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Mike, Mac Support Specialist
Category: Mac
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Experience:  Apple trained Technician, A+ Certified, 20+ years of Mac support, repairs, training, and consulting
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I have a mid 2009 (about 20 months old) 13 MBP. I spilled

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I have a mid 2009 (about 20 months old) 13" MBP. I spilled some liquid on it last week. Initially, only the keyboard was acting up so I took it apart and attempted to dry some things out. After putting it back together, the monitor now no longer shows up.

The display backlight comes on, but the screen never shows an image. It will however put out the image to an external monitor just fine. However, to initially get it to default to the external monitor, I had to unplug the monitor from the logic board.

Any ideas on where my hang up in the display might be?

Without seeing this in person, I am guessing here, but hopefully a good guess.

The hardware seems to have survived somewhat intact. The Mac boots and shows a Desktop on an External display when the internal is dis-connected from the main board.

So, we have good circuits up to the display connector, my guess, because we still have good output and it only messes up when something is in that connector.

So, we look from the connector, around the connector, the cable end, the cable itself.

What spilled, Wine? Beer? Milk? Depending on the substance, it can have a coating effect where it cuts off the connections between connectors and cables, or, it can have a caustic effect, where the substance can eat away or corrode the metals in the connectors and make them fail.

My first step would be to examine tha bottom of the keyboard and see if there is anything showing like a path of the liquid and where it may have dripped onto main board.

Then, with a magnifying glass, search the entire area, both sides if a significant amount, and clean anything off with distilled water (dryly) and a lint free cloth to dab it clean. Compressed air helps to dry it.

Allow to dry for at least a few hours then re-assemble and test.

I am leaning towards this being the connector and or cable end somehow.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks. That's the best answer I've gotten thus far. Your response did make me think of some details I left out.

What spilled on it was watered down Gatorade. The computer display did work later that day and for a couple days after. It didn't give out until I first disassembled te machine to check for sugar build up in other areas. So I am thinking I screwed it up at that point. It's been only backlight since that point.

The only thing the liquid seems to have affected directly is the keyboard and power button. The keyboard thinks it is constantly on caps lock, certain keys work or don't work at various times, and sometimes it thinks a key is being pressed when none of them actually are. Again, unhooking the keyboard and using a USB one fixes the typing issue. The power button works most of the time. However sometimes instead of shutting down as told, the computer just restarts. Is this getting into logic board issues?

Yes and no.

After dis-assembly, it can be tricky getting the connectors to sit and lock down properly.

I would venture back in and make sure everyone of those connectors is solidly connected to the logic board.

As far as the keyboard/power switch? May still have some wet stuff in there. Try running a fan over it while top case is unscrewed and propped up. Leave it go for about 12-24 hours and see if it restores functionality.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
If I accept your answer and send the cash monies, do we still get to keep the conversation up or will I have to pay again for more follow up info?

Nope, just come back here and sign in.

Reply to this thread to get me back.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Cool. I will check the connections some more, but I am thinking that likely isn't it because I have taken it apart 2-3 more times since the original run through. Also, it doesn't have a top case. Its a unibody. My original post is misleading in that. I say it is a mid 2009, but then I typed 20 months old when i meant to say TWO months old. I'm not sure how I hit the zero.

It has only been a full week drying out as of today, so maybe it is still just a bit wet. Some of the keys are still a bit stiff for sure. Should I pop them off and clean under them?

I've tried going in the back way and taking the logic board out to clean the keyboard...but my screwdriver must have been some really weak steel or something because they got all chipped up and worn out. They're the correct size, but I guess just bad quality.

Unibody, yeah, sorry. I have not had the pleasure of working on one.

Same applies though. The keyboard may be shot. Unfortunate.

I'd give it a shot at aa lttle longer with a fan. That may do it.