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How to find defective parts after coffee spill?

I'm currently in the process of getting a MacBook Air to work again after a coffee spill.

So far, I've already disassembled it and cleaned the components with special electronics/pcb cleaner. Unfortunately it doesn't want to power on and I don't have any idea which part is causing it yet. Here are two things I've already figured out:

  • The MagSafe 2 LED is green when connecting it and changes to orange (charging) after one second.
  • The MagSafe 2 LED changes when resetting the SMC, so I guess the keyboard/upper case is still ok.

I already disconnected almost everything from the logic/IO board in order to exclude these parts (SSD, speakers, microphone, AirPort/Bluetooth etc.), yet absolutely nothing happens when I hold the power button. No startup sound, no fan spinning, display remains black.

Is there any way how I could find the defective parts or get it to work at all? Unfortunately I don't have another MBA to exchange parts.

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So, I put the components in distilled water, brushed them with a soft toothbrush, let them dry a few days and literally soaked them in isopropyl alcohol. Waited another two days, assembled the MBA and it finally powered on. Thanks a lot for your help guys!

Happy it all worked out!

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I had the same problem.

Could you teach step by step the process? Thanks!


@angelorecaman - Angelo, I don't think marcel will respond to your request as his last post was over three years ago.

I would recommend you post a fresh question so others see it and collectively we can help you.

Thanks Dan!

Already did it.


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What was the cleaner? You may need to start over using distilled water and Isopropyl alcohol depending on what you had added to your coffee.


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I used a special cleaner made for electronic components and printed circuit boards (although I could get 99,7% pure IPA as well if that would be better). I was able to remove most of the coffee stains with it, yet there are some spots I haven't been able to clean yet. I'm trying the magnifier and light tip, as well as distilled water and IPA. Thanks!

If the spray cleaner leaves a film of oil you'll need to wash it all down with Isopropyl alcohol as the oil messes things up here.


Find a good magnifier and light. Look for burned corroded spots on the top and bottom of the logic board. You must have RAM and some other POST (power on self test) components connected in order to start the boot process.

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The logic board is fairly well protected from minor spills on the keyboard. The keyboard shorts out and you have to replace the upper case. I've found that this will fix 90% of these minor spill cases.


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I just wonder why the SMC reset still works. Does the 2012 MacBook Air have powerpads to start it without having the keyboard/trackpad attached?


You should start here:


Then we can assess your next steps.


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