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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Took apart MBP 13" to clean keyboard spill, now display not working


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Jason.Martin

 
Member Since: Aug 14, 2010
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Hello,

Thanks to anyone who can provide assistance to this problem. This post might be a little long, because it is the result of a long 12 straight hours of my life. I am experienced in PC repair, not too much on laptops though. And this is my first time using apple computers ever.


A couple of weeks ago I bought a new refurbished Mac Book Pro Unibody 13" (the new model that can output Audio via HDMI).


Yesterday, while at the office, I accidentally tipped over a cup of orange juice right into my keyboard. Yes, it was Friday the 13th. Coincidence?


The laptop shut off when this happened, and I tipped it upside down to drain out some of the liquid. After wiping it up as much as I could with paper towels, I took the laptop home and dried it out with a hair dryer for 20 minutes, did a little more cleaning, then turned it on.


To my astonishment, it turned on and it seemed all the ports were working, the only issue seemed to be the keys were a little sticky, and the backlighting was off.


Reading posts here and across the internet, it recommended I disassembled the MBP to ensure that any leaked orange juice is cleaned up so it would not corrode the unit, reducing the life span. Plus, the keys were sticky and I wanted to clean up as much as I could.


Following the guide here on iFixit, I disassembled the MBP to the bottom of the keyboard and wiped it all down. I found a bit of orange juice and sticky material on random spots, but it seemed to miss the key items - the CPU, superdrive, hard drive, ram, CPU fan. I cleaned what remained on the underside of the keyboard, and popped off the keys on top that were sticky while typing (they were on the left side of the keyboard, where the juice spilt). Under the keys, I could see some orange spots/sticky residue where the orange juice was. The trackpad was in good shape, it seems like it just hit the keys on the left hand side and a tiny little bit seeped down and got on the battery and a few other spots (a tiny tiny bit on the logic board, some on battery, some on case, wasn't much though).


I cleaned up with lysol wipes and 99.95% isopropyl alcohol every spot on the case, logic board, anywhere where I could find any orange juice. I gave the logic board a good cleaning and it looks like it is in fairly good shape.


Then...I reassembled.


After reassembling the unit and screwing everything back together, the display would not come on!


I do not believe the LCD itself is damaged, but perhaps the connector might be. (Either on the logic board side or on the connector side, not sure how to tell)


Funny thing is, I was more nervous about removing the keyboard cable than the video cable I removed. I felt I did a fairly safe job removing the video cable, it didn't feel like I broke it when I disconnected it originally, but who knows...it's not working.


After reassembling, I could press the power button, and everything would turn on - I'd hear the hard drive spinning, but no display. Hooking up my MBP to my VGA monitor, however, I could get a display.


So, I turned over the computer to keep working on the problem. And after disassembling this time to work on the problem again, I think I messed up the camera cable from all the constant unplugging and replugging in multiple times. I could see one of the little pins on the end of the camera cable was bent and fell off. I most likely bent a pin on the camera connector when I was trying to reinsert the camera connection into the motherboard.


So, after reassembling the second time, the power would not turn on with the camera cable disconnected. After clearing the bent pin and reinserting it into the motherboard, the machine turns on - I didn't even have to press the power button, the machine turns on by the act of inserting the camera cable on the logic board; in fact, this is the only way to turn it on now, by inserting the broken camera connector into the motherboard, the machine will turn itself on. And, I have to have the machine plugged into AC power to make the machine turn on, but if it gets started, then the machine will still run if I remove the power cord by battery power. Then, I can shut down the laptop by removing the battery cord from the motherboard.


If I leave the Camera cable connected after the machine turns on, the camera cable starts getting really really hot - so I disconnect it immediately after getting the machine started. I think with the broken pins, it is messing up the power regulation on that cable and somehow is shorting something out and causing it to build up heat improperly.


The display still will not work even though the machine still will boot by ghetto rigging it. So, of course at this point I figured what do I have to lose and kept messing with it. I kept plugging in and disconnecting the video (believe it's the LVDS) cable on the motherboard to make sure it had a good fit. After plugging it in and out for about the 20th time to ensure I have a good fit, I pulled a little hard to ensure it was properly seeded and that little bracket on the LCD cable that helps you remove the cable popped off. But, it still looks like all the pins and everything are still there, and should be working, it plugs in snug and stays in the motherboard. I don't know why the video stopped working in the first place, it worked fine before I ever took apart the laptop!






This is where it stands now, and I'd like some opinions on what I should do...if I can repair it myself at this point, if it's going to be worth it to take it to the apple store/authorized reseller, if I should just keep it for spare parts and buy a new laptop eventually (can't afford a new one right now), or any other options I'm not seeing now...




To turn the machine on now, these are the steps I must take:


1. Connect the AC cord (it will not turn on just by battery alone).
2. Plug in the broken camera connector cable into the slot on the motherboard, and the machine instantly turns on (without pressing the button on the keyboard)
3. If the battery is in, I can remove the AC adaptor and the machine will keep running. If the battery is disconnected, removing the AC shuts down the machine instantly.




Here are pictures to help my diagnosis:


1) http://www.electricenlightenment.com...g/PICT0003.JPG [this shows an overview of the motherboard. Please confirm that I am correct, that the circle highlighted is the LVDS connector & camera connector]


2)

http://www.electricenlightenment.com...g/PICT0004.JPG [this picture shows the step of plugging in the AC adaptor to initiate the power on sequence]



3) http://www.electricenlightenment.com...g/PICT0005.JPG [this shows a close up of the LVDS cable after I knocked the clip off that helps you take the cable off. But, the LCD stopped working while that was still intact. As you can tell, it is fully plugged in. Don't know why it's not displaying any video.



4)

http://www.electricenlightenment.com...g/PICT0010.JPG [this shows a close up of the camera cable with the bent pins. As soon as I plug this in the camera cable connection port on the motherboard, the machine instantly powers on]









I appreciate any help on my predicament!



Thank you,



Jason
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chscag

 
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Your post is like reading a novel. Lucky today is Saturday and I don't have too much to do this afternoon anyway. Too hot around here today! (103 F)

Quote:
This is where it stands now, and I'd like some opinions on what I should do...if I can repair it myself at this point, if it's going to be worth it to take it to the apple store/authorized reseller, if I should just keep it for spare parts and buy a new laptop eventually (can't afford a new one right now), or any other options I'm not seeing now...
I've been a computer tech and electronic tech for over 30 years and I can tell you from experience, once these things start to progress they only get worse - which unfortunately you found out. Don't take it to an Apple store. Repairing that machine will wind up costing as much or near as much as a new one.

The orange juice spill or any type of spill for that matter is devastating to a notebook computer. At this point, I would keep it on hand for spare parts, buy a cheap netbook and use it until you have the $$ to buy another Mac notebook computer.

Sorry about your loss. My old supervisor used to have a saying around the shop: "Don't drink and compute".

If we can be of any more assistance, post back to this same thread.

Regards.
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Jason.Martin

 
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Thanks for the response chscag

I hear you about not having a drink right next to my laptop...this is the first time it has ever happened to me and hopefully the last, LOL! I had the orange juice sitting on a different desk directly to the left (try not to keep drinks on the same desk as the laptop, like that helped!), then I just moved my arm to grab the juice and knocked it in the worst possible direction - right in the path of the laptop! Ouch...honestly, at this point, I probably shouldn't have even taken it apart, because at least it worked just with sticky keys...but after opening it up and finding a little bit of juice leaked in the case, theres a good chance I would have had problems down the road if I didn't clean it out.

I've had my old dell laptop for 7 years now, and it's still going strong, it even stays in the kitchen where theres water around all the time!

Anyways, I figured the same thing you stated about not taking it to an apple store - my 11 months left on my warranty mean nothing, and since it was a refurb it would probably be cheaper to buy a new refurb than have a $1000 repair bill where things could go wrong down the road.

However, I was wondering if one of the other mail it in mac-tech shops might be able to replace the LVDS cable for the LCD and the camera cable, without having to replace the whole top LCD case for $600. I'm pretty sure the logic board is fine, as I can boot it to an external display and use the keyboard and trackpad. The LCD worked fine before I disassembled the unit in the first place. I'm pretty sure that I just damaged the cables somehow while disassembling.

I'd at least like to determine if the logic board is still good, for either spare parts or for selling on ebay (wouldn't want to sell a board that doesn't work properly). I cleaned up the logic board and it looks fine, no orange juice on it at all, it was hit with the least juice out of anything...

So, my 2 questions would be:

1) Is there any way of determining myself if the logic board works properly? If not, if I send it into a Mac authorized repair facility, can they certify whether my logic board works properly or not?
2) Is there any way I can replace just the LCD connector and camera connector cables, without having to buy the entire top kit that is $600?

Thank you for all of your help,

Jason
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6string

 
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Straight off the bat, orange juice contains citric acid. Citric acid on a logic board for any amount of time, means a dead logic board sooner or later. This is the unfortunate situation that you have.
Spending any money on anything that connects to the logic board is likely to be a bad investment.
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chscag

 
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Quote:
1) Is there any way of determining myself if the logic board works properly? If not, if I send it into a Mac authorized repair facility, can they certify whether my logic board works properly or not?

2) Is there any way I can replace just the LCD connector and camera connector cables, without having to buy the entire top kit that is $600?
If you can boot the machine to where you're getting video and a normal display on an external monitor, there's a very good chance the logic board is OK. If no juice got on the board it should be fine for future use. But, if juice did get on the board, it may spell future trouble as 6string pointed out.

There isn't a repair depot that I know which would be willing to check out the board without selling you either a new or refurbished one. And that could run you around $400 - $600.

I'm fairly certain you can replace the LCD connector and camera connector cables by themselves. Try the folks at ifixit or at Powerbook Medic. Or, you may be able to pick them up as separate parts on eBay.

Tough decision to make. I know you probably hate to give up on it but that may be the best thing to do. Good luck and let us know how it all turns out.

Regards.
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Jason.Martin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
If you can boot the machine to where you're getting video and a normal display on an external monitor, there's a very good chance the logic board is OK. If no juice got on the board it should be fine for future use. But, if juice did get on the board, it may spell future trouble as 6string pointed out.

There isn't a repair depot that I know which would be willing to check out the board without selling you either a new or refurbished one. And that could run you around $400 - $600.

I'm fairly certain you can replace the LCD connector and camera connector cables by themselves. Try the folks at ifixit or at Powerbook Medic. Or, you may be able to pick them up as separate parts on eBay.

Tough decision to make. I know you probably hate to give up on it but that may be the best thing to do. Good luck and let us know how it all turns out.

Regards.
Thank you for the help.

Very little juice got on the actual logic board itself, there was just a few small sticky parts that I cleaned up with iso 99.9% alcohol. After cleaning it up, the board looks real good.

I was looking on Ifixit and other places on the net, but I have not been able to come across the camera cable itself yet. I was able to find the LVDS cable, but not the camera cable.

Yeah, at this point I'm still not sure what I want to do...I am e-mailing a few Mac repair facilities to see what advice they can offer and how much it would cost...at $1019 for a new refurb, it really might just be cheaper to buy a new one!
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Jason.Martin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6string View Post
Straight off the bat, orange juice contains citric acid. Citric acid on a logic board for any amount of time, means a dead logic board sooner or later. This is the unfortunate situation that you have.
Spending any money on anything that connects to the logic board is likely to be a bad investment.
Yeah, I agree with you completely.

Thats why the moment I found out the machine still would boot up, but there was orange juice inside I decided to take it apart and clean it off instead of letting the pieces corrode and just waiting for my machine to die.

Assuming the logic board didn't get fried initially when the liquid spilled in it (and the fact I can boot it up into OSX via an external monitor is a good sign I didn't), if I cleaned it up good with alcohol and let it dry there is a decent chance it can still be OK though, yeah?
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chscag

 
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Quote:
Assuming the logic board didn't get fried initially when the liquid spilled in it (and the fact I can boot it up into OSX via an external monitor is a good sign I didn't), if I cleaned it up good with alcohol and let it dry there is a decent chance it can still be OK though, yeah?
Contrary to what a lot of folks will tell you, a logic board can be cleaned up from a minor spill and continue to be used. You stated you cleaned the board with ISO pure alcohol which was the correct thing to do. The fact that it boots OK and gives you a picture on an external display, is a good sign.

I'm kind of surprised you can't find the camera cable. I guess the best you can do is keep looking. Keep your eye on eBay and also Craig's list. Something else to look for is someone selling a non functional machine for parts. Of course the price would have to be right. Keep us posted.

Regards.
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