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Laptops vs Liquids, how to salvage your laptop in the event of a liquid spill

Laptops vs Liquids, how to salvage your laptop in the event of a liquid spill

When a liquid spills on your laptop, some quick thinking and knowing what to do can be it's last chance to be saved. It's common knowledge that water and electronics don't mix, and never should. This is because the liquid conducts electricity, and it easy flows between components and shorts them out. This shorting out sometimes will just simply cause the device to malfunction and shut off. However in more unfortunate cases the unit will continue running, and burn up components, or worse...

Additionally if you have spilt a liquid that contains sugar in it, such as orange juice, soda, and coffee you will never be able to fully fix the damage done to your system. Coffee is just as bad as a sugary liquid because when it dries it turns more into a tar. Will sugary drinks, the sugar will stay there, and the only way to clean it off will be with deionized water, and taking the entire unit apart for cleaning. Obviously this is something the average computer user would not be able to do.

However in any case for the best chance to save your laptop do the following:

  1. If the system is still on, turn if off ASAP! Don't bother with a nice shutdown, just make it turn off by holding in the power button for 5 seconds.
  2. If the power cord is still connected to the system remove it.
  3. Take the battery out of the system
  4. Clear a table or desk and set a towel on it.

Now for an optional path! If you have a precision screw driver set you can remove the following from your system to help it:

  1. Take out the hard drive
  2. Remove any panels on the bottom of the system

With all of the above done, open the screen as far back as it will go, do not force it to open more than it should or you will do more damage. If the system opens up fully, meaning you could lay it on the screen with no gap between the system and the table, do that. If the screen only opens up around 90 degrees or so, lay the laptop on the side that has the most vents against the towel. Allow the screen to act as a stabalizer to balance the system if it is on it's side.

Now if you have a can of compressed air blow into any other ports, the keyboard, and other openings in the system to help move the liquid down and away.

If you have an air vent place the laptop over that to allow air to blow through the system to dry it out. Also if you have small fans around place them around the laptop on their highest setting to help dry the system out as well.

DO NOT use hair dryers on the heat setting, this can damage system components or melt plastics. Also DO NOT place the laptop in a microwave, or an oven to try and dry it. All of these methods would damage the system further instead of helping it.

With the laptop left on a vent and fans on it to dry it out, simply wait at least 24 hours before re-assembling, and turning it back on.

If everything goes well and your lucky your laptop will run again.

Keep in mind you can do all of this for sugary liquids and coffee, and the system may turn on again perfectly fine. But the sugars and tar of the coffee will always be in the system, slowly eating away at components. So your system will eventually fall victim to this disaster.

Hopefully this helps you out. If your system still will not come back up after a liquid spill, it is possible to replace the motherboard, and other components but the cost is fairly high, and it would be best to get a new laptop if it's over 3 years old.


Last Updated: 09/14/2009 04:17 PM

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Laptop Liquid Spill Repair

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