Computer-liquid interaction
August 15, 2012 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Can my laptop be repaired?

I have a Lenovo Thinkpad, and I spilled some wine into the keyboard last night. The keys immediately went wonky, and I pulled the battery out, pulled up the keys, and left it to air dry. I just tried to turn it back on - I know I should have waited longer for it to dry, but I was really nervous and impatient - and it's acting reeeeeeal broken. It makes the "start-up beep" over and over again, and it's going into the start-up options menu without me asking, and I can't exit it by pressing "esc." I've pulled the battery back out.

Is this something that can be fixed, or is my laptop totally fried?
posted by mellifluous to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
If you know what you're doing, there's a guide to fixing this. If you don't know what you're doing, don't try.
posted by griphus at 7:13 AM on August 15, 2012

Describe the beeps. How many long? short? What sequence?
posted by devnull at 7:14 AM on August 15, 2012

devnull - they're short, and they just repeat indefinitely. Like, you know how the thinkpad makes one short beep when you start it up? That, over and over again.
posted by mellifluous at 7:16 AM on August 15, 2012

Does it boot up w/o the battery inside?
posted by griphus at 7:18 AM on August 15, 2012

griphus - I dunno, I haven't tried. I'm wary of making it worse than it already is (!) by turning it on again.
posted by mellifluous at 7:19 AM on August 15, 2012

I bet the keyboard is what you are having trouble with but really the best bet is to take it apart and wash it out. Do not turn it on or put in the battery until you are very sure it is dry.
posted by JayNolan at 7:20 AM on August 15, 2012

If you're going to take it apart, please find a service manual online first. If you're not sure how, just let us know what the model number is and we'll try to track it down.
posted by griphus at 7:23 AM on August 15, 2012

It's a ThinkPad X Series X120e (05962RU).
posted by mellifluous at 7:27 AM on August 15, 2012

There you go. NB: Taking it apart will almost certainly void your warranty.
posted by griphus at 7:30 AM on August 15, 2012

Yeah, you should not have turned it back on. That was bad.

I would go get the assembly instructions from Lenovo - which I see griphus helpfully linked for you.

Then I would disassemble the thing.

Then I would go and buy some ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL (97%) and some cotton swabs.

Then I would clean the parts lovingly and let them dry lovingly (for maybe 48 hours spread out on a piece of paper towel) and then put it back together.
posted by kbanas at 8:11 AM on August 15, 2012

For starters, kbanas is correct. You should not have turned it on. You very well may have shorted something.
NB: Taking it apart will almost certainly void your warranty.
Actually that's not correct, at least not for ThinkPads. You can disassemble them, replace parts, etc. all without voiding your warranty. What is not covered is any damage caused by said disassembly... which is all the more reason to follow the HMM to the letter!

If you're lucky, you shorted your keyboard. That's a cheap fix.

If you're unlucky, you shorted the planar. That's an expensive fix.

I'd disassemble it, clean any visible spills with isopropyl alcohol as kbanas advises, let it dry (no, really. Let. It. Dry.) and then try it again. If that fails, replace the keyboard. If that doesn't help, I'd replace the machine. Get your data off of it, wipe the drive, and sell it for parts.

posted by -1 at 9:13 AM on August 15, 2012

FWIW, to me, if the beeps are rapid enough, this sounds like the classic key-stuck down bootup fail. This can definitely stop a computer from booting and has happened to me more than once - "Oh no, my computer's fucked! Oh wait, there was a book laying on the keyboard depressing a key."

So you could be lucky and the wine is causing a key to act "depressed." Clean away! And maybe if you are opening it up for cleaning (and it has had a chance to otherwise dry out) see if it will boot with the keyboard detached.
posted by BleachBypass at 2:45 PM on August 15, 2012

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