Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dad's Review - Spilled water on laptop, what to do next.

A couple of months back I bought a Sony VAIO core i3 with 4 GB RAM for my daughter as replacement for her three year old Asus netbook.

Fast forward and two weeks back, she accidentally spilled her water jug inside her backpack where her laptop was also placed. She initially dried the laptop for more than 30 minutes before starting it again. The laptop started to boot-up then went dead. When my daughter arrived at home from school, I asked for her laptop and removed the HDD and other components. I tried to air dry it overnight. It was useless; I can't make the laptop work again. I blew my top and reprimanded her. The laptop costs me a huge amount of money and it could mean money down the drain. I haven't spoke with my daughter for few days and I even refused to bring her laptop to any repair shop to let her know how disappointed I was with her.

After more than a week, my wife begged me to bring the laptop to a repair shop. The wife and I brought the laptop to a SONY shop at 5th floor of The Annex, SM City North EDSA. We were told to bring the laptop to their service center at Balintawak thus; we decided to bring it to nearby Silicon Valley Shop. The service supervisor informed us that all they can do was to simply clean the laptop for 1,850 pesos and if any part should be replaced then we need to do the same thing, bring it to SONY service center at Balintawak since they didn't have any access to SONY spare parts.

Knowing that there were many laptops shops in the area, we searched for another laptop repair shop. We found one beside the Silicon Valley. Admittedly, I was reluctant first since the repair shop looked like a Mr. Quickie shop or a shoe repair shop; a receiving/reception table and nothing else. Anyhow, we went inside and inquired. I was impressed by the technical knowledge of the young lady manning the reception area. Actually, there were three young ladies at the reception desk while I noticed some young technicians as well inside their small workshop; hidden from your view when you are outside the shop.

SST laptop repair shop

The young lady explained that the shop would charge us 400 pesos for diagnostic fee. In case they would be able to repair the laptop, the total repair charge would be 1,500 pesos (inclusive of 400 pesos diagnostic fee). For every basic part or component that needs to be replaced like capacitor/resistor, the cost would be 200 pesos per part. However, in case they need to replace expensive part and the final bill would exceed 2,000 pesos then they would contact us first to ask for our approval. The agreement was fair enough for me so she proceeded with laptop acceptance procedure.

She confidently removed the HDD / RAM and DVD writer. She then wrote all the specifications and serial numbers of those components on the receipt while she asked me to sign on each and every one of them including the motherboard and monitor using a permanent marker. I was astonished first but as technical person I knew that it was done so as to assure their client that the working original parts would not be replaced without our knowledge.

After several hours, we received a text message asking for the laptop's password; we immediately replied. The laptop is now running; I told my wife. Otherwise they won't know it is password protected.

The next day, we asked whether we could take the laptop since it was already working. They refused to release the laptop until they were sure that it would pass the burn-in test. After 2 days, we received another text message informing us that our laptop was ready for pick-up.

Sunday came, with family in tow and before watching Jack, The Giant Slayer movie, we proceeded to SST laptop repair shop. My daughter checked her laptop thoroughly; it was working perfectly according to her. I checked also the hardware profile and found that everything was the same as before. Once we were satisfied, the lady powered off the laptop and showed to me one by one the laptop's different components. All my initials were intact and serial numbers were the same. After that, final test was done by my daughter before we signed the claimed receipt.

I paid 1,500 pesos since they didn't replace any part. The technician simply reset the power IC and cleaned the affected area to prevent water scaling. At any case, I was elated that the final bill was minimal.

By the way, one month warranty was given by the shop for the dead-set problem. Other problems that may arise related to water spillage will not be covered by warranty.

According to SST shop technician, in case of water or fluid intrusion to any laptop, the following things should be done immediately to prevent further damage to motherboard layout.

- Do not power on.
- Remove the battery.
- Bring the laptop to a reputable repair shop so as to prevent further damage to motherboard.

I remember what happened to my Toshiba laptop after typhoon Ondoy submerged our old house, I cleaned it myself and due to some more pressing needs I was not able to bring it to any repair shop immediately. I got the time to bring it to a repair shop after a month and sad to say, it was beyond economical repair.


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.