Oh, the Humanity!

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Small things cause big problems sometimes. Like a $3 cup of coffee, for instance. Laptop computers do not like coffee, apparently.

My poor Macbook.

Lurch-like oaf that I am, I spilled a full – hot – cup all over the table at the coffee joint where I go to work. Even though I grabbed up the Macbook as artfully as Neo in the Matrix, some apparently sloshed into the thing – and now it is badly gimped.

The fan runs constantly and I am told this is because the temperature sensor is shot. And because the temp sensor is shot, the CPU is in – effectively – limp-home mode. Unusable for online work, it’s so slow now.

And it will soon croak entirely regardless, so I am also told.

I am also told that the fix – a new motherboard – will be $500, parts and labor. Basically not worth doing.

So I am not sure what to do.

I can buy a used laptop and am looking into that.

But I am out of my depth on this one, my compadres – and would sorely appreciate any wise words from those of you who are hip to Macs.

My machine is a circa 2014 Macbook Air.

Thanks in advance…



  1. You might test drive a Windows 10 device if you’re not too deep into the Apple “ecosystem” ie: no iPhone, iPad, etc. it’s much less painful, although it still has a learning curve. I don’t do much in Windows but what I do I generally don’t have problems.

    Not an enthusiastic review, but the way Apple has been treating the Mac is the last few years is pathetic.

  2. If you can live with Winblows, or know someone that can install Linux Mint or the like on it, you can buy an otherwise perfectly good new laptop for $300 or less on a good sale. You pay a heavy premium for a Mac and it is basically the same hardware inside as a generic PC.

    • Hi Jason,

      I know, but I am not a computer guy and dealing with a PC makes my teeth ache. I am scanning Amazon for a decent used Mac… and meanwhile hoping my sick one works until I do find one…

      • Eric,

        Screw Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Look on ebay for a used macbook air. Preferably one that is a later model than the one you have you can take the drive from your unit and put it directly into the replacement and forge right ahead. You will have better luck there than on Amazon. I have bought all 3 of my Mac Mini computers off ebay and I am happy with all of them even the 2006 unit.


  3. What is going on with your iMac? I sent you a 120GB SSD with the OS already installed a couple of years back. I, also, had an adapter bracket delivered as well so it would fit inside in place of the 3.2 mechanical drive.


    • Hi Noneya,

      The desktop still works but I mostly work on the (much newer) laptop… or rather, did!

      I opened the back of it yesterday and found a lot of coffee spill residue. I cleaned it carefully with contact cleaner, but no change. It starts and works, but the fan runs constantly and the speed is extremely slow.I had a friend’s teenaged son – who is computer hip – look at it and he says: the CPU/OS is running at 60 percent of kernel task of some such gibberish… does that make any sense to you?

      • Kernel

        Im on a tablet and cant do much

        I know theres free software that will tell you what the temp of your computer is

        Will post it later when on a familiar sys

        For now find the coldest area and use the macbook tbere. Also aim a regular fan at it, this will help keep cool

        You could throw the thing in the fridge for a few hours

        Then maybe even the freezer

        For now have your post prepped as completely as possible

        Then boot up the ice cold machine and go fast get done then shut it back down

        Freezing point is very low since a macbook contains no water

        Check the specs if you can then set up in as cold an area as possible as a temporary gimp mitigation strategy

      • If I am reading through your translation correctly it’s that the machine is running at 60% throttle. That’s a lot if you aren’t actively doing something but not so much if are doing any sort of involved task. If it thinks or is hot and has gone into a ‘limp home’ mode then it could be at 60% not doing a whole lot depending how drastic the limp mode is.

        My windoze machine here at lunchtime is at hovering ~1% CPU and 26% RAM. About right. I am writing this and my work is sitting in RAM. It’s a bit of a monster though.

        My guess is that the board is coated which saved it from total destruction. Is the machine physically hot to the touch? If so then there’s cooling passages blocked or some process is running it hard. If it’s doing this cold then the temperature sensor is falsely reporting it is hot.

        As I am reading through sites it appears that this problem is usually caused by liquid intrusion that damages the temperature sensors which are apple unique and can only be found on junkyard mac boards.

        This is the description of the compy is doing:

        It also has instructions on how to disable this cooling down feature.

        But it recommends something like SMCFanControl to control the fans manually or semi-auto or with different settings or some sort. I didn’t go too far into it.

        Basically the idea here is like disabling the coolant temperature sensor and now you watch a temp gauge and have a fan switch in the car.

      • If you can open your laptop then watching a youtube video on your cell phone to install the SSD I sent you into the iMac should be easy peasy. At least you will have a working computer that runs reasonably well.


      • Okay, coffee
        spill residue. dry air blower. Preferably from an air compressor with a dryer and no oiler. Douse the MB with contact cleaner and blow it clean with a blower attached to an air compressor. Leave it set for 30 minutes to dry any residual moisture from the air compressor.


  4. Hi Eric – sorry to hear about your loss….. hate loosing a good piece of kit….. heres one trick ive tried and tested many times for water damaged tech…. always works wonders. Turn it off immediately, take off as much covering as possible (say back cover and battery if possible) wrap it in some light tissue and put it in a big sack of rice (maybe not even the tissue but will help keeping rice out of say the earphone jack and stuff). Rice is probably one of the best commonly available desiccants and sucks water out of anything, and water is what causes the electronics problems (directly by shorting contacts, and over time by causing corrosion of points, hence always turn it off to prevent electricity flowing and speeding up corrosion). Never tried it with a laptop but has worked this with numerous phones, a tablet, even a digital camera, and provided it dries out long enough (for example the completely soaked tablet took about 2 weeks to come back to life), there is no reason it shouldn’t work with a laptop.

    • Rice is good

      Also good is always save the little dessicant packets you constantly encounter

      Im always surprised by young and suburb people who dont mindfully do autopsies of what theyre tossing away at least on occassion

      I took apart an empty gel deoderant container and put some living slime mold in there.

      Now I have a Eukayotic organism dispense that I keep way in the ack of my yard/bayou and am seeing if it can live in there

      I never need to go buy new things

      The old and unwanted provide all the fascination I can handle.

      • When that slime mold morphs into Swamp Thang and eats your ass….. well, I guess we won’t know about it. We’ll just be saying, “Where’s Tor been lately?”

        • Ha.

          I laughed so hard my Dad went scrambling out of here.

          As I’ve long promised, I’m starting to learn how to smoke at age 50. I’m snorting lose menthol tobacco.

          And smoking the remnants of the not quite finished ones.

          There’s no marginal cost to do so, and it’s very interesting to me.

          I’m thinking of forming a Smoker’s Gulch.

  5. Had to learn the hard way with an iphone 3gs. They are just expensive enough to hurt the pocketbook, but not expensive enough to be worth fixing (most things). Got water in it and it was dead.

    People are bat-sh*t insane to pay a thousand dollars for the iphoneX. Even if they have the disposable income. iphones just don’t last long enough to pay more then $300. You lucky if you get two years out of one. My current one is a iphoneSE that I paid a little over $250 for. Too much for even that. If they don’t have an inexpensive one next time there will be no more iphone for me. Just can’t afford that.

  6. I don’t deal in retail stuff, and no one is gonna help me once they find why I’m asking.

    I’ve gotta goy Tiny I can send your way that I know has some kind of toshiba laptop. He owes me. Pretty sure its Microsoft Broken Windows op sys of some kind, Do you know Win 7,8,10, etc. at all?

    He’s in Asheville NC right now.

    I de-activated my Iphone. I still have an IPAD. My sister has some kind of MacBook or something fancier and newer cause she’s a Chem E. All I know to do on it is download videos, and do wordpress, reddit and twitter stuff on it. She’s freakishly proficient on it, but I have to research nearly anything I do on a BigMac Book.

    I had one of them first Macintosh’s that had 128K of memory and cost over $3000, but I’m sure things are far advanced since then.

    I dunno what to tell you. You can text Tiny at 702-723-zero847 or me at 702-723-zero845 I think is my anon number.

    There’s Skype for all us WanderPoleHocks but Crom only knows the logins and passwords for them, and they aren’t at all interested in helping any of the computer stuff.

    Whizz Dumb of the Crowd Seazzon 1 Episoda 7 Script

    SARA: User sentiment has been overrun by group think.
    We need to introduce some dissonance dynamics.

    Okay, does anybody here speak American? The crowd is fixating on one approach to the detriment of better ideas.

    Minority opinions are being shouted down.
    We’re losing diversity of thought.

    SARA: Fewer competing theories means the majority feels empowered.
    You end up with a torch-wielding mob, and anyone who disagrees with them just stops participating.

    How do you fix it? We are gonna make it okay to think differently.
    Josh, Tariq, get a team together, make some dummy accounts, – and go on forums.
    – Got it.

    – Try and get into some arguments.

    – So how is this gonna help?

    It’ll let people know that not everyone thinks the same, that it’s okay to disagree.
    You know, like stepping up to a bully.

    Grab a terminal.

    Insult people.

    You’ll be happy to hear diversity of opinion seems to be returning to the forums.
    The users have begun steering submissions into the tip line instead of posting to public.

    Marshal, I think you owe Sara an apology.

    Oh, for what? For solving your mess? (LAUGHS) You basically just called off the mob that you created, but sure.

  7. 2012 MacBook Pro.


    Bought my last one off JemJem for around $400 delivered.

    Last of those with easily upgradeable memory & storage.

    Even with leaving the stock 4GB memory, replacing the standard 2.5″ hard drive with a standard, 2.5″ SSD made it perfectly usable.

    Though I maxed out my main MBP with 16GB RAM for around $80.

      • Maybe Bil can be a mobile tech support guy, two lunk heads are always better than one Pa used to say before he died drinking some milk when the goat fell on him and knocked him off the top of the 3 story barn the goat liked to climb on.

        Only a 25 hour drive from El Paso to Roanoke, says Ghoul Gull Maps.


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