1

Laptop Model: Gigabyte Aero 14 (2018 spring i7-8750H edition)

At very beginning my OS Windows 10 started showing SMART alert and then one morning PC didn't boot any more. I have suspected SSD failure - because PC was still booting fine from USB stick. Laptop was purchased a bit over a year ago and still covered by warranty so I dropped it at service hoping to get cover and this is where surprise came back from them after a week. I was told laptop was damaged by water and since this is not covered under warranty I was suggested repair at cost of $1100 (laptop was originally purchased for ~$1700) or to take it back. They sent me pictures that according to them indicate water damage (referring to that brown stuff):

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

At first I believed it and I thought okay maybe fans sucked in humidity (for example iced drinks condense a pool of water on table close to laptop, or maybe rain and bag that is not waterproof enough) and over time humidity took a toll on components. But when I got my laptop back and opened to inspect closer I started doubting everything what warranty service told me. I also replaced SSD with one from different laptop and it booted up perfectly like nothing happened.

One thing I can't figure out is what is that brown gulk and where did it came from. Is it dust mixed up with humidity like I was told? I googled up what are those electronic elements that appear to be covered in brown stuff just around CPU and my search suggest that it is a line of capacitors. I know old larger type of capacitors used to be prone to bulking up and spilling out brownish liquid which to my inexperienced eye at least look very similar to what I have in my laptpo. So my theory is that this brown thing came from this line of capacitors. There is some of that brown stuff also on memory slot which I think I can explain. Looking at the bottom shield of laptop I see a leak starting at the location of capacitors and then running in a line straight towards the edge of laptop, passing through memory card and SSD. This can easily happen if leak deposited some liquid on the bottom of the laptop and then when I put my laptop in a bag vertically liquid would flow towards edge of laptop covering memory slot in brown because it's almost touching the bottom.

I called warranty service to express my doubts about water damage but so far was just told that my theory can't be correct because these capacitors are new type of capacitors and they don't leak. But I nevertheless was invited to come to service again to discuss the situation.

SSD drive probably wont be brought back to life and needs to be replaced. With warranty or without it's still at least far less than $1000 USD suggested repair cost so I'm still happy about this. But I'm wondering If that brown liquid did indeed came from some components of laptop be it capacitors or something else it can't be good in longer run. What kind of consequences/problems I might be expecting in future? Is SSD and this brown leak just a coincidence or possibly related (maybe heat problem)? And is there any chance for me to prove to warranty service that this damage was not caused by water and thus at least they should cover SSD cost.

  • Make and model number? Please obtain model number from serial number plate, then update the question by clicking edit and adding information to original question. Please do not click Add Comment; please use edit instead.Also, if you know a chemist, ask them to take a sample and find the pH of the mystery gunk. – K7AAY Jul 24 at 18:38
1

The brown goo extends over the whole width up to the SSD socket, so a lot of some fluid has entered the case, whenever that was, but not leaking capacitors for sure. This is also not glue, resin etc., it looks like coffee. I suppose the SSD was killed by a short-circuit at its socket. Short circuits may have happened at other spots, too, but the dirt has dried and might not be conductive any more. The SSD seems to be the only loss so far, so be happy with the computer. Yet say goodbye to warranty, unless you can prove you received it with this damage. If keyboard and case were totally clean when you got it, you have a point.

If I had to repair this and give warranty for the whole computer, I would insist on replacing everything that was contaminated or can have exposed to a short circuit. This will be most of what I can see, nearly all of the internal parts.

  • This probably was it. Not sure what was the liquid or when/how it got inside but it seems it must had been some sort of liquid. – Ski Jul 27 at 16:47
2

I'm not so sure about the blown capacitors theory, since replacing the SSD fixed the problem.

The brown resin/goo can be some kind of sealant or glue/wax that was carelessly applied and has run over the motherboard. It might be that the most you can ask is for the motherboard to be cleaned (or do it yourself). I would check the motherboard for a strange smell, but I wouldn't spend my force on proving capacitors damage.

Concentrate instead on demanding the replacement of the malfunctioning SSD. This is at least something that you can use to prove that there was no water damage. Then wait for something to go wrong (or hopefully never).

0

I believe this is a leaky capacitor situation. The worst of it is all around the bases of the capacitors, and hasn't spread far at all.

Water damage would have spread farther across the board, and is usually clear or translucent white.
This is a brown colour with some viscosity. It won't spread far.

The laptop must have been left on its side for some time after the capacitors started leaking, for it to reach your RAM slot. The spreading to the RAM slot could also be assisted by some humidity or very light water damage giving the electrolyte a low enough viscosity to slide over to the RAM slot.

EDIT: My answer is probably wrong, those capacitors likely have solid electrolytes which can't leak. I wasn't aware they were a thing.

  • 1
    This theory seems pretty unlikely. The capacitors shown in the second photo look like solid polymer capacitors -- they don't have a liquid electrolyte that can leak. – duskwuff Jul 24 at 21:09
  • Oh, I didn't even know there were solid electrolytes. thanks – udlp Jul 25 at 1:23
  • Further reading: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymer_capacitor – duskwuff Jul 25 at 4:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.