What's the black stuff coming out of my 12" Powerbook?
June 18, 2005 2:14 PM   Subscribe

A couple of months ago, I noticed a small black spot on the bezel around my laptop's screen, and on the spot that was directly under it when the laptop is closed. Today it oozed. What is going on?

I'm pretty sure this is related to how much pressure has been applied to the laptop cover; i.e. when my laptop is in my backpack packed with textbooks, the spot is more likely to be "dirty." When I notice the spot, I usually rub at it with a damp kleenex, until almost all the mystery-goo is gone. Both bezel and the spot under it *do* have marks which I can't rub off. I also put it through x-ray machines at the airport all the time. Today, I came home from the airport to find a little droplet of the black stuff in that spot. It looks like what I imagine liquified pencil lead would look like. I am out of ideas....it's not even something like a label in my laptop sleeve that could be getting in there. Help!
(follow-up; how do I fix it)
posted by michaelkuznet to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
The liquid crystal of your LCD screen is leaking because it is broken. There is no way to fix it other than to replace the screen.
posted by 517 at 2:28 PM on June 18, 2005

Sounds like a leaking fluorescent ballast. I'm not sure if laptops employ the same material, but office light ballasts have a tarry-oil in them (which isn't very good for your health iirc).

on preview: I can find no google links for leaking backlight ballast, so 517s explanation might be closer to the truth.

In any case, stuff leaking from a hole in your computer = trip to the repair shop, stat.
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:31 PM on June 18, 2005

Is it the same problem these folks have?
posted by gleuschk at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2005

The more I think about it, the less likely I think it is that the mystery fluid is liquid crystal. If it were liquid crystal the drops would be very tiny (like smaller than the head of a pin) and you would have a display that would look like this.

What it might be is the gasket that seals the housing and the screen. Have you cleaned your screen with anything other than water recently? It may be that the solvent you used has dissolved the gasket.
posted by 517 at 3:24 PM on June 18, 2005

It sounds a lot like what gleuschk linked, except that it is coming from a random spot on the bezel. Maybe there is a hairline crack or something.......now how do I make it go away? My screen looks fine, and I only use water for cleaning the screen. The weird thing is that is oozing is about half an inch away from the screen edge itself.
posted by michaelkuznet at 4:12 PM on June 18, 2005

well, the ballast doesn't need to be right at the light.
like Popular Ethics said with the office lights, that happened at my highschool, it was leaking black stuff out, at the end of the light fixture, past the actual light.
The science teacher told us not to go near the leaking stuff or breath it. He said it was usually very toxic.
posted by Iax at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2005

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