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Ask Max: My PowerBook got soaked!

Asked on 09/05/2006:

Hi, my name is Lisa and I own a Powerbook G4. I got my laptop just a few months ago in Christmas 2005; I use it for a little graphic design.Last month I moved to a new house; and my computer was ruined by my roommates haywire sprinkler system; the water damaged my casing and the logic board and I'm looking at a repair cost of $1,250.The question that I have is this - if I agree to let Apple repair my computer (an out of pocket cost to me of $500, as my insurance company will pay the remainder) - will the water damage continue to erode away in my laptop? Apple guarantees their repair for 90 days after, but since I'm using this for work that I am sending to clients and friends - I'd hate to lose it...Is there a better way?


Lisa, Sorry to hear about your computer.Getting liquids into your computer is never a good thing, especially when it is powered on. I hear countless tales of people who accidentally dowse their computer but are able to just dry them off without any damage. However, that's really only possible if the computer was powered off when the liquid hit. When the computer is turned on you get the kind of catastrophic damage you are describing. Repairing the computer is a decent solution. During the repair any moisture left in the computer will be dried out. Nothing should continue to erode or become further damaged. The problem you face is that you have no idea what was weakened, but not destroyed, by the water. The repair quote is only for what they know does not work. Any failure beyond those replaced components are not covered and they could fail at any time. The good news is that the majority of what can fail will be replaced during the service work, and most people who I have known in your position did not have any further problems after it was fixed.However, one thing to check on is whether your insurance company will cut you a check for the repair and then you can take that money and some of your own and get yourself a MacBook to replace your PowerBook. At the very least you will have more confidence in a new computer. In addition, a PowerMax pre-owned PowerBook can actually cost less than your repair, depending on the level PowerBook you had. You might want to check out that option as well, which will give you the same 90 day warranty without the water damage concern and risk.Hope that helpsJacob Loeb

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