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#1
Old 09-01-2015, 02:35 PM
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Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
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Water spilled on laptop, some keys not working properly

I have an HP ProBook 4540s. I spilled some filtered water next to it yesterday, and some splashed onto the keyboard. Today some of the keys don't work and some trigger the wrong character. I have followed all advice about drying out the laptop, although I have not disassembled it in any way. I have just blotted up water and let it air dry, no hair dryers, etc.

So at this point, either there is still water shorting things out in the keyboard, or there has been damage done.

So I am looking for what my steps could be. Could it require more time to completely dry out? I have no idea how to disassemble the keyboard, if that's going to be necessary. Could this be permanent damage and I'm just screwed?
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#2
Old 09-01-2015, 04:47 PM
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Location: Connecticut, USA
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The best advice that I've seen for electronics that get wet is to do the following:
  1. Shut the device down immediately.
  2. Remove the battery if possible.
  3. Turn the device upside down and shake out any water that you can.
  4. Open all ports.
  5. Let it dry in a low humidity environment for a minimum of 2-3 days -- the longer the better -- before attempting to restart the device. Placing the device in rice or other desiccant is not necessary.
From what I understand, what permanently damages electronic devices is the combination of water and current flow. Many people take a wet device and immediately turn it on and try to use it to see if there is any damage. This is the worst thing you can do. Instead, thoroughly dry the device out before attempting to assess damage.

Just last week, my wife discovered her iPhone 6 was sitting in a puddle next to the bathroom sink at her office. She dried it off, but continued using it until the device started acting up with lines across the screen. To her credit, she immediately shut it down at that point. (I later told her that she should have shut it down at the time it got wet rather than waiting...)

Anyway, she brought it home, and I removed the SIM card (which is the only port on an iPhone). The battery is not easily removable, so I didn't worry about that. I then left it in our kitchen in a sunny area for three days, flipping it over twice a day. After three days, I reinserted the SIM card and rebooted the phone. It restarted normally, and has worked fine ever since (knock on wood). YMMV.

So anyway, if your laptop got wet just yesterday, I would have given it a few more days before attempting to use it again. At this point, I would shut it down and follow the steps above.

Last edited by robby; 09-01-2015 at 04:49 PM.
#3
Old 09-01-2015, 04:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 3,835
After being used in a downpour, my camera resisted fixing by hair dryer, heating vent, etc. Eventually, pouring alcohol on it fixed it almost right away.

(OTOH, when I confidently tried the same trick when a coworker doused their keyboard with water, I used 1/2 a bottle of rubbing alcohol over the course of 3 days trying to fix it, with no success. YMMV)
#4
Old 09-01-2015, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanoda View Post
(OTOH, when I confidently tried the same trick when a coworker doused their keyboard with water, I used 1/2 a bottle of rubbing alcohol over the course of 3 days trying to fix it, with no success. YMMV)
Careful, too much and your keyboard will start slurring your words.
#5
Old 09-01-2015, 07:22 PM
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It happened to me once and the keyboard had to be replaced. I happened to be in Japan and took it to the manufacturer (Toshiba).
#6
Old 09-02-2015, 02:30 AM
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Water spilled on laptop, some keys not working properly

I am guessing these two phenomena are linked.
#7
Old 09-02-2015, 07:51 AM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 11,477
No shit.

Worst username/post combo ever.
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#8
Old 09-02-2015, 09:33 AM
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It could be permanently damaged. If so you can buy a new keyboard and seek out and follow a YouTube video or two, which will give clear instructions on replacing the keyboard. Keyboard and tiny screwdrivers will probably be in the region of $20, just make sure you don't lose any of the screws.
#9
Old 09-02-2015, 05:49 PM
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Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
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JustinC, thanks I think that's the direction I'm heading. With so many laptops and parts on the market I'm having a hard time finding the correct match. I saw at least one keyboard listed as compatible with my model with a photo of a keyboard that is in no way compatible. Further, it seems like they're all aftermarket with who-knows-what quality, including an eBay seller in China. I don't know where to get an HP OEM keyboard. But you're right, it's not hard to replace and prices are mostly $20-25.
#10
Old 09-03-2015, 12:07 PM
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CookingWithGas, you're welcome. I had to do the same over the summer after wasting a very nice glass of red. I used eBay and a local supplier who had an excellent rating, watched a few YouTube videos and had everything crossed as I slowly took apart my precious laptop. I viewed the video on a tablet and paused/re-winded whenever I wasn't completely sure of what I was doing (many times). The screws all came out and were placed in a way which was obvious which hole they'd come out of, so I could put them back in more easily.

The relief when my new keyboard worked was palpable, so much so I replaced the usb power slot in the tablet, which was failing, a few days later.
#11
Old 09-03-2015, 01:03 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 18,363
Spilling a whole glass of Coke into a desktop keyboard caused it to stop working, I didn't have anything to lose so I took it and hosed it down with a garden hose, let it dry and it worked fine for many years till being replaced by a laptop, most likely it still works.

If you can remove the keyboard you might try something similar, however I did what I did pretty much right away, but it was a much worse liquid to spill too.
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