Water damage to laptop-switches on then cuts out

  NicB53 14:05 26 May 09
Locked

Hi there,
Wonder if anyone can help a non-laptop expert with this!
I spilt some water (about 2 egg cups full) on my Hewlett Packard laptop (top right hand corner of it), it cut out after about a minute, then I unplugged (but forgot to take battery out-doh!) and let it dry out for a day and then tested it to see if it would work-it switched on, worked fine for about 10 minutes and then cut out without a warning. I gave it another week and left it in a warm place, tried it again today and it did exactly the same thing.
I'm obviously no expert but I can't hear the fan starting and wondered if this could be the problem?
I've called PC world and a couple of independants re repairs and I'm astonished at the cost!-up to £220 but obviously want to get it back working if its not a write off (rather than claim on the insurance)
any help grealty appreciated
Thanks,
Nicola

  johndrew 14:52 26 May 09

It could be that it hasn`t dried out properly; two egg cups full of water is quite a lot inside any PC.

I should remove the battery and all other access panels and leave it with the lid/screen open for some considerable period in a warm, dry area. It may be an idea to turn it from end to end (like an open book standing on its spine) to try and ensure full circulation.

Better still, if you know someone with any technical competence in computers, get them to open the case to vent it. Obviously this may negate any warranty, but so does filling it with water.

There is also the risk that some permanent damage may have occurred when it was powered up; this should become apparent if the problem persists when you are certain it is dry.

  Graphicool1 15:01 26 May 09

Use a can of compressed air for computers, and blow out the Air Intake duct. Computer off, AC adapter unplugged, (Charger), and battery out!
MAKE SURE the laptop has NO electricity to it!

Hold the laptop up on it's side, on a table. It the Air Intake duct is on the bottom, (Most of the time it is), hold the intake duct towards you. If it's on the side, (Not so much anymore. Usually older laptops. Now the Exhaust duct is usually on the side), hold the laptop so the duct is facing out towards the side.

Attach the plastic 'straw' to the can. Hold the straw about two finger digits, from the Air Intake duct grille.

USE SHORT bursts of air! Press the trigger down all the way, but let go quick!
Why?
Because inside the laptop is a small fan. The Air Intake duct starts out as a large opening, then usually narrows down to a Cooling Tube.
This Cooling Tube is about the diameter of your finger, but is slightly flattened.

The small fan is only designed to spin so fast. Using a long blast of air, can make it spin faster than it was designed for. This can lead to premature failure of the fan's bearings!

Get right up against the Air Intake grille, and use more short blasts. Move in a pattern, from the top going down, and side to side.

Start at the top of the grille. Go across in a row along the top. Drop down a row of space, in your mind that you want, Do this until you get to the bottom

DON'T TILT THE AIR CAN! the condensed air forms a liquid in the can. If you tilt it you'll get water instead of air!!!

  martjc 15:09 26 May 09

...on start up, but don't hear it now, it would suggest the fan has stopped working. If that's the case, the laptop may auto-shutdown when it gets hot in order to protect itself from frying.

Parts in laptops are notoriously almost impossible for the novice to replace. You must ask yourself 'exactly what is this machine worth to me?' Then decide if you want to pay the price for repair.

The figures you've been quoted are general quotes for the worst possible scenario. They allow the repairer to assume the motherboard is finished. If it's anything cheaper, then they've made a tidy little profit for an hour's work.

  chub_tor 15:23 26 May 09

martjc is on the money with his comment about the laptop shutting down due to overheating, this is almost certainly the cause. It could be the processor or the graphics card overheating due to a stuck fan or a fan that has shorted out by the water.

The good news is that the data on your hard drive is probably OK and can be retrieved by taking out the hard drive and using it in a different machine.

If you have Household Contents Insurance that includes Accidental Damage you may well find that you are covered.

  NicB53 16:57 26 May 09

Thanks for everyones help and assistance-I obviously thought it might be the fan but it's good to know others have that opinion too!
I think it's time to look into repair in a bit more detail....Ho hum!
Cheers all

  mooly 17:30 26 May 09

Sorry to bring bad news, as this problem crops up a lot. It's not the water (if thats all it was) as such that does the damage. It's an electroylitic reaction between the moisture and the presence of voltage and metallic items(read components, PCB print etc) that causes the problem. What's worse is that this process continues and literally eats into stuff. Even the 3 volt CMOS battery has enough potential to cause this. I suspect the fan not running is because a lot of "data" info will be corrupted/missing and the fan simply isn't being told to be turned on.
Sorry it's not better new but have seen this hundreds of times on consumer stuff and the outcome is nearly always the same unless you get to it immediately and can literally wash the contamination off, which does work... but not practical on a laptop where the damage has already taken hold.

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