battery and power source before proceeding.
    2. Remove the cover on the bottom which covered the memory compartment and the hard disk drive.
    3. Remove the screw which holds the ODD (cd/dvd drive) in place.
    4. Gently pull the ODD drive out of the slot.
    5. Turn the laptop so that it is sitting in the upright position (like you were going to type on it) and gently insert your finger in the spot of the vacant ODD. At the bottom left corner of the keyboard, press up from the bottom and gently release the latches from left to right, bottom, side, and top. I used a thin exacto knife to gently release the latch as I moved across.
    6. Once the keyboard was released, gently slide the clips holding the ribbon out and slide the ribbon out of the bracket.

    Kevin

  4. Kevin Gillenwater

    Hi. I have used your site in the past and found it very helpful. A friend spilled a small amount of water on the keyboard of a Toshiba Satellite S855. He didn’t have the extended warranty that covered accidents, so I’m assuming that something like this wouldn’t be covered by the regular warranty.

    Are you able to provide information on how to remove the keyboard of the particular model? I cannot seem to find anything (anywhere) which provides instruction for this particular model. There aren’t any screws in the battery compartment (like on the L755). I was going to follow the troubleshooting instructions that you provided with this article, but can’t seem to figure how to disassemble the keyboard.

    Any ideas???

    Thanks
    Kevin

  5. umm ayman

    hi
    my daugter spilled some water over the laptop, it worked fine.but after one day there is no lights no fan sound when we switch.it on. Tried changing the ac ppower source that didnt help. Is there any fix? Pls help.

  6. @ brendan,

    Now when it gets plugged in, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, the whole shebang – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help?

    It’s hard to tell what is going on without taking it apart.
    Maybe the cooling fan doesn’t start? It’s possible the fan controlling circuit got damaged by water. Just a guess.

  7. @Brendan
    It sounds like it is overheating. Possibly, if there’s a cooling fan inside this laptop then it isn’t working anymore. Alternatively, the heat conducting paste between the cpu and the heatsink has been washed out or otherwise failed. If you have the service manual for your laptop you can find out how to remove the CPU and replace the thermal compound but check if there’s a working fan there first.

  8. brendan

    Hi. My daughter spilled a glass of water on our sleeping laptop when I wasn’t home. My wife immediately dried everything off and threw it in a bag of rice and we let it sit for days. She didn’t remove the battery (it’s a Dell XPS, I think you have to remove the case to remove the battery). I’ve been through this before, more or less figured it was toast, and we didn’t even try to do anything with it for about two weeks. Now when it gets plugged in, it will boot up and everything seems to work – keyboard, internet, the whole shebang – but it then shuts off after 3-5 minutes. Any help? Gracias!

  9. cj2600

    @ lynn,

    Now we can get it to turn on and it goes to the first screen that say Toshiba innovation but cant get it to do anything else..please help

    Liquid spills are unpredictable and hard to troubleshoot.
    In cases like that I disassemble the laptop to barebone system and start testing step by step.

  10. Our Toshiba laptop got wet about 2 year ago and have not done anything with it due to we where moving. The worst part is that it was not that old when this all happen.We are trying to get it to work…Now we can get it to turn on and it goes to the first screen that say Toshiba innovation but cant get it to do anything else..please help…thanks

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