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Yesterday I spilled quite a bit of tea (without sugar) on my Toshiba
laptop.  The people at CompUSA(where I bought it) and Toshiba want me
to but a new one.  I am a college student, I cannot afford another
computer.  I know nothing about technology, but it seems like a bit
of tea couldn't have ruined it right?
I turned it off immediatley and turned it upside down to let it drain.
 I wiped it up and left the top open overnight to dry.  Does it need
longer to dry?  Do i have to replace the systemboard?
please help!

Re: spillage!

cailliach wrote:
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I was sitting in a cafe underneath an AC unit when its drain pipe came
loose, and at least half a litre of water poured on my old Armada M700,
down the LCD and all over the keyboard. It kept working for at least 5
seconds untill I finally came to my senses and pressed the off button
even though it was soaked in water. After I turned it off and removed
the keyboard I saw that it was built in such a way that water drained
off the keyboard away from the motherboard, towards the front where the
hdd and battery and CPU fan were housed. I wiped it as well as I could,
let it dry for a few hours and it worked just fine afterwards (it was
the middle of the summer, so it dried pretty quickly).

I doubt Toshibas have a much different design. If your laptop didn't let
out the magic smoke as soon as it got wet, I doubt a bit of tea would
kill it. Just to be on the safe side, leave it another day or two, and
it should be fine. It's in CompUSA's best interest to sell you another
laptop, so never take their word for it. There is a possibility your
laptop may not work afterwards, but it may only need some new parts
(such as a keyboard), not a complete replacement.


Re: spillage!

cailliach wrote:

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Let it dry for about a week and see if it runs.  If it does you're in good
shape.  If not, find the electrical engineering department at your school
and drop by the labs around dinner time with pizza (if you're female and
middling cute then dressing sexy and looking nice will help, but if you're
better than middling then tone it down some--you're dealing with nerds and
don't want to scare them into catatonia) and you should be able to find
somebody who has some idea what he's doing who would be willing to take a
look at it.

Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)

Re: spillage!

CompUSA are thieves, don't believe anything they say!

I've droped a mobile phone in a cup of tea before and it worked fine after
about a week of drying out (takes a while in the damp northwest of England)

Re: spillage!

Well, it COULD have ruined it, but it's not a given that it did.

There are so many places where the tea MIGHT have gone, yet there is no
certainty that it went into any of them.

The system board is a lot less vulnerable than the hard drive, optical
drive (CD/DVD) or the keyboard.  The keyboard is the component most
likely to be damaged.

I'd remove the hard drive and see if there is evidence of tea on or in
the drive.  If tea got into the drive, it's toast.  But it's more likely
that it didn't.  I'd wipe the exterior of the drive (including the
circuit board) IF there is evidence of contamination.  Let it dry good
(24 hours) and test it in another computer if possible.

If anything got into the mechanism of the optical drive, then it, like
the hard drive, is probably toast.  But, again, there's a good chance
that nothing went there.

The keyboard is the most vulnerable component, and one that, if it got
contaminated, you likely won't be able to do anything about.  However,
it's also the least expensive component.  If everything works except the
keyboard (you can test with an external keyboard), you can probably find
a replacement keyboard for under $50, perhaps under $30.

If the motherboard is not working, as a last resort, I'd consider
rinsing the motherboard with clean, distilled water, let it dry a long
time (days, even a week) and then trying it again.  But there is a fair
chance that if you just let things dry out (for several days), it will
work ok, in which case I'd leave it.

Note, a lot of what you can and can't do depends on the extent to which
you can disassemble the computer, and taking a laptop apart, in and of
itself, is no small task and carries a very high risk of further damage.

Best of luck.

cailliach wrote:

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