Author Topic: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?  (Read 23422 times)

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Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« on: October 29, 2013, 02:28:38 pm »
Hello!
I got a water damaged macbook I want to repair. I opened it and found nothing obvious.



Than I removed all the components and saw the backside of the logic board. It was quite dirty.





 I scraped some of the dirt with a little screwdriver off.









Then I reconnected all the components and connected the power supply. There was no effect when I pushed the on button. The power supply works with with another mac, so I know it works. In addition, the screen is damaged. You can see a lot of tiny bubbles in the panel.





Maybe it still works, but I can not test it as long as the logic board is not working.

When I will have the macbook repaired, I either want to used it or sell it on ebay. I found a macbook that is working on ebay: http://www.ebay.de/itm/200980412901?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2648

The seller writes that sometimes the screen does not work or shows green rows. He sells the macbook for 200€ as an auction or 300€ if you want to buy it immediatly. Does it is more trouble than its worth to repair the macbook with the macbook from ebay? Or can I maybe repair the logicboard of my macbook? Is it very likely than components were dameged when the water went inside the macbook? Are there any fuses on the pcb that protect the components on the pcb? Can you give me instructions what I could check? I have a soldering iron, a scope and a multimeter.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 02:46:08 pm by Heribert Hechtersheim »
 

Offline ablacon64

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2013, 02:44:14 pm »
If you aren't experienced with laptop repair it could be a nightmare, macs are the most difficult laptops to fix, specially because of parts you don't usually find on stores or even ebay.
The laptop should have been totally dehumidified before turned on, you may have permanently damaged it (well, maybe not "permanently" but at a point that's not financially viable anymore).
 

Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2013, 03:01:56 pm »
I have never repaired a notebook, only older machines like a scope and gameboys that had not such midget components. The notebook was in stand by mode when the water went in. It had not been turned on for half a year since it was damaged.
 

Offline divelectservices

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2013, 04:30:18 pm »
Well at this point you have two options.

You can replace the LCD screen and the logic board as assemblies.  This will likely cost close to or more than you could buy a good used working one.

You could learn how to do component-level repairs including reballing large BGAs, troubleshooting missing clock signals and voltage levels, etc.  All without any type of service data or schematics.  Parts will be difficult to near impossible to identify or obtain.  You need to have plenty of spare parts and boards laying around!

I do this almost every day.
 
 

Offline ablacon64

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2013, 05:05:52 pm »
It had not been turned on for half a year since it was damaged.

That's not good also, half a year is a lot of time for corrosion to spread among the tiny components, including under BGAs. Wet laptops should be dried as fast as possible.

Like divelectservices pointed, it's not a task you'll learn fast. I've been doing this for a living for about 12 years and still avoid water damaged units (just because time is money).
 

Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2013, 05:11:34 pm »
Well at this point you have two options.

You can replace the LCD screen and the logic board as assemblies.  This will likely cost close to or more than you could buy a good used working one.

You could learn how to do component-level repairs including reballing large BGAs, troubleshooting missing clock signals and voltage levels, etc.  All without any type of service data or schematics.  Parts will be difficult to near impossible to identify or obtain.  You need to have plenty of spare parts and boards laying around!

I do this almost every day.

Thank you for your answer!
I would prefer repairing it on component-level because like you said, replacing the parts does not teach me anything and is not worth it. But that seems to be very challenging. I would like to start repairing it and stop it, if it gets to frustrating. Could you help me and tell me the first steps I have to check? I would really appreciate that.

I forgot to mention that the lamp on the charger doens't light up when you plug it on the macbook.
 

Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2013, 05:19:03 pm »
It had not been turned on for half a year since it was damaged.

That's not good also, half a year is a lot of time for corrosion to spread among the tiny components, including under BGAs. Wet laptops should be dried as fast as possible.

Like divelectservices pointed, it's not a task you'll learn fast. I've been doing this for a living for about 12 years and still avoid water damaged units (just because time is money).
Thank you for your reply!
My brother put the laptop on the heating after it was damaged. What tools would I need to repair the Macbook? A heat gun? What can I check to get a better view of what is damaged and how much work and time I have to put into this project.
 

Offline ablacon64

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 08:23:53 pm »
Tough question. You can try analysing some laptops schematics (Google that) to try to understand how they work. Besides that, a strong knowledge on digital and analog electronics and patience (lots of it). You can also look for individual components datasheets to get to know what they do, how they are powered, what kind of signal(s) it needs to do its job, etc.
 

Offline fluxcapacitor

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 09:36:39 pm »
Your best bet is to ask on the macrumors forums.Ive recently fixed an A1278 with water damage,though nowhere near as bad as yours.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=972699

Youll also find various schematics there .Good luck with it .

EDIT: Clean up the board with isopropyl alcohol and a brush and see how bad it looks .The hardest part will be identifying all the parts that need replacing.Make a decision,try and repair it or salvage as many parts as possible to sell on,namely the HDD,memory,dvd , keyboard, and  the logic board even in its present state would sell.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 09:44:22 pm by fluxcapacitor »
 

Online kripton2035

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 09:46:09 pm »
you need isopropylic alcool (IPA), a toothbrush or an ultrasonic bath (or both)
you spray the ipa on the corroded parts, then brush with energy and rince again with ipa
then a bath some minutes with ipa under ultrasonic pulses
you let it dry some hours
and you try to power on
sometimes you have to start this over 2 or 3 times, depends if you have some "alive" signs or not.
the display is dead you must buy another part but for the logic board it's not totally lost IMHO
good luck.

Offline amyk

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2013, 11:07:45 am »
Macbooks are one of the easiest to find schematics on (next to Dells) because of their popularity... I don't know what exact model you have but e.g. try Googling "K36 MLB" which appears to be the '07 model. It's figuring out which parts are which on the non-silkscreened (|O) PCB that is the main issue.

If you don't already have familiarity with PC architecture and its troubleshooting (because Macs are PCs now :P) then this might be a good time to start learning... either way, give it a good clean first.

After you get it cleaned, then start checking the power rails first. Laptops have around a dozen but just start at the main ones (B+, V+ -- battery/DCIN) and work your way down to the standby rails, then the runs.

Quote
I forgot to mention that the lamp on the charger doens't light up when you plug it on the macbook.
That is controlled by the EC,which should be powered by one of the standby rails. You'll need to do more exploration from there, but the preliminary steps here are to make sure the standby subsystem (EC, charger, standby regulators) is all OK first.
 

Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2013, 09:49:38 pm »
Thank you all very much for your answers!

Tough question. You can try analysing some laptops schematics (Google that) to try to understand how they work. Besides that, a strong knowledge on digital and analog electronics and patience (lots of it). You can also look for individual components datasheets to get to know what they do, how they are powered, what kind of signal(s) it needs to do its job, etc.

I googled and found the schematics for my model. It is an Apple MacBook Unibody A1342 (K87):
http://schemalaptop.blogspot.de/2013/03/apple-macbook-a1342-mlb-k87-macbook.html
I will attach the schematics here too.

Your best bet is to ask on the macrumors forums.Ive recently fixed an A1278 with water damage,though nowhere near as bad as yours.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=972699

Youll also find various schematics there .Good luck with it .

EDIT: Clean up the board with isopropyl alcohol and a brush and see how bad it looks .The hardest part will be identifying all the parts that need replacing.Make a decision,try and repair it or salvage as many parts as possible to sell on,namely the HDD,memory,dvd , keyboard, and  the logic board even in its present state would sell.

I bought isopropyl alcohol on Amazon: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B001FSXLMU/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I poured a bit IPA on the pcb and cleaned it with an electric toothbrush.



The result does not satisfy me. Dust is still sticking on the pcb and components and the fluid left some lines on the surface behind. Maybe I have to repeat the process more times or pure more IPA on the pcb.
For now, I will keep the parts. If I fail repairing the macbook, I will try to sell them.

you need isopropylic alcool (IPA), a toothbrush or an ultrasonic bath (or both)
you spray the ipa on the corroded parts, then brush with energy and rince again with ipa
then a bath some minutes with ipa under ultrasonic pulses
you let it dry some hours
and you try to power on
sometimes you have to start this over 2 or 3 times, depends if you have some "alive" signs or not.
the display is dead you must buy another part but for the logic board it's not totally lost IMHO
good luck.

I will try to repeat my cleaning. Sadly, I don't have an ultrasonic bath. How can I get the dust away which sticks on the PCB and the components?
I found the first "alive" signs. When I connected the power supply, I noticed that the led of the magsafe connector glowed very very dim.



I think that normally the connector should fade green and glow more brighter.

Macbooks are one of the easiest to find schematics on (next to Dells) because of their popularity... I don't know what exact model you have but e.g. try Googling "K36 MLB" which appears to be the '07 model. It's figuring out which parts are which on the non-silkscreened (|O) PCB that is the main issue.

If you don't already have familiarity with PC architecture and its troubleshooting (because Macs are PCs now :P) then this might be a good time to start learning... either way, give it a good clean first.

After you get it cleaned, then start checking the power rails first. Laptops have around a dozen but just start at the main ones (B+, V+ -- battery/DCIN) and work your way down to the standby rails, then the runs.

Quote
I forgot to mention that the lamp on the charger doens't light up when you plug it on the macbook.
That is controlled by the EC,which should be powered by one of the standby rails. You'll need to do more exploration from there, but the preliminary steps here are to make sure the standby subsystem (EC, charger, standby regulators) is all OK first.

That makes sense! I will try to start checking the powerrails. One problem I have is that I create very fast shorts with my multimeter probes. They are just too chunky. I switched to my scope which has smaller probe tips. The first thing I measured was the output of the power supply when its connected. The voltage drops down around every second/half a second (forgot my time/div setting).



Thank you for the links, I will try to get the green light glow bright first.
 

Offline DL8RI

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2013, 09:58:19 pm »
Hi,

if you want to go radical do it in the dishwasher (Glass-Program). That sould clean anything, after this into the oven at 50°C or if you have this "Nachtspeicheröfen" at home on one of these. Then total drying for days.

Another Idea, less crazy, would be the TFT-Spray from Kontakt-Chemie. Optional: After cleaning pour with clean water and a brush, don't be shy but try not to dump coils, transformers, switches and so on.

And, dry, dry, dry. At least 3 days on a warm spot.
 

Offline TheBorg

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2013, 11:09:43 pm »

And, dry, dry, dry. At least 3 days on a warm spot.
Seconded. I've done a couple macbook repairs, though none for very bad liquid damage. After you clean the board with any liquid you should let it dry a while.
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Offline Stonent

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2013, 11:43:05 pm »
A lot of that crud is dissolved minerals and electrolytes in tap water.

You can use distilled water sold specifically for steam irons (and it should say on the jug) to rinse the water soluble minerals.

Basically want to wash away the stuff the IPA would not clean. And once it looks as clean as possible then dry it the best you can, then pack it in a bag of dry rice to absorb the water.

Anyway, that would be my next step if it were me and I was determined to try to get it working.
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Offline Bryan

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2013, 09:10:16 am »
Define "water", was it saltwater, then forget it the corrosion will only continue over time. I see a lot of corrosion which seems to suggest that either it was immersed in saltwater or water very, very high in minerals.
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Offline amyk

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2013, 11:52:19 am »
The "power system architecture" page of the schematic will be very useful for figuring out where to look for voltages.

That F2117LP BGA is the EC. MC34845 below it is the backlight controller.

Seeing as the LED on the power in connector is controlled by a digital protocol and it's turning on (under control of the EC), indicates there is some sign of activity and the EC might be running - you can scope the center pin on the connector to confirm the communication.
 

Offline user23

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2013, 12:53:34 pm »
Hello to the Forum!!

and about the macbook, i have just fixed a water damaged macbook. i did not got so mutch water as your machine but it did not work anymore. so the macbook was a total failure anyway. I decided to go for it and try to fix it the simple way, and hell yes it worked!!!!

the macbook did have the problem that it wont charge anymore, the rest was fine. and it has same kind of corrosion inside...

what i have done:

take out the mainboard, clean it very good with some kind of PCB or electronic cleaner, brush all corrosion away, and then put it in to you'r ReflowOven... yes sure I dont have a ReflowOven as well... just put it in your oven, 230C for 15 minutes.

let it cool down and reassemble the blody mainboard and see if it works...

and yes, my macbook works again now, but since it was in the oven the wireles and Bluetooth dont work anymore... all the rest is now working again...

gooooood luck!
 

Offline HooRide

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2013, 03:30:04 pm »
I have repaired at least 10 Apple laptops with water (water, margaritas(working on thesis, ha!), coke, etc.) damage.

Some of the smaller spills that were handed to me within an hour of the incident were just a matter of cleaning the PCB with distilled water or PCB cleaner, a soft brush and then letting them dry.

The badly damaged ones or the ones that sat for days before I could get to them are usually hopeless and even if they turn on after doing the above they may have intermittent problems.

I would replace the logic board with one off eBay; and probably the LCD.
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Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2013, 03:35:36 pm »
Hi,

if you want to go radical do it in the dishwasher (Glass-Program). That sould clean anything, after this into the oven at 50°C or if you have this "Nachtspeicheröfen" at home on one of these. Then total drying for days.

Another Idea, less crazy, would be the TFT-Spray from Kontakt-Chemie. Optional: After cleaning pour with clean water and a brush, don't be shy but try not to dump coils, transformers, switches and so on.

And, dry, dry, dry. At least 3 days on a warm spot.

Thank you for your suggestion. I decided to put my main board in the dishwasher too. Now I put it on the ground and let it dry because we have floor heating.

A lot of that crud is dissolved minerals and electrolytes in tap water.

You can use distilled water sold specifically for steam irons (and it should say on the jug) to rinse the water soluble minerals.

Basically want to wash away the stuff the IPA would not clean. And once it looks as clean as possible then dry it the best you can, then pack it in a bag of dry rice to absorb the water.

Anyway, that would be my next step if it were me and I was determined to try to get it working.

I didn't want to spend money again for distilled water and dry ice. The ipa was already an expensive purchase and I was very lazy. So I just put it in the dish washer.

Define "water", was it saltwater, then forget it the corrosion will only continue over time. I see a lot of corrosion which seems to suggest that either it was immersed in saltwater or water very, very high in minerals.

My brother said it was a bottle filled with tap water which opened up in his bag.

The "power system architecture" page of the schematic will be very useful for figuring out where to look for voltages.

That F2117LP BGA is the EC. MC34845 below it is the backlight controller.

Seeing as the LED on the power in connector is controlled by a digital protocol and it's turning on (under control of the EC), indicates there is some sign of activity and the EC might be running - you can scope the center pin on the connector to confirm the communication.

Thank you for your suggestions. I will check that when the board is dry again.

Hello to the Forum!!

and about the macbook, i have just fixed a water damaged macbook. i did not got so mutch water as your machine but it did not work anymore. so the macbook was a total failure anyway. I decided to go for it and try to fix it the simple way, and hell yes it worked!!!!

the macbook did have the problem that it wont charge anymore, the rest was fine. and it has same kind of corrosion inside...

what i have done:

take out the mainboard, clean it very good with some kind of PCB or electronic cleaner, brush all corrosion away, and then put it in to you'r ReflowOven... yes sure I dont have a ReflowOven as well... just put it in your oven, 230C for 15 minutes.

let it cool down and reassemble the blody mainboard and see if it works...

and yes, my macbook works again now, but since it was in the oven the wireles and Bluetooth dont work anymore... all the rest is now working again...

gooooood luck!

Thank you! What oven mode did you use? Circulating hot air or heating from above/below (I don't know the technical terms in english)? In circulating air mode, our oven can only get up to 190° C. Does gravity affect the components on the bottom side when the solder is liquid?

I have repaired at least 10 Apple laptops with water (water, margaritas(working on thesis, ha!), coke, etc.) damage.

Some of the smaller spills that were handed to me within an hour of the incident were just a matter of cleaning the PCB with distilled water or PCB cleaner, a soft brush and then letting them dry.

The badly damaged ones or the ones that sat for days before I could get to them are usually hopeless and even if they turn on after doing the above they may have intermittent problems.

I would replace the logic board with one off eBay; and probably the LCD.

Unfortunatly, I have not found any good offers on ebay yet.
 

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2013, 04:26:57 pm »
So to repair water damage, which might have created shorts because dissolved salts remain after drying, you rinse it with more water with the same salts and then dry it to make sure all dissolved salts get deposited on the board? Distilled water costs less than €1 per liter last time I checked.
 

Offline user23

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2013, 04:34:02 pm »

[/quote]

Thank you for your suggestions. I will check that when the board is dry again.

Thank you! What oven mode did you use? Circulating hot air or heating from above/below (I don't know the technical terms in english)? In circulating air mode, our oven can only get up to 190° C. Does gravity affect the components on the bottom side when the solder is liquid?

I put the PCB on a sheet of regualr paper, heat from above/below, and I dont know the best temp to use... and i think the oven temp is not that precise, so you have to test. and take all parts away from that PCB (i.e. heatsink, battery, stickers with serialnumber.., some parts get installed after the Reflow process and are not heat stable....
 

Offline Heribert Hechtersheim

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2013, 05:18:43 pm »
So to repair water damage, which might have created shorts because dissolved salts remain after drying, you rinse it with more water with the same salts and then dry it to make sure all dissolved salts get deposited on the board? Distilled water costs less than €1 per liter last time I checked.

I was too lazy to buy distilled water.

I put the PCB on a sheet of regualr paper, heat from above/below, and I dont know the best temp to use... and i think the oven temp is not that precise, so you have to test. and take all parts away from that PCB (i.e. heatsink, battery, stickers with serialnumber.., some parts get installed after the Reflow process and are not heat stable....

Do I have to desolder the white plastic connectors(USB, LAN...)?
 

Online kripton2035

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2013, 08:18:02 pm »
Do I have to desolder the white plastic connectors(USB, LAN...)?
you wont be able to do it without very expensive professionnal equipment...
I have a wmd3 weller worth $2000 and wasnt able to desoldier an audio jack from a macbookpro board... and it was a defective board so I didnt have to care about the surrounding components !

Offline user23

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Re: Repair a water damaged Macbook. Is it worth it?
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2013, 10:48:59 am »
no, all parts solderd on the board are heatresistant... they have gone through the reflowoven...
 


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