Coffee Spill on Asus Laptop

aram444

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Jan 2, 2014
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Hey fellow peoples of tom's hardware. Hope your day is going well.
So it's been about a day and a half since I spilled coffee on my laptop, it spilled over my left half of my keyboard and some on screen. I cleaned it up closed it, went to class and saw more coffee had leaked onto the screen / keyboard, so I wiped that out but then noticed my touch pad and touchscreen stopped functioning. I restarted it a couple times and only my keyboard was working. Shortly after reading it was bad to keep it powered on I turned it off, later that evening I turned it on one more time and it got worse to the point where it was struggling to login and boot up so I turned off the laptop yesterday evening and have kept it upside down since then. reading that it better to prop it like that.

I did some homework and read that you can attempt to salvage the spill and clean your laptop with Isopropyl alcohol & distilled water. My question is how soon do you guys think this has to be done to try and repair damage done by coffee which had sugar in it. I was going to do it ASAP but I skated to home depot yesterday and the screws there ended up being too small. Today I went to an electronics store and got a right size but it only fit half my pentalobe screws as they are ridiculously small, so the soonest I can get another screw to pop it open would be tomorrow which would set me 2 days post spill. Is it still worth a shot to clean it then? If not what are some alternatives I can do, I need the SSD to be salvaged worst case. I believe my warranty is still intact as I bought the laptop from Microsoft store. The laptop is an ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA-UBM1T. It's tough for me to get around or take it to a shop to fix because I live in a college town and my only transportation is a skateboard and maybe a bike.

I appreciate all advice as I am a new and first time laptop owner. I have grown up with desktops and worked and fixed all my desktop problems on my own or with my dad & brother but when it comes to laptops I am in the dark.
 

jdog2pt0

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May 28, 2009
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Other than lots of screws, and a sometimes convoluted assembly/disassembly method laptops aren't too bad to work with. However, you should have immediately powered off, and removed the battery (if it is removable) along with the power cord upon spilling on it. There usually isn't any sort of seal between the keyboard and the motherboard. If you're lucky, the coffee stayed contained in the keyboard which likely needs to be replaced now (it can be hard to get to all the nooks and crannies in laptop keyboards due to how they are designed.)

As for cleaning it, you should have disassembled and cleaned it immediately. Electronics and liquids do not mix. Once you've removed all power sources (included the CMOS battery) it is safe to clean the boards(s) up. Rubbing alcohol is your friend. YOU must make sure the board is 100% dry before reassembly and subsequent power on.

Make sure, if there is still a warranty, that opening the laptop up doesn't void it. Every manufacturer is different.
 

aram444

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Jan 2, 2014
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Hey I turned on the laptop today. (2 days post spill) and everything was working fine, touchpad, touchscreen and software function. I turned it off after 10 seconds and left it laid down and open. Do you think there is a chance that once the coffee/sugar dries it could return to normal function? I have all the proper screws now but hesitated to open it today because I don't want to void the warranty and I'm bit busy studying for midterms. Is it still worth checking the inside or maybe going back to using it and if something becomes faulty use my warranty? My warranty is still valid for 3-4 more months.
 


Do you have a warranty that explicitly says it covers accidental damage?
 

aram444

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Jan 2, 2014
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It does not cover accidental damage, only hardware dysfunction.
 

jdog2pt0

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It is probably dried by now. Problem is the sugar, and other dissolved solids can form conductive patches where they have dried. If it's working, and you don't feel like dealing with it, hey it's your hardware, not mine. If it were me, I'd have that sucker apart, and be swabbing away the gunk with rubbing alcohol.
 


Ouch. I'd take it apart and try to clean/fix it myself. You've already voided the standard warranty anyway by spilling coffee in it. The only way they MAY honor the original warranty some day for another problem down the road is if you get it squeaky clean inside.

FWIW, the tools that are used to remove/insert screws are generally referred to as screwdrivers. :D

 

aram444

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Jan 2, 2014
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that sounds like the best plan, ill take a stab at it tonight. also i know they are called screwdrivers i just have been mistyping, midterm season and this laptop fiasco have been stressing me out. thanks again
 
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