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1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache

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Backlight won't work after spill damage

Hi everybody!

I spilt water on my Macbook air 13" mid-2012 overnight and it has been working the rest of the night before I realized and shut it down the next morning.

Couple days later I tried to turn it on and it "works" but the battery is dead (well that's what the computer says and it only works when directly connected to power) and the backlight doesn't work.

I bought a new battery hoping it does the trick as for the backlight I'm not sure what to do.

As you can see on the picture, my whole logic keyboard is oxidized yet backlight seems to be my only problem (computer works great when plugged on an external screen and I can see through the little apple the screen is displaying when I put a light behind it).

Anyways here are my couple questions concerning backlight and overall oxidation:

-how to clean as well as possible the logic board so new failures don't appear?

-should I not touch the "working" parts in case I actually finish to kill them while cleaning them?

- which is the cable linking the logic board and the screen that is responsible for backlight? Is there any chance just cleaning the oxidation of the connector of this cable could get me the backlight back?

-how to diagnosed why the backlight won't work? Could it be the whole screen? Should I change the whole logic keyboard?

Thank you for everything, will be happy to add any necessary precision :-)


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Hugo, just to add to what my colleague machead3 already suggested. I would take the whole logic board and submerge it in a backing soda/ sterile water mix and use a soft tooth brush to clean it. After that rinse it with isopropyl alcohol. Repeat this step a few times. Then evaluate for some real damage. Right now a lot of it is corrosion and it might look worse than it is. The backlight does have a fuse and a driver that could have gotten damaged. The other issue, is the display connector. Those pins love to quickly corroded away. Some of those carry the backlight signal. Take a good look at the connector for that type of damage. If the pins have corroded away, you might fix them by soldering a small bridge between them. Right now you have not much to lose...:-)


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2 Answers

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I'd shop around (explore some solutions and costs). Cleaning the board and replacing the controller/aka fuse for the backlight could fix your problems.

If you're having keyboard problems you need a replacement top case. Cleaning is something you could try (if it's thrashed you have nothing to lose). You need some soft brushes, deionized water, 91% or better alcohol/dielectric cleaner you' can try to stay away from the non-damaged portions of the logic board - take care not to rip off connectors (study the guide for replacing the logic board - not just read or look at it)… and someone (local shop?) to solder/repair the board (it takes special tools, solder and lots & lots of practice).

The "simple" (though its and advanced job) DIY fix is to replace the logic board.

Follow the tags at right for repairing liquid damage (it's a major DIY project)

OR you could part out the machine, take the money you'd spend on repairs along with the money from selling the machine and get a replacement (maybe refurbished) laptop.

Only you know how much time and money you can afford to put into a DIY repair. FIWIW not everything has to be done by you (it's ok to let a professional do the complicated things) while you put in sweat equity.

If this answer is acceptable please remember to return and mark it.

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Great tips, thanks a lot man :-)


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Hi, thank you very much for your help!

i have a couple questions regarding your suggestions:

- Could you tell me what exactly is sterile water (or backing soda)? Is it water without minerals? Like distilled water? I tried to google it but I'm kind of confused with what it might be (I'm french ^^).

- How long should I submerge the whole logic board? Couple seconds/minutes/hours?

- Do you have any idea how long I should wait for the logic board to dry up? By default I'd say 24h but maybe some components are soaked with water and might need more time?

- Should the last cleaning be with isopropyl alcohol or should I rince it one last time with the sterile water?

- Last but not least: as I mentioned, everything is working but the backlight (so far at least), is there any risk this operation might damage the whole logic board?

Haha sorry if it sounds like I wanna hold you accountable, I don't! I just never repaired any electronics and wanna gather as much information as I can before trying to do so. I'm perfectly conscious there's no warrantee and to save money one has to take risks.

Thanks again!


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Hugo will be eternally grateful.
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