Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to save your flooded laptop

This advice is for qualified technicians. 
If you are not qualified, do not continue because you may cause even more damage

How to properly clean laptop AFTER Flood or water damage. In most cases this will get your laptop back on, and if screen is damaged, you can use an external monitor to get your data off.  Backup immediately!!

First I want to mention that this may or may not help.  Depending on the amount of damage done electrically.

1: Do not attempt to turn on your laptop if it has gotten water damage!
2: Remove the battery immediately
3: Disassemble unit completely.
4: Disconnect CMOS battery or remove coin cell.
5: Remove Hard Drive.  (allow it to dry either by sunlight or air dry)
Do not reconnect HDD!, use USB adapter to connect it externally to known working unit.                                             Your data is more important than your laptop or screen!

In most cases your hard drive data should be safe if your unit was not on, or not in use during the event. They are sealed (except vent holes on older drives) SSD may have the best results.

What may be damaged beyond repair
a: LCD/LED screen - water gets between layers of glass and plastic - cost $65-100
b: Keyboard - water gets between membrane and contacts. - cost $12-24
c: DVD/CD - lens may have gotten dirty, but can be cleaned.

How to clean a motherboard after it has been under water.
After removing CMOS battery, place motherboard in pan. (turkey pans work well, or plastic bin)
Using distilled water. Aqua Fina works best, or the 5 gallon jugs from dispenser machines (cheapest method).
Not Dasani, Not sparkling water. 
No fancy brands with added flavors or sugars.

Bring water to boil in pot, or clean coffee pot (Walmart $18) Not a used coffee maker!!
Pour the boiling water over the motherboard, front and back.  Do this 3 times.
Blot on towel, Tap, turn over, Blot again.

Using compressed air, remove as much additional water as possible from the entire board. This includes under the legs of chips and between USB/HDMI connectors, SATA/IDE connectors and do this in a pattern from left to right or right to left. Just remove as much water as possible.

After that is done, set oven to 200 (not higher, higher temps will not help- only harm)
200 degrees should be sufficient to aid in drying, without damaging plastic covers, stickers and labels. Allow oven to preheat to temp. for about 20-30 min.  Check and if all is well and dry set aside a few minutes.

Remove, allow to cool.
Reassemble  - DO NOT CONNECT LCD/LED Screen!!!
test using External Monitor first.

Visually check LCD if it had gotten wet.


Water can become trapped between LCD layers
Water can be trapped inside the lid and short both board and screen!!
Models with CCL back lights use an inverter that takes the 12v through a small transformer and makes it as much as 300v to light the florescent backlight tube. LED screens do not use inverters.

Remember this is not a rush job and to follow steps, because it is a one way path you cannot backup or reverse.

Reassemble unit, and test.  Remember - do not connect LCD/Screen

Notice: I am not able to respond to the multitude of questions. This is simply an attempt to provide an answer for those that need it.

No guarantees, but it may help someone.