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Repair guides and disassembly information for the 14-inch MacBook Pro released in October of 2021, featuring Apple-designed M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs. Model A2442.

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Water caused keyboard and trackpad to stop working, also the screen?

Hello everyone! I got a dreaded call from my superintendent stating she spilled water into her bookbag while her MacBook was put away inside of it. It must have been on, as it attempted to wake itself when she opened the lid to inspect the damage. From the get-go, the screen would only stay on for around three seconds and then go black but will come back on again when clicking the power button. The keyboard and trackpad are completely unresponsive outside of the power button.

A few days later, she's back and town and drops the MacBook off to me. External monitors, keyboards, and mice all work fine, but the reported symptoms are still occurring. I took it apart down to the logic board, both sides of which were rather immaculate, along with no corrosion observed on any parts. The only thing I can't see without further disassembly would be the keyboard.

I'm completely stumped with it. I'm really just looking for someone else to throw ideas at me before taking it to the Apple Store... Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Where any of the liquid markers turned on the logic board?

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All of my research about water damage and MacBooks didn't at all. Tell me to look for liquid markers... Can you elaborate on that? I'd happily open it back up to verify that.

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If the logic board is free from any signs of liquid or corrosion my guess is that the trackpad and/or the keyboard is the issue here. Did you remove the trackpad to see if water made it underneath? It's a hotspot for liquid and because of the ties to keyboard data in most Macbook models, as well lid open/closed data, that sounds like it might be the thing to tie everything together. The screen could be turning off because of an issue on the lines which tell components if the lid is open or closed.

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I powered on the MacBook without the track pad installed, and the keyboard still wasn't working, nor did any of my listed symptoms change. What are you talking about The trackpad looked completely fine though, a minimum there wasn't any corrosion or any signs of liquid for that matter.

Like I said, I didn't dig out the keyboard because I know how much of a bear that is, more so than removing the logic board.

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@zcpoling Oh I don't blame you for not digging out the keyboard. It's a nightmare and a half. But, it's possible this is actually expected behavior.

The thing with many MacBook keyboards is that keyboard and trackpad circuits are super interrelated. Signals from the keyboard are often relayed to other system components via the trackpad connector. Sometimes keyboard related components are actually on the trackpad circuit board, or on a daughter board which handles trackpad,keyboard backlight or other keyboard processing.

Do you have a multimeter? If so, you may be able to use the keyboard cable to check for shorts or issues with the keyboard side circuits

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@flannelist The last three pins in the backline connector seem to have continuity to each other. The main ribbon cable for the keyboard appears to be fine per the continuity test. Some of the pins on the trackpad cable seem to have continuity as well, but I have no clue if they're supposed to or not. I've unhooked the trackpad once again and left the backlight connector unhooked to no avail.

So to elaborate on what you were saying before... If I had the keyboard and trackpad both unhooked, do you think the issues should be 'resolved' if any of those devices were the original cause?

Edit from literally two minutes later. My extremely smart self didn't take into account that since the power button is still working, perhaps I haven't completely unhooked the keyboard as I originally thought.

I'm probably just going to open a case with Apple, but I'm dreading it lol

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@zcpoling If you disconnected the keyboard and trackpad it’s definitely possible those issues could be resolved. Thought it’s hard to know for sure. I can sympathize with the “oh hell, I’ll just see if Apple can fix it” sentiment too. It’s just irritating.

As for the power button, even though it looks to be a part of the keyboard, I believe even on these new MacBooks (the 14” and the 16”) the power button is not wired through the keyboard so should be okay on that front. Plus it should auto power on when you connect a charger if worse comes to worst.

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