Laptop Spill Repair (for out of warranty laptops) - submerge in >90% Isopropyl Alcohol

lep11

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Mar 27, 2015
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I spilled a large amount of a rather thick liquid refreshment all over the keyboard of my laptop, and was able to keep it running. However, this morning it would not start at all. [Note: for new spills, hold down the power button for 5 seconds ASAP to shut off the laptop while it is upside down -- to let the excess fluid drain off].

After searching for repair of a spill on a laptop, there was a search hit on Tom's Hardware that mentioned submerging the entire motherboard etc in isopropyl alcohol and achieving amazing results. Well, I did exactly that, and the result were UNREAL, yes amazing.

(only follow the results below if you machine is out of warranty, which is one year by default for most machines. if you purchased a maintenance package for several years, then check the expiration dates. my laptop was about 4-5 years old, but it still has an i7 with a lot of ram, so it's a decent machine)

Here's what I did (assuming you are a do-it-your self-er):

1. Remove every possible screw on the bottom.

2. Remove the hard drive, which is a no brainer on a laptop --> just take off the drive cover and unscrew the drive and pull it out.

3. Remove the battery.

4. Purchase (at local drug store) 3 large bottles of Isopropyl Alcohol with a concentration of >90%. [DO NOT USE RUBBING ALCOHOL --> KNOCK KNOCK MCFLY --> DO NOT USE RUBBING ALCOHOL!!!!!] only use ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL whose alcohol percentage concentration is greater than 90%.

5. Place the laptop in a container that's large enough to hold it and submerge it in the alcohol.

6. Pour each bottle over the keyboard, and then stand the laptop up on its side and pour alcohol down the cooling vents and all usb, power, and communication ports and hole. Use you fingers and pry open the cover and make sure you pour alcohol all over the motherboard (green curcuit board). Be certain to drench the internals of the power switch and where the power leads attach to the mother mother board.

[NOTE: DON'T POUR ALCOHOL ON THE MONITOR, AND DON'T SUBMERGE THE MONITOR IN ALCOHOL -- JUST SUBMERGE THE BOTTOM OF THE LAPTOP ONLY).

7. Swish the entire laptop in and out of the alcohol, left-right, while ensuring alcohol flows over the entire keyboard. (again, i wouldn't recommend submerging the monitor, just the lower half of the laptop).

8. Do the above for about a minute.

9. Stand the laptop up on its side next to a fan for about 4-5 hours.

10. When dry, place the hard drive and battery into the laptop.

11. Push in and pull out the power adapter a few times. [THIS SEEMED VERY IMPORTANT--> AGAIN, AS I HAD TO PUSH IN AND REMOVE THE POWER PLUG INTO THE SIDE OF THE LAPTOP QUITE A FEW TIMES, E.G., 10-20 TIMES, WHILE TRYING TO TURN ON POWER. ONCE I DID THIS ENOUGH TIMES, POWER CAME ON.]

Please note, power didn't come on until I plugged in and pulled out the power adapter into the side of the laptop quite a number of times. This indicates that a spill affects the power plug in adapter fitting internals on the motherboard.

12. After power start-up, replace the screws, and you are good to go.

I am writing the above using the same laptop that I submerged in alcohol at lunch time, and the keyboard is grease-free, all dust is gone, it's running very cool, and the effect of the spill and shorting out of components is gone.

Will this shorten the lifetime of the laptop, I doubt it. What happened you might ask. The alcohol actually diluted the thicker and liquid remains of the refreshment, and dried very fast.

For me this actually worked like a charm.

Again, don't do this for new laptops, only old laptops that are out of warranty.

Happy computing!




 

tman1

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Jan 18, 2009
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While it's great you claim it worked for you, I would not recommend doing that with the keyboard, and definitely not still assembled - just the motherboard. Alcohol is used to clean up thermal paste, how can you guarantee that's still ok?
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator
Will this shorten the lifetime of the laptop, I doubt it. What happened you might ask. The alcohol actually diluted the thicker and liquid remains of the refreshment, and dried very fast.
Well..you may have loosened/partially dissolved whatever thermal paste is on the CPU and GPU, and possibly other glue like substances.
 
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