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.