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Solved: Water Spilled on Laptop Keyboard - Short Circuit? HELP!


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luckynumberseven's Avatar
luckynumberseven luckynumberseven is offline
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16-Jun-2009, 03:37 PM #1
Exclamation Solved: Water Spilled on Laptop Keyboard - Short Circuit? HELP!
I just bought my refurb HP pavilion DV2915 four months ago, and ever since I have been ocd around it: no drinks, no food on the same table, putting it in a case when carrying it from room to room.

well its just my luck that today I absentmindedly put a glass of water on the right side of my laptop. I've done this a number of times but always have been lucky by realizing my mistake halfway through and and putting the glass on the floor.

But today I reached out to get scissors from my cup of pens and BAM, half a glass of water onto the right side of my keyboard.

Now, here's when I go into panic mode - I got my hairdryer, turned to the the high setting and left the blowdryer on the part that got water on it. The laptop is ON throughout this time seemingly fine. Then my keyboard starts typing "BBBBBBBB" repeatedly without me pressing it and wont stop. This is when I become smart and think to turn the laptop off, but then like an idiot turn it back on again to see if it is working. as the microsoft load bar is starting up, it freezes. I again panic and then pull out the battery without shutting it down properly. Now I run to my roomates computer and quickly search up what to do with a wet laptop. (I am using her computer now)

My face fell as I realized that what I have done is exactly what you should NOT do when trying to deal with a wet keyboard
1-do not use a blowdryer since it can blow dry water deeper into your laptop. the heat can also melt components in your laptop
2-do not leave or turn the laptop on as it can short circuit it
3-do not leave the laptop right side up

as I realized I have done everything possible WRONG I run back, turn the laptop upside down and put a rotating fan that blows air past it (not directly on it). I get a hand towel and press down on the keys, which pushes some water out so I can wipe it off. The next day I examine the laptop and decide to put a rolled up piece of newspaper in the middle of the laptop to take some of the pressure off the hinge.

I planned to wait 48 hours, which is about 6 hours from now. I'm really worried because I've basically put my laptop at risk in all possible ways by using a blowdryer, leaving it on for 10 minutes right side up, and turning it on. if it helps my laptop was running on battery power at the time and not the ac adapter, but I doubt that will change anything. I'm really afraid I shortcircuited something by allowing the water to sink deeper into my laptop when I could have avoided it by simply turning it upside down and trying to get the water out with a towel.

it will be really hard for me to buy another laptop since I am very short on money (note that my wet laptop is refurb) so I'm pretty bummed right now..Yes I know I'm an idiot. Can anyone give me a worst case scenario of what will happen? What parts will I have to replace or will I have to buy a whole new laptop? I'm already looking up laptops on best buy because I fear the worst

Thank you. I will let you know how my laptop is doing in 6 hours.

Last edited by luckynumberseven; 16-Jun-2009 at 04:02 PM..
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arknorth   (Robert) arknorth is offline
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16-Jun-2009, 04:59 PM #2
Whoa!

Okay, first off, you're probably not dead yet. Yes, turn it over and allow a fan to blow on it (shake it lightly as well, depending on how much water got into it).

The best thing to dry a keyboard is to actually remove it, if you feel up to it. If not, then okay, but you may have to wait MANY days for it to correct itself.

The trick is, even with the keyboard off the chassis, the computer can be booted up and checked, but only after making sure the water hasn't gone further than the keyboard (newer keyboards actually have a catch tray built in to keep MOST of the water away from the rest of the machine, but not all). If it's dry internally, plugging a USB keyboard into it can check to see if it’s working properly. As for the keyboard, that depends on how much water got into it, and how easy it is to dry it out - the BBBBB was probably just water getting behind the membrane that make up the contacts (two thin pieces of plastic with metal contacts). This stuff will take quite a while to dry. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TAKE THIS APART!

At this point, you could speed things along by just buying a new keyboard. It's your call.

If you want to try this, give a yelp and we'll tell you how.

A-N
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luckynumberseven luckynumberseven is offline
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16-Jun-2009, 11:34 PM #3
thank you arknorth for reading my very long post and offering help! but my laptop isn't a goner!

how lucky am I, eh? today I put the battery in, crossed my fingers, and it did turn on! It let me do a system restore however, but then it was good as new. And the trackpad and all the keys still function in fact I am using it now typing this

you can't imagine how happy I am right now, I was 99% certain my laptop was done for. people who spill water on their keyboards: just don't do what I did and turn it off and turn it upside down immediately and let it dry for 48 hrs, I can guarantee you your laptop will be good as new. I mean mine survived after all the bad stuff I did to it attempting to get the water out.
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warpete warpete is offline
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17-Jun-2009, 12:56 AM #4
Thumbs up Yes, you are fortunate!
You may have very soft water, with few minerals in it. Distilled water, for instance, does not conduct electricity and is used in water-cooling setups as I am doing. Cell phones get dropped in toilets and many still function after drying out thoroughly. When my Keyboard gets very dirty, I run it through the dishwasher, then let it dry out for five or six days and it always works as good as new. I've been doing this for many, many years and haven't lost one yet! At least this was not an "expensive" lesson you learned here. Water does not necessarily hurt electronics by itself, but add a little "juice" and serious damages can occur. I'm happy to hear that all is well!
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luckynumberseven luckynumberseven is offline
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17-Jun-2009, 04:34 PM #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by warpete View Post
You may have very soft water, with few minerals in it. Distilled water, for instance, does not conduct electricity and is used in water-cooling setups as I am doing. Cell phones get dropped in toilets and many still function after drying out thoroughly. When my Keyboard gets very dirty, I run it through the dishwasher, then let it dry out for five or six days and it always works as good as new. I've been doing this for many, many years and haven't lost one yet! At least this was not an "expensive" lesson you learned here. Water does not necessarily hurt electronics by itself, but add a little "juice" and serious damages can occur. I'm happy to hear that all is well!
thanks warpete! it was actually tap water, so it must be good clean tap water then huh?

also I heard stuff about washing laptops in the dishwasher but I never knew it actually worked (or was safe). So I guess water isn't bad for your laptop as long as you dont use it while its on.

so do you wash your laptop as a whole or just put the keyboard in for washing? how long does it take to dry? I'd like to learn more about this, sounds interesting!
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arknorth   (Robert) arknorth is offline
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17-Jun-2009, 06:22 PM #6
Well, you noted that your laptop is a referbed unit, so it may have taken a dunk already, in a way.

Some referb services remove the screen, HDs and batteries and dip the lower sections in 100% alcohol as a cleaner - the results are cpu sections free of crud that air-dry in less than a few hours. Oddly, this also removes water from soaked laptops nearly safely - it runs the risk of desolderring connections though, and certainly can't be done by the home user.

A-N
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17-Jun-2009, 08:16 PM #7
I would not put the laptop in the dw. Have heard that keyboards may be cleaned that way, but have not tried it myself.
vicks
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17-Jun-2009, 08:20 PM #8
Vicks, that what I think too. Heard some stuff on the net on how people dunk their laptops in the dishwasher or in a bucket of distilled water/99% alcohol to clean it. (see warpete's post) however I cringe thinking of putting my baby in the device I use to clean my dishes haha.

If anyone has any more input on this topic, it would be much appreciated.
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