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Diagnosing a liquid spill? I have some questions.

So I inherited a Mid 2011 Macbook Air that had a little spill. I have cleaned it out as best I could and am trying to diagnose what parts need replacing.

So far the battery is a sure thing because it will not even attempt any signs of life unless plugged into the power adapter which has a standard green glow.

When I press the power button the fan spins and if I have a USB cable plugged into either port it gives power the the device attached.

However no chime or anything to show it even attempts to boot.

I have a bootable OSX Mountain Lion flash drive however trying to figure out the parts to replace. Could the logic board still be bad even if both USB ports are giving power and the fan will spin?

Could it just need a battery and SSD?



So I ended up ordering a logic board for it and got it working.

Booted fine and got a fresh install of OS-X. I did break the connector for the right speaker in the process but I can get a new one.

The battery is also shot. But hey I'm just happy it works.

Thanks for the tips all.

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2 Answers

Chosen Solution

Hey Josh,

With a liquid spill on that MB Air you could have several problems really. It could be a shorted IC, burnt out resistor or you might just need to do a little more deep cleaning. The only way to really tell is to open up the MB Air and have a look. If it powers on and the fan runs but no chime/boot up then your keyboard is still likely working. Have you tried connecting it to an external monitor to make sure that the display and speakers aren't shot? Liquid might have damaged the connectors for the battery as well. That's pretty much all I can think of right now short of opening it up and having a proper look at the damage from inside.

Best of luck!

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I haven't tried to connect it to a separate monitor yet, I also may need to dig a little deeper. I have opened it up and cleaned it out somewhat.

By somewhat I mean I have taken out the battery and cleaned off the small amount of stuff on the top side of the logic board.

I have not yet tried to completely remove the logic board to see if there is more damage underneath.

I guess that will be my weekend plans and completely remove the logic board and see what I can find.

While this was a free MBA I don't want to get too deep into costs if it is not salvageable.


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Most Helpful Answer

If you don't get a chime you likely need to do some more cleaning. Its possible the keyboard is not working (power switch).

Liquid damaged systems are always hard to diagnose. You'll need to think though how much you are willing to spend here. If you have access to a second like system (same model series - MacBookAir4,2) you could leverage it to test out the different sub assemblies.

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Thanks Dan. the power switch works fine. I can turn it on and off with it, noted by the fan either spinning up or off. Unfortunately I have no other Mac systems, in fact to make the bootable flash drive with Mountain Lion I had to borrow a friends MacBook Pro to get the installer etc.

This was more of a fun project however I'm not sure I'm willing to drop $700 on parts. The biggest issue is that so far things seem to work however I don't want to drop $300+ on a new logic board and have it still not work and then be out the cost of the part. That's why I'm trying to figure out as much as possible before I start buying parts.

What could cause it to get power however not even try and post/chime?

I'm quite proficient in PC repair and whatnot however I haven't worked with a Mac since the PowerPC days.


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Josh will be eternally grateful.
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