MacBook Air 13" Mid 2011

Model A1369, 1.6, 1.7, or 1.8 GHz Processor, 64, 128 or 256GB Flash Storage

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Coffee spilled on MacBook Air 13"

Some five days ago (June 4th), I spilled a coffee cup on my Macbook Air 13" (1.8 GHz, Mid 2011) keyboard and its shut off immediately (11am). After 6 hour of drying with AC conditioner (17pm), the MBA turn on and no problem with the system, because I worked with it.

However, at night (21pm), when charge is off, I put the charger and the indicator light charger was not orange (like discharged), but green (like charged). Well, now (June 8th) I think that my MBA does not recognize the battery, because the charger light in green is kept. I believe the only water damage was on battery.

I would like to know how to evaluate the real state of my MBA, before sending to technical service (very expensive) and I would like to know if I could repair myself.

In advance, thank you very much.


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What is the status of your battery icon in the menu bar?

Download and run Coconut battery to get an idea of what's up with your battery and let us know your results:

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Before you do anything else with the computer, clean the machine first to preserve it as best as possible. Just be aware you may need to take the computer apart completely depending on how bad the spill is. You can either use a ultrasonic cleaner or alcohol to clean this board up. The thing is the ultrasonic cleaner will do a much better job then the alcohol, though. You will need the following

  • New battery. Even if the old one works, replace it. The MBA uses bare cells, so the risk of a battery going into short mode is high on this laptop.
  • You're probably having problems with the keyboard, too. Replace the keyboard or palmrest if you have any issues.
  • The cables might also be wrecked beyond repair. Evaluate the cables and see if you can save them. If you can't or they're intermittent, get new cables.

Okay, now that we talked about what you need and what often falls victim to these spills and needs to be replaced in many cases, let's talk about ways you can clean this computer up. You can either use a ultrasonic cleaner or a toothbrush and alcohol to do it. If you're doing this as a one off a toothbrush and alcohol may just work but it will never get under the chips so under the chips, you will still have corrosion problems. You can't really do much about it with the toothbrush if it has chip corrosion.

Also use 91-99% Isopropyl alcohol. Rubbing alcohol ruins motherboards. It's good for us, but not electronics. Okay, now here's the guides I feel will be relavant to the repair of this computer. You may need to use more, though and some aren't in the mix. iFixit doesn't have a keyboard replacement guide and I can't make one for you since I don't own a MBA.

MacBook Air 13" Mid 2011 Logic Board Replacement

MacBook Air 13" Mid 2011 I/O Board Replacement

You will also probably want to buy thermal paste, too. When you remove the heatsink, you ruin the thermal paste. You may be able to get away with the old stuff, but it will never work the same.

You can also find Artic Silver 5 at Radio Shack for 12.00 or so. In this case, iFixit is actually cheaper, but you have to wait.

P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver Retina MacBook Pro and Air

T5 Torx Screwdriver

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

Now that we know your computer is cleaned up, it's time to do some further testing, and some resets to be sure everything is normal after cleaning the machine.

The first thing I want you to do is reset both the SMC and PRAM. This is for assurance we're not dealing with messy settings here. Due to this being a "sealed" machine, it doesn't reset the same as the machines with replaceable batteries. I have posted the procedure below, per Apple's website. You can see the instructions on a SMC reset below.

Shut down the computer.

Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

Press the power button to turn on the computer.

Note: The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Now, reset the PRAM.

Press Command, Option, P+R at the same time before it boots. The machine will reboot if you did it correctly.

With a known clean board and a fresh PRAM/SMC, now you can start to troubleshoot the computer accordingly.

If you need better instructions on the instructed resets, read this.

T5 Torx Screwdriver Image


T5 Torx Screwdriver


P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver Retina MacBook Pro and Air Image
Arctic Silver Thermal Paste Image

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guillermotoro will be eternally grateful.