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Help for a wet computer?
Old 07-11-2009, 04:33 PM   #1
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Help for a wet computer?

My parents accidentally sprayed a fair amount of water on their laptop. It was off at the time, and they haven't turned it on yet (still drying out). The lid was open, so there was visible water down in the keyboard.

Is there anything they should do, aside from making sure it's good and dry before turning it on to check the damage?
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:31 PM   #2
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I've seen it advised (though I haven't tried it myself) to buy a bag of rice and seal the rice and wet electronic device in a plastic bag until dry. Rice is hygroscopic and will draw moisture out of places you can't see. See Google, "drying electronics with rice" for more info on the method than you'll ever be able to read!
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:32 PM   #3
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First thing is to pull the battery out. Even with it "off" the battery power keeps some circuits alive, and the combination of water and battery power can corrode those circuits beyond repair.

Turn it upsaide down, keep a fan on it, maybe even a low oven, if you can keep it ~ 100F and air ciculating.


If anything pops off easily (keyboard, drive, optical) takes those off to help with air flow and to see if you can see any water.


I'd give it a couple days at least.

-ERD50
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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My parents accidentally sprayed a fair amount of water on their laptop. It was off at the time, and they haven't turned it on yet (still drying out). The lid was open, so there was visible water down in the keyboard.

Is there anything they should do, aside from making sure it's good and dry before turning it on to check the damage?
It's probably OK, the keyboards are usually water resistant. But water may have gotten to electrical connections, so it's important that they remove the battery and anything else that is removable such as the hard drive (usually they can be slid out by removing a screw or two), the CD drive, etc. Towel dry any parts that are removed, especially the connections. Leave it in a dry room for at least 48 hours, or even more. A fan blowing on all the parts helps. Once it looks like everything is completely dry, reassemble it and turn it on.
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
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Thanks! I passed these along to them. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:01 AM   #6
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Most of those suggestions will work. A while back I left the garage door opener in my motorcycle riding gear and washed it. I dried the gear (it's a sort of mesh kevlar) in front of a dehumidifier and then found the door opener. To my surprise it still works!
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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Just let it dry and if you are really worried invert the laptop use hair dryer set in cold air. The let it sit.
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:14 AM   #8
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Pull the battery out, open the case, turn it upside down for drainage. You may need to wait a couple of days to be sure, especially in more humid climates.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:00 AM   #9
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:21 PM   #10
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I've heard of sloshing cell phones around in alcohol and then drying - alcohol is hygroscopic. Down side is that it can encourage oxidation. Saw a blurb on check washing that said acetone is used in parts washing because it drys really rapidly - wonder if it would work or dissolve important bits of the circuitry....

"Acetone is one of the most important organic solvents employed in the chemical industry. It is a solvent (alone or in mixtures) for various explosives (e.g. nitrocellulose), celluloid, acetyl-cellulose, acetylene, as well as for tannin fats, and resins"
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:26 PM   #11
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I've heard of sloshing cell phones around in alcohol and then drying - alcohol is hygroscopic. Down side is that it can encourage oxidation. Saw a blurb on check washing that said acetone is used in parts washing because it drys really rapidly - wonder if it would work or dissolve important bits of the circuitry....
Eep! Don't use acetone on assembled products. Acetone is used on circuit boards right after wave solder to remove the resin, or flux used in bonding. Acetone will attack and dissolve or alter resins and materials used in the assembled product, including wiring, insulation, some connectors, keyboard and trackpad parts, and the assembled display panel.

It's likely to turn a laptop computer into a Daliesque sculpture.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:13 PM   #12
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Success!

I don't think they tried the rice, but they did take apart what they easily could and let everything dry out. Seems to work fine. Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:13 PM   #13
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Seems to work fine.
Now that they're hypersensitive to its performance, you could have some fun.

Our kid has loaded alternate keyboards and likes to leave our PC set to the Cyrillic alphabet...
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