EeePC: Surviving liquid spills – phase II

Posted by – 03/09/2009

About four months ago I described how my EeePC survived the spilling of orange juice over its keyboard. No! I never spilled anything on it again, if that’s what you’re thinking… But I noticed that some keys (those that got more juice on) began to malfunction. At the beginning I paid no attention to it, hoping that it would just go away, but, eventually, they just stop working… And those are not just unimportant keys… I am talking about arrows and the forward-slash (/) keys in the lower right corner of the keyboard!!! How could I survive without those keys, without a quick access to my bash history and vim search?

Well, I began googling around and found some good advice. Everything that made sense regarding how to cleanup my keyboard I compiled and, when I was enough confident it would work, I just follow the procedure I’ve devised. This is what I did:

  1. After turning it off and removing the battery, I removed the keyboard. Check the instructions I linked in my previous article for some pictures on how to do it.
  2. I poured 500 mL of distilled water in a clean plastic box (I bought 1L for BRL 20 at a local pharmacy), added enough dish detergent to make some foam (I was careful to select a non-biodegradable one) and drowned the whole keyboard in the solution.
  3. For the next 30 minutes I pressed and released the affected keys over and over again. My intention was to dissolve anything that might have remained from the orange juice.
  4. I left it soaking in the solution for the next 12 hours.
  5. The next day I got the keyboard out of the solution and used current tap water to remove any detergent still left in it. This might have took about 10 minutes.
  6. Our tap water is really clean, but its hard, and I would not like to remove any juice from the keyboard just to add some minerals that might have the same effect, so after I was certain all the detergent was removed, I left the keyboard in the remaining of the distilled water for another 12 hour soak.
  7. After that I just removed the keyboard from the soak, dried it a little bit using a paper towel and left it to air-dry (away from the sun). I don’t remember how long it took, but I believe not more than 4 hours… Those were hot days… Anyway, I was really sure it was dry.

When I plugged it back, surprise! All keys are working again! Of course, that was just what worked for me… Best advice still is: Keep liquids away your EeePC!

3 Comments on EeePC: Surviving liquid spills – phase II

  1. spectra says:

    @Anonymous,

    Sure. I was using the usual shortcuts (in Vim, hjkl keys, in Bash C-a, C-e, C-f, and C-b to move in the line and C-p and C-n to move in history)… But I must admit that I am addicted to the arrow keys… most of the time my right pinky finger is laying around them.

    @tshirtman,

    Yes… I am sure it would work if I did just that… The problem is that I didn’t know for sure in advance that the problem was really the juice I’ve spilled months ago… If I adopted a quickier method such as yours and it didn’t come back to work, I would wrongly assume the problem was elsewhere.

    As for the tap water… Our water has a lot of magnesium (hard water) and while it doesn’t make any difference for drinking, I would not like to replace whatever was left of the juice in the keyboard for some mineral that could impair it just the same (or, at least, I would not risk it). That’s why I used distilled water for soaking. Hard water is also the reason distilled water is not cheap in pharmacies (BRL 20 for 1 L is expensive, given you can get 1 L of bottled-water for less than 15% of that).

  2. tshirtman says:

    I had the same issue some time ago, when I poured coca cola on mine, the space key for example whas slow to come back and it was very annoying, my (working) method is a bit more simplistic, I just unpluged keyboard and washed it with tap water, pushing every keys by having the keyboard ‘sandwitched’ between my moving hands, after that I put it to dry on the sun, maybe an hour… and working perfectly (did that for 2 eeepc, the second one was just a bit dirty).

  3. Anonymous says:

    “I am talking about arrows and the forward-slash (/) keys in the lower right corner of the keyboard!!! How could I survive without those keys, without a quick access to my bash history”

    A brief experience with a system that had broken arrow keys taught me to use Ctrl-P to go back in history rather than up. I find it faster, as well, since I don’t have to leave the typing position and reach for the arrows.

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