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Cleaning a logic board...

Any opinion on soaking the logic board in ISOP?

I have a macbook pro that I bought as "parts" and it booted up, but only to external HDD. Upon inspection (checked HDD, HDD flex cable, connection sites, etc), I discovered the entire board was covered in what I'm going to guess is coffee or coke. I'd like to soak the board because simple brushing is not getting it clean... Thoughts?

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Hey guys - just to update you, I got two different MBP faulty logic boards to start functioning properly again, after a high-grade ethanol bath, and gently cleaning with an anti-static electronics brush. Very pleased with my efforts. Thanks!


That is GREAT thank you for accepting my answer and thank you for letting us know.

Jason, would you be able to explain what you did step by step?

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I would suggest using pharmaceutical grade rubbing alcohol (95% or better)which you can get at many drug stores, since it will evaporate readily. You can actually use water, distilled would be best. What ever you use prior to cleaning the board remove the battery from the board and discharge the capacitors. Liquid will not hurt the board or components if there is no electricity present. Batteries and capacitors store electricity. After you clean it dry it with a hair dryer. Be sure, be comfortable, that all is dry prior to re-installing the battery and the power source.

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how would you discharge capacitors?

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The capacitors will self-discharge on their own if you remove the battery and power adaptor and wait a few hours before soaking the logic board. May I suggest you add a very little amount of dishwashing liquid to your soaking water to help free up the crud. After a few hours, use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the gunk off. And pay attention to the cable connector sockets and the cable fittings that plug into them. Use pure distilled water to rinse thoroughly, then use a hair dryer to dry it up. Be warned there are areas not easily dried, like the space under the integrated circuit chips with legs on all sides. For these I use compressed air too. I use distilled drinking water, by the way. Available just about everywhere.

Please post your results so other readers can benefit too.

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But suppose you must start the soaking immediately and wish to discharge the capacitors right away. I too would like to know how. Half-hearted web search found information about high-voltage contexts, and brought me back here, where I started!

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So, I just want to get this straight as I'm going to attempt this with my macbook a1342 logic board.

It's been unplugged for about a week and I'll remove the battery day of disassembly (how does one discharge capacitors manually or will I not need to according to what Bernie said?).

I have 99% Isopropyl Alcohol that I plan on giving the logic board a bath in. Is it recommended that I rinse it with distilled water AFTER the isop bath? Or is this step not necessary? I don't have a hairdryer so would leaving it under a lamp (or just on its own for a day or two) be sufficient to dry it (and compressed air for the hard to reach places)?

I'm hoping this will fix my logic board. Isop Alcohol/distilled water and patience are much cheaper than a new logic board so I appreciate any advice!

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An isopropyl bath didn't work for my logic board. It certainly cleaned the nasty stuff off; however, there was some left over green stuff even after the bath. Looks like I'll be buying a logic board after all (well, new to me, but refurb off ebay - unless, of course, ifixit wants to donate a free 2.26ghz board for the a1342 macbook to me! XD).

Yup! Nothing worked. I use 95% isop (that's the highest I could find). Soaked the logic boar for a few hours (maybe 6-7 hours?). Took it out, scrubbed it (gently) and rinsed it with alcohol. Let it dry and plugged everything back in.

The weird thing Is when I plug in the charger it's green, but when I hit the power button, it turns orange for 30sec or so then turns back to green. I'm going to unplug the keyboard and try to "jump" it in the next couple of days, though. I will report back once I get around to it.

I ended up unplugging the keyboard and "jump starting" the macbook. The fan turned on, beeped one solid "BeeeeeeeP" over and over again. I made a video, posted it to youtube, and was about to post my question of "what's wrong now" to macrumors, but I switched the ram and did it again. Booted just fine! But then the screen started to flicker and the backlight went out... Great. So, I did some searching and it sounds like (after a liquid spill) this issue is due to blown fuse. So I may try replacing that. Or I may just wipe the HDD and sell it for parts on ebay (fuse was cheap, but a new keyboard on ebay was about $65 for the cheapest one and that was the "Japanese" keyboard). At least the thing is working!

did you try a soft tooth brush? worked for me.

@dawaves and anyone else who is interested,

I'm not sure what the technical explanation of "jumping a macbook" is, but I'm pretty sure it just means bypassing the battery. It's generally done by touching a few of the metal contacts (where the battery would be plugged into) with a piece of metal. It sort of "jump starts" it.

You do this by (and don't quote me, but this is how I do it) disconnecting the battery, connecting the power cable to the laptop, and touching battery contacts (on the logic board) around contact 3 and 4 with a piece of metal. I made a video a while ago (actually to help diagnose a problem before I ended up finding it out on my own). It shows how I jump started. I haven't actually watched it in a while but I think I explain the process in the video as well.

Link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1gE0UMsH...

Good luck.

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I heard that using a toothbrush on a logic board can damage delicate components. What you think? I was thinking of just giving it an alcohol bath instead of rubbing it with anything as I'm a bit afraid based on what I heard. Will that still accomplish something?

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I should add that there is no visible corrosion on it.

I can see how someone could use a hard bristle, or even soft bristle tooth brush and wreck a board. A soft tooth brush is what I used and was just careful and let the alcohol do the work. That meant I had to go over some spots a few times after looking through a magnifying glass at the board, but I thought that was better than being a bull in a china shop. Gentle is the key word here.

Thank you. are there any areas I should avoid?

Well, if you submerge the board like I did, you're gonna have to deal with various pads, the speakers, and the thermal paste and thermal pad. If you're just cleaning local spots, then you really want to use a magnifying glass of some sort and use short soft strokes 45 degrees towards the base.

The taller the item on the board, the more careful you have to be because of leverage. When you get into the job, I think you'll get a feel for what I'm talking about. Try to be deliberate, but gentle with straight strokes instead of a circular motion and do a section at a time. That way, if you do mess something up, you will hopefully pick up on it before you invest loads more time into something that doesn't work.

Just be aware of where and what the alcohol is touching because at that grade, it is pretty corrosive. I really only did 15 minute baths at a time. I ended up doing 5 cleanings to clean mine up, but mine was pretty covered with the liquid that hit it. Don't be too afraid, just don't go crazy.

I used a spray cleaner for electronics to do a final clean and dry and let the board and parts sit overnight with a small fan on them to dry them out.

The spilled liquid got into places I didn't even expect. I even had to clean the screen hinge out where the antenna runs through, the mag safe connector and the battery level indicator on the side of my late 2011 MBP. That was 2 or 3 years ago and my MBP is still running great. I use it everyday for pretty much everything.

I stripped the board right down so I had to reapply thermal paste to the CPU and GPU. The GPU on these guys comes with a thermal pad from the factory, and you can get those online, but I actually just used thermal paste as it seemed thermal paste could handle the space and tolerance the thermal pad was taking care of. I used Arctic silver and temps where lower than ever afterwards. I used and app called XRG to monitor the temps from time to time and ran the long apple hardware test over night. I lucked out. I hope you do too! Good luck!

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