While I was asleep, my cat must have tipped over a part full cup of water on my new laptop computer. The computer lid was closed and the AC power cord was connected when my daughter tried to turn it on in the morning. It did not turn on (and it hasn’t ever since, even after leaving it to dry out for a couple of weeks). There was also a small pool of water under the computer (about 5cm in diameter) and drips of water come from the keyboard when tipped over. What should I do to maximize my chances of getting it working?
I’m going to recommend an obscure long shot as something to try.
I’m also going to ask for help.
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First, readers, if you have any suggestions to help in a situation such as this, please feel free to leave it in a comment below. I’m particularly interested in techniques that you’ve tried that have been proven to work.
Which is unlike what I’m about to suggest.
First, I need to set a some expectations.
The problem is that water conducts electricity. So the moment you turned the computer on while it was still wet inside, the computer likely experienced a number of short circuits and crossed connections. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that some of the electronics were damaged. The only solution, if that’s the case, is to isolate and replace the damaged components. That’ll require someone looking at the machine and attempting to diagnose the specific failure.
It’s worse if what was spilled is anything more than plain water. If it’s soda, coffee, tea, milk … whatever … when it dries it’s going to leave a residue. Be it a sticky sugary residue, powder of some sort, or who knows what else, anything but plain water is going to be much worse, and much less likely to be fixable.
Now, on to my off-the-wall idea.
It’s actually not that off-the-wall, as I’ve heard it recommended repeatedly for people who’ve dropped their cell phones in water. But I’ll throw it out there to use at your own risk…
Place your laptop in a sealed container filled with uncooked rice for a few days.
My concern with this approach, of course, is that rice grains are small enough that they might end up in your laptop instead of around your laptop, which is what you really want. Perhaps you should bag the rice in nylon or some other very porous material.
The theory, that apparently works well for cell phones, is that the rice acts as a desiccant – absorbing moisture out of the air. If the container is properly sealed, the only place that moisture can come from is your laptop.
It’s a long shot, but given that the laptop’s not working, and as long as you can keep the rice outside of your machine, it couldn’t hurt.
But as I said, I’m interested in what other ideas people might have. This is not an uncommon situation.