Released June 2012 / Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost / Up to 1 GB DDR5 Video RAM

283 Questions View all

Cleaning MBP logic board: possible pitfalls?

So I unfortunately spilled beer on my 2012 Macbook Pro about a month ago. I just took it apart and saw the tell-tell signs of corrosion - a green "crusty" area in a small part of the logic board.

1) Should I even bother bringing this in to an apple technician? They are presumably just going to tell me that its water damaged which I already know. I can't afford paying them ~$200 dollars to clean it for me so would rather just do it myself.

2) I'm thinking of trying to clean out the board using this guide.

Cleaning coffee/splenda corrosion from inside of MacBook Pro

in combination with:

MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2012 Logic Board Replacement

Basically my question is, to anyone who has successfully removed / cleaned a logic board is: Where am I most likely to go wrong? Is there anything not mentioned in the ifixit guide which I should be aware of. Have little experience in repairing electronic components and am, understandably, a bit scared of doing this. Any tips would be hugely appreciated.

Update

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To anyone reading this whose interested in a followup, I successfully did this yesterday. I removed the board and cleaned it with with isopropyl alcohol and a soft toothbrush and got rid of all visible corrosion. Thanks again to those who replied. The hardest things in the job were:

a) re-inserting the logic board into the case

b) re-inserting the keyboard cable into its socket.

These videos are extremely useful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHriXZznK...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQZ_rG9Vp...

This ifixit guide is good but it can be a little vague at times when describing how to remove the cables from the boards so definitely watch the videos.

A magnifying glass is extremely useful for ensuring all signs of corrosion are gone.

This is definitely tricky - some of the cables are not easy to pull out / reattach and i was worried at times that I was going to damage them. But if you're patient and logical about it, its satisfying work and its nice not to have to pay someone a few hundred dollars for something you can do yourself.

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 3

Comments:

Many thanks to rdlinc, Katie and machead3 for the responses.

@rdklinc: removing / reattaching the heat sink is what I'm most worried about so that's great if I don't necessarily need to remove it. Cheers.

@Katie: Indeed, it seems there are so many sensors that it would be virtually impossible for them not to have been activated :-) I'll try and be careful with the cables.

@Machead: Taking photos as I go is a great idea. Many thanks for this, should prove very helpful.

by

Add a comment

6 Answers

Chosen Solution

Before doing anything yourself, I would take it to the Apple store, give them a sob story, and if they don't help you, offer to buy Applecare if they'll swap the board out. I know many people who have done that successfully, especially for newer machines. It's worth a shot.

As far as cleaning the board, though, the instructions in that link look good to me. You basically just need to remove all signs of corrosion. Personally I use compressed air to blow away all residue, etc., after scrubbing with a toothbrush...there's less chance of doing damage that way than trying to use a vacuum and/or cloth. Also, I would disregard the part about taking apart the fan unless there is a specific issue, because you're more likely to cause a problem with it than have any benefit from preventative maintenance (although blowing it out with air never hurts).

I use 91% alcohol and have never had a problem. Sometimes it takes several rounds of cleaning before you get it all...a board has lots of nooks and crannies, so it's difficult to find all the problem areas at once. A flashlight definitely helps. And definitely take the board all the way out, because often there's more corrosion on the other side. Personally, I wouldn't take off the heatsync unless you specifically see corrosion in the area.

Beyond that, if you get as much alcohol on the board as I do, you'll definitely want to allow adequate time to dry before powering on. With 91% alcohol you're probably safe after a few hours, or overnight if you want to be 100% certain.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 5

Comments:

Another useful reference is Electronics Water Damage +

by

Add a comment
Most Helpful Answer

STUDY THE GUIDE before beginning. Purchase all the recommended tools. Study the guide before you start. Take pictures of your own as you proceed. Study the guide before beginning. Separate an label all the screws. Study the guide before beginning. Use soft bristle brushes (artist brushes, not house painter brushes). Completely dry the board after cleaning before applying power and did I mention you should study the guide before beginning?

Seriously pulling, brushing, scrubbing a component/connector off the board is the most common error, that and trying to put too long or short a screw in the wrong hole when reassembling.

If this Answer is helpful please remember to return and mark it Accepted.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 6

Comments:

Some of the ribbon cables use CAMS, you flip up a strip in order to slide the ribbon cable out of the connector, some pin connectors lift up off the board... know the difference.

by

Add a comment

Be very careful removing + reinserting all cables. Especially display, bluetooth and camera. toothbrush + rubbing alcohol is the best process. First remove the fan and see if the water indicators have been turned orange.. I think that's where they are on this model. If they haven't take it to the Apple Store and don't mention water damage. They most likely will be though...

Was this answer helpful?

Score 2

Comments:

Sorry on the 2012 model here are the water sensors http://www.hardmac.com/news/2012/07/03/1.... So don't bother with the apple store.

by

Add a comment

I realized this specific case has been solved but for anyone currently wondering about this DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE!!!

If your laptop is currently soaked with beer or soda or coffee like mine was, you don't have much to lose by trying to revive it yourself. You can do it. Especially after Apple shuts you down with a $750 repair estimate. Stupid liquid indicators.

Anyway,

A coke exploded on my mac. I thought it was fine but two days later the battery died and when I plugged in the charger, no light came on (well, a faint faint green light) and the computer was unresponsive. I thought I had killed it. Apple said they found corrosion and liquid residue inside. Just the replacement logic board was $300 and I would still be taking the whole thing apart. I decided to have faith the board was just shorted out and that nothing had actually fried.

1.) Acquire some thermal compound like the following: Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

EDIT: Wow, ifixit edited my post to substitute their own product in for my amazon link. As of writing this, it is cheaper at Amazon.

2.) Acquire some Torx screwdrivers for the logic board screws (you will need a T6 Torx Screwdriver)

3.) Acquire a toothbrush, the softer the better.

4.) Acquire isopropyl rubbing alcohol, the higher the percentage the better.

5.) Follow a guide to remove the logic board for your specific macbook model. Ifixit has great articles. Keep all parts and screws organized, in the order you removed them for faster reassembly.

6.) Remove everything you can from the logic board, including speakers, microphone, mag safe board, heat syncs and old thermal compound residue (the pasty white stuff under the heat syncs). I wanted to make sure EVERY part of the board would be cleaned if I was going to attempt this.

7.) Dip the toothbrush in rubbing alcohol and gently scrub in little circles around all sides of the small mag safe board for at least five minutes. Take your time and be thorough. You don't want to have to do this again.

8.) Dip the toothbrush in rubbing alcohol and gently scrub in little circles around all sides of the logic board for at least 15 minutes per side. More if you really drenched the thing with soda / beer / vomit or see corrosion. If you need to, you can pour rubbing alcohol right on the board. Get in and between all the connectors and on all sides of the board. Take your time and be thorough. You don't want to have to do this again.

9.) Rinse the small mag safe board and the logic board in the sink under hot (not scalding) water for at least 15 minutes. Yes, this is quite fine to do. Some people think water damages electronics. Water + power damages electronics. Again, spend more time under the tap if you really drenched the thing with soda / beer / vomit. Get in all the connectors and in all sides of the board. Take your time and be thorough. You don't want to have to do this again.

10.) Use a hair dryer on low on each side of the logic board until you can see no water residue. If you see a single drop anywhere, add another five to ten minutes of hair drying. Patience is the key at each step. Keep your hand close to the hot air. If your hand starts burning, you are too close and could damage the solder joints which would seriously ruin the board. Back up and keep the air moving in circles or back and forth over the board. Take your time and be thorough. You don't want to have to do this again.

11.) Put logic board and small mag safe board on paper towel somewhere warm and dry for 24 hours. I put mine on the dryer while it was warm and running, but furnaces work too.

12.) After it is completly dry, you are over the hill. Put a dollop of thermal compound under each heat sync you removed and smooth over the metal part of each processor and replace the heat syncs. You are almost there. Follow the guide in reverse to reassemble your mac, taking your time, watching videos and reading tips.

13.) Put the case cover back on, plug it in, hope for a green light. Mine did nothing for about 10 seconds and I started getting discouraged. Then I wiggled the charger and it turned green, then turned orange. I breathed a sigh of relief.

14.) Power on and pray. Mine again did nothing at first. Then it made the Apple C chord noise. I lost it and and jumped around the kitchen. But then it did nothing for about 20 seconds, the power button did not power it on. Patience. I hit the button one more time and heard the drive click. Once more and the front power indicator light came on, I got the white screen with the Apple logo in front of me, it booted fine and my $750 remained in my pocket.

You can do it.

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste Image

Was this answer helpful?

Score 2

Comments:

Here's iFixit's guide on doing this: Electronics Water Damage

by

Add a comment

I just finished following the directions suggested by everyone on this post.

I ended up using 99% alcohol to wash the logic board, and used a soft tooth brush.

It helped with some issues from the spill, so that is good! Unfortunately my wifi still doesn't work - so I'll try dealing with that next.

Anyway - thank you to everyone who posted on here. It was immeasurably helpful - and the whole process oh-so satisfying!

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0
Add a comment

Are there any good videos to show how to apply thermal paste when you reassemble? I have found info on lots of other things but not that one. Not sure what to do there.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 0

Comments:

Add a comment

Add your answer

Mark will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 3

Past 7 Days: 66

Past 30 Days: 183

All Time: 15,539