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Recovering Moldy Electronics?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the moldy-oldies dept.

Hardware 512

cookiej writes "We just completed having our basement gutted and our house decontaminated from mold. The finished basement is gone, my office floor has been removed as well as 24' of drywall around the base of the room. So, we had a full home theater downstairs along with a couple of computers in the electronics closet that were completely immersed (rainwater, not sewage). We moved them to a sheltered area outside and covered them with a plastic tarp. Since the electronics were off when the water hit them, 1) do I have a chance of recovering them? 2) If so, is there a way to clean them with some sort of liquid bath that would not damage the electronics? and 3) I don't want to bring moldy pieces back in the clean house. How could I decontaminate the electronics themselves, pre-bath? Not looking to save the speakers, just the amp, DirecTV box, video switch, etc. Thanks for any help, here, Slashdot." Read on for more details of this reader's plight.
Early last month, we had about 10" of rain in the course of two hours. Many houses in our neighborhood were damaged. We had rainwater coming in our back door and cascading down the basement steps. We have two sump pumps that weren't keeping up (and of course, no battery backup) and as the water rose in the basement, it was getting dangerously close to the breaker panel. So I made the hard decision to shut down the main power and we got the hell out.

The water reached about 6' in the basement before it drained out. Once we got back, we could not move fast enough to get all the debris out before mold set in and boy did it.

Since we are not in a flood plain, our insurance for this is woefully inadequate. While I would love to just go out and buy replacements, there are far more pressing things to re-buy (washer/dryer, furnace, water heater, etc.) and if there is a chance I can salvage some of this it might be a nice change of luck.

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Oh man (4, Funny)

solafide (845228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25447947)

24 feet of drywall from the base of the room? He's got some big rooms.

Re:Oh man (1)

Chromal (56550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448073)

Not really... a 7ft by 7ft room would have about 25ft of linear drywall along the base of the room, once you subtract out the door.

There is hope (5, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25447951)

If they were not plugged in they can be dried out and probably used again. I've never seen mold growing on electronics, but if you have mold/mildew you can wash them with a mild bleach/water solution. After they are clean flush them with distilled water and let them dry completely.

Re:There is hope (1)

Syrente (990349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25447979)

Pretty much what this guy said - as long as power wasn't routing through them the components themselves should be fine, so just clean them with something gentle (as opposed to, say, olium) and then make sure they're totally clean (including clean of the cleansing products) before letting them dry again.

Re:There is hope (5, Informative)

mrbene (1380531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448011)

"Completely" is the key phrase. Damage to electronics due to water is actually due to unexpected circuits forming and burning out components.

So if it looks dry, wait another couple of days.

Re:There is hope (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448371)

So if it looks dry, wait another couple of days.

Then put it in your oven at it's lowest setting (120F) for a few hours, with the door propped open to let any humidity out.

Re:There is hope (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448433)

Oh no! There must be mold in your grammar module! It's means IT IS.

Re:There is hope (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448291)

Bleach (chlorine) is a very bad idea. It will oxidize the metals very badly. Chlorine is incredibly corrosive.

Better to use a pure non-oil based solvent such as denatured alcohol (pure alcohol). Remember, nothing oil based like acetone or gasoline. Rubbing alcohol contains a lot of water so it's not best either.

Re:There is hope (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448327)

Too bad bleach is the best way to deal with mold.

Re:There is hope (5, Informative)

mea_culpa (145339) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448425)

I use MG Chemicals Super Wash Cat# 406B-425G [mgchemicals.net] for cleaning most PCBs. The important thing to consider is if the electronics are new enough and worth saving it probably as BGA components that water will lurk under for weeks. This chemical can has 3 power settings and setting it to HI with the straw will push the residual water out. I have recovered many water soaked laptops using this and failing to get under the BGAs will lead to failure later on.

$15 per can at your local Fry's

dunking electroncis whole is a bad idea (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#25447959)

The devices that simply have circuit boards and cables can possiblly be saved by disassembly followed by thourough cleaning (I wouldn't worry too much about the cleaning agent damaging the boards, PCB assemblies are pretty tough generally just get the boards rinsed and dried thouroughly before reassembly). I wouldn't hold out much hope for cleaning the TV without destroying it though.

Re:dunking electroncis whole is a bad idea (4, Interesting)

cookiej (136023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448281)

Heh. The good news was that our HT setup is a Front-projection and the projector was on the ceiling. The lens cap that hangs down had a thin line across the top third, indicating how close the water came to ruining it. And that one I don't think would have survived. Those bulbs are quite sensitive.

The screen was home-built for around $80 in parts, so I can re-create that. But the whole "down to the studs" thing is

Rubbing Alchohol (3, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25447961)

Pure rubbing alcohol might be your best best.

Re:Rubbing Alchohol (-1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448225)

Sure. If you want to destroy everything...

Better use distilled water. Or look up what they use in the factories to clean up the mainboards before they go out, because I read that they wash them too, and that it's not that different from your washing mashine.

My guess is, that the difference is, to not leave any traces of anything on it, and not use anything that reacts with the materials you want to keep. So use something that kills mold but nothing else, and much distilled water. Then, as others mentioned: If it looks dry, wait another couple of days!

Do not use anything with oil, strong acids/bases or alcohol.

Can anyone tell me if hydrogen peroxide is safe? Because it is a pretty good mold killer from what I heard.

Slashdot's chemists: Please correct me if I'm wrong. :)

Re:Rubbing Alchohol (2, Insightful)

etinin (1144011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448297)

Rubbing alcohol is actually accepted as safe for electronics as far as I'm aware.

Re:Rubbing Alchohol (3, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448353)

Where are you getting your information? Once in college I spilled Coke onto a motherboard (not plugged in fortunately). I cleaned with pure rubbing alcohol. I let it sit for a day, and plugged it in. It worked fine.

Rubbing alcoholic has the advantage of evaporating completely away rather quickly. So unless you can point me to a source that says otherwise, rubbing alcohol is fine.

Re:Rubbing Alchohol (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448365)

Flux wash is the answer for washing the PCBs. The entire idea of flux wash is to wash leftover flux from the PCB after soldering the components on. It also removes most other dirt and grease as well. It's designed to be used on PCBs that are already populated, to the point where with (some, not this one) washes it can be used with the circuit POWERED!

You can buy it in a spray can at a real electronics store (hint: It won't have the words radio or shack in its name) for ~$10.

(Most flux wash is 99% IPA, BTW).

Corrosion is inevitable. (5, Insightful)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25447963)

Even though there was no power applied to these devices, the dissolved minerals in the water are enough to facilitate electrolysis between dis-similar metals and destroy the devices. You will be better off replacing the lot.

Re:Corrosion is inevitable. (1, Insightful)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448285)

It depends on the degree of corrosion. Since corrosion cannot be repaired, there is only a prayer. Make sure your electronics is completely dried out, then power it up outside your house on Halloween night. Kids will appreciate the sparks and smoke.

As for disinfecting it: mold is heat sensitive - it likes cold wet dark environments best (in sealed cask, furry adipocere!) - so having your electronics running outdoor for a day or two should take care of disinfecting the inards. You wash the case from outside with household disinfectant cleaners like Lysol but I advise against spraying any liquid on the circuits, especially not stuff like bleach (eats metals) or rubbing alcohol (eats resin wire insulation). If it makes you feel better, you can also try blowing hot air into it from a hair gun, or tumble it in a laundry dryer, or hang it up in a cold hardwood smoke for ten days.

Re:Corrosion is inevitable. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448311)

Exactly. I forgot to mention that.
That's why time is so important in these matters.

Of course if the corrosion was minimal, it still might work without problems. It would just get hotter because of the additional resistance. So check your heat sensors. Especially those not it the bigger chips, because these will not have been affected that much by corruption. Of course an external sensor on a on-board hot spot would be perfect, but who has that available?

If the electrolysis is worse, you'll get power fluctuations. So monitor your voltage sensors closely.

If it boots after your cleaning (and drying!), let it run for some hours, and then log heat and temperature to some non-damaged component (like a USB stick).
If it still runs after a day, I think you can be safe for some time. But bear in mind that the system will behave as if it were very old and fail earlier, and back up your data (as of course you should do at all times :).

Re:Corrosion is inevitable. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448359)

Oh, and that hot spot would be the voltage regulator (mostly to be found between the cpu and the rear ports). You recognize it by the large capacitors and small heat sinks an between them.

And it has a comical courtship behavior, where it jitters its heat sinks in a rhythmic fashion and lets its capacitors glow red to impress a possible mate. ;)

Re:Corrosion is inevitable. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448385)

It depends on how long the items were submersed, and the purity of the water in which they were submersed. No doubt there will be some degradation, but it is not automatic that light corrosion translates into destroyed equipment. Given that the equipment was off you have a hope. Rainwater is good in that it is pure. The fact that it contained minerals washed out of the soil is not so good.

First you need to wash all the muck off and gently flush all the crevices out. Ideally use deionised water, but if that's too expensive (keep in mind the cost of the equipment you are saving), use distilled water or water as pure as your budget allows. If you have the budget use pure water for all the washing, though if you need to save money use clean water for washing and once it is clean finish off with an immediate good flush with the purest water you can afford. A burst of ultrasonic cleaning may help but it is not essential and don't go too mad with it in case you cause damage.

You then need to get everything absolutely dry. The longer it is wet the more corrosion you get. Start with gently absorbing as much water as possible (gently touching with a paper towel?) to minimise the volume of water which will evaporate and leave residue. Leave the equipment to dry for as long as possible (weeks?) ideally at an elevated temperature. I'd think "light bulb in a box" type temperatures.

The critical thing is to move as fast as possible to get the electronics clean and dry. I was once involved with the unintentional submersion of a multi-million dollar radar system in muddy water. If it had been drained and washed straight away it would have been okay. As it was they took the "cautious" (arse covering) approach and held endless meetings and investigations into the best way to recover it. By the time the underground bunker was drained the radar was destroyed.

Ethanol.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447973)

You can use ethanol to clean them. Just make sure to give it enough time to dry before you turn it on. You can wash electronics with anything, just make sure its dry before it goes back on. We use flux remover to clean our electronics after manual soldering.

Ethanol (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447975)

Copious quantities of ethanol will help, possibly in more ways than one. :)

I'd try... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447977)

...Isopropyl Alcohol, aka rubbing alcohol. It's cheap (1$/pt?) and should sanitize your gear nicely. Given the size of the job, you might get a few gallons and dunk your gear.

Re:I'd try... (3, Informative)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448091)

I'll second this. I used 91% IPA from Walgreens to clean some heavily smoke-damaged electronics gear (including a Dell XPS). Left no residue and dried quickly.

Re:I'd try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448165)

91% India Pale Ale? Mmmmm!

Re:I'd try... (1, Funny)

greenguy (162630) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448233)

Your Walgreens sells good beer? Maybe I should give them another chance.

I'm confused about the 91% part. I'm also confused about beer not leaving a residue.

Re:I'd try... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448303)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPA_(disambiguation) [wikipedia.org]

IPA can stand for:

  • India Pale Ale, a style of beer
  • Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol

Since the grandparent post also mentioned isopropyl alcohol, the logical conclusion is that you're either failing to be funny, or are simply an idiot.

Um? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447981)

Have you tried nuking the fungal infection from orbit? Should do the trick right nice.

Re:Um? (3, Funny)

cookiej (136023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448293)

I agree. It's the only way to be sure.

PCB's are washed all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447989)

They are commonly cleaned in a detergent bath and then blown dry with compressed air.

Perhaps a mild alcohol solution and compressed air would work.

Alcohol (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447993)

Cheap solution would be some pure alcohol, clean the boards with that, dry it, and hope for the best. You can get actual PCB cleaners, but some of that may end up costing more than it's worth. Depending on how long it was wet, etc, you might have a chance to salvage some of it. Most boards, ICs and solid parts may be fine, electrolytic capacitors, hard drives, etc may become waterlogged.

Yes they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25447997)

Many times electronics, can be washed off as long as you let them completely dry before you turn them on. Just make sure they haven't rusted out or anything.

I did (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448003)

I was able to recover all data from the hard drives of a machine that was fully immersed in muddy flood water for 12-18 hours. The hardware was trash, nothing can be done about fans and power supplies as far as I can tell. However I was able to open up the hard disks, carefully dry them out with a hair dryer on low, and get them spinning again to recover the data. They did not spin for very long, as rust sets in pretty quickly, but it was long enough.

The saving grace was that the HDDs have tiny airholes with filters on them, thus allowing only clean water through. Had any amount of dirt gotten into the drives, I suspect they would have been ruined as well.

rubbing alcohol (5, Informative)

SirusTV (1001138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448029)

Rubbing alcohol is your friend. as close to 100% as you can get. Use an old toothbrush and rubbing alcohol right on the circuit boards. I've saved routers, videocards, motherboars with this method. Acetone works too but can melt some plastics and ruin paint and rubbing alcohol can be gotten at any local grocery store.

Re:rubbing alcohol (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448313)

That method is fantastic also for preventative maintenance of over-the-hill electronics and works wonders with beer spills. Flux is corrosive and it's been sitting on your circuit boards since they came out the pick-n-place.

Just give the boards two or more runs because of the white residue which will appear if you use impure alcohol(70-30) and/or from chemical reactions from the soldering process.

Isopropyl Alcohol (0)

Moderator (189749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448031)

If you are savvy enough, you could disassemble everything and clean all the circuit cards with isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to get the wire connections as well. The wood/particle board casing is going to be hit-or-miss, meaning either it's still good or has to be replaced.

Naptha (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448033)

It kills mould, it doesn't strip away much, it evaporates away....so use plenty, plenty, no even more than that ventilation.

Don't (4, Insightful)

idesofmarch (730937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448039)

I have been through a mold contamination myself, and having made some bad choices, let me assure you. Better safe than sorry. If you leave moldy stuff in your house, it will spread through the whole house via A/C. Just toss it.

write-off (1)

Chromal (56550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448045)

Consider anything with IC pins, surface contacts, etc. to be a write-off. I /suppose/ you could save some of the passives, like RCA and speaker cables, if you soak their ends in contact cleaner.

Consider buying a generator and/or better pumps and moving your electronic gear to higher ground... :/

Re:write-off (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448339)

Sorry but no sump is going to handle 5"/hour, that's worse than monsoon rainfall and reasonably priced (and powered!) pumps just aren't sized for that kind of freak event. I mean when Hurricane Ivan made landfall only a handful of places got 2"/hour.

Distilled water is your freind (5, Informative)

crowtc (633533) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448051)

I've had a lot of luck cleaning mold and other contaminants from electronics by disassembling the item as completely as possible, cleaning each peace with a gentle liquid cleanser of some kind (i.e. Windex) and a soft brush, then rinsing it thoroughly with distilled water.

I was recently able to recover a number of computers that had been in a fire and had been sprayed with water from a fire hose. They were a mess, but so far they all work (10 months and counting)

Re:Distilled water is your freind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448097)

Why is the parent modded -1? Moderators, get your act together!

Isopropanol (1)

etinin (1144011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448059)

Everyone knows that isopropanol is better than ethanol to clean electronic devices.

Maybe... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448075)

Solid-state stuff, if cleaned properly (i.e., with copious amounts of distilled water), should work just fine after *brief* immersion, as long as no power was applied (which is not the same as being turned off).

You can kiss the hard drives goodbye, and capacitors may be a big issue. How quickly did you get it out the door?

As far as the question of admitting dirty mold into your house, molds are everywhere in the environment. (Try leaving bread dough out without adding yeast and see how long it takes to start rising.) What makes for an infestation is constant high humidity. Plus, there's nothing there to serve as mold food, unless you've got paper cones on your speakers (e.g.) or the like.

In short: if you wash off your appliances, inside and out, then dry them thoroughly, you might save them. Thoroughly means days in the sun.

Experience to back the above: I've thoroughly washed a dozen or so keyboards and several motherboards.

Finally, where do you live? 10" of rain turns into 6' of water in a basement when you don't live in a flood plain? Why would anyone build a basement in an area subject to such problems? (I live in an area without basements, both because of shrink-swell soil and high water tables.)

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448145)

Why would anyone build a basement in an area subject to such problems?

The better question is : Why aren't you storing your equipment properly, like in your bedroom? Really - can you stand to be several flights of stairs away from your stuff?

Re:Maybe... (4, Interesting)

cookiej (136023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448321)

>

Finally, where do you live? 10" of rain turns into 6' of water in a basement when you don't live in a flood plain? Why would anyone build a basement in an area subject to such problems? (I live in an area without basements, both because of shrink-swell soil and high water tables.)

Well, it was the worst rain in 135 years. So the phrase "subject to" is... well, quite subjective.

Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448079)

Sadly, I've been through this same thing, and everything ended up being a total loss. Luckily insurance covered a lot of it, but something quite depressing about hurling a brand new Mac Pro, cinema monitors and a 52" plasma TV into a garbage truck to be compacted.

Water is a laptop's best friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448085)

Once every few years, I take the keyboard out of my laptop, take the keys off, and wash it. Use alcohol like others have suggested. Just make ABSOLUTELY SURE the electronics are dry when you turn them on. Try putting them under an incandescent lamp for a few days. Just close enough so they get warm and dry.

Dangerous! (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448089)

While you can probably safely attempt recovering any small battery-powered device, I wouldn't do it for anything that plugs in. If there's a catastrophic failure caused by damage, corrosion, or other problems, you could have a pretty serious fire risk.

If you must insist on recovering the hardware, at the very least keep the stuff OFF via a powerstrip when no one is babysitting it. Even then, I wouldn't feel safe doing this.

First things: (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448093)

Firstly, you chances are small. This you must take into account. Your only chance lies in letting the stuff dry out and stay clean. This is what I would suggest:

Well, speaking from rescuing mobile phones (the only things I have managed to get that wet that was more complicated than a wireless keyboard) I would suggest that you give your gear a solid wash under warm water (preferably before it dries out totally). You want to try to wash out all the other stuff before it gets dry and hard to remove. It was already wet, so some clean water won't hurt too much more. Also you want to try to wash away any chemicals (especially those conductive salts that keep water in) that may degrade (eat into) the electronics. Next you want to let it dry really well. Not too quickly, you don't want the moisture to boil away or anything like that, pop it into either a gentle sunny spot with lots of air movement or stick a swivel fan to blow air through it. Then wait wait wait. Don't be tempted to try to turn anything on till it's really dry inside.

Again, I would say your chances are quite slim, but if you have a good old fashioned amplifier for example, there may not be too much high complexity electronics in it. If you have a fancy pants DTS or similar with small computers etc in it, you are likely out of luck. For things to work after water, generally the less electronics and the more electrics, the more likely you are of getting it alive again.

My old ericsson GF337 [oldmobil.hu] survived a dip in a chlorine pool, a freshwater lake and a spin in my front loader with this sort of care. My Nokia 8250 [sulekha.com] survived a spin in the wash only then died after a second time. So far, I haven't got anything else that wet.

Electronic baths (4, Informative)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448107)

Water can be used to clean electronics in manufacturing processes. Most electronic components will not be damaged by water. Make sure you get all the dirt and grim out.

1.Don't plug it yet.

2. Take all electronics completely apart. Look for damage or corrosion.

3. Remove every battery.

4. Flush it out with distilled water.

5. Use electronic cleaner or alcohol(not the stuff you drink) to remove any mineral deposits.

6. Dry off with paper towel.

7. Let it dry completely. If you have any doubts wait till it's completely dry.

8. Plug it in and cross your fingers.

Non-moving parts should be OK (1)

Fastolfe (1470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448111)

Computer fans and the like will probably be unsalvageable, but the rest should be OK after some cleaning. I'd disassemble everything, as much as I was comfortable putting back, and use some distilled water and a toothbrush to clean it. If there's evidence of corrosion on the boards, you can try cleaning/scraping it away, but your odds of a successful recovery start to go down. Follow up with some rubbing alcohol to displace the water and let things dry for a day or two before reassembly.

If you value your data, I would put the hard drive in a known-good system first, to get all of the data off of it, before trying it in a recovered system. And if the system fails to boot up, that doesn't mean that all of the components are dead. You might be able to consolidate memory, hard drives, etc., and avoid spending too much.

Use caution when disassembling and cleaning power supplies, since they can still kill you. That's actually the one part that I would just throw away rather than attempt to fix.

Re:Non-moving parts should be OK (4, Interesting)

cookiej (136023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448375)

Interestingly enough, one of the computers that got dunked was an old Apple Cube I used to monitor my UPS and other various cron jobs. It as no fans, so we'll see. The bad news is that it may have been powered when the water hit it. It was at the bottom of the rack and the water was at about 3' when I killed the power.

The real test will be the PS3. It was at the top of the rack and probably was barely under. Amazingly, my network gear and the UPS that powers it were all at a height of about 6'4". And never were touched.

They're cleanable. (4, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448117)

Start with a rinse with distilled water. There's very little in electronics that gets hurt by water anyway -- the issues are with it shorting out, or longer term, corrosion. You'll want to open all the cases to do this, and then ideally blow them dry with a compressed air nozzle. Letting it evaporate will just redeposit all the crud you cleaned off.

Then rinse with alcohol, and again blow it off rather than letting it dry. At this point, if it looks clean it is, as far as the electronics are concerned. I imagine the same is true from a mold standpoint, but you probably know more about that than I do.

If things are being really stubborn, an ultrasonic cleaning bath in alcohol is remarkably effective (and completely safe for the electronics). 5-10 minutes should be plenty. I don't know off hand where to find a large one cheaply, though -- that may take some investigation. If you can't borrow one, I'd just take some warm soapy water and a toothbrush and work at it by hand (and then repeat the distilled water and alcohol rinses to remove any soap and such).

If any of these things have moving parts (eg DVD player) they'll be more difficult. None of this will hurt anything, but if there are any gears that are supposed to be greased this will remove that. Some rubber in pulleys and such might not like the alcohol. But, most modern cheap moving parts are unlubricated nylon, so there isn't likely to be an issue. Cooling fans are usually unlubricated, either with a plain nylon bearing or ball bearings, and so should be ok with this cleaning treatment.

Similarly, hard drives are almost certainly a lost cause. I'd try powering them up, but if they've been underwater then the water likely got in through the pressure equalization holes. I wouldn't clean them (wipe down the outside with a damp sponge, but nothing more aggressive) -- just hope for the best and expect them to have died.

Good luck, and may I suggest you invest in a more serious pump?

Re:They're cleanable. (1, Informative)

cookiej (136023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448403)

Good luck, and may I suggest you invest in a more serious pump?

You may. A suggestion I will follow when we rebuild the basement. Although we have TWO pumps, I intend to add a third, that HAS a backup battery. This was a catastrophic storm, as I said previous, worst in 135 years.

Re:They're cleanable. (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448449)

Be careful with the compressed air nozzle, I've seen shop air blow IC's off boards and vacuums suck them off.

The home theater all got wet? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448125)

You had water up to the celing to get your projector and all the gear in the rack as well? Holy crap how about replacing the electrical panels as well as the furnace, ac and other things forst..

Or are you calling a best buy TV and stereo a "home theater" if you did not have a projector, screen sound control on the walls, and a real integrated sound system you did not have a "home theater".

I find it cute when people call their TV and cheapie stereo a home theater.

P.S. if your surround sound decoder cost less than $3500.00 it's a cheapie toy.

Also, why waste your time, simply collect on your insurance and buy all new. You had homeowners insurance right?

Re:The home theater all got wet? (4, Informative)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448195)

One of the ugly little things about homeowner's insurance (at least in the US) is that it, by default, does not cover damage due to flooding.

Many people who don't live in an area where floods are a real likelihood don't buy the extra flood insurance, which is probably the case here ("Since we are not in a flood plain, our insurance for this is woefully inadequate.")

I learned the hard way a year or two ago exactly what "flood" means in insurance terms. It includes a flooded basement due to a failed sump pump. Fortunately in my case, the only loss was some 20-year-old carpet.

So here's my little PSA: Even if you don't live somewhere that can really "flood" in a traditional sense, buy flood insurance if you have a basement. At least the minimal "get the mold out" insurance.

Soap and water (1)

misophist (465263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448133)

Hose off whatever is affected with soapy water and then rinse with plenty of clean water. Then put it into an oven at 100 F for 3-4 days before plugging in and trying to turn on.

SPREAD THE WEALTH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448143)

We can have a government and economy just like other countries that "spread the wealth".

Like Zimbabwe.

Re:SPREAD THE WEALTH! (1)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448419)

Wrong end of the economic spectrum, Zimbabwe has NO government controls, and no democracy, thus allowing corrupt warlords, corporations, scam artists to control the country. The saying spread the wealth around belongs on the other end of the economic spectrum, the socialist side with countries (in increasing order) England, Germany, France, Sweden.

I know I would rather be in a country with a democratically elected government that can enact laws to regulate corporations and scam artists like England, rather than no government controls like Zimbabwe.

It depends ... (1)

pietromenna (1118063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448153)

It depends, 1) Where they powered when they got flooded? This can create some short circuits and then the electrinics would be compromised. 2) If they were not powered by that time, but it stayed some considerable time under water, it is possible to get damaged as mentioned by the guy from topic 2. 3)If none of both, and being tooooooooo optimistic, if you get a way to dry it, like using some haird dried or somethiong similar, right after the inmersion, you can get them to work again, but if you DO NOT LEAVE any dorp of water, as it can create a short circuit and damage you equipment. In this case, as you mentioned on the description, I belive most of your electronics may have get damaged.

Insurance my friend.....insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448157)

Pretty much everything is unrecoverable at this point. There is a limited amount of time before corrosion sets in, even if it doesn't look bad, it still can be. Plus, the possibility of re-introducing mold back into the house pretty much seals the deal on our electronics being a 'loss'. Still, you had homeowners insurance to cover this....right?

distilled water heat and alcohol (3, Informative)

cats-paw (34890) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448159)

As another poster has mentioned, if there are now dissolved minerals permeating the circuitry you are probably out of luck.

Here's what you can try if you are feeling brave.

Get some DISTILLED WATER. Clean the electronics thoroughly. The more you can take things apart and get to the nooks and crannies the better.

Now the hard part. To drive off the water you will need a nice dry enclosure which can be heated to a relatively high temperature, say 130-140 deg F or so. The upper temperature depends on the plastic materials used, if it gets too hot they will start to deform. Watch carefully.

Leave things heated for at least 2-4 hours.

Now go back over things with 90% + isopropyl alcohol (it might be hard to find - do NOT use the 70% stuff).

Why this might not work : the "dissolved" materials which have stuck to the PCB and components do not get washed off completely. They are still present and when you hit the power something shorts - bright lights and probably a decent badda-boom.

The exposure which the electronics have already experienced have more than likely started corroding the potentiometers, i.e. volume, bass, etc.. controls. So even if things power up they may not work correctly.

Finally, if you can't take things apart and expose the PCBs and a good portion of the components, then your chances of success are very low. However if you can really get at the compenents this method will work.

Good luck !

REMEMBER, IF YOU TRY THIS BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN IT COMES TIME TO FLIP THE POWER ON. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU GET ELECTROCUTED.

junk it all (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448173)

it really is that simple.

not the answer you want but its the smart answer.

you will NEVER clean the insides of electronics well enough to TRUST them.

plus, you just spent money de-molding the house. why even risk bringing that bad stuff back in?

sorry - but its all a 100% loss. that's what insurance is for.

the ONLY things I would hand-clean are the old ancient things that can't be replaced (if you have such things). but anything buyable should be re-bought, if its still current. family heirlooms are the only things worth the labor and expense of hand cleaning to that level.

For what its worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448175)

I've heard of systems flooded out and filled with sand courtesy of the odd tropical cyclone. Most of them come back; I'm hoping mold wouldn't make too much of a difference. Take the systems apart clean the mold off with water and dry in the sun for a few hours. Alternately, dry in the sun for a few hours, baking the mold, then try to blow it off with compressed air and a dust cloth. We're talking about plastic, aluminum and/or steel; all very non-porous and inorganic. Not the sort of territory I would expect mold is really going to fight you over.

As for lingering spores, my understanding of post storm mold outbreaks is that the spores were already there anyway; lying dormant until the heat and humidity were right. So tracking fresh spores back in, devoid of their requisite post-flood conditions shouldn't pose any danger.

Microwave (0)

AngryScotsman (775193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448193)

If you microwave each bit on high for a minute, that oughta kill the mould.

Re:Microwave (1)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448361)

And probably destroy most the electronics, along with the microwave. Remember, microwave is EM radiation.

i done this before (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448197)

i love rooting around in yard/garage sales sometimes i find some good deals on old radios, what i have done to dirty radios is i remove the covers, speakers microphone if it has one, basically strip it down to the chassis and circuitboard the i put it in a dishwashing machine with about a cup of vinegar, then when it is done i dry it with a hair dryer (hand held blow dryer) and once it is completely dry i reassemble it and it works like new...

Simple green, water, Caig DeOxit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448203)

I repair antique arcade games; my experience is that washing with simple green, low ion content water, and spot treatment with Caig labortories DeOxit followed by through drying is your best course of action.
I subject every 25+ year old cabinet that passes my way: arcade boards, power supply and monitor to this treatment.

Distilled water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448209)

Lots and lots of distilled water might do the trick. Of course, you'll have to get rid of the mold first. I suggest you soak it in methanol and then you wash it with distilled water. That way, the mold dies and all the salts get washed off.

Dishwasher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448211)

Dismantle the devices, take the boards and spray them with Simple Green or similar cleaner, and run the boards through the dishwasher (no other soap, just the spray cleaner). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Turn off the oven. After the boards come out of the dishwasher, put them in the oven, and leave them in there until the oven has cooled down. Should be dry enough, but I'd leave them sit a little longer. You can clean casings and other parts manually, or with the dishwasher.

Don't put hard drives in the dishwasher. They aren't sealed devices, and if they were totally submerged, best of luck to you with regards to getting your data back. Any labels that may have been on the boards will probably be gone now (You know, the one that says "Warranty void if dishwashed"...)

This procedure would be for extremely filthy hardware (i.e., mold growing, mud, 20 years of filth, anything owned by a smoker). For hardware that just got really wet, you can probably get away with just rinsing it off, drying it, and hooking it all back up.

Water doesn't hurt electronics as much as people say it does. I've had hardware that was left out in the rain for a long time, and it worked just by hosing off the boards, letting them dry in the sun, and putting it all back together.

I've only done drastic things like this on very old hardware (early 80's computer parts, arcade machine parts), your mileage may vary with newer gear. I would remove socketed chips before washing, but, I don't think this modern stuff will have any.

My water damage recovery (4, Interesting)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448221)

I moved from Ca to Co once. In winter.

In a storm.

In the back of a truck.

Get the idea?

LOADS of electronics got wet. Some took, literally, years to get working again.

The BIGGEST thing you can do to save your stuff is this: GET IT DRIED THE FUCK OUT. Water is corrosive to the copper in the products you have (besides the electromechanical problems, like bearings in hard drives (old ones), etc), and if left to do it's thing, electrolysis will eat them up.

I ended up having the entire back of my truck filled with the style cartons you find at 7-11 or something similiar. Split top, about 12 to 18 inches deep. My tarp had a rip in it, unbeknownst to me, and when I stopped, THEY FILLED WITH WATER.

The next day, I made my destination, and the day after that, I got the screwdriver out. EVERYTHING was cleaned off with a rag internally, and I ended up losing about 10 percent of the devices.

Don't power them up until you KNOW everything is dry.

Any transformers, if your really worried about (read, if they are HEAVY and expensive), can be desoldered and heated in your home oven, on it's lowest setting (they can take > 150 degrees easily). That will bake out any moisture.

Ditto for some really high power transistors. One trick we used in making REALLY high power CB radio amplifiers was to bake the transistors for about 2 hours. This removed ANY moisture under the caps of the 2879s (part number 2SC2879). This netted us about 2 to 3 more volts on the collectors. After talking to engineers, we found that even a LITTLE bit of moisture in there, will turn to steam after the devices reach their internal operating temp. Higher voltage on the collector = higher temperatures (more dissipation). Baking them got us 2 to 3 more volts and that equalled a few hundred more watts (for every 50 percent increase in supply voltage, your Pout doubles) (think, 24 to 64 transistors being combined).

Simple green or even lysol does well for mold inhibition. You can also do a 5 % bleach solution, but then you run the risk of losing color, faceplates, some plastics, etc.

Hope it helps.

--Toll_Free

Hose 'em out, see what happens. (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448227)

My grandparents' house was flooded in the mid 70's. Truly flooded - water up past the first floor. Rip the plaster down clean the mud out of the studs flooded.

They had a little black-and-white TV at the time - 12" or so I would guess. According to grandpa, he just hosed it out with a garden hose and left it to dry. You couldn't see the numbers on the dials (they were still full of mud) but it worked for decades after. It might still work, I'm not sure what ever happened to it.

With modern equipment I'd be a bit more gentle, but it's a loss now, so take it apart as far as you feel competent to do, rinse it out, and leave it out in the sun to dry.

Re:Hose 'em out, see what happens. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448381)

> With modern equipment I'd be a bit more gentle...

The modern equipment is more robust.

Same Problem... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448231)

I tried to recover some electronics from a freinds house that had been merely dampened (not submerged) by the rain but not touched for about a week. After they had been dried thoroughly and cleaned with a dry cloth and q-tips) they simply did not work. The power supplies were trash and most of the boards in the chassis of the computers were fried. No power on when they got wet but after they dried...no go. Likely your luck is about that good in this case as well.

WD40 (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448235)

Oh yeah, WD-40 is also your friend.

You know

Water
Displacement
4
0

WD formula 40.

Ensure you wipe it off, and don't use it in any controls. WD40 will cause dirt and grime to get in the potentiometers.

Someone else mentioned alcohol. Dunno, but I like drinking bacardi 151.

--Toll_Free

Distilled water and warm oven (1)

sethml (232387) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448241)

I've had luck rescuing a digital camera which was immersed in a dirty puddle by taking off the cover, rinsing the circuit boards with distilled water, and then putting everything into the oven.

In particular, put the oven on its lowest setting - hopefully around 150 deg F - significantly below boiling. Let the oven heat up first, then put your electronics inside and let them cook for several hours, even overnight. This will evaporate the water out. Then take your electronics out of the oven and let them cool before testing.

The advice to clean with alcohol might work as well or better (I haven't tried it), but I would trust that alcohol would dissolve the contaminants that came with your dirty water. Since the contaminants dissolved out of water in the first place, you should be able to get rid of them with water.

Seth

Re:Distilled water and warm oven (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448409)

> The advice to clean with alcohol might work as well or better (I haven't tried it), but
> I would trust that alcohol would dissolve the contaminants that came with your dirty
> water.

The alcohol displaces the water from small spaces such as under integrated circuits and then evaporates more readily than the water.

Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448243)

I hope you have good insurance coverage. It's a much better option than trying to recover your water-damaged property.

I am an insurance restoration contractor (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448245)

Actually, we remove mold from electronics all the time. We use either an ozone machine or ultrasonic cleaning as demonstrated by this link.
http://www.arsmitigations.com/Electronics_Restoration.php

Cost vs. Effort? (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448249)

What would it cost to replace what you bought versus sending everything to a recovery specialist, or replacing it with stuff from Craigslist?

What would it cost (in terms of dollars or hours, whatever is more valuable to you) to:

- take everything apart

- subject the individual components to any of the treatments prescribed here

- reassemble everything (except for those extra pieces, intentionally removed for efficiency's sake!)

And is there any guarantee everything will work? Speakers without rigid cones? Not.

Television produced in the last 6 years? Nope.

Was everything relatively new? Purchased on a credit card? Some have their own protection plans.

If everything was a few generations old, you might not have lost as much as you think - especially if you post a few messages in sympathetic environments, describing your plight.
 
    Pity and surplus electronics were made for each other.

Recovery is possible (1)

gorfie (700458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448253)

My friend and I once found a receiver buried in a dry creek bed (probably stolen - but it was literally buried with a faceplate sticking out). We dug it up, took it home, hosed it out, threw it in the pool, etc.. In the end, after it dried out, it worked perfectly. It still works today - 20 years later.

Safe-Wash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448269)

There's a product called SafeWash, that was used by PCB assembly people before flux free solders were used. Its just like dishwashing liquid. Place the electronics in the washing liquid and agitate. Use a tooth-brush, etc to clean off the nasty stuff.
Once washed, rinse in fresh water (use distilled water) and then bake in oven for a few hrs at no more than 50deg celcius.

First mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448273)

Yo,

I don't think that they will be salvagable, but I think your first mistake was putting them under the tarp, unless that could have been avoided. Putting them under the tarp would make it much harder for the water to evaporate

Things to try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448287)

First and foremost, how long have these items been wet / sitting? If only a few hours to a day you can try to salvage, otherwise I would suggest tossing them. That said I have had luck salvaging some equipment when a fire sprinkler went off at work doing the following:

Rinse all of the affected items in distilled water.
You can use your kitchen sink but be sure to wash it first and make absolutely sure not to use the faucet. Distilled water only!
 
Gently blow off all water with canned air and then allow to sit for a few hours
 
Hit it with the canned air again and then saturate the circuit boards with Caig Labs' DeOxIT Gold (used to be called ProGold) or Blue Shower (I think Chemtronics makes this). Gently work all moving parts (faders, buttons, pots, etc) to get the product to penetrate. Use a synthetic swab to work the solution around solder joins and contacts. Allow to sit several hours, then hit it with the canned air and repeat once or twice.
 
After the circuit boards are dry, cover with a light coating of DeOxIT and allow to air dry. Do not remove the DeOxIT from the electronics as it helps to prevent corrosion.
 
While the circuit boards are drying, wash the housings in distilled water with a few drops of household bleach. This will kill any mold and get them clean. Allow to air dry.
 
After all of the above, hit everything with canned air and re-assemble. Power on your items one at a time, preferably into a GFCI outlet in case something isn't dry or is shorting so you don't shock yourself.
 
If all works, congratulations. Be advised that the items will probably not work like new and you should be prepared for premature equipment failure but hopefully they'll work long enough that you aren't putting out money for everything all at once.
 
Good luck.

economics 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448315)

Would it be cheaper in terms of both time and money to simply buy better, faster, and cheaper components now? "Pick two" applies to any relative "now", but the future tends to offer the whole shebang.

Water and Alcohol (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448329)

Rinse thoroughly with first distilled water and then alcohol (90% would be best). Try hard to flush out the small spaces under parts with alcohol as those are the hardest areas to get dry. Then dry with low heat. You should have done this immediately: too much corrosion may already have occured.

And file an insurance claim. They will pay off when they learn that the stuff got wet: most people believe that water always utterly destroys electronics.

A lot of pessimists around here! (5, Interesting)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448337)

Quite a few posters have said this is a write-off without even seeing the state of the kit in question. That's pretty pessimistic! Here's a tale that should give hope:

Many years ago I worked in the service department of an electronics OEM repairing stuff returned from the field. The OEM built two-way radios. One time we were sent a portable radio that had been recovered from the sea-bed having been dropped from an oil-rig in the North Sea six months previously. The unit had a die-cast zinc/aluminium chassis and case and standard double-sided PCBs with mostly discrete components and a few ICs. It was extremely corroded, covered in salty deposits, and naturally didn't work. I was written off immediately but as a 17yo with time on his hands I took it as a challenge. I cleaned up the unit by passing it through the tanks of hot trichloroethylene that were used for cleaning newly assembled boards. This removed most of the surface corrosion on the PCBs and chassis. An open-framed rotary switch for channel selection was replaced as it was too far gone.I ran the boards through the normal service/setup procedure. The receiver came up no problem with basic retuning. The transmitter was dead but only needed a new final stage transistor and a retune. It passed spec. It was returned to the customer along with a new replacement unit. They were astonished and very pleased with the customer service received beyond the call of duty or expectation. Whether it was connected I don't know but they placed a huge order with us several months afterwards...

The kit here was immersed in fresh water for much less time. While component densities are much higher in modern kit, I think there's a good chance it will work after careful cleaning and drying. Worth a shot anyway - what have you got to lose?

Re:A lot of pessimists around here! (1)

Chromal (56550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448401)

I guess the question is not 'can' it be fixed, but 'should' it be fixed. Yes, I'm sure everything he has could be reconstructed, given ample time, money, energy, and soldering skill. But what the hell, dry it out, plug it in. Worst case, it'll catch on fire. Best case, it'll just work!

Dishwasher? (3, Informative)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448345)

Believe it or not, I actually have ran keyboards through the dishwasher on numerous occasions. After they get 'crusty', I have taken them apart, placed the circuit board in the dishwasher, used NO DETERGENT, and just ran them on a standard cycle, let them dry for a few days, and works good as new. I suspect, that this might work for other electronics as well. Just make sure that you only run PCBs and so forth, and NOT hard drives through the dishwasher.

The priority is (2, Informative)

ameline (771895) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448349)

Getting all the mold out of them -- the second priority is having them work again.

Steps;

-- well away from any sparks or flame (ie NO SMOKING :-)

1: Disassemble completely
2: Immerse everything in wd40 -- wd stands for water displacer -- this will make absolutely sure there is no water at all left on them. Agitate in the wd40. (you can buy wd40 by the gallon)
3: Rinse with as pure ethyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol as you can find -- closest to 100%. Use plenty -- scrub with a toothbrush at this point to remove anything stubborn. This should remove anything not removed by the wd40, and will remove all the wd40 too.
4: Immerse in a second pure alcohol bath that you try to keep clean -- ie use a different bucket than step 3 -- try to get everything off in step 3.

The alcohol will evaporate quickly, leaving everything dry quite soon with no residue (the two rinse steps help with this).

-- at this point, I'd be quite surprised if there was any mold or dirt or oils of any kind left on anything.

4:Reassemble
5:Plug it in and hope for the best -- if it doesn't work, toss it in the trash.

This procedure will not work for anything with any unsealed lubricated moving parts, as it will remove *all* of of the lubrication.

It will also likely cloud any transparent plastics.

It may not be as bad as it looks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25448389)

I have had experience with electronics immersed in water, sea water, various chemicals, even metal dust.

As others have mentioned, circuit boards can indeed be cleaned in water and survive. Most modern circuit boards and components are immersed in a water based solution at the factory for cleaning (now that TCEs are gone). Be sure, be absolutely sure, be positively sure, that you dry them completely before you apply any sort of power at all. Any batteries are probably going to have to be replaced, that's usually not a bad idea. If any ICs are socketed, remove them to allow the moisture to dry in the contacts.

Some hard drives can take a bath, some cannot. It depends on how well they are sealed. You can't even guess by manufacturer, as each one has drives that are sealed well and drives that are not. Worse, there is no easy way to check that moisture has gotten inside the casing. These are probably going to be the biggest concern.

Power supply units are capable of hiding moisture in all kinds of odd places. I would replace the internal ones, test the external ones.

Really, the hardest part of all this is getting some of the cases apart to get them dry!

Fixable, but may not be worth it (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448411)

It's probably possible to fix everything except hard drives and speakers, but it may not be worth the trouble. There are companies that do this, [acsindustrial.com] but they usually are called in by flooded industrial plants, not consumers.

You need at least modest repair facilities. A small tank with a stirrer or agitator is a big help. Things like PC boards can be rinsed off with deionized or distilled water. If that's not enough, put them in the tank with deionized water and dishwashing detergent, and agitate for a while. An ultrasonic cleaner is useful but not essential. Allow to drain, then dry with a hair dryer.

It's helpful to have a test bench with a very low current fast-acting circuit breaker for initial power up. (An old trick: wire an outlet in series with a switch and a lamp socket, and put in a big incandescent bulb, like 150 watts. For first power up, plug into this rig. If there's a short, all that happens is that the bulb lights up. If the load isn't drawing much current, there's very little voltage drop, because incandescents have a low resistance when cold.) Have a CO2 fire extinguisher handy.

Non-ball-bearing fans may have rusted and probably will have lost their lubrication. If they'll spin freely by hand, give them a try; if not, or they're too noisy, replace as needed.

Devices with potentiometer knobs may need the pots cleaned with spray-on control cleaner. There's also spray-on connector cleaner; you'll need a can of that, too.

Dry out the hard drives with a hair dryer, and try to power them up. They might still work long enough to get the data off. Hard drive internal cleaning is possible, but it has to be done by specialists in a clean room at far more expense than the cost of a new drive. It's only done to recover the data; the damaged drive is read once and discarded.

CD/DVD drives may or may not have survived. The odds are poor, but the drives are cheap.

When you reassemble a computer, you'll need to run all the diagnostics. You'll need to buy one of the better PC hardware diagnostic programs (not a Windows diagnostic program) that will boot up cold.

And then you'll need to reinstall all the software, starting with the operating system.

Audio amplifiers and such should be completely recoverable.

I don't know what to do about large flat-panel displays. Ask the manufacturer.

Calcium Chroride Dehydrating box (2)

pyster (670298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448417)

Get a large plastic storage box. Place the items in this box. Now fill a milk carton with some calcium chloride (one brand name is damp rid). Put on the lid and run some plastic wrap around said lid.

The calcium chloride will draw all the moisture from the surrounding air.

As far as the mold or other particulate I havent any suggestions. Good luck.

Wait for Black Friday (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448443)

and hit the sales. There is just too much chance of frying electronics or re-infestation of mold and it's just not worth it. Just ask my Uncle, he almost burned down an entire fouplex trying to be cheap with repaired electronics. If you really want to try use distilled water alcohol.

Much of it is probably toast. (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448445)

Usually circuit boards will be fine if they are rinsed quickly with distilled water and dried. For drying I like to take an air compressor and blow all the water out then have it air dry with warm air blowing against it. The air compressor helps get the water out from under surface mount parts. Rinsing in pure alcohol might also help. Rubbing alcohol that you buy at the store typically contains between 10 and 40% distilled water.

However, if the boards stay wet for a long period of time then you will have problems with corrosion and it's no longer really recoverable.

You will want to completely disassemble everything. You also will probably want to clean the inside of the cabinet and any displays to get rid of water marks.

A projector might be ruined if water got into the optics since many components do not like water.

Speakers also don't like water very well. Many speakers have a port to help with bass and are often filled with some form of batting. Many are also made of particle board or similar materials which also do not do well when wet.

DVD/CD players are also probably toast since the optics are a bit delicate and do not take kindly to water.

UV lights (2, Informative)

Naut (211748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25448461)

Strong UV (black light) will kill mold and bacteria regular black lights like at spencers aren't strong enough . they are starting to use them in forced air heating and a/c equipment to keep the air clear and the duct work clean of mold and mildew .
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