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Question

Macbook 13" (A1342) -- trying to revive after wine spill

by kilbourne3 / October 5, 2011 11:36 AM PDT

After a white wine spill on the keyboard, the computer stopped. My wife mistakenly tried to restart it, several times, and never disconnected the battery. Brought it to Apple, they quoted a price to fix, so she just bought a new one. Two weeks later I get it and, assuming it's the logic board, try most of the tricks I've read online (scrub logic board with alcohol, blast with electronic contact cleaner, even bake in the oven (380 degrees, 7.5 minutes)). At start up the fan works, the screen lights up, you see the apple and the thing going in circles, but no chime, and it shuts off after 10 or so seconds. Any other suggestions on trying to get the board to work? It may be toast, but I'm willing to try again if there's a reasonable remedy.

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All Answers

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Answer
It really depends
by Jimmy Greystone / October 5, 2011 1:02 PM PDT

It really depends on how far the liquid damage extends. If it made it to the logic board, then odds are it's going to slowly, but surely, corrode it. You won't really know until you open it up and look, but it sounds like it might be contained to just the top case. I'm assuming you have a unibody model without a removable battery.

There's a fairly easy way to test that, if you feel comfortable enough taking the bottom case off and tinkering with a few components. Once you remove the bottom case, if you look by the battery, you should see a flat ribbon-like cable. CAREFULLY use your fingernail to pull up the locking bar, then work that cable out with your fingers or a plastic piece. Disconnect the battery, and then you'll need a flathead screwdriver. It's hard to describe where to look exactly, but if you google MacBook unibody power pads you'll probably find a few photos. Otherwise, look for a couple of white squares a bit to the left of the cable you just disconnected. There'll be more than one set, so just use the screwdriver to try and short each set until the unit turns on (you'll need the AC adapter connected naturally). IIRC, they should be in kind of a vertical orientation, but it's just kind of one of those things you stop thinking about once you've done it a few dozen times like I have. If the unit powers on and boots all the way into the OS, then you have a top case with a stuck power button, and there's at least a chance you could find some AASP in your area willing to replace JUST the top case. Believe me, you really don't want to attempt that one on your own without the proper tools. The display assy has to be put on at a particular angle. If the thing still keeps shutting off, sell it on ebay for parts.

Just don't try any of the things you listed or you're probably just going to make matters worse.

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thanks
by kilbourne3 / October 6, 2011 2:31 AM PDT
In reply to: It really depends

I tried that and got a similar result -- the fan engaged, the monitor lit up, and after about ten seconds of trying it clicks and shuts off. No chime, no real boot up.
I have the tools to remove the logic board (Torx tools, etc.), and have done so before. Anything else I could try, or is this thing likely just good for parts? Thanks again.

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No
by Jimmy Greystone / October 6, 2011 2:01 PM PDT
In reply to: thanks

No, scrap it. That almost certainly means the logic board took a hit. Maybe... If you could find someone else on ebay selling one for parts on the cheap and you wanted to try doing a transplant (assuming their MLB was good), but I really wouldn't sink more than $200 into this, and even that would be pushing it.

I know if can be kind of a fun little project, but don't put too much money into this. Better yet, IMO anyway, just part the thing out on ebay. Liquid damage is a b!tch to deal with. I've seen MLBs with a pretty decent amount of corrosion that still work fine, and others that just crap out from like a single drop of liquid.

Set yourself a budget, if you want to try and repair it, and then stick to it religiously. Whatever you're willing to potentially lose/waste trying to fix the thing, is your budget. Do not let yourself get caught in the, "If I just replace one more part" syndrome, because before you know it you've spent more on fixing the thing than it'd cost to buy a new one at retail.

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thanks -- some success
by kilbourne3 / October 10, 2011 10:45 PM PDT
In reply to: No

So I had some time to kill and I took out the board again, cleaned it, let it dry, reinstalled it -- and now I'm getting the chime and it starts up. Getting on is password protected, however, and a few keys (a, e, 1, delete) aren't working, so I was unable to log in. I have a spare external keyboard, which I'll try this evening, so I don't know yet whether things are actually working or if this is just another step in a lengthy burial. If it's just a few keys, I'm guessing cleaning under those keys is next.

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Be careful
by Jimmy Greystone / October 10, 2011 11:36 PM PDT
In reply to: thanks -- some success

Be careful, because those keycaps have a little plastic scissor under them that is easily damaged, not to mention the rubber plunger that is the actual key mechanically. There are no replacement keycap kits for the MacBook unibody, you have to get a new top case, and as I've already explained, that's a bit of a trick to do on a unibody without a special positioning block. Which you can buy without being an AASP tech, but it's about $50, so not really cost effective unless you're going to be doing multiple repairs with it.

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and more
by kilbourne3 / October 12, 2011 3:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Be careful

(I tried to post already -- apologies if this is basically a double.)The keyboard is currently not the main problem. It boots up every time now -- chime, get to the system log-in screen -- but then shuts down without warning. I've made it past the log-in to the desktop (very briefly) and got a quick glimpse of the "Are you sure you want to shut down?" window before it clicked off. This is probably 15 seconds into start up. I tried a safe start and the progress bar at the bottom made it only a quarter inch or so across before it shut off. I've tried it with and without the battery connected -- same results. Not sure what this indicates (apart from the computer is a goner). Thanks again for your help.

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That
by Jimmy Greystone / October 12, 2011 12:03 PM PDT
In reply to: and more

That is usually the sign of a stuck power button, which means a bad top case, which means this repair just got a lot more difficult and probably isn't worth it. Unless you can find someone selling the same model MacBook with maybe a bad logic board, but everything else works, and it's cheap. Then you could swap in your logic board, and hope for the best.

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