Clean electronics after spill mishaps

Before I go into details here lets get one thing straight. If you have a device that is on and a liquid comes into contact and the device dies then chances are very slim that cleaning it alone will fix it. The device could be repaired but will involve replacing parts and might cost more to fix then replace.

Here is a example, Your little brother trips and spills Redbull on your PS4. The PS4 was off at the time. With the right cleaning products such as Rubbing Alcohol (highest proof you can find at the drug store, 91% usually), compressed air, cotton swabs and a soft brush you can take the unit apart and squirt on some Rubbing Alcohol and carefully scrub it clean. Sit the parts in a warm area and let it drip dry for about a hour. After a hour then spray it down with compressed air so it can release possible trapped Rubbing Alcohol from under BGAs and such. Let it sit for another 30 minutes and look it over. If it is completely dry then reassemble the device.

Take note, the longer the liquid such as water, soda and what not is in contact with a electronic device will cause issues such as rust/corrosion to traces and parts. The Rubbing Alcohol will displace the most of the liquid. Some people have had success on using distilled water and some glass cleaner to clean a circuit board but you should always use something to displace and evaporates the water afterwards.

Items such as cell phones and tablets are subject to once wet = broken due to the fact when the device is “off” it’s still powered. Even newer electronics non-portable devices that use a soft power solution can make things difficult and lessens the chances to getting a device clean and still working afterwards. Reason being is they’re still powered on to a degree. A lot of times there is a small fuse that blows when something is shorted out but since we live in the world of SMD electronics you would need a very steady hand and a strong magnifier since the fuses look like SMD resistors.

Heard of a bag or bowl of rice to “soak up” water or soda from a electronic device? It doesn’t always work and makes me laugh a bit when people do this method.
Now here is why the “rice method” doesn’t work. Granted rice can draw out moister but not entirely let alone what is left behind from the liquid. The moister needs a way out so leaving a device in it’s casing would just end up being a coffin. Liquid can get into places that rice can’t reach. Rice can not soak up contaminants such as sugar and most chemicals that are in soda and energy drinks. Let alone what is left over from water such as minerals and other things. 90% of that stuff left is conductive so it will have no effect with rice alone.


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