MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2009

Released June 2009 / 2.66, 2.8, or 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor

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MacBook Pro battery not charging after spilling liquid on it?

First off, thanks for a wonderful website & community.

Secondly, I'll try to keep it short. But I'll fail.

So a couple of days ago I've spilled liquid (delicious red tea) on the right part of my MacBook Pro (Mid 2009, MB985, http://www.ifixit.com/Device/MacBook_Pro...). I immediately unplugged it, turned it upside-down, saved my work (I'm CAD engineer and can't just shut my computer down any time), turned it off. Then I've cleaned computer, let it dry for 20 minutes upside-down and using hairdryer. Then I turned it on unplugged and it was functioning OK. However I turned it off and let it dry another 40 minutes unplugged, checked — it was OK. I put it under room warming system for next 5-7 hours. Since I was running on my deadline I had to turn it on from battery (everything fine OK), plug in the MagSafe and work like 5 hours (absolutely everything fine, including no sticky keys and no backlit keyboard damage). During that time battery was first charging (ember light) then fully charged (green light). I closed laptop and took it to office in good mood. But it didn't start from the battery at the office. However it started fine with the wall charger connected.

Since then my MacBook Pro won't run from the battery. If I unplug laptop it turns off immediately. LED light is always bright green. Battery status says "(Not Charging)". I can test battery status with LED indicator in the left and it says battery is 7/8 charged (but not charging with or without the plug). System Information says the following regarding Power:

Model Information:

Serial Number: XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Manufacturer: SMP

Device Name: bq20z451

Pack Lot Code: 0

PCB Lot Code: 0

Firmware Version: 3

Hardware Revision: 3

Cell Revision: 100

Charge Information:

Charge Remaining (mAh): 5234

Fully Charged: No

Charging: No

Full Charge Capacity (mAh): 5835

Health Information:

Cycle Count: 46

Condition: Normal

Battery Installed: Yes

Amperage (mA): 0

Voltage (mV): 12268

I've opened the bottom panel of laptop and there aren't much evidence of tea over there. It's been 2 days and battery still won't charge and hardly drain (feels like it's in standby mode). I've tried SMC reset with no luck.

My questions are:

1. Any chances cleaning Logic Board all-around with alcohol will fix the problem?

2. Is it more likely that MagSafe DC-in Board was fried rather than some Logic Board part (some charging cycle)?

3. Any short how-to on testing DC-in? I've got some "electricity meters" by hand. But no experience.

4. Any how-to on testing battery without connecting it to another Mac?

5. Can the charging cycle of Logic Board be fixed without replacing the whole Logic Board?

I'll get proper tools and a day-off tomorrow and plan to take apart my aluminum buddy. Please help me to get him back full health. It really means a lot to me.

Update. Today I completely disassembled the thing and put it back together. I've noticed almost no corrosion or evidence of tea on the logic board (bottom & top). Just really tiny couple of drops on the bottom part (on the DC-in side somehow). I've cleaned it with a bit wet microfiber and hairdryer. So the logic board looks good as new. However the DC-in Board looks strange and damaged. I've took a couple of photos: http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/4476/... and http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/6820/im.... Please have a look - is that the cause of a problem? Is it repairable at professional store? I know I can get one off eBay but I'll take another couple of weeks to get here. Another thing I can report is MacBook runs perfectly with no battery in it!

Update #2. I've faced some weird and (probably) good news today (4-5 day after spilling tea). I left my laptop for 3-4 hours unplugged once I got home. Once I plugged it in 5 minutes ago the LED on MagSafe got red! And now battery says it's charging again!!! One big "but" is battery menubar item says it'll take about 7 hours for the battery to get charged (currently 82%). Battery Amperage in System Information now isn't 0 or -1 anymore: it jumps from 140 to 150. So I guess it's a good idea to let it take it's time and charge and unplug computer to test if it runs with no cord attached. Charger body is normal not hot. Any thoughts?

Update #3. So I followed advice & double-cleaned whole Logic Board again. No luck. Finally I've managed to get my aluminum buddy to that best-in-the-city-Mac-technician. He said there's absolutely no evidence of liquid on the inside. Thing looks good as new. However he'd tested charging circuit of Logic Board and found damaged chip. It's chip ISL6258A which controls battery charging etc. It's partly damaged (one "foot is fried" as he reported it) and it can be replaced without replacing whole Logic Board. Operation costs about $200. They've ordered the thing and I'll get back to repair in 2 weeks once part is here. This model of controller chip can be found in all modern Macs and chip can be replaced. Probably this information would help someone in same situation.

P.S. I know that's one of billion threads with same problem. However 99.99% of other threads are neglected with no updates.

Update

Hey Dan & pollytintop! Sorry for a bit late update. So that day once my battery got to 90% I shut down & unplugged Mac. Then I've turned it on with battery only - wow - it almost booted but suddenly shut itself down. So I followed your advice & double-cleaned whole Logic Board again. No luck. Finally I've managed to get my aluminum buddy to that best-in-the-city-Mac-technician. He said there's absolutely no evidence of red tea or water on the inside. So the looks good as new. However He'd tested charging circuit of Logic Board and found damaged chip. It's chip ISL6258A which controls battery charging etc. It's partly damaged (one "foot is fried" as he reported it) and it can be replaced without replacing whole Logic Board. Still it's about $200 bill. They've ordered the thing and I'll get back to repair in 2 weeks once part is here. This controller chip can be found in all modern Macs and can be replaced. Probably this information would help someone in same situation. No need to spend $400-$900.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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How wet did your system get? Are you able to pop the bottom off to check if the battery got wet (or the components near the battery cable) Here's the ifix-it guide: MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Mid 2009 Battery Replacement

by Dan

You'll probably have to completely remove the logic board to check if there are liquid residues on the hidden face. It's better to remove the board and clean it before power it up after a liquid spill. Damage now can be permanent.

by lemerise

Dan, I was able to remove the bottom cover. It has just a couple of drops on the inside. And I've noticed just 2 drops on the battery. When I say drops I mean nothing major, they're tiny! lemerise, yeah now I know it. I'll get to remove logic board in a couple of hours (waiting for tools to arrive). I believe all liquid has already gone (been more than 48 hours of drying). Mac works fine (typing from it at the moment) but still (Not Charging). How do I know if the logic board has some damage? What should I look for?

by true

Look for corrosion or possibility of a damaged component from shorting. I'd stop at pulling the battery assy and then wipe down the visible spill from the logic bd with a slightly damp paper towel (only after the batt is removed!). If you have a small dental mirror take a look on the other side via the hole where the battery was. If no spill visible I don't think you need to pull the logic bd. Let us know what you find - Good Luck!

by Dan

Hey Dan! Typing from my MacBookPro again. I completely disassembled the thing and put it back together. I've noticed almost no corrosion or evidence of tea on the logic board. Just really little on the bottom part (on the DC-in side somehow). I've cleaned it with a bit wet microfiber. So the logic board looks good as new. However the DC-in Board looks strange and damaged. I've took a couple of photos: http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/4476/... and http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/6820/im.... Please have a look - is that the cause of a problem? Another thing I can report is MacBook runs perfectly with NO battery in it.

by true

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Hi, I happened to read your issue today. It's pretty disappointing to see your beloved Mac under such an undesirable mishaps. But, of course there's a way.

First of all, you need to be very careful here. (What the heck since the liquid spill has already taken over your DC-in board). Still we have some amazing chances left since I've come across such fate and have corrected (fortunately) and hope that fate is positive in this case as well.

What are you doing now? Okay, since the board has a strong power lines, and the liquid spill is over it, I can imagine the polarity tension of circuit current flow within. Besides, you are not going to fry it with STATIC OVERFLOW. Hence I assume that you have discharged all your STATIC from your body if you are not equipped with STATIC REQUIREMENTS.

Long story short, touch a metal object with both of your hands and feet to discharge the STATIC if any with you from head to toe.

Now, get a little pure alcohol dipped over microfiber and rub the entire DC-IN board gently and wiping the spill and its effect (disgusting color and odor) completely away. Just be worry that you are not nocking off any tiny transistors. And for sure you are not using any metal while cleaning. Use finger (using finger in this case is very positive). Clean it well both over to the surface and to the reverse side as well. Clean very well.

Don't use hairdryer. The alcohol gives off itself in few minutes.

Now clean the same way over the house where the board houses. I can imagine how nicely you have already cleaned the ports.

Now, another sensitive part. Clean the cable slots fairly well leaving no tress of spill and make it as shiny as it can be.

If any spill leftover is noticed around, also give a close look or even use the magnifying glass to wipe that out for good.

Now your job is done. I believe that you are also one of the luckiest people I met who fortunately didn't fry the entire board but just impaired it partially. Not a big deal, you can always replace it. But for now, I hope, this must have helped if you have not done it yourself by this moment I’m writing.

Cheers!

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Thanks for a wonderful advice, mailpuru. However, bad luck. Seems some controller on the Logic Board got damaged. I've followed your advice and cleaned DC-in Board with (sadly) no result. Next I took it to a service. While I was on a bus my friend called me (somehow my iMessages didn't ever get to him). We decided to try his DC-in (or his brother's since brother owns Unibody Mac). I visited the service as I was on the go to it anyway. Tech guys said DC-in should be working since my laptop works when plugged. And they said I'd better double-check with my friend's DC-in first. So I got to friend and we tried connecting a working DC-in. Sadly battery didn't start charging. So I guess I did everything I could. Tomorrow I'll get my aluminum buddy to hospital for immediate service (+30% price but who cares now). Hope they'll be able to change the right chip on the Logic Board cheaper than $200. I'll keep the thread updated!

by true

Most service places will only do a parts swap out. They won't go down to changing out chips as the parts are often custom or difficult to get on the open market. In any case you'll be paying for an exchanged part not brand new (still not cheap!) Good Luck!

by Dan

Dan, that's why I was trying to get it to PC service shop today (they do all kind of repairs including swapping microchips). Unfortunately Mac tech guy was away today. However I've faced some weird and (probably) good news. I left my laptop for 3-4 hours unplugged once I got home. Once I plugged it in 5 minutes ago the LED on MagSafe got red! And now battery says it's charging again!!! One big "but" is battery menubar item says it'll take about 8 hours for the battery to get charged (currently 82%). Battery Amperage in System Information now isn't 0 or -1 anymore: it jumps from 103 to 125. So I guess it's a good idea to let it take it's time and charge and unplug computer to test if it runs with no cord attached. Charger body is normal not hot. Any thoughts?

by true

Sounds like you still have some Red Tea on the logic bd and/or battery unit. Some where in the charging circuit area. Some how it's confusing the power transistors to allow the power in feed to charge the batteries. As Apple does not disclose it's circuit designs, it'll be hard isolating down where in the PCB you need to work at.

by Dan

generally speaking sometimes one clean isn't enough, you lose nothing cleaning everything again and once again for good luck. Just leave a good amount of time between cleaning and reassembling/power up. Did you also clean the battery contacts? If you cleaned the MBP contacts of tea I'm sure there'd have to be some on there..

by pollytintop

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Sorry I never made it to respond earlier. It's been a while.

After taking my MBP to another service they promised to test it with a working battery. They never did (couldn't find a proper replacement). Since I had to be doing my engineering work to get paid I decided to sell MBP later as is in case I never have time to order a replacement battery. Poor service in my city would be waste of time (and they could damage logic board while replacing ISL6258A). Obviously I continued working with MBP hooked to power source 24/7 for next 6 months. I ended up selling it for $1000 as is and buying top configuration MBP with Retina display in August, 2012.

Summarizing this thread if you happen to liquid-damage your MBP and have same symptoms afterwards (after cleaning MBP interior with spirit, praying, etc.) your best bet is replace battery. In case this won't help try replacing ISL6258A (requires soldering equipment and skills). Your last chance before replacing logic board will likely be replacing DC-in. Good luck!

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Did you try to do a battery calibration?

1) Fully charge battery as long as it will go, until green light in magsafe comes on.

2) Run computer until the battery is draind and the computer shuts off.

3) Unplug and allow to sit >5hrs to fully discharge the battery (VIP).

4) Plug into the mag safe but do not boot the computer. Magsafe lights should turn orange. Wait until the green light comes on again, to indicate that the battery is fuly charged. This should take >4hrs.

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true will be eternally grateful.

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