How Does Spilling Liquid on a Laptop Damage It?

Written by diane steinbach Google
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How Does Spilling Liquid on a Laptop Damage It?

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The Keyboard

Clear liquids like water are overall less damaging to a laptop keyboard than beverages like soda or hot coffee, but are still harmful. Water on your laptop keyboard can corrode the connections under the keys and short out connections. A small amount of water, such as a spray from a spray bottle, can be easily wiped off without too much effort; however a larger amount of water must be immediately cleaned up. The keyboard must be tipped over to pour out the water and the keyboard dried off by lifting the keys off the keypad. Clean off with a lint-free cloth. Beverages like soda and coffee are more damaging as they are acidic will more quickly corrode the connections. Once the liquid is dry, the areas will remain sticky and later attract dust.

Photo by Ed Yourdon
Photo by Ed Yourdon

The Battery Pack

The problem with spilling a liquid on your laptop is that all the components, chips and power units are under the keyboard. The keyboard acts as an access point for fluids to get into your machine including in and on the battery pack. A wet battery unit means that the connections that match the unit up with your laptop may corrode or suffer damage. A corroded connection in the battery pack may result in short circuits or poor power supply to your laptop. If anything other than water gets spilt onto your battery pack you may be better off simply purchasing a new battery instead of risking your whole laptop computer with the threat of a shock or power surge.

How Does Spilling Liquid on a Laptop Damage It?
exploded battery pack: photo by jaaron

The Hard Drive

The mother board and all your USB ports and CD drives will also be affected by a laptop spill. Fluids pour over and into these areas through the keyboard and will corrode connections and attract dust. They may also short out the entire laptop if a wet machine is turned on. Once you have poured out the liquids from your laptop you need to dry the components. Your laptop must be opened and drives removed to dry with a lint-free cloth. Place them under a slow fan to dry thoroughly. The hard drive may be damaged beyond repair and again, you run the risk of turning it on and having the machine start on fire. If the spill is big enough, you may want to take it into a computer shop for work but be prepared for bad news. A laptop spill voids your laptop warranty as well, so prevention is the key.

hard drive: Photo by tarale
hard drive: Photo by tarale

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