[clug] [UNCLASSIFIED] Revising drowned hardware

Robert robert at apex.net.au
Wed Feb 28 05:32:46 GMT 2007

I found this, but it probably doesnt say anything you didnt already know

Antti.Roppola at brs.gov.au wrote:
> Hi all,
> Last night's storm collapsed the ceiling in the server room of
> the community organisation I SysAdmin for. Apparently there was
> a lot of water raining onto the racks, and about 3" on the floor.
> Has anyone got any good advice on a plan of attack?
> Thus far:
>  - recover hard disks from main fileserver and financials PC. Dry them out.
>  - recover hard disk from backup server that was not off site enough. Dry it out.
>  - test mount backup server data disk on dry hardware.
>  - Dry out fileserver. Replace PSU and see if it'll boot (sans data disks).
> Presumably I should try get into the building ASAP so I can dry the server
> out before things start corroding. Any ideas on how to best dry out a server?
> Antti
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	•	Data is the most important part of the PC. Do you have a backup or is the data on the hard drives important. You might feel like just removing the hard drive from the submerged PC and drying this out and trying it in a different PC.
	•	Most of a PC is pretty waterproof. Hard drives (most of them at least), CPU and circuitry are all pretty much unaffected by water because they are sealed well. Fans, speakers and such are more delicate and might not be salvageable.
	•	The biggest danger is not from the water but from short circuits as a result of the water.
	•	If your PC was off and disconnected from the mains power before it got wet you have a better chance that it will work once you dry it out.
	•	Consider the monitor a dead loss - wet CRT monitors are highly dangerous of plug back into the power supply and you might have explosions or electrocutions to add to your problems.
	•	Another danger source is the PSU - drying out a PSU takes a long time - if at all possible it's best to find a dry PSU somewhere.
	•	First thing to do is to take the PC apart - undo the PC, undo the wiring, pull out all the components and then the motherboard. Remove the CPU from the socket along with the RAM and expansion cards.
	•	Before drying out you need to clean out all the gunk from the PC - this means making it wetter! Clean out all the curd with clean (if possible distilled) water. This will remove all the contaminants that might cause you short-circuits in the short term or corrosion in the longer term.
	•	After cleaning comes the drying. This is a long process and you should avoid the urge to apply too much heat - better than applied heat is having plenty of air circulating to carry away the moisture. The PSU can be particularly difficult to dry out. A cool hairdryer will help the process (don't put this too high!). Some people have had success using an oven set to 250 deg F to drive out water.
	•	If you have access to a lot of clean ethyl alcohol then use this liberally to clean the PC and remove residual water. AVOID water displacers like WD-40 which can leave a nasty residue once the solvent has evaporated.
	•	The battery providing power to the CMOS will probably be history so you will need to enter the BIOS settings manually and also replace the battery (or keep on doing this each time you restart).
	•	Only when things are completely dry should you attempt to rebuild the PC.
	•	It's a good idea to begin with the PC in a basic configuration - motherboard, PSU, hard drive, RAM, video adaptor - and see if you get life-signs.
	•	When switching the PC back on take special precautions against electrocutions (dry area, rubber soled shoes, rubber gloves if possible ...)
	[Origianlly from http://www.pcdoctor-guide.com/wordpress/?p=1013]

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