cure equiepement that was in the rain... best practices???

From: Sipke de Wal <>
Date: Tue Apr 16 15:04:34 2002

A few basic things ...................


Clean (demineralized) water itself will usually not damage your equipment.
However water is not always clean. Even rain contains minute amounts
of acids like SO2, CO2 NO3 etc. This and other soluble dirt on the
equipment will make the water somewhat corosive. Especiallay
iron-containing components will tend to rust relatively fast.

The sooner you'll get the equipment dry the better. But you'll
have a few days to achieve this. So no extreme hurry is nessecary!


A lot of (soap-based) rinsing materials will make the water a lot more
corosive. Soaps, will result in an off-neutral PH and will add a lot of
mineral ions like sodium, calcium, nitrious, phosphor & sulfur-oxides, and
organic acids, not to mention peroxides and worse, ad naseum.

This will usualy result in even more rust and precipitated metal-salts forming,
especially when it comes into contact with metals like copper, tin or silver.

When the equipment contains batteries the ion-soup will lead to electrolysis
in the circuit around them and this corosive effect will localy be enhanced.
So get batteries out as quickly as you can !

Even if you need to use soap or other rinsing stuff, make sure that you'll
rinse the equipment vigorously with clean water to remove as much soap
as you can before dry-ing!

(I put my Palm-V in the washing-machine once so the soap was not a matter
of choice!)

Fact 3:

Alcohol vapourises quickly ! Over in the Netherlands we've got Spiritus which
is a rather non-agressive 75% alcohol (ethanol+methanol) solution with some
analine added to make it undrinkable. (It's got a blueish color).

It's also reasonably inert cleaner. ISO-propyl-alcohol may have similar
properties but I've got no experience with ISO-alcohol

I often use spiritus to displace the water after a cleaning operation. It may
leave a
little analine residue but that's never been a problem for me. The spirtus will
dry a
lot faster than water however!

This of course works fine for PCB's and non movable parts. I would never
treat a harddisk this way!

Fact 4:

Use gravity! When you take the PCB's out and place the boards vertically in a
warm dry environment, most of the water will run off. Every now and then
you can turn the boards so that it can run-off water from another angle.

This is a very important aspect of the dry-ing procedure for a lot of the water
will have to be dislodged from under various components on the board
like chips, capacitors etc.

If possible disconnect connectors and other components that may have
accumulated metal-salts and other debris. Clean them carefully.

If you use spiritus rather than water, make sure there is plenty of ventilation
and keep any open fire far away when drying the board/components
(A sunny out-door place would be perfect!) NO-SMOKING!

Fact 5:

PRIMAN NON NOCARE!. First do no harm!

Heat may dry stuff sooner but it may do it's own damage. Remember if the
water is clean you've got plenty of time (days rather than hours) and you
can first make the dirty water clean (deminiralized water or alcohol/spiritus)

A Magnetron may generate very high voltages across even a few centimeters of
a conductor. (Try some xmas-tree lights fixed to a cardboard in a magnetron!)

So I would NEVER use an oven or magnetron to dry anything !

However a medium-power hairdryer may prove helpfull in the latter stages
of the dry-ing procedure, when only a few remaining specs of moist are
lodged somewhere on the board. Keep the dryer a bit distant from your work.
The warm dry air will do the wonders not the heat!

The next one should be obvious but I'll mention it anyway:

    ---- Don't use the hairdryer in a alcohol laden atmosphere !!!!!!!

Fact 6:

Allthough. I didn't get to fixing my Palm-V for the first 3 days, by following
the aforementioned principles, I did manage to get it back to working order
including the Lithium-ION battery. (That was 9 month ago!)

Sipke de Wal

----- Original Message -----
From: "Enrico Badella" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, April 15, 2002 9:21 AM
Subject: cure equiepement that was in the rain... best practices???

> Hello!
> I ve this nice question for all of you... what are the best ways to
> cure boxes that were out exposed to the weather for an unknown amount
> of time.
> Last week I managed to get my hands on 2 vaxstations 4000/60, a Cisco
> MGS, a HP Apollo 700 workstation, Sun Sparcstation 20 (WOW), a VAX 4000-300
> and a Panasonic 7330. All have varying degree of dampness 8-((. At the
> moment I have them in house dry and warm... should I stuff them in the oven
> at low temperature and force a drying or best let them settle for some time.
> Please give me your advice.
> e.
> ========================================================================
> Enrico Badella email:
> Soft*Star srl
> InterNetworking Specialists tel: +39-011-746092
> Via Camburzano 9 fax: +39-011-746487
> 10143 Torino, Italy
> Wanted, for hobbyist use, any type of PDP and microVAX hardware,software,
> manuals,schematics,etc. and DEC-10 docs or manuals
> ==========================================================================
Received on Tue Apr 16 2002 - 15:04:34 BST

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