Water spilled in PC - your thoughts?


D

Dave C.

On Sat, 9 Jan 2010 20:10:32 -0800 (PST)
Toolpackinmama here,

My friends, never mind why I didn't know better than to perch the
Captain Kirk water globe I got for Xmas on top of my computer. It was
a narrow cylindrical water-filled teleporter that lit up n stuff, and
I just wanted to look at it a lot, OK?

I bumped my desk too hard when I clumsily stood up tonight, and the
thing tipped over and shattered. That alone was tragedy enough, but
the water within ran into the fan opening in the top of my PC. Oy,
we're talking sizzling sound, sudden shut-down, broken glass, and
water on and in the PC.

I had the wits to unplug the PC and everything attached. I knew
enough to carefully open the case and tenderly blot out all the
visible water with a paper towel.

Well, it probably didn't do any damage to try that. In general, you
don't want to touch the circuit cards (mainboard, video card, underside
of hard drive, etc.) with anything. (not even a paper towel) But if
they're wet, you don't have a lot to lose at that point. Just note
that a paper towel alone won't remove enough moisture quick enough, in
this situation. But it's a good start.
My husband who is A+ certified and a big know-it-all plugged it back
in at that point and got it to boot. I was ecstatic.

If he's A+ certified, he should have known better. Then again, you can
get your A+ with very little electronics knowledge, so I guess it's
possible he really didn't know better...
Two minutes later it bluescreened, refused to reboot, and now I have
it unplugged, opened up, and drying out.

I think it could have been saved before someone A+ certified did
something he knew he shouldn't have done. I just hope nothing ELSE got
damaged when your hubby fired it up too soon.
Please give me any thoughts you have about how to save my PC.

It depends on where the water went. The proper approach (shot to HELL
now, but...) would have been to immediately unplug the computer from
the wall, open it up, visually inspect to find out where the water
went. If any water ended up on exposed circuit cards....

At that point, you'd have to disassemble everything and thoroughly dry
it out with a hair dryer on low heat (that could take a while, so be
patient and thorough). By disassemble everything, I mean break it down
to a collection of 14 or 15 parts next to an empty case, like you just
got a big package from newegg or something. The reason you'd need to
break it down like that is to make sure that there is no water in
places that you can't see, like in the expansion slots in particular.
Or in the CPU socket or RAM slots.

And getting all the parts dry wouldn't be enough to bring this
particular system back to life, I'm afraid. You mention sizzling and
sudden shut-down. That tells me that, most likely, some water got into
your power supply. If so, that means you need a new power supply. If
water is in the power supply, that is one area that you can't dry out.
DO NOT disassemble the power supply to try to dry it out. There can be
lethal voltage inside, long after the power supply is unplugged. It's
not worth risking your life, when most likely the power supply is
permanently damaged anyway. Even if the power supply works now, if
there's water in there (that you can not get out), corrosion is going
to kill it.

I wish I could be more optimistic about this system. Based on your
description of what happened, it's most likely that your power supply
is permanently damaged. The best-case scenario is that ONLY the power
supply is damaged. If you can get everything else thoroughly dry
before you try to use it again, maybe a new power supply will bring
this system back to life. But depending on how long the system was
running wet, it's possible that other components (like the mainboard
and video card, for example) might have been damaged before the system
shut itself down the FIRST time. The blue screen and refusing to
reboot is not a good sign, but those symptoms could be caused by a
damaged power supply.

I think the best approach at this point...

Order a new power supply that is a good name brand and over-sized for
your current system. I'm thinking about something like a BFG ES-800 or a
Corsair TruePower New 750W or better. After drying everything with a
hair dryer and letting it sit (while waiting for the new power supply to
arrive), install the new power supply and see if that brings the system
back to life. If a new power supply doesn't work, you are probably
looking at a total rebuild from scratch. That's why I suggested a
power supply that is overkill. If you get a high quality over-sized
power supply and that doesn't work, you've got a good power supply to
use for your next system, regardless of what you want to build.

Good luck, -Dave
 
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P

philnblanc

Toolpackinmama here,

My friends, never mind why I didn't know better than to perch the
Captain Kirk water globe I got for Xmas on top of my computer. It was
a narrow cylindrical water-filled teleporter that lit up n stuff, and
I just wanted to look at it a lot, OK?

I bumped my desk too hard when I clumsily stood up tonight, and the
thing tipped over and shattered. That alone was tragedy enough, but
the water within ran into the fan opening in the top of my PC. Oy,
we're talking sizzling sound, sudden shut-down, broken glass, and
water on and in the PC.

I had the wits to unplug the PC and everything attached. I knew
enough to carefully open the case and tenderly blot out all the
visible water with a paper towel.

My husband who is A+ certified and a big know-it-all plugged it back
in at that point and got it to boot. I was ecstatic.

Two minutes later it bluescreened, refused to reboot, and now I have
it unplugged, opened up, and drying out.

Please give me any thoughts you have about how to save my PC.

The thought occurred to me to disassemble it and dry it more
carefully, but I also thought that moisture might creep in to places
it didn't go yet if I took it apart right now.
 
P

philnblanc

It may be too late after your A+ "certifiable" SO did his thing.

Heh. I actually tried to stop him.
But drying it out completely can't hurt. One thing that helps is dousing
  everything in methyl alcohol to absorb the water.

Pure methyl alcohol? Where do I get something like that?
 
P

philnblanc

 > It may be too late after your A+ "certifiable" SO did his thing.
Perhaps he's certifiable in something else. ;)

Yes, yes he has a big dick and a nice smile, OK?

How about some thoughts about how to save my hardware?
 
S

shegeek72

How about some thoughts about how to save my hardware?
Do as someone else recommended: be sure everything is dry before
restarting the computer. Remove the memory, unplug all the
connections. I'd also take out the power supply, open it up and dry it
out, also (unless you're positive no water got inside). Use a blow
dryer. Perhaps leave it overnight. Then reassemble everything, turn it
on and hope for the best.

If it won't work you can use a process of elimination to figure out
what's toasted. The HDs will probably be alright since they're sealed.
The MB is the most exposed component and a likely culprit if the
computer doesn't work.
 
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P

philnblanc

If it won't work you can use a process of elimination to figure out
what's toasted. The HDs will probably be alright since they're sealed.
The MB is the most exposed component and a likely culprit if the
computer doesn't work.

I am inclined to think the video card got the worst of it, since water
that came in through the top had to hit the vid card and run off to
reach the bottom of the case.
 
P

philnblanc

On Jan 9, 8:46 pm, (e-mail address removed) wrote:
 > How about some thoughts about how to save my hardware?
Do as someone else recommended: be sure everything is dry before
restarting the computer. Remove the memory, unplug all the
connections. I'd also take out the power supply, open it up and dry it
out, also (unless you're positive no water got inside).

I gotta say am absolutely not comfortable about the idea of opening up
the power supply. I am not 100% sure no water got into it, but I am
100% sure I will not open it.

I have a new power supply knocking around that I can substitute.
Bought it for a pal who didn't end up needing it.
 
S

shegeek72

I am inclined to think the video card got the worst of it, since water
that came in through the top had to hit the vid card and run off to
reach the bottom of the case.

That would be easy to determine by popping in another vid card. You're
computer will give you more than one beep during startup if it doesn't
like the video card. Ditto with memory.
 
P

philnblanc

That would be easy to determine by popping in another vid card. You're
computer will give you more than one beep during startup if it doesn't
like the video card. Ditto with memory.

OK. I don't have an extra vid card on hand, but I have one I can
borrow. Not true with memory. There is no compatible memory in my
household that I can borrow.
 
T

Toolpackinmama

Wow, it runs! Incredible.

I left it open for a while with a fan nearby blowing in. The case is
still open so it can breathe.
 
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S

Sjouke Burry

I gotta say am absolutely not comfortable about the idea of opening up
the power supply. I am not 100% sure no water got into it, but I am
100% sure I will not open it.

I have a new power supply knocking around that I can substitute.
Bought it for a pal who didn't end up needing it.

It has to dry at least 1-2 weeks in a warm, dry place.
Water has the nasty habit of filling narrow spaces under components,
and takes a long time to evaporate.

The computer is almost certainly toasted because it was plugged
in early, water, dirt and electricity eat traces from the boards
and cause shorts between traces by electrolysis .

I had my wet watch under a microscope, and could see fractal traces
of copper, shorting a few traces.
 
S

shegeek72

I gotta say am absolutely not comfortable about the idea of opening up
the power supply.  I am not 100% sure no water got into it, but I am
100% sure I will not open it.

Glad to hear you got it working. :)

Power supplies are a piece of cake to open. There are a few screws
holding the cover on. Just unscrew them and pop the top off. I
replaced the fans in a PSU when one died and I wanted to replace the
other fan with a more powerful one. Duck soup. It also gives you a
chance to thoroughly blow out all the dust that collects inside.
 
T

Toolpackinmama

Glad to hear you got it working. :)

Well I don't feel I am out of the woods yet. The thing has frozen and
needed to be restarted a couple of times.

At least the Video card works. Now I am concerned about the RAM, cos it
was also in the line-of-water-not-fire.
Power supplies are a piece of cake to open. There are a few screws
holding the cover on. Just unscrew them and pop the top off. I
replaced the fans in a PSU when one died and I wanted to replace the
other fan with a more powerful one. Duck soup. It also gives you a
chance to thoroughly blow out all the dust that collects inside.

I am not comfortable with attempting to repair components. I assemble
components with confidence, but I don't want to take them apart.

My knowledge about PC hardware is mediocre. That's why I am here, to
hopefully learn something. But would you take advice you got from
strangers on the internet? Maybe in some cases, but certainly not in all.

But the intelligence level in this group is quite high, and over the
years you lovely people have earned my trust, generally. That's why I
turn to you in my personal time of crisis.

Nevertheless, I reserve the right to not take your advice, no matter how
right or well-meant. You might be excellent in your advice, but I
promise I am not excellent always at following advice. Not because I am
oppositional, but because I am not excellent, LOL.

I have developed a healthy respect for my own stupidity. :)
 
T

Toolpackinmama

Buy a can of "mineral spirits" at a paint store or hardware store.

What? Mineral spirits IS methyl alcohol? I didn't know that.

Then again, I never claimed to know that, so nobody has a right to be
outraged. :)
 
S

shegeek72

Nevertheless, I reserve the right to not take your advice, no matter how
right or well-meant.

Good thinking.

My advice is: <g> If it's still freezing shut it down and let it
thoroughly dry out. Disassemble it as much as possible (like I said),
remove the RAM, pull out all the cards and disconnect everything. Blow
with a blow dryer and let it sit overnight.
 
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Toolpackinmama

Good thinking.

My advice is:<g> If it's still freezing shut it down and let it
thoroughly dry out. Disassemble it as much as possible (like I said),
remove the RAM, pull out all the cards and disconnect everything. Blow
with a blow dryer and let it sit overnight.

OK thank you.
 
M

Man-wai Chang to The Door (24000bps)

My husband who is A+ certified and a big know-it-all plugged it back
in at that point and got it to boot. I was ecstatic.
Two minutes later it bluescreened, refused to reboot, and now I have
it unplugged, opened up, and drying out.

Dry the whole thing *completely* first!! Use a hair dryer to heat it up
a bit if you could not wait.

--
@[email protected] Might, Courage, Vision, SINCERITY.
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and Farce be with you!
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^ ^ 20:54:01 up 1 day 6:07 1 user load average: 1.25 1.11 1.03
ä¸å€Ÿè²¸! ä¸è©é¨™! ä¸æ´äº¤! ä¸æ‰“交! ä¸æ‰“劫! ä¸è‡ªæ®º! è«‹è€ƒæ…®ç¶œæ´ (CSSA):
http://www.swd.gov.hk/tc/index/site_pubsvc/page_socsecu/sub_addressesa
 
M

Mike Tomlinson

Please give me any thoughts you have about how to save my PC.

Turning it on while wet was /the/ big mistake, I'm afraid. Tell your
other half to send his A+ certificate back with a letter saying he's too
stupid to have it.
The thought occurred to me to disassemble it and dry it more
carefully, but I also thought that moisture might creep in to places
it didn't go yet if I took it apart right now.

No. Strip it down, give parts a shake to expel any water in slots,
under chips, etc. and leave the parts out to dry in a warm place (airing
cupboard for those of us Brits that still have them :blush:) for a couple
days, longer if poss.

If the power supply was under the top fan that took the brunt of the
water, I recommend you replace it before trying again. It'll just go
bang if you try, possibly doing more damage.

When you come to reassemble, start with the bare minimum - board,
memory, video card. Power it up on an insulating surface (the box that
the board came in is ideal) and work from there.
 
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