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Best way to repair water damage

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FOR3SKIN

New Member
What is a good way to fix small PCB's such as iPod or expensive cell phones that have fallen into water? I have heard so many different ways... So what are some of the more surefire ways?
 

Mike_2545

Super Moderator
First off you should probably do something about your user name. Secondly, electronics, most of the time do not survive a swim. You may get lucky and revive them, but defiantly do something about that name!
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
Immediately remove the battery as the voltage and water will corrode the traces very quickly. Then wash in warm soapy water, scrubbing it gently with your roommate's toothbrush. Rinse with clean water and blow the excess water off the PCB with compressed air. Then dry it in an oven at apx 70C (160F) for a few hours.
 
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Nameless1

Member
Just three weeks ago our house got flooded because of a burst pipe in the main bedroom's en-suite. We walked into the house after work and there was literally a waterfall falling out of the front door.
My Xbox, two way radios, two guitars, two Hi-Fi systems, and loads of other stuff got damaged. Luckily nothing was connected to any power so it should work if I switch it on now; but I decided to let the Insurance company cart everything away and get it tested by their guys - Insurance companies have a bad rep over here of trying to find any excuse not to pay up.
I just insisted on a job card detailing what they did on their workbench if they giving us the same stuff back. But I REALLY want my XBOX sorted out above everything else :p
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Should work? Yeah for like a week. Ever seen cars that get flood damage and then get cleaned up by scam artists? They fail within a month, once fully saturated with water no electronics device will ever be quiet the same again. BUT that being said, if the water can't get in it's not as much a problem so cell phones and ipods tend to be more resistance toe water damage. The XBOX is scrap.
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
I have repaired cell phones and iPod and other water/moisture damaged items with fairly good success. Wear a head magnifier to closely inspect the circuit board while cleaning between traces and around components. Use appropriately sized tools for the job at hand. I have used a combination of scraping, picking at, chemical cleaning, etc. to try and restore operation. My daughter's iPod is still workign2 years later from a soaking in a mud puddle. In have even replaced foil traces on those that were far too corroded to conduct a signal. it's often time consuming but if you aren't at it as a buisness, then time isn't money... or is it? You spend time fixing it, you save money from having to buy a replacement!
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
As a professional engineer, unless the damage is obviously and definitely minor, and I am 100% confident that cleaning it will produce a perfect repair - then I do a write-off estimate for the insurance.

Otherwise, if I repair it, the insurance pays the bill, then the customer comes back with further problems later - almost certainly caused by the water - then the insurance won't pay again, and we're liable for repairing or replacing it.

Bad business to do that - so write it off, sell them a new one, end of story - and I might even end up with the old one, and mend it for myself! :D
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
so write it off, sell them a new one, end of story - and I might even end up with the old one, and mend it for myself! :D
Been down that road myself numerous times over the years!:)
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Really? Man I must just be paranoid, I'd never trust anything once it's been soaked. Twice I've had liquid leak out from underneath large surface mount chips and kill the devices later. Cell phones and Ipods might be saveable, but mainly because IPOD's are JUST short of hermetically sealed, and so are most cell phones.
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
I pick up loads of stuff after every flood! I had a 32 inch sony trinatron TV that was under flood water for three weeks! I took it apart and went after it with the pressure washer set at around 500 psi. I dried it off with the air hose and let it sit in the yard in the sun for three days. It worked for 5 years before I traded it! Probibly still works now. :)

We are having a big flood right now this week but unfortunatly everyone here knows how to prepare for flooding so I wont be getting much.
I guess I may still have to go to Fargo. They have had a new crest every week, and every week they have some morons on the local news that are completely surprized by it! :eek::D
 

mneary

New Member
I'm still using speakers that were submerged in the central Pennsylvania floods of 1972. They were full of silt, but I ran water through them (into the cone and out the web) for a few hours and all is fine. (I did replace the enclosures.)

All electronics manufacturing I've seen recently (past 15 years in California) use water soluble flux, citrus wash, then deionized water as a final cleaner. The only devices to worry about in a post-ship immersion are those that were sealed for manufacturing, then unsealed for calibration or adjustment (switches, pots, etc.). Of course, if a battery is present it must be removed immediately!

The key to salvage is to remove all power immediately and dry it thoroughly.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
If we're talking flood stories, the guy who used to be my immediate boss back in the early 70's worked for the company when the main shop was hit by a fold (comes from been in the bottom of a valley - but flood prevention measures have prevented it hsppening since).

Anyway, 1960's sometime, major flood, shop flooded - so Derek bought two items cheap off the insurance, one was a Ferguson TV (950 chassis for anyone who remembers them), and he had a real nightmare repairing it. The second was a Hacker valve radio (Hacker were the best radios ever made), he got that home, undid the soggy box, to find it was in a completely sealed plastic bag, and wasn't even damp! :D
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
Well if we're talking flood stories .......

I bought an old Ford Sierra Auto for a runabout many years ago. It smoked a bit and had a misfire but a new set of plugs got it back on the road.

It eventually got to the point where it smoked so badly it needed a new engine. A manager at a national garage offered to fix the problem for £300 so I left the car with him and bought another runabout to keep me going.

A month later the police turned up and said the car had been abandoned at the garage and could I get it. By this time there was no tax/mot or insurance on it. I went down the garage and it turned out there had been a change of management and the new manager would not do the work on the car.

I had the vehicle recovered by a garage who had another engine to put in for a couple of hundred quid. They had the car for a couple of months before I put my foot down and told them I needed it done that week. I turned up just in time to see the new engine start and fill the whole garage/street/town with smoke .... turned out this engine was shot.

By this time I was doing some work for a Ford dealer and a mechanic offered to sort out the problem in his back garden on the side. It would cost me about £150. A few days later I got a call to say it was all sorted. Picked the car up and it drove perfectly. No smoke, loads of power and I couldn't fault it.

Stuck it in the local paper and it sold within a couple of days for the full asking price. A day later we had the "great floods of Northampton" and I spotted it under 5 foot of water on the TV ...........
 
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