Tale of Fail: Juice + laptop = sad laptop

Here’s a funny story for the weekend. Six or so weeks ago one of my librarians called me in a panic “I’ve spilled juice on my netbook and now it doesn’t work! What will I do?!” You and I know that juice is possibly one of the worst things you can spill in an electronic gadget: all of that sticky sugar really gums up the works and shorts things out. I didn’t give her much hope.

She decided to go ahead and replace the netbook, but asked me if there was anything I could think of that would bring the sticky netbook back to life. Since at that point we didn’t have much to lose, I told her to take the battery out and stick it, open, face down, in the dishwasher (no soap, please) and run it through a normal cycle (no heated dry, please). Once it’s done, take it out and put it in a ziploc filled with rice for at least 2 weeks, and see if it will boot. It can’t hurt it any more, and who knows, it might help.

So here we are, 6 weeks later. We are in possession of a netbook that has *been through the dishwasher* and yes, it still boots! The battery is fried, and the touchpad doesn’t work, but you can use a USB mouse with it and everything else works.

So there you have it: given enough time, it will not kill a netbook to send it through the dishwasher, and in this case, we may well have saved it to compute another day.

[update] We replaced the battery, and sure enough, with a replacement battery, the netbook is restored to cable free functionality (the trackpad still doesn’t work).

About Liz Rea

Network Administrator for the Northeast Kansas Library System, the 87th patch committer to the Koha Open Source ILS, and an avid user of technology and the internet.

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