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Mac Laptop - Water Spill

Posted on 2016-08-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-09-28

I have a mac laptop that water was spilled on it ... I have tried to dried it , flipped it over.

It is not turning on though ..

What can I check / try?  Is there a possible way to fix this?

Thanks ...

Question by:mvalencia2003
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LVL 98

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41758810
If it was pure water, make sure it is off, and open. Let it dry overnight and try starting it.

if it was running when the water hit it, the electronics could have been damaged. Water is a good conductor.

If it won't start after a thorough dry out, it needs to go to Apple.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 41758814
Turn off the system completely let it dry for several days.  Find some desiccant.

If your data is important to you, you should probably remove the disk or SSD and find a 2nd system to copy the data to.  That part should likely be working, unless you spilled so much water that it flooded under the keyboard.
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 41758863
The water spill can cause fatal damage to the battery also, remove the battery if it is not integrated with the mac book.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 41758925
if it does not work after the drying period, you can remove parts and test them
on another system - to know what's good and what bad - especially the drive with your data
was the system running when the water spill occured?  and was it much water?
LVL 41

Accepted Solution

Eoin OSullivan earned 1000 total points
ID: 41759023
Unless it fell INTO water then there's usually a fairly good chance that the hard drive will have survived.

However if it was running and water entered via the keyboard, power socket or any opening in the fan area .. even a few drops can be enough to short-circuit the main motherboard or other key components.

The usual advice applies - put in warm dry area (with low humidity), if you have a dessicant such as Silica Gel or something like a couple of these Thirsty Bags (https://www.ifixit.com/Tools/Thirsty-Bag/IF145-163-3) you can even try dried instant rice (or even better cat litter granules) which has water absorbing properties but a lot less than proper dessicants.

Ideally you put the laptop in a bag with the dessicant products and keep at a steady 100F for up to a week before trying to power-up.

Depending on what was spilled and what components were damaged the residue left behind from soft drinks, coffee etc. after the drying-out can continue to cause the circuits to fail and only a full disassembly will allow that to be addressed.  To be honest you're better going to Apple or an approved Apple Service Centre at this stage as disassembly of the laptop is a messy job.

One more point, for some years now Apple have included water sensors in their laptops.  This was due to the fact that many customers were returning laptops, claiming faulty hardware but on investigation there was clear water damage.  There are a couple of these sensors now in all the Apple Laptops at key locations inside the main chassis. There is no guarantee that the water sensor will be triggered but if you go to Apple and don't mention the water spill and try a repair under warranty there's a good chance they'll know anyway.
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 41759096
If the laptop was powered on, or the battery inserted, the water could have caused a short circuit on the motherboard of the MAC-Book. If that was the case there isn't anything you can do except have the mainboard replaced, which is very expensive....

If nothing was short-circuited, and if the liquid was something other than water (coke or some other drink for example), I would remove the battery and open the case of the laptop, then take out the motherboard. After that rinse off all the drink's residue from the mainboard and the rest of the laptop using plain running tap water. When everything is clean hang it out to dry. When completely dried, you can re-assemble the thing, and then try powering it on again.

But again, this will only work if the damage hasn't already been done. It won't undo any damage that was already caused by a short circuit.
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

serialband earned 1000 total points
ID: 41759368
If you're going to take it apart, and do see water on the board, but no burnt out circuits then place the main board in the oven to dry it out.  You can even pre rinse the board with distilled water or alcohol to displace the mineralized water or other liquids.  Set the temperature to 50-80 C or 120-160 F for a half hour an it should be quite dry.  As long as it's not too hot, it will just dry out the components and not damage them  They use a kiln to bake them at around 250 C / 450 F to melt the solder for surface mount and they generally preheat the boards to 100 C or 212 F to prepare them and reduce their time in the kiln.

The keyboard is the most likely component that's damaged by water.  You'd have to carefully peel apart the layers to dry it out.  If the spill is minor, there are multiple layer of plastic the will block the spill, but there are holes in between them.  If there's water betwenn the layers, it could prevent the circuit from correctly identifying keypresses, such as the on button.

Expert Comment

by:Obaid ur Rehman
ID: 41759520
I fixed a water damaged windows laptop from dell. Here's how:


1- I un screwed the whole laptop.
2- removed removable components like RAM, CPU, Wireless Card, Keyboard, Trackpad etc. and dry using Fan, Blow Dry (Not hair Blower) and with a cloth.
3- Dried the Motherboard using things I mentioned above.
4- Checked if it works,
5- Unfortunately in my case it still didn't work, so I turned on the stove and put the motherboard near it (not so close) and let it heat up for 45-60 minutes, repeated it 2-3 times.
6- Connected everything again and it worked without a problem.

There were unusual errors with installing windows operating system and drivers, but after using the laptop extensively so it would heat up, everything started to work fine.

Source: My own experience
Not recommended if you are not an expert!

Author Comment

ID: 41764596
Thanks all...
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 41764832
post the results !

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41780972

Expert Comment

by:olko best
ID: 41821137
Buy Lenovo ThinkPad - no danger spills again. And when you spill smth to you tech device - just power off it, remove battery and go to service

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