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MacBook Air meets chicken soup

davidmacneill -

Mi Problema

Wife spilled chicken broth into the speaker vents of her mid-2011 MacBook Air 11" and it instantly shut down. Resetting the SMC let the charger work and the fan spin, but the rest of the computer was dead. Apple Store said it would cost $775 to fix and that we would lose the contents of her 128GB flash drive, which she had never backed up, of course.

Mi Solucion

I ordered the Pro Tech Toolkit and had it sent overnight. If was mid-afternoon and should have gone out the following day, but I asked customer service to please ship same day and account rep Scott Dingle bounced right back that he would make it happen. Next morning at 10:30, using the iFixIt teardown and repair guides, I completely disassembled the thing. Filled a big glass pan with 91% isopropyl alcohol and immersed the logic board, which took the brunt of the liquid exposure, as well as the speaker vents which were crusty with hard, dried soup gunk. A cluster of keys on the upper right side were stuck, so I turned the now bare upper case/keyboard assembly (trackpad module removed) upside down and took a an alcohol dipped toothbrush to each key, followed my pressing each one until it came free. Used a small hair dryer on everything for an hour or so, then let everything sit out on paper cups over newspaper for a couple hours. By the time my wife got home at 6, I had the machine reassembled and it came right up in perfect shape! Amazing.

Mi Consejo

Use the right tools, go s-l-o-w-l-y and put each module's tiny screws in a paper cup next to the module. Be vigilant about cable routing; the last thing you want is to pinch something and short out, or even start a fire. Test fit each piece as you reassemble then go back a step and triple check for cable routing and ZIF connections. It literally took me over six hours to do this job but I saved not only $775 and at least five business days of downtime but ALL my wife's data since this Apple repair requires that you forfeit your flash drive contents for a blank replacement part REGARDLESS of whether it was affected or not. (In my case the liquid came nowhere near the flash chip.) Lastly, don't just ask family members to back up, make it mandatory, just like at an IT shop. You data is always worth far more than your hardware.

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