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Water damaged Alienware M15X (possible repair help!)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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April 16, 2013 12:50:10 PM

*update* giving the mother board a good cleaning with distilled water & 99% alcahol . will update with results in a few days.
fingers crossed


a little over a week ago coffee got spilled into the keyboard of my M15X yay me.. right afterwards the screen flickered it shut off at the same time i pulled the plug and shuffled to get the battery out as quick as possible. but of course it was too late it had already shut off on its own. fyi was not my coffee but i was the one to knock it over. TO THE POINT. I toar apart the laptop later that day all components layed out dried them and let them sit for about a week before re assembling the laptop and when i press power button nothing at all not a flicker sound nothing.

when i took it apart (aside from the keyboard) i could see exactly where the liquid enough ironically enough thanks to the cream..
http://i.imgur.com/T4iJMMl.jpg
in this general area. was not alot. but still got on the board and under the paper ,which i removed to dry. only component it touched directly was the "broadcom WLAN" chip any help would be appreciated as to what got damage/was effected. if its just the motherboard great i can replace that.

thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this and help me out - please tell me if your response is what you THINK or what you KNOW i want to be sure before spending money, thanks guys :) 

-cody.

PS - if i should put this is another forum category please redirect me.

Moved to forum Laptops & Notebooks - G
a b V Motherboard
a b D Laptop
April 16, 2013 1:14:47 PM

The coffee/creamer combination (sugar is even worse), needs to be cleaned from the components. Isopropyl alcohol with lint-free swabs are the best cleaning agent. You can rinse with distilled water (much cheaper than the alcohol). Make sure all is dry before reassembling.

If anything was shorted for an extended period of time (it could take a mere second), it may have damaged components. See if you see "burn marks" or smell burned components.

You might have a 50-50 chance of saving it.
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April 16, 2013 1:30:22 PM

ronintexas said:
The coffee/creamer combination (sugar is even worse), needs to be cleaned from the components. Isopropyl alcohol with lint-free swabs are the best cleaning agent. You can rinse with distilled water (much cheaper than the alcohol). Make sure all is dry before reassembling.

If anything was shorted for an extended period of time (it could take a mere second), it may have damaged components. See if you see "burn marks" or smell burned components.

You might have a 50-50 chance of saving it.


yea the coffee was 3 cream 3 sugar.. so you think i should clean it off in distilled water? how would i go about doing so , would it be ok to submerge it (the motherboard and effected components) for a while then rice dry it for a few days ?
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a b V Motherboard
a b D Laptop
April 16, 2013 1:54:45 PM

The isopropyl alcohol (90% preferred) is good at cutting through "gunk" (sugar/creamer), and removing anything left behind. The sugar/creamer combination will create short circuits on the components. The alcohol will clean it, use the distilled water (it has no contaminants) to rinse it good. Then let it dry. The "rice drying" is good for components where liquids have been spilled, and you can't get to it.

You can submerge components in the distilled water - however, it will take longer to dry....I usually have large lent free cloths that I pour a little distilled water on, and use it to wipe up the areas.

Hopefully it was only circuit boards - the display components, hard drive (it has "breather holes" that are very tiny), and moving parts are the most sensitive to damage.
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a b V Motherboard
a b D Laptop
April 16, 2013 1:55:52 PM

If after all the cleaning and drying, it still won't turn on, I would suggest taking it to an expert to test - laptop components are very expensive...but it could be a $30 board that needs replaced...
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April 16, 2013 1:58:58 PM

ronintexas said:
If after all the cleaning and drying, it still won't turn on, I would suggest taking it to an expert to test - laptop components are very expensive...but it could be a $30 board that needs replaced...


the motherboard it self (exact model) will cost me $150.. i have no problem paying that for it , i just need to be sure. and i have contemplated bringing it to an expert if i cannot get it running on my own
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a b V Motherboard
a b D Laptop
April 16, 2013 2:05:24 PM

The only reason I suggest taking it to the expert - they can tell you what components are fried, if any. Buying and/or RMA'ing parts until you get it right can be costly...I would try to clean it first, and make sure it is dry....
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April 16, 2013 3:00:36 PM

ronintexas said:
The only reason I suggest taking it to the expert - they can tell you what components are fried, if any. Buying and/or RMA'ing parts until you get it right can be costly...I would try to clean it first, and make sure it is dry....


exactly i want to be 100% sure before spending money on parts :) 
just got back from the store got some distilled water and the 99% alcohol i will likely keep you updated in a day or two, thanks for the help :) 
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April 18, 2013 10:39:36 PM

ronintexas said:
The only reason I suggest taking it to the expert - they can tell you what components are fried, if any. Buying and/or RMA'ing parts until you get it right can be costly...I would try to clean it first, and make sure it is dry....


SO! good news!!

cleaned the mobo with alcohol but i didn't want to scrub it too hard and could still see some of the crap on the board if i looked at it under light, so i submerged it in distilled water also for a few hours.. then lket it dry for a day , and rice dried for another day (did the same for keyboard due to stickiness is now good as new and cleaaaan.) put it all back together. the moment of truth..
opened up the laptop after reassembling heard a "click" double checked a few things.. continued powered it up BOOM power it gave me an error "media error, check cable" i was very excited to see it power up the cable i believe is what the click/pop sound was when i pulled up the monitor i believe it pulled one of the cables out will likely update tomorrow if i get it running , very happy at the moment :) !

*quick update* forgot to mention the system starts to beep constantly after the message appears

turns out the keyboard was cause of beeping , so leaving it to dry some more to see if that's why for a few days in the meantime using an external keyboard but there is either something wrong with the hard drive plug or hard drive it self currently trying to figure that out.
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a b V Motherboard
a b D Laptop
April 19, 2013 1:02:36 PM

Hard drives are relatively inexpensive for a laptop - you can get close to a 1TB for $100....so it looks like once the keyboard is dried out, you should be good to go, with only the possibility of replacing the hard drive....

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April 19, 2013 9:04:37 PM

ronintexas said:
Hard drives are relatively inexpensive for a laptop - you can get close to a 1TB for $100....so it looks like once the keyboard is dried out, you should be good to go, with only the possibility of replacing the hard drive....



exactly :p  I'm hoping its the hard drive IF ANYTHING that is, i sure hope the keyboard starts to work, didn't seem to be responsive even trying to enter bios and boot menu.

*update*
yes i have narrowed it down to the hard drive 100% , pulled apart my external threw it in and it was recognizing it and working.

still using external keyboard will let you know tomorrow if the keyboard works or not , i can pick one up for arround $50 which is not too bad, if i can find one without back light (because my back light still works fine) it would be nice and likely cheaper.
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April 22, 2013 1:17:53 PM

ronintexas said:
Hard drives are relatively inexpensive for a laptop - you can get close to a 1TB for $100....so it looks like once the keyboard is dried out, you should be good to go, with only the possibility of replacing the hard drive....



visual water damage in keyboard going to give it a while and use an external for now, as for the hard drive formatted it started installing drivers.... battery died , turns out the power port on my motherboard is messed , so I'm still replacing the motherboard :( , well $220~ to fix and can still sell the full laptop for 1k or a bit more so its worth the investment because i have a few people who want to buy it when I'm out of school ill no longer need it.
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August 3, 2013 9:03:45 PM

I spilled a little amount of water on my alienware a week ago while it was powered on but failed to power itoff immediately.I did it only a couple of minuted later.It over a week now and i hav elet it dry.On switching it on yesterday the mouse didnt move so i installed e drivers and it was fine.But later the screen started flickering and interestingly it flickered only when the mouse is moved or keyboard is pressed.I tried restarting but the problem persisted.and now e laptop doesnt even start.What could be the problem?And my laptop is still under warranty so is there any chance i could get it done under warranty and are there any water indicators in the laptop to let the service people know about the leak.
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