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 Post subject: Laptop spill emergency
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:32 pm
Posts: 225
My brother was using his laptop and he had a glass of soda next to it, he
went to pick it up, it slipped out of his hand, and a half a glass of soda
went all over his keyboard. My question is, is it possible to save his
laptop?


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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 6100
It is indeed possible to save a laptop after a spill.

After a spill occurs you should immediately power the system off, unplug the
AC adapter and remove the battery. If the AC adapter and/or battery were
submerged and/or are believed to have liquid internally, they should probably
be discarded and replaced. If the exterior of each merely got wet, then you
should clean them off with a damp cloth, and possibly use some electrical
contact cleaner on the power tip and/or battery contacts.

Once the system is unplugged and the battery removed, you can now turn to
cleaning the other components. The basic procedure is to dissassemble the
system, then wash and thorougly dry any components that were in contact with
the spilled liquid. Once everything has thoroughly dried, the system should
be reassembled and tested.

When washing a component, the best thing to do would be to rinse it off in
distilled water, but that can be expensive and time consuming as a lot of
water may be required. To speed things up, I recommend first rinsing
components off under a faucet with warm tap water. Then once the spilled
liquid has been thoroughly washed off by the tap water, pour distilled water
over the components to wash away the tap water, which may otherwise leave
behind minerals or other impurities. Finally, allow any excess distilled
water to drain, then allow the components to dry in a warm and dry
environment for a minimum of 24 hours.

Probably the only components I wouldn't rinse off in this manner are hard
disk drives, as the HDA (head disk assembly) portion of the drive contains an
air filter that should not be immersed in liquid. To try and save a drive I
might consider removing the logic board and washing it separately, or just
carefully wiping down the entire unit instead. If a drive has been submerged
or thoroughly soaked, it may need to be replaced with a new unit.

Generally the toughest item to clean is a keyboard, because of the intricate
assembly and typical membrane design it may be tough to rinse out all of the
spilled liquid. In some cases it might help to remove the key caps, but this
can be tricky on a laptop keyboard, and it is possible to damage the key
switch assemblies if the caps are removed improperly. If the keyboard doesn't
work properly after being cleaned and dried, replacement keyboards are
available for most laptops for under $100.

Note that newer ThinkPad systems have a built-in drainage system that directs
any liquid spilled on the keyboard away from other internal components (like
the motherboard) and safely out of the system:

Lenovoblogs: Notebook Spills
http://www.lenovoblogs.com/insidethebox/?p=61

Lenovoblogs: Spill Stories
http://www.lenovoblogs.com/insidethebox/?p=62

20 Reasons Everyone's Next PC Should Be A ThinkPad or ThinkCentre
http://www.pc.ibm.com/partner/us/lenovo3000/reasons.pdf

Reason 10: Spill Resistant Keyboard
http://www.lenovocast.com/files/subsyst ... 83/r10.mp3

This is just another of the *many* reasons I use and recommend ThinkPad
laptops over and above all others. Scott.


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 Post Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:10 am
Posts: 211
My bother had me check out his laptop to see if I could get it to boot up. Strangely enough, I all I had to do remove the hard drive then reinstall it and it booted up just fine. The thing I don't understand is how it could go from displaying a BSOD to booting normally, any ideas?


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 Post Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 6100
Unplugging and reconnecting cards and connectors is perhaps the best way to clean the contacts. I've repaired countless PCs by doing nothing more than taking them completely apart and putting them back together again. That is one of the tricks employed by experienced technicians. Scott.


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