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Spilled beer on a laptop

Posted on 2013-11-12
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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
Hi all, my son spilled a beer on his Asus laptop.  He said he immediately picked it up to shake it out but the beer was already flowing out the bottom.  He turned it off and I've had him remove the battery.  There wasn't any smoke or fireworks or anything.

What to do next?

Thanks for any advice.
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Question by:RichNH
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John Hurst earned 142 total points
ID: 39643443
For anything electronic, you really need to rinse out the beer with clear water. A circuit board is easy - just rinse it off and dry it.

So you really need to dis-assemble the laptop if you can. Remove the battery (already done), remove the hard drive (now if you can), remove the memory, remove the DVD reader. Remove any PCI cards (wireless, etc.).

Now let us hope the drive is not wet. Do NOT rinse the drive. Wipe it off with a damp cloth until it is clean and dry to the touch.

Now try to somehow rinse out the remaining boards and allow to thoroughly dry (days) before re-assembling.

The machine may not survive this - don't be surprised.

.... Thinkpads_User
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by:aadih
aadih earned 214 total points
ID: 39643444
Having spilled coffee and killing the laptop by using **** I know what not to do.

Invert the laptop by resting it on its top (top of display) and bottom (of keyboard) with the hinge in between as the highest point (kind of inverted "V") and leave it like this overnight or more. When everything is dry. Try turning the power on. It should then work.

Whatever you do, do not try a dryer, blower, or any other means to dry it in a hurry.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 142 total points
ID: 39643450
aaidh - you cannot leave beer residue in a laptop. In any moisture (humidity) it is conductive. It need to be removed.

... Thinkpads_User
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by:aadih
aadih earned 214 total points
ID: 39643541
< The machine may not survive this - don't be surprised. ~Thinkpads_User >

Given this possibility, let's wait and see what happens.  RichNH will surely tell us.

BTW, I believe (always unsure until several reproducible experiments confirm the hypothesis) one sure way to kill electronic equipment is "to rinse it out with clear water". Believe you me I am not saying you are not right, just that I have not seen electronics being friendly with water.  Sorry, as I may have an erroneous understanding. But, what I have learned, I have learned by making mistakes, making a fool of myself, and so on.

"If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out." ~Tagore
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by:web_tracker
web_tracker earned 72 total points
ID: 39643643
I agree beer residue would not be a good thing to leave on a laptop. If it was pure alchol it would eventually evaporate but beer would leave a residue. causing sticking keys, and the possibility of shorting something out. I would highly recomend disassmebling as much as possible as mentioned by thinkpads_user. I would let air dry as much as possible after rinsing the parts with water to remove the beer. It is possible that laptop is already toast. Although electronics is not really friendly with water, if the water evaporates as it eventually will, it should be fine. It probably will take many days before the latop is usable again.
Hey I used to clean keyboards in the dishwasher and 99% of them survived. I cleaned at least 60 keyboards by using the dishwasher method. I think the one that failed was not working properly to begin with and even then I probably did not wait long enough for it to dry properly.
I am not saying to put the latop in the dishwasher, all I am saying that the effects of water on electronics.....  may not always be the case. Mind you if a person is constantly using water to wash his system, eventually the water could corrode the electronics but as a one time thing I think that the user may get by with it. I guess it depends upon the hardness of the water you use. If you are in a community that is known to have hard water then it probably has more effects on electronics.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 72 total points
ID: 39643854
i have always cleaned electronics with water and even mild soap
keypoint is to let it dry properly; it can take  a couple of days
you can do it over a heater - but don't put it too close to it

it can even work properly without cleaning the beer - but even then , it should be crisp dry before powering on
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by:aadih
aadih earned 214 total points
ID: 39644695
Repeat: Inverting the laptop as suggested earlier and letting what is drained out drain out is the first step. Overnight or a day and a night, if necessary; as nobus put it so well: crisp dry. This is the key point.

Main point: Then removing the battery, disassembling, water, alcohol, heat, whatever....

Hypothesis: Beer deposited under the keyboard cannot be rinsed out with water without damaging it.

[More: My spilled-coffee PC was killed due to heater.  Alas, had I only waited; drained out coffee;  and not turned it on, immediately, and not became happy (which turned out be a false happiness) that it booted up and seemed to be well. :-(]

Goes without saying, I am be completely wrong.
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by:RichNH
ID: 39674796
They dried it out, tried plugging it in, nothing happened.  Guess it's fried.
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Author Closing Comment

by:RichNH
ID: 39674805
I didn't select my own comment, I unchecked the box but this request for a comment  won't go away.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 39674815
@RichNH - Thanks for the update. Beer is not water, so yes, it's fried.  

... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:aadih
ID: 39674819
Guess it's fried. ~ RichNH

Sorry (to hear this).  :-(
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