Mid 2010 Model A1278 / 2.4 or 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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MacBook failing on startup after beer spill

On Sunday I spilled beer on my MacBook keyboard. I quickly turned it off, cleaned up the keyboard, and opened the bottom case to clean it up. I disconnected power and battery and used a dry cloth and some alcohol to dry up any beer I could find. The only place I found beer was around the sub-woofer, so I focused there. I let the machine dry for a few days and Tuesday tried to power it up.

It begins to boot up, I get the chime and the apple and the spinning pinwheel thing for about 8 seconds, and then it goes black. I took it to an Apple store and they want $755 to refurbish the thing. Before I fork over the $$ I would like to try whatever you experts think might help diagnose whether my board is fried or what the main issue might be. The machine charges, and I have plugged the HD into an adapter and am able to access the data, etc. It seems to be functional. What's next?

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There was some liquid in the corner by the sub-woofer, but nowhere else that I could see. I didn't tear it all down though. Maybe that is the next step.


Alcohol (beer) created the problem and Alcohol (rubbing) solved the problem :) This was my second spill (first coke 2 yrs back, then beer 2 weeks back) and after the beer spill, my MBP 13" 2011 processing speed and trackpad was slow like !&&* (battery was fine). I removed the logicboard and battery as per the ifixit.com users' guide. Most time taking part was identifying appropriate screwdrivers so I had to buy one toolkit "Mastercraft Precision Electronics Screwdriver Set" 66 pieces (057-3624-4) that served my purpose. I cleaned the logic board and battery with rubbing alcohol (with a toothbrush). Kept near table fan for half hour for drying. Then I reassembled the whole unit and it works even better than before. There were previous spill marks (from coke) and lot of dust inside. Thanks ifixit.com team - you saved me $500-$600 that I was considering to spend in a windows machine.


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When you say you took off the bottom and cleaned up beer, does that mean there was beer on the inside of the laptop that had drained down through your keyboard? If so, then (obviously, sorry) it covered a lot of critical components. I'd check the logic board and everything else quite thoroughly to make sure there's no corrosion or anything obviously ruined.

On another note, if it lasts for eight seconds I personally would check the heatsinks secondly. The beer might have affected the thermal compound, so I'd take the heatsink off, clean off the processor and heatsink, and reapply some Arctic Silver. You can find the guide here:

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2010 Heat Sink Replacement

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UPDATE: Yesterday I tore it down to the topcase. I removed the logic board, hard drive, fan, subwoofer, speakers, etc. and I didn't find a drop of liquid, or evidence of any on any component (other than the subwoofer which I had previously cleaned up. I removed the heat sink and cleaned off all the silver...no evidence that anything was amiss. I am just waiting now to re-assemble the logic board, as I need to procure Arctic Silver. What I did find is that the beer spill (other than where it leaked into the back of the machine by the subwoofer) was contained nicely to the upper case area, and further, to the area under the keyboard. My main question at the moment is, could the keyboard and power button be damaged to the point that they are not allowing the machine to boot completely? My next step is to put my logic board in my partner's macbook pro and see if it boots up. Is there any danger to my partner's machine in doing that if the logic board is at fault? Thanks for the help thus far.


That's good that it was contained to the topcase. It sounds possible that it's created a short in such a way that it sends the wrong signals to the logic board. Possible, but I'm not sure how likely it is. If you're careful about the transplant then it is almost completely safe to put your logic board in his machine.


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Julia will be eternally grateful.
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