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

Retina MacBook Pro spilt beer on keyboard-sticky keys


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joyceyboydave

 
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Hi everyone, I'm a brand new Mac Forums member and I bought my first Mac on the day of the 2012 WWDC. I've had my MBP for two weeks and I have done the unthinkable. I spilt beer on the top left corner of it and now 10 keys are annoyingly crunching and sticking. I have googled on how to remove/replace keys on older MBPs but there is nothing on the retina MBP thus far, it is understandable as the thing is brand new and people are getting to grips with it still.
I was definitely one of the first in the UK to receive mine as it was ordered within 5 minutes of the Apple store updating, and I can fairly assume I'm one of the first stupid people to have nearly ruined their machine.
Can I ask for some advice on what to do about the keys and would a Genius bar be able to replace/repair it for free under the warrantee, or would I be liable to a big bill at the end. I don't have an Apple showroom anywhere near to me so I would like an idea before I go, if anyone could shed some light on this problem.

Many thanks,

A heart broken newbie Mac user.
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scathe

 
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You can forget about warranty, sorry.

Is everything working so far? The keys will eventually start to feel normal again after you press them about a million times, the backlight might not.

I recommend using some form of rubbing alcohol to clean as much as possible, without spilling the bottle over - do this when the computer is turned off, battery out and let it dry off over night.

I saved (allegedly) my computer after spilling beer by spraying disk brake cleaner (ethanol - very volatile, more than regular gasoline) through the keyboard and various little holes, also from the back and such. BUT very gently, nothing that would cause more damage!!!

Edit:
Once more - if you want to do something like this, be careful and only use as little as possible.
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chscag

 
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Nothing like damaging a $2200+ plus machine with a little "cheer". Sorry to hear of your misfortune but something not to do is to use rubbing alcohol or definitely not disk brake cleaner (sorry scathe). Both could wind up doing more harm to your keyboard, and most importantly to the logic board which is below the keyboard.

Spills on the keyboard (or elsewhere for that matter) can be especially troubling as they have a way of showing up later because corrosion begins to form. Beer or any alcoholic beverage is extremely corrosive and as stated above, the main board (logic board) sits below the keyboard. Leakage through the keyboard can get down onto the main board.

As member scathe pointed out, your warranty is null and void because of the spill. Unless you had home owner's insurance or some sort of insurance to cover accidental damage to the machine, any repairs Apple makes will be out of your pocket.
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dtravis7

 
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Also maybe Scathe does not know this, You can not take out the battery in a Retina MBP!
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chscag

 
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You can not take out the battery in a Retina MBP!
Good point Dennis. In case others don't know, the battery is glued down in the Retina. The folks at ifixit say that without the proper removal procedure, the machine will be damaged trying to unfasten the battery from the glue.
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cicero5

 
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Dave,

I feel your heartbreak. Any word on how it's ended up?

Earlier today I did the same thing. I acted quickly and I don't think much got through, but I have noticed a bit of crunching too. I'm more concerned about losing the guts of the computer rather than the clicky keyboard. Everything seems to be working fine for the time being...
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robduckyworth

 
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Have either of you guys tried removing the offending keys and clearing any debris or gunk from underneath them?

(of course this is only a work around to stop the keys crunching, the water damage stuff can be pretty serious.)

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mrplow

 
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I've successfully used Isopropyl alcohol to clean the boards and components of two very expensive graphing calculators when eldest son left them in his college bag with a leaking strawberry smoothie bootle! Both work fine now.

I've used the same to clean laptop keyboards after spills - removing the keyboard first.

But, in this instance I wouldn't do that. I'd get a quote from Apple for the clean-up and repair. If that's looking too high I'd claim on home/gadget insurance.

It's too late now..... but for such a high cost item it's probably worth looking at dedicated insurance for it.

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chscag

 
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It's too late now..... but for such a high cost item it's probably worth looking at dedicated insurance for it.
You're right of course, but that elevates the total cost of a Retina machine to being even more expensive when you also add $349.00 for Apple Care.

Edit to the above: Maybe not. I just checked with my home owner's policy and to do a separate schedule for accidental damage and spillage to a $2500 computer would only add $60 a year for coverage. That certainly seems reasonable to me.
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cicero5

 
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I stepped into an Apple store today to have a Genius look at my beer addled rMBP. It's still running just fine, but after opening it and examining it, he said it would last not much longer without a service call. Looks like I'm in for another $1200 or so. Not much choice; I guess I can't buy that 1993 Honda CRX I had my eye on.
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joyceyboydave

 
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Many thanks to all of the above users for your input, I very much appreciate it, and also sorry I haven't been more prompt in replying to you.
In reply to the points made above:
1. The Mac is still running OK, with no problems on the face of it (I am typing this message on it).
2. I have thought about using an alcohol based cleaner, but I would rather learn how to remove the keys and individually inspect underneath removing all contaminants as apposed to just alleviating the stickiness.
3. The fact that the spillage may cause more significant damage if left worries me tremendously, but so far all is okay.
4. I won't be claiming for the machine on the house insurance as we move home at the end of the month and you may appreciate the complications involved.
5. I will definitely not be using brake cleaner, petrol or otherwise. I might as well clean the thing with fire as I've seen what that stuff can do.

Like I said, I am hoping some wizard on Youtube will do a tutorial on how to remove the keys and save my hair from falling out.
Many thanks again guys
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joyceyboydave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robduckyworth View Post
Have either of you guys tried removing the offending keys and clearing any debris or gunk from underneath them?

(of course this is only a work around to stop the keys crunching, the water damage stuff can be pretty serious.)
This is what I am not able to do at the moment, the design of the key mechanism is different from any Youtube tutorial, good as they may be. Any idea on how they come apart?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrplow View Post
I've successfully used Isopropyl alcohol to clean the boards and components of two very expensive graphing calculators when eldest son left them in his college bag with a leaking strawberry smoothie bootle! Both work fine now.
Ahhh yes, but rubbing alcohol is ~ 70% water, and you can't remove power 100% on these mbps. I'd avoid it like the plague.

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joyceyboydave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robduckyworth View Post
Have either of you guys tried removing the offending keys and clearing any debris or gunk from underneath them?

(of course this is only a work around to stop the keys crunching, the water damage stuff can be pretty serious.)
Took a brave pill today and found myself in a frame of mind where I could finally look at removing the sticky keys. After a lot of careful lifting and prodding I figured out how these keys come apart. The first key lifted off with some difficulty, but I quickly learned from it and found a quicker (and slightly less strenuous on the delicate mechanisms involved) method of removal.
On removing the little blighters I was shocked/pleasantly surprised to see no real evidence of a spill within the recess that the keys sit, although this could be cause for alarm as most of the "morale" could be within the unibody itself. At this point I don't "plan" on any further disassembly of the unit unless any of you can convince me (or hand me the funds to do so ) to get a full apple service. The keys were fully cleaned out and are fully functioning with minimal stickiness.
I am so far a very relieved boy, just hope the thing doesn't pack-up in a month from corrosion
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Silicone keyboard shields for the MB Pros and Airs cost 99 cents each. I have had two in place (One 11" MBAir and one 15" MB Pro) for two years. Already ordered one for my new MB Air 13".

Really really cheap insurance
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