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Urgent: Milk on KeyBoard!!!

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  • Homebuilt
  • Dell Inspiron
  • Keyboards
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
February 16, 2007 3:04:45 AM

Hey Guys, sorry for for posting here, but t's really urgent, and I know you guys the best - I just spilled a little milk on my Dell Inspiron 8600 Latop (Keyboard area), and now, the buttons have gone WACKO - each key stands for something else - absolutely no pattern???

Please Help!

(using my Logitech Wireless MX3200 keyboard (desktop) to type this)

More about : urgent milk keyboard

February 16, 2007 3:10:42 AM

Take it apart and clean it carefully with clean water, dry well.

PS. Use a no lint,non static cloth, and deionized water if possible.
February 16, 2007 3:55:52 AM

Ummm...How do I take a laptop keyboard apart? ( have no knowledge of the inner workings of keyboards)
Related resources
February 16, 2007 4:01:29 AM

Only suggested that because of the time of day, I think it will dry on you before you can get it to a professional. If it was water I would suggest just letting it dry, but milk will get sticky.

Personally, I'd open it up and see If I was capable of the job. But I'm in the same boat as you.

PS. If you're in LA maybe you can find someone in the middle of the night? Call Dell and see if they have any advice (doubtful).

PPS. I once successfully cleaned cola out of a desptop keyboard, it wasn't to hard, just had to watch out for little pieces. I assume a laptop will be more complicated.
February 16, 2007 4:28:59 AM

do you know why i get random letters and actions? it seems like i get them on keys that havent been spilled upon too!!???
February 16, 2007 4:48:27 AM

Probably got a short in there somewhere. You are lucky it is running at all. In case you didn't google laptop spills already, here.

I'm worried that milk will be sticky when it dries. You could just dry it out and see. If it is sticky but still working you can either attempt to clean it yourself, or take it to a technician.
February 16, 2007 5:08:02 AM

only thing I could add is blow it out with air. Someone could take it apart, wipe off the copper board below the keys and that would work. Not a job for a beginner.
We have special laptop shops here, but we have almost everything in the land of M$. I take it Dell is out?
February 16, 2007 5:12:19 AM

Same thing happened to me, except it was tea. Download the service manual from Dell. It shows you how to take out the keyboard. Thank god the keyboard has a pan to hold liquid. Don't turn it on while it is still wet or moist. Let it dry with a hair dryer first after removing the keyboard. If it still is flaky, then remove the keyboard and try the de-ionized water on it. Again, all instructions can be found on the Dell website, just look for the service manual.
Worst case, replace the keyboard. Free if it under warranty and you cleaned it up good.

My keyboard works now, it just smells like blueberry tea, which is kind of nice.

As far as "milk" is concerned, next time use tissues! :oops:  :oops:  :oops: 
February 16, 2007 5:29:01 AM

Milk's not too bad, but the fact that you continued running it 'wet' could prove to be an issue.

(I hope that you have a backup keyboard handy.)

On most keyboards there are several screws on the back holding the layers together. There may be also some clips built into the plastic surround that may or may not be easy to access. If you do manage to get it apart with destroying the thing, usually there are two layers inside (sometimes three) consisting of the physical keys, a rubberized sub-layer, and the contact PCB below. The rubberized layer will have carbonised contacts on the PCB side. The physical keys may or may not have mechanical springs as well... Clean the underside of the rubberised surface, and the contact area of the underlying PCB with sterile water, and let dry in a dust-free environment. Re-assemble. Hopefully you haven't blown up the KB's main controller...

Nah. Just get a new keyboard.

And remember that liquids do bad things to input devices.
February 16, 2007 5:45:25 AM

it's a laptop-replacement kyboard?

it seems like the flag,arrow, enter, bckspace keys, space,some letters work - not much letters, though.
February 16, 2007 5:50:20 AM

That is how they will work, one section of the PCB will start shorting, even though the letters are far apart. Same thing happened to my PowerBook 160. I never got permission to kill the kid though
February 16, 2007 5:59:05 AM

Anyway of fixing that?! - This is my only computer right now... :cry: 

Also, when I boot Windows, A series of short beeps come up right after BIOS is laucnched, before windows flying logo - is my HD affected? (beeps happening a few times already)
February 16, 2007 6:04:40 AM

Probably thinks a key is stuck. The hard drive should the last thing to go from a small spill. Best bet right now is take apart the laptop and clean the keyboard. If you feel you do not want to risk it, go to bed and wait until morning.
February 16, 2007 6:05:00 AM

The reason that it is a bit 'random' is that every key has an 'x' and a 'y' axis. So lets imagine the wires in your PCB. There are about 5 or six 'x' axis traces, running vertically. Call your ESC key 'X1'. Now you also have a number of 'y' axis traces. These run vertically. So now your ESC key is the intersection of 'x1' and y1'. When this key is pressed, it generates a signal that cooresponds to that key, which is then then processed by your KB controller and converted to the cooresponding keystroke, which is then sent on to your PC.

So if you spilt milk in the middle, imagine the 'x' and 'y' traces that might be wet.

Fortunately, it was just a backup KB...
February 16, 2007 6:15:30 AM

The good news...you'd be surprised at how resilient laptops are. I've encountered many laptops that had drinks spilled on them and they still worked fine after getting cleaned and/or replacing the keyboard.

The bad news...as others have said...it's kind of a bad idea to keep running it before it's either cleaned or the liquid has dried. I understand that it's your only computer...so it's a bit of a "sticky" situation. HAHA Oh yes, I went there. :wink:

OK, bad puns aside. Even if the keyboard is damaged beyond repair, it's a simple matter for a tech to pop a new one in. I would call Dell ASAP and make sure A: it's still under warranty and 2: how to go about getting it either fixed or replaced.

Assuming not too much milk was spilled, it's very possible that it didn't go past the keyboard and to any other parts. It would seem that it didn't, since you are still using it. But there's no way to know for sure until someone takes it apart.

Someone else suggested looking at Dell's support site for instructions on taking the laptop apart. If you were able to find some documentation that had clear instructions and diagrams, and if you felt comfortable enough to do it, you could try to take the keyboard out yourself. Although, if you're not experienced with laptop hardware, it might be good to wait.
February 16, 2007 8:18:37 AM

If its not to late, go get some cheerios and pour them on your keyboard.

Mmmmmm, cheerios....
February 16, 2007 12:01:30 PM

Quick! Call 1-800-4-MR-BEAN!

He can fix it!



P.S. That's a Dell too! :D 
February 16, 2007 12:13:40 PM

Good news and bad news.
It might just be the keyboard part.
Bad news running it while wet is like driving home once you've blown out your tire. It just makes things worse.
Hopefully you didn't fry the circuitry on the mobo that controls the keyboard where it plugs into it etc. However if you did your mostly screwed and better just external for now/good. Unless you have accidental protection.
February 16, 2007 12:30:10 PM

Quote:
Hey Guys, sorry for for posting here, but t's really urgent, and I know you guys the best - I just spilled a little milk on my Dell Inspiron 8600 Latop (Keyboard area), and now, the buttons have gone WACKO - each key stands for something else - absolutely no pattern???

Please Help!

(using my Logitech Wireless MX3200 keyboard (desktop) to type this)


I hope you have Complete Care!

If so, call dell let them know what happened. They will do some low level stuff to see if they can pin down what needs to be replaced. Most likely they will do a "return to depot". In some severe cases they may do a system exchange. At least, that's what the guy told me when I spilt coffee on mine.
February 16, 2007 12:32:59 PM

Quote:
Good news and bad news.
It might just be the keyboard part.
Bad news running it while wet is like driving home once you've blown out your tire. It just makes things worse.
Hopefully you didn't fry the circuitry on the mobo that controls the keyboard where it plugs into it etc. However if you did your mostly screwed and better just external for now/good. Unless you have accidental protection.


All you need is to take it apart, clean it very well, make it absolutely dry and try it.

All you need are the right tools (usually small philips bits or torx T4/5/6)

ooo wow be careful there. A hairdryer WILL melt the keys on a keyboard of a laptop. My friend has a picture of someone who tried doing that, melted 5 of the keys beyond use and others were deformed.
February 16, 2007 1:02:14 PM

The good news is laptop keyboards can be pretty cheap to replace if you end up having to buy a new one.
I had one from Alienware go out on my new laptop. I asked if they could cross ship and they said yes but they had to use a credit card to do it. The old "IF we get the old keyboard back before 30 days, we won't charge your account." When I inquired what the cost of the keyboard was, he replied $12.00.
BTW usually they are very easy to remove completely once you know the tricks to get them to lift out. Replacing a keyboard shouldn't take you more than 2 min after you figure out how to get it to lift up and out of the laptop.
February 16, 2007 1:14:03 PM

Occasionally/usually there are a few screws to remove though.
February 16, 2007 1:34:07 PM

Quote:
Ummm...How do I take a laptop keyboard apart? ( have no knowledge of the inner workings of keyboards)



With that statement send it back to Dell with an explanation of what you did.
February 16, 2007 2:19:53 PM

You can send desktop keyboards through the dishwasher. You have to take it apart first, though. I have never tried it with a notebook keyboard (too many small parts).
February 16, 2007 3:05:14 PM

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine knocked a full cup of hot black coffee onto his Macbook keyboard. He of course went ape-s*#t. It was still running while the coffee was spilling over it.

So we shut it off and let it dry on the window-sill. In the meantime I called Apple to find out if they would cover any damage. They replied with a resounding "no." So after an hour or two of drying, we turned it on and it worked just fine.

It still works today, but it smells strongly of 7-11 coffee.
February 16, 2007 6:40:11 PM

I've got an 8500, which is basically the same, and I just finished tearing it down to clean out all the lint/dust and crap it had accumulkated in 4 years. I imagine, this is an older laptop and the warranty is out, so go for it. It isn't hard....

To get the keyboard off, look to the left side at the top corner, where the blue stripe runs around the keyboard. You'll see a small inlet that you can get a small screwdriver into and gently pry up. This will remove the whole piece of trim that contains the power button, volume, lights and stuff. It can be tough to get off, fold your screen all the way open to facilitate this. Once loose, there is a small plug on the right end that connects this panel to the MB, unplug it.

Now you should see two small screws through two black/silver tabs at the top of the keyboard. Use a #0 or #1 phillips screwdriver to loosen them. after they're out (but before you loose them) lift the keyboard out by raising the top side first, there's a couple small tabs on the sides that will pop out and then slide up to release the tabs that hold the bottom down. when you get it free, there will be another ribbon cable to unplug from the MB.

How you clean it from ther is up to you. Replacements on ebay for $8-$20.

Ebay

Hope that helps.
February 16, 2007 9:23:46 PM

Quote:
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine knocked a full cup of hot black coffee onto his Macbook keyboard. He of course went ape-s*#t. It was still running while the coffee was spilling over it.

So we shut it off and let it dry on the window-sill. In the meantime I called Apple to find out if they would cover any damage. They replied with a resounding "no." So after an hour or two of drying, we turned it on and it worked just fine.

It still works today, but it smells strongly of 7-11 coffee.


You guys got off lucky.

My roommate in NYC had an iBook. One day his cat decided to relieve herself (#1) on the keyboard. I kid you not.

As you can imagine...the laptop smelled sooo bad afterward. We basically had to plug our noses whenever we were using it.

I think he either trashed it or something once he got a new powerbook. But that laptop will forever be known as the "Cat-Pee iBook".
February 16, 2007 10:59:05 PM

Thanks for all the Info, all you guys -

How did the Milk screw up the keyboard? - is it short- circuited, stickied?...

Also, to some guys - it's not a spare keyboard - it's the actual board itself, and I got it almost 3 years ago, so no warranty there.

And about that beeping noise.....keys stuck??!!
February 16, 2007 11:47:59 PM

When you normally press a key on a keyboard you cause two contacts under the key to short. They are connected to a controller with leads. The controller interprets the shorted leads as a keypress.
Milk kan short any contacts or leads causing the controller to belive some keys are pressed. What might be causing the beeps is that when you keep pressing keys when the computer starts the buffer of the keybord may quickly fill up and then it will stop accepting new keys and give a beep on a keypress.
The erratic keys may also be caused by the shorting milk. If you have a lot of it there then pressing one key could cause the current to go other way,

If some of the milk got on the actual controlling circuit it could demage it permanently, so lets hopoe its not the case.
Thats why is very important to turn off all electricity quickly when a spill occurs.

Anyways what you need to do is (as stated here already):
Clean the keybord off the milk (if you cant, ask someone else - it needs to be taken apart). THERE IS NO OTHER WAY.
Bathing the parts that are not electronic is okay (keys themselves, plastic plates) but on the leads and contacts i would just use a moist cloth. Water isnt that bad for electronics as long as they are not ON while wet.
DRY everything before swithing anything on. NEVER TURN ON WET ELECTRONICS.

When you cleaned it nice, put it back and test. If it doesnt work - its bad. Trash it. Replace. Get a stand alone kaybord or a new laptop, whatever.
February 17, 2007 12:31:48 AM

*fap fap fap*

Guys I spilled milk on my keyboard too.

:roll:
February 17, 2007 12:42:41 AM

No need in :cry:  over spilled milk :roll: . Do not drink around your rig. That is the best advice you can get.
February 17, 2007 1:47:04 AM

Quote:
Anyway of fixing that?! - This is my only computer right now... :cry: 


Post some GOOD, BIG screenshots and I'll circle the areas and give detailed descriptions of how to take the keyboard out... >,>
February 17, 2007 1:48:13 AM

Quote:
only thing I could add is blow it out with air. Someone could take it apart, wipe off the copper board below the keys and that would work. Not a job for a beginner.
We have special laptop shops here, but we have almost everything in the land of M$. I take it Dell is out?


Hehe. This is the best title ever. But yeah, we do have everything in Seattle. 8O Traffic too. LOL
February 17, 2007 2:39:31 AM

what kinda milk was it?

get out the churn, churn milk in the old days was good fer makin butter :) 

heavy milk

half n half milk

2% or 1% milk

skim or whole?

hey there ya go...shut it down immediately , sop it up with papaer towels, in the nooks n crannies, dont add water, then use a blow dryer for at least an hour on medium or low in the area of da spill.

any warranty on the laptop?
February 17, 2007 4:08:22 AM

Will do -

PCSideline - read my next to last post.
February 18, 2007 4:35:05 AM

W00t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eeything seems to work now when I turned it on just now - except I get the beeping still, and the "v" (copied and pasted from elsewhere) and the uppercase t don't work.

Suggestions?
February 18, 2007 5:03:43 AM

Quote:
Hey Guys, sorry for for posting here, but t's really urgent, and I know you guys the best - I just spilled a little milk on my Dell Inspiron 8600 Latop (Keyboard area), and now, the buttons have gone WACKO - each key stands for something else - absolutely no pattern???

Please Help!

(using my Logitech Wireless MX3200 keyboard (desktop) to type this)


Hey, ive got an 8600 as well, actually typing on it now. Damn good laptop has lasted for 3 yrs. so far without any issues. Never got to try out that expensive 4 yr warranty. What you got in her? Ive got a 1.6ghz Pentium M 725, 1.25gb of ram (just upgraded from 512), a dvd+rw, 60gb hd, ATI 9600Pro Turbo 128mb GPU, as well as the clincher a 15.4" WUXGA 1920x1200 LCD w00t!!

Cant say the same for the MX3200 though, I got it on friday as a replacement for my fried MX3100 and I must say it is in no way a proper replacement.

Anyhow, good luck fixing your 8600, hope it lasts you another decade :lol:  .
February 18, 2007 10:10:38 AM

well congratz....i would use the hair dryer on medium or low again over the spill area for another 2 hrs straight
February 19, 2007 4:22:51 PM

doesn't work?
February 20, 2007 11:00:17 PM

SO Deu, its been 5 days since your orig post, IS IT STILL BEEPING?

What about trying a 2nd external keybrd plugged into a UBS port or other port.

If it still makes weird beeps or chars with an external keybrd then thres a remote possiblity that the keybrd controller on ur mobo may be fried.

To change it usually means replacing the motherbrd. 8O
February 20, 2007 11:32:48 PM

You require a new laptop keyboard. Buy one from you vendor.

Remember not to pour milk into your laptop again.
February 21, 2007 12:24:23 AM

dont you have a warranty for accidental damages? thats all i can think of. trying to fix a laptop yourself is risky business, if you dont have a warranty then maybe its time for a new laptop anyway :) 
February 21, 2007 12:42:30 AM

Quote:
If its not to late, go get some cheerios and pour them on your keyboard.

Mmmmmm, cheerios....


LOL!
I was thinking more like a piece of bread and a knife... milk will turn into butter slowly due to the heat coming out from the CPU... then all you need is a little honey on top of it too and you are done!
February 21, 2007 1:04:08 AM

No Guys!XD - No beeping, and everything "back to normal."
Have tried various typing/games on it - left side of keys slightly less "springy," but only if you are a perfectionist, you can feel it.

to Mobius - You make it sound like It was a habit XD /JK

To the breakfast bunch - I don't really like cheerios - Toast crunch w00t!!!

Will post back if trouble ascendsXD -

Will go back posting on the Forumz!
February 21, 2007 1:16:13 AM

Milk is bad, it's a mild acid. On older Dells the screws that hold in the keyboard are labeled with a K. On newer laptops I don't think they do that anymore. Either way you can Google for the service manual if you're not adventurous. The keyboard runs from $50-150 and is connect with one or more ribbon cables that may be of the delicate variety.
February 21, 2007 1:42:01 AM

Milk is actually a mild base!

Wow I actually paid attention during chemistry class :D 

Maybe some lemon juice would neutralize it, but I wouldn't recommend it :wink:
February 21, 2007 1:49:45 AM

Lemon juice would make it even more acidic hehe

ALL milk products except for one are acidic:

http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/lacf-phs.html

The Peptonized version is used in special testing. It is very slightly basic at pH 7.1

neutral pH is 7.00

Acids are 1.0 to 6.99

Bases are 7.01 to 14.00

The Cow milk that we drink is in the 6 range which means acidic.
February 21, 2007 1:52:03 AM

THnx for saying its back to normal Deu, we love ya!
February 21, 2007 2:03:10 AM

:lol:  dammit! :oops: 

well, maybe you could neutralize it with bleach!

c'mon, for the sake of science! :) 
February 21, 2007 2:03:41 AM

Interesting thread. I'll remember this one for a while.
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