Thinkpad t430 did I destroy the mobo or just the RAM?

jb0nez

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May 31, 2012
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I stupidly spilled coffee on my Thinkpad 430. Dried it all off, opened everything I could, let it air dry, wiped it, cleaned it, etc. Did a test boot and started up fine so decided to put back together.

To put the keyboard back on requires two long screws placed from the bottom of the computer, right near the RAM slots. I stupidly screwed the first keyboard screw into the wrong hole - supposed to be a black plastic hole near edge, I did a metal one near middle. It fit fine until the last few mm got resistance. Stopped after the resistance seemed too much. Turned it over and looked under the keyboard - the screw had come right up into the RAM module that sits under the keyboard and lifted it (socket seems intact, can press it back in and clip it). I lifted the black tape on the mobo and freaked out thinking I'd just bored a hole through my motherboard! But no there appears to be a screw hole going through the mobo there (I have no idea what for). And again I only hit resistance the last few mm. However the RAM module now has a nice round depression in the PCB going right through some traces. When I backed out the screw, reinstalled RAM, turn on, lights go on for 1 second, power light stays on, nothing else happens, can power it off.

So I'm PRETTY sure I just ruined the RAM module (tried putting it in the bottom side slot too [even though you're only supposed to use under-keyboard slot for 1-DIMM config]) and exact same thing happens.

Is this how the thinkpad t430 acts when the ram is bad? I didn't try pulling it out entirely to see if it does the same thing.
Or is this how it acts when one has screwed up the motherboard? (maybe there was other circuitry below that I did bore through..). Has anyone made this mistake before? What the HECK is that middle screw hole for? Did I ruin my motherboard after saving my computer from a coffee disaster?
I've ordered a new ram module, should be here in a few days...guess I'll know then.

 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
You may not have totally saved it from the spill till you use it for a while. I've seen many issues with laptops where it works for a bit then dies again. Especially with spills that are not water as residue from sugars, fats, etc.. will stick even when the liquid evaporates fully.

That hole may not be a screw hole but one for liquid drainage if (in your case "when") you spill something on it. Not all holes at the bottom of Lenovo T series are filled in.

You already ordered the RAM, you'll find out what's wrong then. From what you described with the RAM, it is dead.
 

jb0nez

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May 31, 2012
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The thing is the hole has a metal ring around it and is directly under the top DIMM slot (the one directly under the keyboard), and on the bottom side is ALSO directly under the DIMM and has a metal ring around it (around 1mm high). So I don't think it's for draining. The diameter is *exactly* the same as the long keyboard screw, and only a few inches away from the actual keyboard screw hole. So weird. I'll post pics tomorrow.
My new RAM should come too so I'll be able to test...
 

jb0nez

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May 31, 2012
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New RAM came, system boots fine. Time will tell if the remaining sugar on the mobo causes problems and if the drain holes build into the t430 did their job.
Here's a link to a picture, this is from the underside of the system:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hsww6nu4ny53fcs/2014-03-21%2017.57.36.jpg

It looks pretty much the same on top. As you can see the hole I screwed the long keyboard retainer screw into is about an inch from where I should have. It also has that metal ring on the top side in addition to being covered with black tape, so I don't think it's a drain hole. I don't know what it is. I should have used more light when doing this though.
 
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