13" aluminum unibody, 2.0 or 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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MB took a drink. Still Powers-up and appears to charge. No Display

So my 9 year old daughter spilled water on our MacBook 13" Unibody (Model A1278) Late 2008. I wasn't too worried because she said the lid was closed. But, upon further interrogation, I learned that she opened the lid and water got onto the keyboard area she wiped it off with a paper towel and quickly closed it in an attempt to hide it from us. That is, until her 4 year old brother ratted her out...

The MB would have been asleep prior to her opening the lid - not powered off. Meaning, there must have been a short period of time where the laptop was powered on with water dripping down though the keyboard onto the logic board.

I opened the MB and held down the power button to manually power it down. I then put the MB into a large container with rice and left it there for over a week.

I then plugged it into the charger and the light went from orange to green over a period one would expect the MB needs to take a charge. I then tried to power it on and observed that it appears to be getting power because he back light of the keyboard comes on and i can hear the fan working but I have no display.

So I powered it back down and, now, I'm debating what my next step should be:

1. Hook it up to an external monitor to see if it works - wondering if I risk causing further damage to the logic board.

2. Just clean the logic board to remove any corrosion as a first step - if so, I'd need detailed instructions on how to clean water damage.

NOTE: I'm attaching the highest res picture my iPhone allows of the MB with the lower case removed. I think I may have spotted some corrosion in case anyone with sharp eyes is able to confirm. Although, I suppose if i have corrosion on this side of the logic board, it's likely for corrosion will be on the other side as well. I guess I'll need to remove it and clean both sides so am really looking for some best practices in this regard.

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Deck the Halls
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Put it in a bag of rice to remove the moisture from your Mac. I would leave it in there for a few days. Then take it out and clean all of the connectors and the logic board with a Q-Tip and use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl 90% only). This worked with my iPhone this summer when it got wet. It might sound weird to use rubbing alcohol on your Mac, but it will remove any corrosion and it evaporates so quickly that it won't hurt it. Just make sure you gently squese out the Q-Tip before you rub it on the connectors or the logic board. Make sure before you put it back together everything is dry and all of the connectors look clean from dust. If you see black spots on a connector that might mean that that part is fried, so if any connector looks like that just take a picture and upload it here.

Things you shouldn't do:

1. Don't try to power you Mac on.

2. Don't plug your Mac in.

3. Wait a few days after you Mac has been in a bag of rice before you try to power it on or fix it.

Just know that Apple Care will be voided if you take it apart. You should buy the proper screws to take your Mac apart, conveniently you can buy them here on iFix It. So while your Mac is in the bag of rice you should buy them here on iFix It and then take your Mac apart. One thing I would suggest, don't submerge the Logic Board in the rubbing alcohol or rub it on the screen. Hope this helps, please hit the like up arrow for me. I would recommend getting the iFix It version of each screw driver.

Water Damaged Apple Products

I think that these guides for your computer will help you take it apart (Just make sure I found the right one):

MacBook Unibody Model A1278

Tools (It might be easier and cheeper over time for you to just buy the 54 Bit Diver Kit, It doesn't seem like Spudger are included though, so I added a link down below for that):


Or you can just buy them individually (I think these are all of the tools you need):




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Finally got around to attempting the fix. Followed the directions on the A1278 link you provided to a T. I was so confident it was going to work so you can imagine my dismay when I hit the power button and nothing happened. No idea where I went wrong. Nonetheless, your assistance dhsrusso was invaluable and I'm sure your answer will help others.


I think the issue my be it was sitting in rice for a month instead of 1-2 weeks, but I am so busy too I can see why you just got around to it recently (I wouldn't have been able to do it until today, so I don't blame you). When you took it apart did you use the rubbing alcohol on all of the connectors? Did you notice any parts that look like they are severely damaged and should be replaced? I know that people have different perspectives on whether rice works or not, but I have found in all of my friends water damaged Mac's, iPhones, iPads, etc rice has helped me during the repair.


Actually, all the parts on the logic board looked surprisingly good (after cleaning). However, the logic board is where i focused the majority of my cleaning efforts. Perhaps I was remiss on the connectors. It's an old MB and I just ordered an iMac as a replacement (let's see my daughter spill water on that!).

That said, I might still give it another go - this time focusing on the connectors since won't have to remove the entire logic board to do so. But mainly because I will feel like a total badass if I'm able to bring this thing back from the dead.


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All is well in the above answer by dhrusso except that leaving the MBP in rice does nothing to it except allow corrosion to settle in.

Following a liquid spill, DO NOT TURN ON, DO NOT STORE IN RICE. Rice is for sushi. Power off your laptop, take it apart ASAP, remove the logic board, soak it and clean it with 90%+ isopropyl alcohol and a soft brush. Air dry it, connect and test.

This is a minimum. It COULD be enough. It's better to have it cleaned professionally.

As per my experience, liquid damage is the worse that could happen to your device on the long run if you leave it unattended to.

This means professional cleaning, ultrasonic, drying, testing, repairing/replacing affected components.

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Thanks for the insight, Rany. I've done some cursory searching companies that provide such services to no avail. With the exception of a couple companies in California, everything I find is geared towards buying my own ultrasonic cleaner. I'm in Columbus, OH area if you feel like doing some Google-Fu on my behalf.


There are mail-in options. Look up Jessabethany's profile on iFixit for one. Contact her through her website to see if she'll do it. Else she may give you a lead.


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MF2003 will be eternally grateful.
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