Spilled Water on Framework, Now Brightness is Stuck on Max

  • 11th gen with upgraded 1240p mainboard
  • Windows 11 Education, latest release

Last night a water bottle leaked inside my bag and a little bit got inside my Framework. Afterwards it would either boot for a few seconds or not boot at all, but one time it booted into recovery mode and the screen was flickering rapidly and looked extremely grainy.

This morning I turned it on and as far as I can tell everything is working except for the display being stuck on max brightness. I have tried adjusting the brightness via function keys, settings, and powershell. I have 2 questions:

  1. What should I do to ensure there is no lasting damage to the laptop? Disassemble and clean with isopropyl? Is there any program I can run to check the health of the system?

  2. How can I fix the display brightness issue? I’m going to try reconnecting the display connector tonight but my knowledge beyond that is very limited.

Thanks for your help.

I would disconnect the battery and RAM/storage and CPU fan/heatsink, then hold power button to discharge any capacitors. Remove the mainboard and depending on how wet the board got, you might want to soak it in 90% isopropyl alcohol to displace any remaining water. Or just get a hairdryer and heat the entire board, front and back. There could be water stuck in the keyboard, not sure though. You could try disassembling the keyboard and drying it out as well.

Not a repair tech, just my 2 cents.


As I was using the laptop just now, the brightness changed without any input and the brightness controls started working again for a period of maybe 15 seconds. Then immediately after the screen went back to max brightness. Now I’m really puzzled as to what the problem could be. Could it be something with the component that’s controlling the display brightness, and if so does somebody know how I could fix that?

And thank you for the advice Ghost, I’ll follow it and report back.

I wouldnt use the laptop for a few weeks until I was sure there was no more water inside.

How you’re brave enough to keep using it… since it could cause long-time damage…

Unfortunately I don’t have the liberty of not using it because I’m a university student and I need a laptop for class. If I could I would have just left it to dry for a week.

@kevinm it won’t take long to dry out if you do it right, if your oven or toaster oven can go as low as 100-150ish degrees, that will dry out your laptop super quick without damaging any components you might even be able to go as high as 200F without damage but certainly no higher. Otherwise the alcohol plus hair dryer will do the trick. If you really want to be confident in cleaning the board up, clean it with distilled water first to get any minerals from your old water off your board then displace that water with the alcohol/hair dryer. The component in charge of brightness is the EC (embedded controller). Also just thought of something, it could also be the camera, there is a ambient light sensor that can control the backlight as well. You could try turning off that feature and see if that does anything for you. Probably won’t though.

If all else fails, check to see if you have insurance. For instance, my renters insurance covers my devices, even if I didn’t purchase insurance specifically for my devices. If you live with parents, their homeowners insurance may cover the damage. If you purchased with a credit card, the credit card may offer insurance for the device.