Expensive beer kills computer, honesty kills my budget

Things have been delayed around here, and elsewhere, because last Wednesday I spilt a beer onto my MacBook Pro, sending it comatose. That’s one damn expensive beer. And it’ll take me a while to catch up.

Now a splash of beer or, presumably, any other liquid should you be mad enough to drink them, won’t necessarily kill a computer or smartphone. The emergency procedure is straightforward.

Turn it off. Pull the battery, if you can. Get rid of as much liquid as fast as you can by mopping it up. Then get rid of any lingering moisture: dismantle the device as much as it can be, and put it in a sealed container packed with silica gel or uncooked rice for three days or more.

If the liquid is potentially damaging to the device — a certain popular cola drink, say, which is acidic and will damage some components — you can rinse it with distilled water or isopropyl alcohol too. Choose the one that’ll dissolve the threat.

With a laptop computer, if you’re quick the worst case scenario is that you might lose the keyboard. I’ve managed to resurrect completely saturated smartphones.

My procedure failed. MacBook Pro computers now make the keyboard extremely difficult to get to. I simply couldn’t get in there promptly. I had to transport the computer to the rice, and in doing so it was carried on its side, potentially allowing liquid to flow into other parts of the computer. And then, in my impatience, I powered it up after just one night on the rice to see how things we going.

How things were going was not at all.

On Thursday, David at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar [ugh!] found that the MacBook Pro had essentially decided that electricity doesn’t exist. As his estimate (pictured above) shows, we’re looking at a repair bill over $1100.

Now rather than bite the bullet immediately, I thought I’d see whether more time in the rice might do the trick. I’m not hopeful, but there’s a chance it’ll save me money. I’m find out this afternoon.

My sincere thanks to @oberonsghost for the loan of an old MacBook for the duration, and @expectproblems for a similar offer with a MacBook Pro 17″ that I decided not to take up.

My sincere thanks also to Apple, for making backups easy with Time Machine, and me, for using them.

Not so sincere thanks to me for being honest. Damage done by liquids isn’t covered by the AppleCare warranty. I should’ve just said that the computer wasn’t powering up any more.

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2 comments

  1. Juha’s avatar

    Not so sincere thanks to me for being honest. Damage done by liquids isn’t covered by the AppleCare warranty. I should’ve just said that the computer wasn’t powering up any more.

    Don’t think that would’ve worked… they can tell if your gear’s been dunked in liquids.

  2. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    UPDATE: It’s dead, Jim. The $1146 shall be spent.

    @Juha: This is true. While I didn’t see any little turning-red dots that smartphones have in them, I figure that MacBook Pros, being more expensive machines, have more complex anti-fraud tools.

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