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How to discern between broken laptop MB vs keyboard+battery

laptop repair keyboard battery motherboard

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#1
Lixpas

Lixpas

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Hi,

 

my girlfriend spilled some water (~50ml) on her laptop Acer Aspire V3-331. We immediately switched it off, flipped it upside down, opened, took out the battery and let it dry for 2 weeks. However, the keyboard and the battery don’t work properly anymore. I would like to find out whether the battery and keyboard themselves are broken or whether the problem is the MB.

 

Symptoms:

95% of the keys on the keyboard don’t work at all, only 7 keys work normally, other 8 are coupled in pairs.

The battery worked fine for a day after putting the laptop back together, but the laptop suddenly switched off and ever since the battery is not charging and laptop only works connected to the power source. The orange LED battery indicator flashes constantly (~2s period), while the normal behavior would be continuous orange light for charging and green for fully charged. Windows 8 recognizes the battery only for about a minute (saying “Battery connected, not charging”) but as soon as I click on the icon, it changes into “No battery detected”.

 

What I’ve done:

I tried cleaning the contacts of the keyboard ribbon cable and the battery connector. I’ve measured the voltage across the mains of the battery, and it is very low (~2.5V). I couldn’t find a pinout, so I’m not sure, whether any of the other pins need to be connected to ground. The power adaptor gives 19.5V as it should, measured both directly and on the MB. I cannot check the BIOS battery status, as I can’t get into BIOS without the keyboard. For now, I disconnected the keyboard and battery and the computer works fine being constantly connected to power and with external BT keyboard.

 

I’m not sure whether I should buy a new keyboard+battery or a new MB or try to fix either of them.

 

Arguments for broken MB:

  • both battery and keyboard seem physically fine, the battery’s not bulged
  • the keyboard and the battery connector are sitting next to one another on the MB, which might not be a coincidence
  • the battery is kind of recognized by the computer (the indicator is flashing)
  • battery and keyboard cables are clean and not corroded
  • it’s more probable that one thing broke than that two things broke simultaneously

 

Arguments against:

  • no signs of corrosion or burns
  • everything else beside battery and keyboard works fine

 

I also attach pictures of the whole insides of the laptop, the top and bottom of the MB, the battery and the keyboard with highlighted working and coupled keys (solid vs dashed line).

Unfortunately I don’t have any professional equipment. What kind of tests would you suggest for me to try to find out what the problem is? Thank you for any help!

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#2
paws

paws

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 Hi Lixpas and welcome to our forums

:welcome:

 

Sorry to hear of the mishap with the water.

As you know laptop computers and water are not good bed fellows, but all is not lost:

 

Here are some thoughts for you:

 

1 Most home electronics will suffer when there is liquid ingress, however you seem to have acted quickly and that helps enormously.

 

2 If the liquid was pure distilled water then the prognosis is better than if it had been ordinary "tap water" from the faucet. Although certified pure enough for human consumption it will often contain salts, minerals and other compounds that can have a deleterious effect on sensitive electronic components. If the water contained anything, like for example flavourings, fruit juice etc., then the corrosion process is accelerated considerably and the outlook is gloomy to say the least.

 

3 These corrosive effects often manifest themselves several months after the incident (when the corrosion has started)

 

4 In our workshop we start at the basic premise that  water ingress in a laptop computer is usually fatal, and likely to render it  beyond economic repair and that prompt first aid whilst helpful is not likely to offer a long term solution...

 

5 The actions that you have taken should enable you to quickly back up (copy off) all your important material from your hard drive and if you have not already done this then this would be the first recommendation. (do not trust the hard drive in the future with any important content)

 

6 If your computer is working well with an external keyboard, and from the power supply/charger unit with the battery removed, then it's indicative that your motherboard is ok (at the moment)

 

7 As long as you find you can get a reliable functionality from the laptop whilst connected with the Ext keyboard and power supply, then it may well last for up to about a year before the dreaded corrosion takes its toll....( but do make sure that your back up strategy is working well, and contains everything you need and on separate removable media with at least one copy kept safe offsite.) I also tell my customers that unless they have 3 copies of all important files then its not an effective strategy!

 

8 In similar situations customers have asked us if we will completely strip down, the laptop, clean each component, making any repairs necessary, and then reassemble it..... We tell them that we can do that, but the total costs usually exceed or equal the cost of a replacement computer and if we did perform the work we would ask for a "disclaimer" to be signed by them and the work could not be guaranteed.

 

9 There are many other parts as well as the mobo, so replacing it whilst costly cannot guarantee a long term future for this machine

 

10 if you really must have a new battery then think hard about the costs as an OEM is likely to be expensive, foreign imports via well known auction sites are likely to be much less in initial cost but do check carefully before purchasing this way as sometimes neither longevity nor safety can be taken for granted.... Li ion batteries are powerful beasts and quite capable of causing a fire.... and personal injury....

 

Post back if you need any clarification on any of this.

Regards

paws


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#3
Lixpas

Lixpas

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Thank you for taking the time and giving me a very thorough response. I was worried that this would be the case, but it's good to hear from someone experienced in the matter. Indeed the prices of the individual components would make up for almost a half of the initial price of the laptop itself, and ther is no guarantee, it will last. So we'll follow your advice, set up a regular backup and continue using the laptop the clumsy way (BT keyboard + connected to power) while I'll look for a new one. This laptop is almost 2 years old anyway, so it's not unreasonable to replace it with a newer model anyway.

Thank you again!


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#4
paws

paws

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:thumbsup:


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