Which part should I clean out?

Dell INSPIRON 1525
February 13, 2009 at 18:07:10
Specs: MicrosoftR Windows Vista? Home Premium, 1.867 GHz / 2037 MB
Well, it happened, I got a spill on my laptop. I didn't do research on spills beforehand, so when it happened I went into panic mode and did a lot of (probably harmful) things to my computer.

My computer was on when I spilled about a tablespoon or two of soy milk onto the keyboard area. Immediately I grabbed some tissues and stuffed them between and under the keys, soaking up almost or all of the liquid. Everything was functioning correctly, no sticky keys or fizzled screens so I continued using it as if nothing were wrong for a few more hours, turned it off, then went to sleep.

When I tried to turn it on again the next day (the power cord still attached), about 30 seconds or a minute after booting it up, the screen turned black. It wasn't 100% black, rather the screen had become so dark that the only way to see anything would be to lay the screen flat and look at it on level with the edge.

Even though the screen turns black, everything still functions properly. The mouse moves and I can open programs and such just fine.

I shut down my computer, pulled out the power cord, and turned it on again. The screen is medium-dark (because of the power saving mode) and noticed a crackling sound coming from the speakers. The sound became louder the brighter I adjusted the screen, and would almost disappear if I set it to the darkest setting. If I set it to about 70% brightness, the screen automatically turns "black". Plugging in the power cord also automatically turned it black until I figured out to change the default power option settings so that plugging it in would set it at only 40% brightness.

About a day after the initial spill, I did blow dry both the outsides and inside of the computer for about 5 minutes. I didn't really know how to take apart the laptop, so I only got as far as removing the keyboard before I got too nervous to continue. The keyboard looked perfectly clean and dry with no stains or residue visible. The inside of the computer (as far I could see) also looked clean.

Another day after that, the sound was getting less and less noticable. Sometimes I could bring it to even 60-70% brightness with no crackling sounds or black screens. That's when another person spilled TEA onto my laptop again.

I stuck tissues under the keys again, and this time I tried turning the laptop sideways and upsidedown as I had read online. I regret this fact now. Apparently turning it had allowed the liquid to seep over the keyboard "tray" into the inside of the computer. When I opened up the keyboard area again, I noticed the inside was slightly damp and also a few light brown stains from the tea. I soaked it up with a tissue.

The crackling sound has reappeared again, and any gains I had made of the brightness of the screen has been lost; it's back to the way it was after the first spill. What should I do now? What part is wrong with it?

I do plan to clean the laptop soon. I don't have any deionized water now, but I plan to buy some soon and clean it. But where should I clean? I don't think my entire laptop is affected, since I'm using it fine right now typing this message. I would rather only take apart the parts that I need to clean.

* screen turns near-black if adjusting the brightness too high
* crackling sound from the speakers also increases with brightness
* no sticky keys, computer otherwise functioning normally

Thank you for any help!

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February 13, 2009 at 20:19:06
well i may be out of my league, but here's a shot in the dark. after i do soldering jobs on motherboards, capacitors mostly, i clean off the excess soldering paste and such with isopropyl alcohol. i have some ina visine bottle and i wipe it all round the spot with one of my daughter's paintbrushes. and blow on it after. dries things up and leaves them clean.

now as far as your more delicate laptop connectors.. if you got as far as removing the keyboard, then you're handy enough to:

unfold the screen all the way down to where the whole laptop is one flat sheet; remove the caps from the screen's hinges by pulling on them with your HANDS or at most a wooden cuticle stick. then you can remove the screws under those caps, and unlatch the ribbon cable from it's connector by unlocking the two side latches of the connector.

then, under the keyboard area, you will see other connectors, also with ribbon cables in them, ans little latches that can release them. take them out. remove the ribbons. hopefully you'll end up removing the speakers ribbon too. then you will need to clean INSIDE those thin connectors on the board. how? use a toothpick with very little cotton on it, dipped in regular rubbing alcohol .. or any other alcohol .. you can use vodka if handy :) then using a cotton cloth, dipped in the same alcohol, wipe the ribbons clean, and put everything back in. your main problem is the display, dude. nevermind them speakers. if after you put it all back, the screen's brightness is still affected, try going into bios and disabling the speakers if that's an option. OR if you think you found the speaker's connector on the board, go unplug them and try the display again, without the speakers connected to the system. if none of this gives you back your display, then the fluids that you had spilled on there eventually shorted out an electronic part or circuit, and you have a voltage/current filtering problem. don't do what you did last time.. don't use the laptop hoping it'll eventually go away, because it may go 'away' for good.

last hope, find a service center that won't rip you off and hope that they don't.

best of luck.

I always say it's best to doublecheck.

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