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  1. #1
    Bronze Lounger
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    Liquid spilled onto keyboard

    And we're talking about a laptop here, friends!

    I work for an electronics retailer. Today I took a phone call from a very distressed college student who'd spilled "juice" onto the keyboard of her Compac Presario laptop computer. Bummer. She wanted me to tell her how to clean up the mess--seems her keystrokes are now producing repeating strings of letters. (Surprised? Neither am I.) I remember vividly the time I spilled coffee with cream and sugar onto a desktop keyboard. Flushing the keyboard with distilled water helped, but didn't repair the damage. The real fix was easy: I bought a new keyboard for less than $20.

    But what about this laptop keyboard? How serious a problem does she have? Is this something a do-it-yerselfer should attempt? Should she (a) replace the computer, ([img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] keep the computer but use it with a regular keyboard or try to flush the keyboard with distilled water or some other agent and blow-dry it?

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Liquid spilled onto keyboard

    Oh my - the memories!

    I once spilled a half-cup of hot chocolate into an IBM Thinkpad laptop (emphasis on the word into). Good thing we had a maintenance agreement so IBM would fix problems regardless of how they happened... The only internal component that survived was the hard drive. Everything else had to be replaced (system board, RAM, floppy drive, etc...) - OUCH! <img src=/S/ouch.gif border=0 alt=ouch width=15 height=15>

    In your client's case, if the liquid didn't penetrate the case of the laptop the costs to clean up and repair should be much lower (as well as the level of mental anguish and nights of lost sleep...). As you noted, desktop keyboards are "disposable" in such an incident, but laptop keyboards are MUCH more critical and irreplacable.

    My Dell Inspiron 8000's keys appear to be "detachable" (similar to standard desktop keyboard), but I haven't tried to pop them off yet. I wouldn't think this is exactly a do-it-yourself situation unless your client's Compaq keys are removable. In which case removing the keys and cleaning with Q-tips and alcohol should work just fine.

    HTH

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Liquid spilled onto keyboard

    It's fairly risky to try and clean the goo out since all the components are so close together in a laptop. If you have a Radio Shack nearby, they sell a product called "TV Tuner Cleaner and Lubricant" that can help - the goo may still be there, but you can spray this stuff in between the keys (with the unit OFF!) and then work the keys - mash them real good, repeat as needed - and she may get away with a Java-enabled notebook for her experience. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> Beyond that, I would not advise a DIY job.
    -Mark

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Liquid spilled onto keyboard

    I wouldn't hold out much hope for any component that had anything with a sugar base to it spilled in/on it. Water or even black coffee usually isn't too bad.
    Juice or coffee with cream and sugar.......well, even if you really luck out and it appears to be back in working order, I have seen where the sugar reacts to
    certain metals and forms a "green corrosive gunk" of sorts and this stuff eats at connections and so on to the point where a wire for example is reduced to a needle point and finally breaks open. There goes the laptop. At any rate, I wouldn't trust it as far as I could throw from there on.
    Not very good news I'm afraid.
    Bob <img src=/S/groan.gif border=0 alt=groan width=16 height=15>
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Liquid spilled onto keyboard

    Tell her to make a backup and then list it on eBay.

    Just kidding!

    I think that newer laptops have some kind of isolation between the keyboard openings and the rest of the mechanicals, at least, I really hope there is. It would be worth peeking inside to see how far the juice went before pronouncing it DOA.

  6. #6
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    Re: Liquid spilled onto keyboard

    Thanks to all of you for your comments! I haven't heard any more from this young lady, but if I do I'll pass on your advice.

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