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2.3GHz, 2.6GHz, or 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.

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Liquid damage to I/O board. Will a replacement fix my laptop?

A few months ago I knocked over a glass of water in the night and it spilled on the floor where my laptop was sitting. Fortunately the computer was propped up on its side with the MagSafe port pointing to the sky, and the I/O board side on the ground in a puddle of water. When I found it in the morning the water had all but dried up. Unfortunately, I didn’t fully comprehend what had happened so in my complete panic I did the one cardinal sin and tried to turn it on to see if it was okay. One flicker of my login screen and then death.

Here’s what I’ve found. The I/O board is fried. There’s no doubt about that. I pulled it out and I can see corrosion on the board itself. The HDMI port had formed green corrosion overnight and I can see some singeing on the plastic around the port. Obviously it’s dead. The MagSafe plugs in green then turns amber but never back to green so I don’t think there’s any charging going on. One of the batteries is bulging but only ever so slightly, and that if I didn’t know what to look for on a bloated battery I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it. There is no corrosion or singeing on any of the battery components so I’m hoping everything there is still in good shape.

My question is this… is it *possible* that I only damaged the I/O board itself and that the logic board is still in tact since it itself didn’t get any water on it? I can assume there’s some risk of frying the whole thing no matter where the water enters the laptop, but since the water damage was a little more acute than a full spill all over the keyboard, is there still hope?

My understanding is that despite the fact that the actual MagSafe is NOT on the I/O board itself, it’s still the next place power is run to after it reaches DC-in. So in essence, power comes in through the MagSafe on the left, is shipped all the way to the right to the I/O board, it’s processed there, then shipped off to the rest of the laptop and logic board.

Is my understanding correct, and is it worth trying a new I/O board or am I just wasting my time? I know this computer is 7 years old, but it was the very best you could buy at the time and up until I gave it a bath it still worked like new. I would like very, very much to get it up and running again. Any advice would be invaluable to me.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Chosen Solution

Power gets into the logic board through the DC-in board and there it stays, no back and forth through the I/O board, that is there for a number of other purposes, but not power processing. However if it’s fried it may have shorted circuits prevent the logic board correct functioning. I’d suggest you to disconnect from the logic board both I/O board, battery and try to plug in Magsafe. If the board is still alive it will start on its own, if it doesn’t that’s faulty too and needs repaired or replaced. In any case as a safety precaution I would discourage you from plugging back a swelling battery to the board, it may be dangerous for you, your Mac and your households.

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Comments:

Thank you so much for the info. So, hypothetically, this model could still function without the I/O board? I'm about to give this a go right now. Update to follow.

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Also, just to clarify, the correct order for this model is MagSafe>DC-in>Logic>I/O where on some other models it goes MagSafe>DC-in>I/O>Logic just simply because of where the charger is located? I thought I read somewhere that none of the computer would get power if the I/O board wasn't handling it first, but I could be mistaken.

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It's opened up, I/O is removed, battery is unplugged, and I am not getting any indication of anything happening, so... logic board? That's what I would think. However, against your recommendation (sorry), I did try it again with the battery plugged it. When I did this I noticed that the fans spun up, meaning that there's enough processing going on that the logic board is trying to charge the battery and cool itself in the process. Is that significant or just a reflex of the DC coursing through its veins and theres nothing going on in the brain?

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It seems the liquid damage traveled a long way and reached charging circuit. I'd think the board is still alive but power gets in only from the battery..hard to tell if it's still charging and what exactly works or not.

I/O boards are not all the same, on the MB Air you have on the I/O board the first stage of power circuit that you don't have on retinas, that's where probably the bit of info you got about it comes from.

As you experienced, logic board works without anything else, when it works ;)

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I'm such a problem solver that it kills me to walk away from a challenge. Upon further inspection I noticed that the fans were clicking on for an instant, just enough to spin them up, then turned off (fans still spinning), and repeated on 1 second intervals. When I held the power button the issue still occurred but the intervals increased just slightly. I also noticed that the logic board was starting to emit some heat from between the fans. It's the little things that drive me crazy because I feel like I'm on the verge of a breakthrough and then do I start spending money on repairs or just give in and buy a new one? I don't know if it's going to be worth the time or effort.

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