Sunlight peaked between palms and limestone spires reflecting off the still wet hardwood balcony floor.  Gazing through the double sliding glass doors at retreating thunderheads my thoughts were occupied with catching a samlor to the beach access near the point I reconned earlier that afternoon.  I believed it to be optimal with a magnitude of possibilities and vantages to shoot from.  Spinning the desk chair I reached across the desk when my knuckles grazed plastic.

Sunlight peaked between palms and limestone spires reflecting off the still wet hardwood balcony floor.  Gazing through the double sliding glass doors at retreating thunderheads my thoughts were occupied with catching a samlor to the beach access near the point I reconned earlier that afternoon.  I believed it to be optimal with a magnitude of possibilities and vantages to shoot from.  Spinning the desk chair I reached across the desk when my knuckles grazed plastic.  The open water bottle teetered into a half spin as if drawn by the force of old Murphy himself.  Quick, but never known for agility the force of my catch sprayed a fountain of liquid across the desk showering my Macbook-pro like a unwitting farang passing the entrance to Nana Plaza during Songkran.

The aftermath of my misfortune led to my discovery of a do it yourself site that saved me around $4000 and more importantly over 500 vacation photos.  The amount of water wasn't really as much as the above narrative may lead one to believe but liquid manage to seep through the cracks of the aluminum case near the power adapter.  Not knowing the extent of damage I powered down immediately and began the drying process.  Having had a similar incident with an iphone totally submerged in some rather nasty water in the Philippines I knew I needed to get it completely dry prior to restarting.

Placing wet electronics in an absorbent medium such as "uncooked" rice is a recommended technique for drawing out moisture.  Use of a dry low heat source is also recommended.  With the iphone, I placed it in a bowl of rice which I in turn placed in an unused incubator in the clinic I was working at.  After three days it powered up and has worked with little to no problems for over a year showing only minor water damage on the screen.  For the Macbook I didn't have the incubator and the minimal amount of water seemed to be less significant.  My solution was the hotel hair dryer on low heat for several minutes at a time when I wasn't out enjoying my vacation.  I did this over the next 24 hours and the next day the Macbook restarted and continued to work with no noticeable issues.  Later that day I realized things were not going to be so easy when the low battery warning popped up.  Checking the power source revealed the LED power indicator on the adapter was not lit.  At this point I figured something must be wrong with the charger, the internal power connection or the battery.  I shut the power off in hopes of finding a Mac service center nearby.

Throughout the next three days I searched Krabi and Phuket and found only one service center.  They informed me it would need to be sent to Bangkok and the process could take up to two weeks.  Not liking this option I continued my vacation with the laptop packed away and used SD cards to store my remaining vacation photos.  My biggest concern was for the images on the hard drive.  The expensive laptop could be replaced the images would have to be recovered.  On my return trip I was able to find a service center near Bang Na.  The power supply tested out on another laptop ruling out the easy fix.  The staff member believed that since the notebook still powered up it was most likely the MagSafe DC In Board power adapter.  This would take two days to arrive before he could do the work.  Not having two days I decided to pack it up and head back to home station in Seoul where there are several Mac service centers.

Once in Seoul I took it to an authorized Apple Care center and was told they would look at it and get back with me.  After a week of not hearing from them I went to the store and was told they hadn't looked at it yet but would do so the next day.  About an hour later they called to inform me that it would cost more to repair the damage than replace.  The warranty was also voided which I expected as Apple only covers water damage under their extended care plan.  I returned to the store and they explained that the logic board and MagSafe adapter should be replaced due to the damage.  What I don't understand was why they wouldn't make an attempt to replace the MagSafe adapter to determine if that was all that was needed.  Knowing the computer worked fine after the water incident up to the point when the battery died I didn't believe the logic board was in danger.  With no real choices at the moment I decided to fall back, regroup and reorganize.

A few weeks later while searching online search I found the self help site http://www.ifixit.com/.  This site guides you through Do It Yourself (DIY) step by step instructions on how to fix many types and brands of electronics ranging from computers to cars.  It even has a section covering most camera manufacturers . The repair I needed was listed with instructions laid out in the most basic manner and at least one photo diagram for each step.  The easy to follow written descriptions included warnings against dangers to you or the equipment.  Not only were the steps downloadable in multiple formats but the first page provided a list of tools and repair parts needed.  These items can be purchased from the site in line with the sites marketing plan.

I decided to order the replacement part from the site and purchase the needed tools at the local electronics market.  The part arrived about a week after I ordered it in a padded envelope without issues.  After laying out the part and tools I reviewed the steps and the Macbook was on its way to recovery.  The whole process took less than an hour with the most difficult part being reassembly as the site only shows steps for disassembly.  My limited experience working with electronics did not hinder the process and I only had to be careful with the tiny pieces.  The internal components of laptops are extremely delicate and much caution is advised when performing these types of repairs.  I used a magnetic screwdriver to keep the small screws in line and all of the connectors I removed were still attached at the other end so nothing became misplaced.  Once reassembled I plugged it in, the LED lit up, it powered up, the battery has recharged and it's been running strong ever since.

 

I decided to order the replacement part from the site and purchase the needed tools at the local electronics market.  The part arrived about a week after I ordered it in a padded envelope without issues.  After laying out the part and tools I reviewed the steps and the Macbook was on its way to recovery.  The whole process took less than an hour with the most difficult part being reassembly as the site only shows steps for disassembly.  My limited experience working with electronics did not hinder the process and I only had to be careful with the tiny pieces.

 

A lessons I've learned from this are the accessibility and availability of PC based service, repairs and parts is far greater than Mac outside of major metropolitan areas.  Using PC at home and Mac on the road isn't the most advisable way to go about things and I'm considering switching back to exclusively PC.  The laptop initially cost me over $2000 US and to replace it would have been another $2000.  In the end it cost me $59.95 plus shipping and handling to do the repair myself.  Throughout this experience I lost confidence in Apple's customer service but gained experience though the ifixit site.  Prior to this I had little experience working with electronics outside of an EKG and defibrillators.  I was pretty excited to see the little green and orange LED power indicator come on.  A separate point worth mentioning through the advice of Steve was the use of a home or online FTP server to save images to while traveling.  This is something I'm looking into but Steve is the subject matter expert on that one.  I've since recovered the photos from the first half of the trip, regained my portable means of photo editing and am planning my next adventure.

 

A lessons I've learned from this are the accessibility and availability of PC based service, repairs and parts is far greater than Mac outside of major metropolitan areas.  Using PC at home and Mac on the road isn't the most advisable way to go about things and I'm considering switching back to exclusively PC.  The laptop initially cost me over $2000 US and to replace it would have been another $2000.  In the end it cost me $59.95 plus shipping and handling to do the repair myself.  Throughout this experience I lost confidence in Apple's customer service but gained experience though the ifixit site.  Prior to this I had little experience working with electronics outside of an EKG and defibrillators.