Can Asus EEE laptop be fixed after getting water spilled on it?
September 18, 2009 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Asus EEE 1000h laptop, daughter spilled water over it. Won't turn on anymore. Help!

Asking for a friend. Daughter spilled water on it. Let it dry out, and it still worked. 24 hours later, it wouldn't turn on anymore. Is repair still possible, or practical?
posted by micketymoc to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Pull battery. Let it dry for a few days. Try again.
posted by zippy at 11:33 PM on September 18, 2009

Cover it in a bowl of rice after separating the battery and the computer.
posted by sleslie at 2:12 AM on September 19, 2009

Forgive daughter, take the battery out, let dry for a few days. Don't rush it. Buy daughter a sundae. Come back to it when you've relaxed and it will work like magic.
posted by SassHat at 2:16 AM on September 19, 2009

OK, have advised friend to do so, but why the need to pull the battery? Not objecting, just want to know the reason.
posted by micketymoc at 3:37 AM on September 19, 2009

Water is a conductor. (Fresh water is a poor conductor, salty water is an excellent conductor.) You pull the battery so it doesn't get overdrained, which will destroy it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:22 AM on September 19, 2009

Just seconding the rice suggestion ... just make sure it's uncooked rice, which sucks away moisture! (A baggie of uncooked rice saved my phone when it got wet earlier this year; I left it in there for three days.)
posted by lisa g at 7:44 AM on September 19, 2009

I've read that a dunk in 90%+ isopropanol will help dilute out & dry up the water quickly. Take this with a grain of salt, especially with a laptop where isopropanol may do its own damage.
posted by Dmenet at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2009

Let it dry out, and it still worked.

There's the problem. The biggest mistake people make when this happens is turning the thing on again too soon. If it had been left for a week right away, it might be fine today.

Seconding the advice above removing battery (and another other parts that can be removed, to aid airflow/drying) and about drying it for several days, and rice will also help.

But even then, accept that it's probably dead.
posted by rokusan at 11:57 AM on September 19, 2009

Rokusan, do you think the motherboard got fried (assuming it was just spilled with about a glassful of water), or the battery is a goner?

I'm trying to work out the worst-case scenario here; the answers we're hearing suggest that it's just a battery thing, but I'm wondering if in this case, the problem is bigger than just an overdrained battery.
posted by micketymoc at 6:11 PM on September 19, 2009

You pull the battery to remove the chance that the laptop will pull electricity from it. The device may be off, but it most likely draws a tiny bit of electricity from its source (Cellphones, for example, are never 100% off when you turn them off.) Water plus electricity damages the incredibly tiny metal conducting passageways (and not so tiny metal conduits; keyboards are damageable by water and they certainly don't have nano-meter sized connections as CPUs do.) The damage is done when the water causes an additional pathway for electricity not anticipated by the designers of the device and stronger bits of electricity flow through parts that aren't designed to handle it. These metal passageways then melt and become irreparable.

So, when you dunk an electrical device in water, immediately shut it off. Remove the battery and remove all chances that the laptop will continue to draw power from the battery and cause the shorting between those small metal passageways. Make damn sure that when you use it again, there's no water in the device or the battery. Uncooked rice (or any other desiccant) makes the evaporative process go faster. How can you be damn sure there's no water when you turn it on again?? You can't, really, so leave it covered in the bowl of rice for a damn long time. The longer, the better. Multiple days is the correct answer, though anecdotally I've fixed a cellphone with a weekend rice bath.
posted by sleslie at 9:34 AM on September 20, 2009

Ancedotally a friend recently jumped into a pool with his iPhone in his pokect. After drying out for several days it miraculously still works.
posted by mmascolino at 9:45 AM on September 20, 2009

Like sleslie said, pulling the battery is removing any more electricity from getting to the (wet) innards and further frying anything. It's probably too late since it was turned on again wet already, but you can't try too hard now. Any other removeable other parts I recommend you also pull off because it'll dry better with ports open and unblocked and in as many pieces as you can get.

When I dunked an older Powerbook, I stood it on its side open (like a book) for a few days with a fan blowing on it, which worked. But I'd immediately pulled the power and battery and didn't dare try turning it back on for days. Heck, I even surgically removed the hard drive and pulled my data off before putting it back and trying again.

The rice and/or fan and/or whatever you can do to dry it quickly (days instead of weeks) is important: if the water doesn't dry/evaporate quickly enough, you get an additional ruinous problem: rust.

If you happen to have a dehumidifier, I'd also run that in the same room/closet/box. At worst, use the dryest part of the house.
posted by rokusan at 10:17 AM on September 20, 2009

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