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Old 07-30-2006, 01:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Literally Flooded Computer

Recently there was serious flooding where I lived, and I spent several hours today helping my grandparents get stuff out of their basement. Later I went for a walk, and saw that someone had tossed a computer in the trash, because their basement was flooded with water and sewage, and the computer (I believe) had been submerged. I talked to the owner who was in the yard who said that it was only a year and a half old, but that I was welcome to try to salvage it (the case hadn't even been opened, it was totally intact). Seeing as it was a nice P4, I welcomed the oppurtunity. When I got home I inspected it. It is dry, but has a layer of mud (and who knows what else) caked onto the motherboard and cards (And the outside of the case is rather muddy too). I was wondering if anybody had any advice as to exactly how to go about getting it ready for usage? (I haven't even plugged it in yet, because I don't want to fry it, and I don't know if it's set to auto AC recovery or anything like that). Any advice is appreciated (of course, if I didn't want advice I wouldn't have posted this to a forum so I suppose that's rather redundant)

-:-Mitchell
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Old 07-30-2006, 01:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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if nothing else you can salvage some of the parts.

If it were me I would go to a local computer store that I trust and ask them. My gut says the MoBo won't work or won't work well.

Oh and on a side note I read this topic and just laughed (not at you).
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Old 07-30-2006, 02:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Actually, if the computer wasn't running, it may be salvagable.

Let it dry out completely, then basically disassemble it. Clean each part carefully and thoroughly. Use lint free cloths and clean water, then use alcohol. Use only alcohol on the contact points (sockets and tabs).

You'll have to replace the thermal paste when you take off the heatsink, because you need to make sure nothing is under the CPU.

Even if it is shot, you'll have clean parts for what does work.
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The motherboard still holds a charge even if it isn't plugged in, or turned on. It has a battery.

Plus, if it sat long enough, rust may have started to form on the circuits, chips, sockets, contact points, capacitors, etc. 5$ says it doesn't work. :-D
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Old 07-30-2006, 09:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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bum:
Quote:
Oh and on a side note I read this topic and just laughed (not at you).
Well, I'm glad to hear that I could bring a note of joy into someone's life. Ok, To my knowledge it wasn't sitting in water for more that 24 hours, and I got it the night after the flood, so it hasn't been sitting there rusting for a year. Luckily, the heat sink looks like a clip on so if I´m lucky, it doesn´t use thermal paste. And if I´m not lucky, oh well, I have a friend with a bottle of it. I figure that either the Motherboard, or more likely the power supply is shot. On the plus side, the city cut power to the street when the flooding started, so there's a decent chance that it wasn't on when it got wet. Trotter, you said to use (isopropyl?) alchohol on the sockets. Is that to wash out the water? I had read to spray it everywhere to kill germs. Either way, I don't think it'd hurt. Should I use straight alcohol or diluted?

-:-Mitchell

Update: I went downstairs to take a picture of the computer to attach for your viewing pleasure, and saw that the Slot covers and bottom of the computer look rusted, and the exterior has mud all over it, but it looks like the water only came up internally to the PCIE card. The metal, motherboard, and parts above that all look clean (That's just dust on the processor --> fan director). So the motherboard is probably done for but besides that, it looks salvagable.


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Old 07-30-2006, 01:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, straight alcohol.

Looks like you got lucky.
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Old 07-30-2006, 06:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, I took my shot at cleaning it, following Trotter's instructions for the most part. I took it totally apart, isopropyl alcoholized most of it, ran the electronics under water, hosed off the case, gently brushed off muck, etc.,. Now it's all drying in front of a dehumidifier (still dissassembled). I'll assemble it and boot it on Wednesday probably if it looks dry. It looks promising except for the powersupply (the one thing I can easily replace from spare parts I've already got), and the motherboard which has a little bit of white residue on it. Thanks for tips, and I'll report back when I get it running (or don't).

Oh yeah, one other thing. According to Dell's website, this computer contains a "PROCESSOR, 80547, PENTIUM 4 PRESCOTT DT, 520, SOCKET T, E0, MALE". I'm not quite sure of the speed, but it's a p4 with HyperThreading (according to the sticker). It clips into the motherboard, and the heat sink clips on top of the processor. One of my friends says that if I boot it up without fresh thermal paste between the processor and heat sink that I'm going to fry the processor. I was under the impression that P4's, when confronted with an overheating problem throttle down, and then eventually shut down. Eventually I'll get some thermal paste on there, but if I boot it up without, will it really be the end of the world?

-:- Mitchell
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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nice find man, i wouldnt chance using the old psu, did you get it open? it probaly covered still there are alot of fragile parts in it and alot of steel which rusts fast. what about the hdd, with enough water wouldnt it get inside it? thats probaly fried. but i dunno, there are too many parts, you have tyo completely dissasemble, like take off the dvd cover from the drives clean all those lasers, and there bands
if the ram has HS's take those off, o about the hdd, dont take it apart just hope it works, that you dont wanna open, because of dust particles.
i would put it in sun for a couple hours or so, too before it goes together, i dont know how you would clean the white socket pin holes out if it was filled with muck, that doesnt seem possible.

well i wish you luck, youll need it(badly)
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Old 07-30-2006, 07:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, I pretty much seperated everything out. I think the hard drive will be OK because it's SATA, and I think that those are sealed and depressurized. I'm concernet that the power supply might go and take something else with it, so before I try to boot up the new comp with it, I'm going to test the psu in an old 300 mghz E-machines, so that if something goes wrong, I'm burning out a 10 year old computer, not a year old one. And like I said in my previous post, the processor is the other thing that I worry about damaging upon booting.

-:-Mitchell
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Old 07-30-2006, 08:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Definitely use thermal paste before you boot. P4 are heaters, and it will fry in nothing flat.
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