Liquid Spills

Ok, you were just sitting there reading the latest news, enjoying your favorite beverage, and the phone rings, startled, you reach for the portable and your sleeve catches the edge of your drink. Over it goes and into your laptop keyboard! Your stomach sinks, what do I do now??!!

Stop! Do not pass go, do not collect $200!

What to do in case of a spill

Unplug the Laptop and remove the battery. The battery will drive corrosion. So, don't put off action. The presence of that electric current accelerates the corrosive process that damages the circuit boards inside. All liquids, except distilled mineral free water WILL short circuit and corrode electronics.

Dry your Mac. Put a towel down on the table and turn the computer over so that the keyboard is on the towel and the screen hangs down from the tabletop. This will allow as much liquid as possible to exit. Do NOT use a hairdryer to speed up the process as the heat can do more damage than has already occurred.

Do NOT put the Laptop in a bag with rice as the grains only get into vents and slots and end up in places they should not be!

Do NOT power your Mac back on to see if it survived!

If you contact me, I will refer you to a company I use here in New England that specializes in Liquid Spills. They can save you hundreds of dollars off what Apple would charge and they offer a one year warranty! Liquid spills that are cleaned professionally within days can save your Laptop a high percentage of the time. Turn around time is generally 10 to 14 days. Apple will likely have it back to you in a week, but it's a 90 day warranty and more money.

What Next?

Generally, the news is never good in this situation but your Mac is not always beyond salvage. Once in a while damage is limited to a keyboard, top case or maybe a charging board. More often, damage extends to the logic board, or main system board of your Laptop.

By the way, all Mac laptops now have several liquid spill indicators which change color when they get wet so a technician will know that your computer has been involved in a spill! If you are buying a new Mac, you may want to look into Apple's new Applecare+ product. It has deductibles for accidental damages.

Often, the data on the hard drive is a primary concern. Hopefully, you do a regular backup and have all your data in a safe place. You do backup your data, don't you? If you have no backup, all is not lost. Most hard drives are well sealed and normally survive spills. I can remove your drive and attempt data recovery.

Remember - always keep your drinks away from your computer. And a silicon keyboard cover might help for the most minor accidents.

What's included in the repair?

The company I refer you to offers true electronic component-level repair of your computer. The first thing done with a liquid spill logic board is to clean off the liquid. This is done correctly by cleaning the board in an immersion bath with industry-standard chemical solutions and using high-powered ultrasound to remove all the contaminates. This step is essential because unless you get all the liquid off, even from under the chips and other devices, the corrosion will continue and the board will -- guaranteed -- fail again. Without the ultrasound, there is no way to properly clean a board.

The next step is to repair any damage to the circuit board itself. This includes damaged masking, substrate damage, corroded etches and missing or damaged pads. Then they look for missing or damaged devices which must be repaired or replaced. These devices are truly tiny, some the size of a grain of sand. These steps are performed using a high-powered microscope and specialized soldering equipment. They also use specialized chemical compounds to repair the board itself. Finally they might need to replace some of the Ball Grid Array (BGA) or QFN devices like the video processor, memory controller or some of the various power regulators or other chips. This step is done using highly specialized and costly equipment which allow the removal, alignment and or replacement of these devices.

Once your computer starts up and runs, they run it though a burn-in process to make sure it's fully repaired. And then ship it back with 1 year warranty!

Risk Free to Try

If they are unable repair your laptop because the damage is too extensive, it will be returned to you free of charge, other than your initial outgoing shipping and a $20 shipping return cost, so there is no huge risk to try this service.