Trackpad partly stopped functioning after tea spill?

Hello,

A few days ago I spilled tea over my MBP, and quite a lot. It was all over the trackpad, bottom right part of the keyboard and right speaker. I immediately held my MacBook upside down, turned it off and gravity helped out a lot: almost everything still works.

Afterwards I opened the back cover to remove any moisture inside the case. There was some but not too much. All crucial parts in that area (harddisk, battery, optical drive) luckily still work, I've removed the keys that got wet and removed the moisture under them, so I'm pretty sure most of it is dry now :-)

I do have one big problem now: the button functionality of the trackpad is gone. The first day after turning it on again, it still worked, but if I clicked the 'click' sound you normally hear was really soft. Probably due to water under the glass trackpad. Now, the sound is exactly as it should be, but I cannot 'click' the pad anymore (no left or right mouse click). (multi-touch) taps and swipes still work.

Does anybody have any ideas? I've seen this thread:

How do I repair my track pad

But it's related to an older model trackpad, the one without the button integrated in the glass, so the part number mentioned there is not for me.

Would it help to open up the case again and remove the battery? Would I be able to clean the trackpad from inside then, or is there another layer in between?

Thanks a lot for any help!

Kind regards,

Pieter

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hello pieter i'll be interested to know how you did, because i got the same problem now,thanks

regards

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I just had the same problem. I spilled hot chocolate on my macbook air, but my screen turned black, it gives the sound that it is turning on but no light and the charger port does not light up when connected. Any idea what damages are and how to fix this. this is my life computer, can't afford to lose it or pay for repair. Please help asap.

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Hi Guerline,

I'm sorry I don't have any experience with a MacBook Air.. that device is quite different from a 2009 MacBook Pro, and what you describe sounds more serious than the issues that I had. If you spilled hot chocolate over the keyboard and/or the on-off button, the damage might be more extensive (e.g. the System Management Controller, controlling the charging of the device and other vital functions, might be damaged). For this kind of issues I can't help you, my only suggestion is to go open up the device, disassembly it as much as you can (using the assembly / disassembly guides on this website!), and then carefully assess if there is any residue or other contaminants, and clean it very carefully. I hope others here can provide you more guidance on how to do that.

If cleaning up the internals of the MacBook doesn't work, the only remaining option I can think of is to go to a repair shop / Apple Store for more professional assistance.

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Cleaning may help

The tea that was left behind has crystalized or turned sticky and that's what's causing the problem. However, using the machine while there was still moisture under the glass you could have shorted out that contact

Depending upon the model of your MBP you may be able to remove/replace the track pad only, otherwise its the entire topcase.

If this answer is acceptable please return and mark it.

Good Luck,

N.

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Thanks for the advice. You say that cleaning may help, could you also tell me how I could clean the trackpad from the inside? Can I reach the trackpad if I remove the battery from underneath? Some photos would be even better :-). Thanks!

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My model number is A1286 btw

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Hi Pieter,

I just did a near-complete teardown of the 2010 MBP thanks to tea. If you follow the upper case replacement guide you can get to the point where you can see the trackpad right away just by removing the battery.

Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for you), there didn't appear to be any tea around the trackpad area. However, from my experience inside the case, there's a *chance* you may be able to partially dissassemble the trackpad and do some cleaning that may remedy or mediate the issue.

In any case I would suggest pulling it apart for cleaning just to make sure there is no other damage that can become a bigger problem later on down the road. Take a look at the attached pictures and you can see that the trackpad has screws that you may be able to remove to do some deeper cleaning. You may also benefit from the info provided in the question and answers from my own tea spill :)

Liquid Spill, Should I perform complete teardown?

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Hi Calavera,

Thanks for the advice! I already opened it up and removed the battery, and saw the same things in the photos. However to the eye there was nothing wrong with it.. I think I'll try to replace it. I recently ordered a trackpad (since they don't sell trackpads at iFixit I went to the competitors of PowerbookMedic.com :-P), but it didn't arrive yet.

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hi pieter, I didn't notice this question was old :P I wish you the best of luck with the replacement.

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I had a problem with my trackpad not clicking properly as well. Thinking that something had spilled on the trackpad, I removed the battery to check the bottom of the trackpad. With the battery removed, I noticed the trackpad was now clicking properly. It turned out the battery had gone bad and had swelled in the middle of it. This swelling was putting pressure on the bottom of the trackpad and causing it to not click properly. Once the battery was replaced, the trackpad worked just fine.

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I've had the same problem. Someone dropped a whole lot of water over my MBP. It was fixed and worked perfectly again. But half a year later the trackpad suddenly felt very strange. The click was "soft" and i had to press the trackpad hard to make it work (at the mid-bottom it seemed fine though). A couple of weeks later, as suddenly as it came, the trackpad worked just fine (i'm talking hours where i wasn't looking)... Magic?!

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More like luck. Once things short out they generally stay that way.

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Pieter-- funny story, I just an hour ago spilt tea on my trackpad and am experiencing the same issue: only double click works and it remains held in. Luckily I have a wireless so I won't need to shell out too soon. Thanks for following up your post.

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I had exactly the same problem, after I accidentally droped a chai tea over the keyboard , luckily I had one of those silicone cover so it did not get too much through the keyboard. I followed the same steps as you describe in your question, in a short term everything seemed to work right, after a while the trackpad click started to fail, the day after I could not click at all.

My solution was to replace the trackpad, its a very easy procedure and fortunatelly I had a broken 13 MBP I could take the part from. Now it works as expected.

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Hi Guys,I dropped hot coffee on the trackpad after which it started behaving erratically ,i cleaned it and left for the day thinking it would dry up and would be fine next day,but it didn't.

So after reading on many forums i covered the trackpad with rice overnight but invain ...the trackpad still had a problem...since this was my daily use macbook i attached a usb mouse to it and disabled the trackpad in system preferences.

I used the mouse for 2-3 days and on the 4th day i just check the trackpad and it was working perfectly fine.

Its been more than a month now and the trackpad is working absolutely fine.

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I've just had the same problem and I was getting error like the double click was there forever and the cursor couldn't move.

Trying to disassemble the battery and then the trackpad. I rub the trackpad with tissue and then decide to blowing it with a fan for a couple hours. Put it back together, power on my mac....and the trackpad was working fine. Hopefully there'll be no more issues.

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I just had the same problem. I spilled hot chocolate on my macbook air, but my screen turned black, it gives the sound that it is turning on but no light and the charger port does not light up when connected. Any idea what damages are and how to fix this. this is my life computer, can't afford to lose it or pay for repair. Please help asap.

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pietervanw will be eternally grateful.
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