My iBook Got Wet and Died

Wet iBook Kernel Panic
Yesterday I spilled a little bit of bottled water on the keyboard of my Apple iBook. It ran for several minutes while I sopped up the water. Then I got the idea to remove the keyboard to shake the rest of the water out of it. This turned out to be a very bad idea. While the keyboard has kind of a membrane that prevented the water from going inside the computer, removing it spilled water through a cooling vent and onto the logic board near the RAM.

The iBook crashed with a kernel panic unlike any other I have seen since the days of the Amiga. Since the heat sink was still warm, I let it set for a few hours to dry out. After that, when you start the laptop it makes the “Apple Sound” followed by three beeps. It doesn’t even turn the monitor on. The white LED that normally “snoores” flashes short-short-short-long, which in Morse code is a “v.” I found an Apple Knowledgebase article that says three beeps is a RAM fault, so hopefully that’s the only thing that is seriously broken. Otherwise, it will also need a new logic board.

Surfing on-line, it looks like replacing it with a used one on eBay is cheaper than new parts – plus I would get whatever is left of their battery and a new charger. My charger is starting to wear out.


I called Apple. They suggested that since the BIOS fault error still comes up when I remove the RAM that it is probably the logic board that is blown. The say it’s not worth repairing and might cost $1,000 or more – might as well buy a new one. To get the same size, etc., however, I’d have to fork out more money on top of my insurance claim. I’m not prepared to do that, plus, I have the operating system setup the way I like it.

Based on my googling, I think it will cost about $600 to fix. I shipped it to based on the recommendations from several bloggers. We’ll see what the repair bill will run once they put it on the bench.

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