Repairability did it's job

This is not a question, it’s a thank you story.

I dumped a coffee all over my keyboard. Lot’s of both sugar and milk in the coffee.

Thanks to the ability to disassemble this thing, I was able to pretty easily take it all apart, find and see all the places where any coffee actually went, clean all the normal parts that just got a little on them where all it takes is a little wipe to clean up. And in particular, the keyboard which took the worst hit, although the 100 screws were tedious, and the threads are tiny so you have to be very careful with each one… it was POSSIBLE vs not-possible to isolate and remove the keyboard by itself and clean it or replace it.

I was able to remove the keyboard from the rest of the frame and wash it in running hot water. Just flush the heck out of it and hold it in different directions under running hot water and shake it out in different directions, and really ensure the coffee and sugar was washed out of all the possible places you know it gets trapped inside where you know it’s easy to get in and not easy to get out.

Then drench it all with distilled water to flush out the tap water, then denatured alcohol to displace and dry the water. Then heat it all up with a hair dryer to dry it and drive moisture out of trapped places like inside the dome switches.

After re-assembling, the keyboard still had a few keys that must have still had trapped moisture after all that because some keys just repeated as if I were typing them. But I just left it assembled and tested again in a day. It was still not totally normal but it was better, so I just left it another day. Now it’s normal. All keys working perfectly normally.

And of course, if that hadn’t fixed it, they sell the bare keyboards right on the web site for $40. I ordered a new keyboard because I didn’t want to risk waiting several days to see if it cleared up, and then order the part and wait several more days for it to arrive. As it turned out, I didn’t even need to buy a new keyboard. Merely the ability to disassemble and reassemble was itself already a super valuable feature.

As it stands, I will probably install the new keyboard and re-wash the old one more thoroughly, maybe even run it through the dishwasher or use my ultrasonic cleaner, then dry more thoroughly, maybe in the oven at 150 or resting over one of my radiators, anything where it stays hot overnight instead of just a minute or so in my hands, to really drive the moisture out of trapped areas, and ensure that in the end I haven’t left any traces of anything corrosive or minerals trapped in places where it will eat away at the traces on the membranes or become conductive in the presense of humidity. Then just put that away against the future day where I kill the new keyboard some other time.

Basically the choice to get this machine proved itself out both because if I didn’t want to mess around, they would sell me either a keyboard, or even the entire top frame assembly if I was daunted by all those 100 screws. And even aside from being able to buy parts, just the ability to disassemble and reassemble allows the option of doing something like washing the keyboard thoroughly, and re-assemble cleanly as good as new in the end.

THIS is what this thing is all about in my opinion.
Thank you Framework!

less-happy incident along the way: the battery connector is super susceptible to mis-aligning a pin. I discovered the hard way that that connector is not as good as most other connectors at ensuring the pins align with the holes. Just re-inserting the connector the normal way, I bent one of the pins, and didn’t know it until I had taken it back apart later. Luckily the damage wasn’t quite catastrophic and I was actually able to bend the pin back into place and the female part of the connector was damaged but still lined up with where the pin goes, so I was able to re-connect the battery. You have to be careful with basically all connectors, but somehow that battery connector actually requires more care than even the ribbon connectors. You have to manually make sure you start with the connector perfectly parallel and start it slowly, maybe rock up & down a little to ensure the pins drop into the holes before sending it home.


Cheers to your self repairability mate…:pizza:

Nice! I’m curious about the specifics of the spill, especially given that the keyboard isn’t spill-proof like on some other laptops. Was the laptop turned on when you spilled? Did anything get on the mainboard, or did the input cover somehow contain the liquid? Frankly I’m surprised the laptop made it out alive at all.

Oh also, while the keyboard was still buggy from trapped moisture, it was possible to just pull out the ribbon cable for the keyboard itself while still having the touch pad and power button connected, and was able to use my mxkeys keyboard with a paired unifying receiver, and that way (vs bluetooth) the keyboard even worked at the boot menu and bios.

So even with the keyboard messed up, it was possible to work around that pretty surgically by being able to disconnect just the keyboard, and the rest of the machine still worked. It didn’t refuse to boot and it wasn’t forced to disable any other parts on some combined subassembly on a single cable etc.

If I’d had to go on site, I wouldn’t have even had to revert to my previous laptop. Just disabling the normal keyboard and using the mxkeys would have been good enough even for working for a customer on site.

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I just had a coffe sitting right in front of the laptop, and knocked it over away from myself pretty much front and center right on the touch pad and keyboard. It was only about 1/2 cup in a mug total amount of liquid.

It dribbled through or around the keyboard and touch pad and got a little on the motherboard and ssd and the frame under the touchpad area.

The motherboard and ssd only got a little, and it they were easy to clean up with a little blotting. I used a wet cotton towel and blotted. The towel knapp got into all the tiny features around the pcb components, and the wetness diluted and absorbed the coffee without washing or wiping. Same for the lower frame.

The keyboard got the worst. It has a plastic or maybe aluminized plastic sheet on the back side which surely collected a lot of liquid inside. I didn’t remove any keycaps, I just flushed the heck out of the whole thing.

This is generally ok to do to most electronics, as long as you just don’t leave it wet, and use distilled water and alcohol to wash away any minerals from tap water and then dry the distilled water with alcohol and then heat.

Since I still had some keys that took a few days to return to normal, that means I didn’t dry thoroughly enough, so that’s why after the new keyboard comes in the mail, I’m going to wash the old one again and do both the wash and the dry more thoroughly this time, even though righ now it’s working fine, I can’t be sure it’s not got some residue still in there which might corrode the traces over time.


I assume the machine was powered off during the incident?

Better just to use an air flow

Air alone will not get water out of trapped enclosed places. It requires heat, or an excessive amount of time. The problem with time is it gives the water time to start corroding whatever it’s touching. It doesn’t necessarily take a great deal of heat. Almost anything over ambient is enough to drive moisture out in hours instead of say, weeks.

The laptop was running, and didn’t crash. I was able to shut down gracefully using the power button. The bluetooth mouse was still usable too so I could have shut down with that too.

Thanks for taking the time to document your coffee spill incident for us and for giving us new insights into what we can expect from our FW should we have a similar problem. Having had some (mostly bad) experience with “used but good” spare parts, if you do keep the new keyboard you ordered, I would suggest reinstalling the original one after you clean it again and then holding the “new” one as a spare. That way, if you miss something in your second cleaning and it corrodes/fails in a few months, you will have a new/reliable keyboard to install instead of the one that had been doused and (hopefully) thoroughly cleaned and (hopefully) thoroughly dried and stored such that it (hopefully) is still fully functional. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing.

You’re right. That makes more sense.

The new one will not change while stored. The washed one might silently go bad over time.

If I keep using the washed one, whether it fails from corrosion or from some other accident or just general wear and dirt, when the time comes, the new spare WILL be good.

But if I install the new one, then when the time comes to replace it, the washed spare MAY be good.

Well I can’t really agree there. I have dropped phones into a tidal river and had to wait until the tide went out. Then I had to trawl the mud with a magnet to find the phone.

Then I removed the battery and dissasemled as much as possible, then washed it in rain water for ten minutes a few times, shoke the water off and left it on the deck in the wind all day. The phone worked for years.

Heat may be excessive. Try drying your cloths outside on a windy day or a hot/warm day, the windy day is better.

Regarding the corrosion, distilled water doesn’t contain contaminants like CO2 and SO2 which form weak acids in water and hence corrode metals.

So with clean water there is no such corrosion. Such contaminates there are in the air, are usually so little that I’ve never given it a though until now.

A floww of warm air would be ideal from my perspective, like a hair dryer on very low.

I’m not expressing some theory I guessed at.

Air does not reach the insides of things the way water does. It gets in and does not get back out. Water can get even inside of totally sealed chip packages, and the only way to get it out is heat.

When you buy brand new chips, which are totally sealed up solid blocks of plasic or epoxy or ceramic, they come with directions for baking them to drive moisture out.

A hair dryer works (for this, not hair), only a little bit because of the air flow, but mostly because of the controlled mild heat it can deliver to the parts.

Distilled water still oxidizes even if it doesn’t contain any vocs, acids, or alkolines. And distilled water doesn’t conduct, but that doesn’t matter because dostilled water only exists in the bottle. As soon as it touches the dirty object it’s contaminated water. So it will still both conduct and corrode unless and until the flushing job is thorough enough to wash out all of the contaminant, which is NOT actually easy. When you think it’s clean, it’s not actually clean yet.

After the washing really is good enough, the same goes for the drying.

When you think something like this has been cleaned and dried, and then take it apart (destructively, to see in places you can’t see without wrecking it) you discover all you did was clean the outside and still left a mess where it mattered.

That’s why electronics repair shops use ultrasonic cleaners, alcohol, and ovens.

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That’s due to cost, they are in a hurry to effect repair and get paid.

The air flow isn’t designed to get inside, although it would, but due to less density takes longer.

The issue is the evoporation of water which happens due to the lowering of pressure by the flow of air, heat is not as effective in that it can cause damage. :slight_smile:

"The air flow isn’t designed to get inside, although it would, but due to less density takes longer.

The issue is the evoporation of water which happens due to the lowering of pressure by the flow of air, heat is not as effective in that it can cause damage."