Saving your laptop from a liquid spillage.

Accidents do happen, and will always do. One of the worst tech mistakes we make is spilling over computers with our own irresistible drinks of  choice, it could be water ,orange crush, or a beer but the impact is almost the same though some alcoholic spirits clear up faster, this is not an encouragement  for their  consumption, especially when “driving” your computer.

Yet no computer or mobile device is impervious to liquid spillage, most laptops now have a plastic sealing below the keyboards to keep fluid from leaking into the computer circuitry or rather slow down the process. When liquids meet electronics, you can’t afford waste time.

Never wait  for the long  shut down process, time is ticking go straight for a quick  shutdown by pressing and holding the power button or completely remove the computer from power source or battery, the dangers of such hard shutdown can never be compared to liquid penetration on an operational computer.

Soon after the immediate shutdown, Wipe away any visible liquid then tilt the computer to the side to drain any liquids. You should then remove any removable parts from the laptop especially the hard drive, including the power cord, printer and mouse, CD/DVD drive, modem cards and battery and battery if you had not. In a desktop environment you will be probably worried about just the keyboard, unplug immediately and follow the upcoming tips

Once the parts are removed, gently tilt the computer in a variety of directions to verify that there are no pools of liquid lurking, but be careful not to shake them, you can now dry up your parts separately with a lint-free cloth to avoid further water damage

Allow the computer and its removable parts to dry for 48 hours before you reassemble it and turn it back on. Let the laptop drain from the CD/DVD Rom side, this side does not have so much electronic circuitry and will permit water to flow easily.

If you had spilt so much liquid, the only option is to open your device or keyboard, taking chances on your soaked device is disastrous. If the thought of opening up your expensive toys scares you, that’s understandable, but just remember that any chance is better than no chance at all.

Before you open up your electronic device always ground yourself by touching a metal part of any other object connecting to the ground. Static electricity can be very high voltage. Static discharge from your hands and body can destroy even a dry computer.

If its only the keyboard that has been affected, completely unscrew it. If you won’t remember to match back the keys then you might want to take a snap with your camera before you proceed. Take it all apart including the ribbon cable and dry up any visible liquid. If the liquid was not just water but is sticky, it is now time to fight fire with fire. Some liquids can corrode internal circuit board and lead to irreversible damage and hard drive failure

To make them work again, Immersethem in water, yes deeply soak them. The damage does not happen when the laptop gets wet, the damage occurs when the current from the battery short circuits due to the water which can really put you out a couple hundred dollars.

Although tap water contains some chemical compositions which may further damage your electronic circuits, to perfectly reach all angles the use a toothbrush, especially your wife`s, (remember never to mention about it even after years after) gently rub to avoid damage to your components

For non-water spills it may be necessary to rinse the circuit board and other non-moving components with deionized water. Tap water may leave deposits and cause electrical shorts. Do not over rinse! While the circuit board and other non-moving components handle water, only rinse as much as needed. Pure ammonia or denatured alcohol can work perfectly good to rinse up electronic devices. These can be bought from supermarkets or hardware shops.

After the soakings allow it to dry for at least 48 hours in a well ventilated spot or use a bowl of rice, or place the parts in a desiccant, such as silica gel it perfectly sucks out moisture.

For a quick dry, place the laptop in an area of low heat either by a space heater, radiator or other location of warmth. Let it dry for 24 hours. High levels of heat may cause oxidation and corrosion.

Never use hair dryers, Blow dryers can blow liquid deeper into the circuit board and internal components of your laptop, cause static problems, blow dust and particles into the laptop, melt plastic components and other terrible things like warping the circuit board. Low heat setting may do the job well if applied with caution though.

 Once its thoroughly dried up, cross your fingers reassemble the units make sure the laptop is absolutely dry before turning it back on. If these procedures are correctly followed, most liquid damaged devices will always come back to life.

Toneo Ndebele Rutsito is a compTIA hardware, cisco certified network engineer and linux administrator email:[email protected] follow me on twitter @toneo1st

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