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I have an early white MacBook that has been through a few adventures with a toddler. After the last liquid spill, the power button stopped working but batteries still charge and the power light on the cable still comes on.

Thinking it was just a dead top case, I bought a couple of working used top cases, but no luck. The laptop still doesn't respond to the power button.

There is no corrosion on the logic board.

Is there anything else that I should be checking, or can I assume that the laptop is totally dead?

Edit: I just found some scorch marks by where the MagSafe adapter connects to the Logic Board. It's hosed.

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It's dead, Jim! :) ... if you don't have the necessary diagnostic tools and easy access to spare parts, try a repair shop. but ask for a quote first. – Molly7244 Jan 6 '10 at 1:54
Yeah, any repair on this one is far more than the value of the laptop. Frankly, I'm shocked it lasted this long. As far as spare parts go, I have a few options. – aehiilrs Jan 6 '10 at 2:07
Oh man, she dumped tea in my macbook pro today, and now it's a goner. FFFFFFFUUUUUUUU..... – aehiilrs May 10 '10 at 6:49
Small update - lots of rubbing alcohol, q-tips, and a month of sitting doing nothing and now? I'm typing from it! – aehiilrs Jun 24 '10 at 3:29
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The most important thing is to remove the battery and not turn on the machine until you know for certain that it's 100% dry, inside and out. It sounds like it's a little late for that, but don't give up quite yet.

Some liquids are more corrosive than others. Personally, I have a policy of only dumping water on my electronics. If you just spilled water on it, you might be in luck. If it was coffee, or soda pop, your chances just got significantly worse. The two computers I've known of that encountered Gatorade and Ramen, respectively, didn't survive.

About a year ago, I spilled a large glass of water (20 oz or so) on my laptop while it was running, the day before a business trip. I completely dismantled it and let it dry for a week while I was gone on the trip. I've heard of other people burying waterlogged electronics in a bucket of rice or a large pile of silica gel packets to suck the extra moisture out of the internals. If you do this, I'd suggest that you put the laptop (or its components) into a well-sealed cloth bag to keep the rice or silica gel from infiltrating your hardware.

Several years ago, I also had a cell phone that took a swim, and it still didn't work after I had dismantled it and dried it out for a week (this was before I knew of the rice/silica gel trick). I filed a claim with the insurance company and bought a new phone. About a month after the first phone got wet, I was fiddling with the old phone again--and not only did it turn on, but it had absolutely nothing wrong with it (aside from the buggy software, but that wasn't the water's fault).

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Yeah, that happened long ago actually. We left it a good week or so before touching it. It's strange, though. There really doesn't seem to be anything fried or corroded, which makes this completely unlike the last soaked laptop I saw. Also, this wasn't much water. Maybe a tbsp or two. – aehiilrs Jan 6 '10 at 2:00
I'd still try the rice/silica method--anything that can suck out any lingering moisture from between circuit traces or underneath electronic components is worth a shot. – rob Jan 6 '10 at 2:16
I'm marking this as the answer because it's a good answer for water damage. It turns out that the actual damage was done months ago when the laptop was dropped on its edge; the logic board was scorched where the power comes in. – aehiilrs Jan 6 '10 at 5:29
Thanks. Sorry to hear the computer is toast, though. – rob Jan 9 '10 at 21:45
Yeah, it kind of sucks. On the plus side, a big-box office store here had the Eee 1000HE on sale for $197 Canadian, so she now has a tiny laptop as a replacement. – aehiilrs Jan 13 '10 at 17:17

Typically the power board in a macbook is separate from the main logic board. You may just be able to replace that one small board (where the magsafe connector plugs in). I've made that repair on several macbooks successfully. You can pick up a used power board on ebay for around $50. Check for more details and instructions.

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Sadly, the power board is fine. The scorch is actually on the logic board where the power board plugs in. – aehiilrs Jan 6 '10 at 15:09

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