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Help! Spilled water on keyboard-now won't work-Advice PLEASE

by cjones2010 / June 9, 2006 1:57 AM PDT

My notebook is a Toshiba Satellite M45-S355. Model is : PSM40U-073001. It has a Pentium M 173, 1G Ram, XP Home, 120G memory, 15" screen, which is fine.

Iknow the notebook is under warranty but I have already been around this block with a different Toshiba that I spilled Tea on and they said it would cost $700 for a new motherboard and it was under warranty also-they saw a little bit of tea inside the notebook only- because I took each keys off the keyboard and cleaned then thoroughly and snapped them back on. I chosee not to get the mother board for that one and it is doing fine so far.
This one, however, is not. It will only boot up to the very first screen that has Toshiba on it.None of the keys or mouse work now either. Like I said, it is under warranty, but they won't cover it if you do something yourself to damage it-I did not have the money after the hurricane to buy that part of an extended waranty..and I desperately need my computer.
Does anybody have advice for me? Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks a lot!

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by NickMets7 / June 9, 2006 10:33 AM PDT

This happened to me with an old Gateway SOLO 2150. Sorry to put it this way, but unless you're ready for some really techy stuff I think your laptop is zapped. I think you now have 3 options:

1 - Sell the laptop for parts on eBay (properly done you can still get a significant amount of money, esp. for the screen and maybe CPU, RAM, hard drive, dvd-rom, etc, depending on what was damaged)

2 - Buy parts on eBay to fix your notebook. Hard to find parts are readily available at pretty low prices.

3 - You can of course send this to Toshiba, but personally I don't think it's worth it.

Hope this helps

- Nick

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eBay Is Cool
by LsuEduMsn / September 24, 2006 4:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Well
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By now you should have guessed.
by ciaconne / June 9, 2006 6:48 PM PDT

Ok, the difference between tea and water is that with tea you can see where it has been spilt and can clean it up. With water once it fries your circuits you may as well use that laptop as a hefty paper weight. Being a clear substance makes it hard to figure out what damage was done, even worse when water isn't sticky so you can feel for the damage spots or where any other drink could have congealed on.

My suggestion is put it on warranty and say that the keyboard won't work. They won't be able to tell it's water, however, that's lying so choose how you want to look at that with your moral compass. Or you can take the honourable route and ask for spare parts replacement from your manufacturer. It'll cost a pretty penny but at least you won't feel bad. Or, you can do what most people do...get a new laptop and stop drinking and eating around them.

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Is it just me
by jelgert / June 9, 2006 7:24 PM PDT

There shouldn't be any moral decision here if you had an accidental damage plan this is to my understanding exactly what it is suppose to cover. On a side note buy a keyboard cover in the future can get one for about 15 bucks and well this won't happen with that on there.

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Sound Advice!
by ciaconne / June 10, 2006 9:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Is it just me

I agree! Buy yourself a keyboard cover in the near future. I know I will.

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by LsuEduMsn / September 24, 2006 4:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Is it just me

After talking to you I am buying KB covers for everyone for Christmas. Needs KB covers to stop Hurricanes

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Louisiana Warranty
by LsuEduMsn / September 24, 2006 4:39 AM PDT

I am from New Orleans so putting it under warranty with the KB problem sounds good. We have the same Mafia here as in New York so we never feel bad about anything.

But no matter what I cannot quit eating Gumbo, Jambalaya, Cochon De' Lait, etc. around my PC's !!!

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Water spill
by stewart6 / June 10, 2006 1:20 PM PDT

This advice is likely too late for you but may help someone else reading it.I agree first rule is keep liquids away from keyboards. If water does get into your keyboard first thing to do is switch off immediately. Ignore the proper shutdown procedure and hit the power button, or for desktops unplug leyboard or pull the plug. For laptops open the laptop and stand it on its end to drain. don't turn it face down or water can sit in the upturned keys. leave it to drain and dry for a couple of days don't try shortcuts it will help if you play a warm, but not hot, hairdrier on it occasionaly. water will dry and leave no conducting residue and this method can work if you act quickly enough to avoid the water seeping into circuit boards. For desktop computers you need only stand the keyboard on ifs end or more likely throw it away and replace it. This is not a guaranteed cure but it has workrd many times and should be your first approach.
Regards Stewart

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These notebooks are not easy to work on.
by rfdave / June 10, 2006 10:50 PM PDT

I have been a tech since 75 working on two way radio circuitry and I must say that just getting a notebook apart, changing a component and getting it back together and work is quite a challenge. If it were me, I would order the keyboard w/mouse ckt also and remove the old board and install the new and hope you didn't do something to screw up the works. If you had sugar in that tea you have cause for alarm for it will not only leave a residue which will cause you intermittent probs. but attract dust and dirt until it is fully dry. I would get some alchohol and little brush, and try to clean up any places where you can see the tea has been. The problem with liquid damage is that the moisture will reside under IC's and other components that cover an area over the printed circuit board. Clean up with the alchohol, replace the damaged keyboard, use a heat gun or possible hair dryer on a warm setting, hot will melt landings and possibly cause you grief. Try and shoot the air in at some different angles and then let it sit. Go ahead and reassemble the unit and let it sit for about two days. As much as you want to turn it on, Don't. Give it time to dry out. Hopefully you will have your notebook back and running.

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Notebooks are relatively easy to work on
by NickMets7 / June 11, 2006 4:32 AM PDT

The trick is popping up the keyboard without breaking it, keeping track of ALL the screws, and being really careful and not forcing anything. It can be strenuous, but it can be done.

BTW, to the person who started this post, what do you plan to do?


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Re: Water spilled on notebook
by cjones2010 / June 11, 2006 5:15 AM PDT

Thanks for answering! I Really appreciate it!!!-I think what I will do is try to open it up, carefully keeping track of everything and see what it looks like in there. I have another laptop that I am using now and it has the exact same processor and is also a Toshiba. It has not had a spill on it - YET :0(However, I did doze off one night smoking and burned 2 keys but they still work-I will have to buy a whole new keyboard to replace just 2 keys.)
Anyway, I think I might open it up too and keep them a good distance from each other so I do not mix anything up and compare what they look like inside to each other...
See, the other one is under warranty and so is this one, but NOT the warranty you have to buy that does cover spills and drops etc-which someone like me obviously NEEDS, so I sent it in the 1st time w/ the tea episode (and that one had 5 keys that "mysteriously" came off and got lost) to a company that does Toshiba auth warranty work. I had thought I was slick because I had taken each key off and soaked them and cleaned very bit of any evidence from the keyboard of any spill....but they said they found something sticky inside and I needed a new motherboard and it would not be covered under wrranty b/c of that, and it would cost me $100 for keyboard and $120 for labor-PLUS over $600 for the motherboard. Since the notebok was really working ok-just one time where pages just started multiplying rapidly all over the screen till there were about 50 pages open before I shut it down..but that had just happened once(and it may have happened before I spilled the tea?), so I told them to leave the motherboard alone and just replace the keyboard. I had it home a week or 2 and there went the water. I turned it on its side and a little drained out and after that I shut it down...but it ran a good 20 minutes before i shut it down-did not know any better :-(.God knows I am definitely buying those plastic covers for the keyboard on this one right away.
So, to answer your question-I know they reported to Toshiba that it had a spill in it and even if I sent it in again with no evidence of anything having happened on the inside of it again, they still know it happened before because of the serial number and will not replace the motherboard for sure. I don't know if they will replace other parts that the company said were ok at the time, but maybe they will and from the way it is acting, there is probably more wrong than just the motherboard. What do you think?
I will post again after I have taken them apart carefully and may take pictures.
Again, Thanks SO much!

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Hurricane Katrina or Rita?
by LsuEduMsn / June 29, 2006 12:43 PM PDT

I work on PC's in South Louisiana and can take it apart for you. If you were affected by a hurricane you can have a free desktop.

We process 45 per day in Baton Rouge but they are slower P2's and P3's with 256 RAM but you will have a desktop until you fix your laptop.

If you search for Toshiba in the Notebook forum there is a link ( ) where you can print the steps to dismantle a motherboard, etc.

Gary in Baton Rouge at LsuEdu At Msn Dot Com
LsuEdu @

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Cleaning up
by mjd420nova / June 11, 2006 2:22 PM PDT

First off, the entire unit needs to be dis-assembled. Then with a soft bristle brush all parts must be cleaned and dried with clear water. Pay close attention to the areas where the battery connections and the ac adapter plug in. Next with q-tips and alcohol clean the connectors on the mother board and the mating ends of cables for the video, keyboard, and audio speakers. Closely inspect the areas around the battery connections and ac adapter plug in. Look for any dark streaks or gummy deposits around components, if any are found, the MOBO will require replacement. Look closely at the connectors for the memory boards and drives (hard drive, CD/DVD) be sure they are clean. Besure that all connectors are fully seated during re-assembly. Be sure you clean around the CPU and GPU, unmonting them and cleaning underneath if possible. That may return proper functionality. My daughter did the same thing with sugar-laden coffee. The keyboard was the only thing that needed replacement. ($25.)

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RE: Cleaning up
by cjones2010 / June 12, 2006 9:28 PM PDT
In reply to: Cleaning up

I cannot thank you enough for the GREAT advice...I will procede with caution...and now a better idea of what to do once I get in there.

THANKS!!! Happy


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What I did


I had the same problem with my HP two years ago. I turned it off and took out the battery, then I dried it with my Mom's hairdrier on Low speed with medium heat(NOT HIGH!) I spent about an hour drying then I left it over night and the next morning everything was perfect and I am using it till now.

I think this advise it too late but try it


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(NT) Re:What I did
by cjones2010 / June 12, 2006 9:32 PM PDT
In reply to: What I did

Thanks a lot! You are right-it probably is too late, but I am going to try some of the suggestions-can't hurt at this point(I don't think?)
Thanks again Happy


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by Amer Jarrar / June 27, 2006 7:43 PM PDT
In reply to: (NT) Re:What I did

You are welcome if you need anything else please tell me.

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THANKS Everyboby!!!
by cjones2010 / June 12, 2006 9:37 PM PDT

You know I would have considered myself lucky to get just 1 response and you all have been SO kind to take your time to explain things and give your opinion to me. I really appreciate it!!

I am going to do this in the next day or 2-have been moving and haven't had time to break it open yet..
will report back soon.


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Ok, EveryBODY :-)
by cjones2010 / June 13, 2006 7:08 AM PDT
In reply to: THANKS Everyboby!!!

wrote the post at 6am..need to use a spellchecker I guess..again, Thanks!

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:) Good luck
by ciaconne / June 27, 2006 8:34 AM PDT
In reply to: THANKS Everyboby!!!

I hope you get it works out for you! All the best wishes the lappy works! Grin

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Buy a ThinkPad
by Nooorm / September 25, 2006 1:04 AM PDT

They have spill trays under the keyboard that protect your system. One of the things you don't see in the specs that makes them worth every penny you pay.

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Re: Thinkpad
by cjones2010 / October 3, 2006 6:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Buy a ThinkPad

That is really interesting! I am , unfortunately stuck with 2 Toshibas for now and have to make the best of it.

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Hurricane Katrina
by LsuEduMsn / October 3, 2006 10:05 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Thinkpad

If you were affected by Hurricane Katrina this group will fix it free of charge and also give you a free computer.

They are on eBay: corpreccouncil( 10344)

800 St. Philip St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
ph: (225) 379-3577
fax: (225) 379-3496
e-mail us

If you have electronic

equipment to donate

for recycling,
click here to contact us

The Capital Area Corporate Recycling Council (CACRC) was established in 1995 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping businesses and individuals make informed decisions regarding the reduction and disposal of E-Waste. There is a growing concern with the number of used computers that public and private sectors currently surplus or landfill. Given the need for more technology, many of these computers are, with some refurbishing, being utilized. There is a growing demand for workers trained in the skills of computer repair, network management, and other information technology support activities. Finally, there are growing hazardous waste and landfill concerns that need to be addressed.

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I was affected by Rita
by cjones2010 / October 4, 2006 11:39 PM PDT
In reply to: Hurricane Katrina

Would they help someone from hurricane Rita I wonder?

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