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Crying over spilled Koolaid


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#1 heidihopes

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 09:24 PM

I bought an Acer desktop about a year and a half ago but haven't been able to use it for the past six months. My daughter had a glass of Koolaide on the computer desk and spilled it. It flowed towards the back of the desk and then onto the top of the desktop, ultimately down the back of the PC as well. We wiped it off immediately and took it apart right away. I didn't have time obviously to research what you are supposed to do in that situation but there were very small drops of koolaide over various parts of the inside and I used a paper towel to blot up everything I could see. I put it back together and was pleased to see that it worked.

However, it was just temporary. After a couple days it stopped working. I got the red light to come on in the power light but it just didn't start up and I got a "no input" message on the monitor. I took it apart again to see if there was anything I missed. There were a couple of places that felt sticky so I took a soft toothbrush and some water and gently went over the areas that once had koolaid. As I was getting up from my project, I knocked over the small glass of water I was using to clean it, about 2 oz, right into the open computer. :thumbsup:

I blotted that up as much as I could, reassembled the PC and to my surprise once more, it worked again! But just like last time, only temporarily. A few days later I got the same response, red light on--no powering up, as before. I have two newer laptops so I just unplugged the unit and gave it up for the time being.

I now am wondering if I should just haul it to the site for garbage computers in our town or if it would be worth lugging to Best Buy's or another repair place. Since I already have two nice laptops I wouldn't want to spend much on fixing it but there are some aspects of a PC I appreciate as opposed to a laptop so if I could get it fixed for little, it might be worth it.

My question is, has anyone had enough experience with this type of damage to a PC to know if it is usually lethal? Does the fact that it worked briefly for a day or two or the fact that it doesn't really start up even though the power button comes on, trigger to anyone what might have been damaged in this accident? It might help me to know what parts could be affected in order to determine whether or not to dump it? Could the spilling the additional water have done her in even though I blotted all of that up?

If it helps to know, the koolaid went in only when it spilled down into the back of the PC. The top had no points of entry to the inside. The koolaid entered through the power and monitor plug in spots in the back as well as the fan.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can provide some direction.

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 02:04 AM

My you have a thirsty computer there, kool-aid wasn't enough so it wanted what was left in the water glass you used to remove the remainder of the missed kool-aid. :thumbsup:

I assume the kool-aid acted as a coating once it thickened up and prevented certain parts from emitting heat as they should.

Water does act somewhat like a conductant, but it does evaporate eventually with time and disappears, so when this happens, it is best to leave the device unpowered until it does.

Being that you said the cool-aid entered the power supply, it has most likely gummed up the exhaust fan and has either slowed it down, or stopped it entirely.

It may also be restricting a component's ability to let off heat.

Anytime work is done inside a computer case, there is also the risk of ESD's which is basically static electricity from our bodies that can damage components located on the computer's motherboard.
Precautions must be taken to ensure, you and the computer stay grounded together at all times during such procedures.

This might sound strange, but immersing the motherboard in rubbing alcohol and then letting it dry would have had the best results. Alcohol evaporates very quickly.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 30 March 2010 - 12:27 PM.

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#3 heidihopes

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:19 PM

Thanks Mr Bruce for your suggestions. They certainly sound like something I could try. Yes, it's a thirsty one and it doesn't help that it's owned by someone with terrible coordination and also passed the gene on to her child. :thumbsup: I'm likely to re-injure it in the future with this natural talent and that's partly why I hesitate to put much money into now. I'll try the motherboard tip and perhaps look more closely at the exhaust fan. Thanks for your help!

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:37 PM

Thanks Mr Bruce for your suggestions. They certainly sound like something I could try. Yes, it's a thirsty one and it doesn't help that it's owned by someone with terrible coordination and also passed the gene on to her child. :trumpet: I'm likely to re-injure it in the future with this natural talent and that's partly why I hesitate to put much money into now. I'll try the motherboard tip and perhaps look more closely at the exhaust fan. Thanks for your help!


You're welcome!

Another warning I have for you is to be careful while doing any repairs to the PSU (power supply) There are capacitors (those large round things that look like little soda cans) located inside the power supply that can store a voltage like a battery, even long after the power has been cut off, the voltage they store can in some cases can give you one heck of a volt! :flowers:

So be careful when you attempt any clean up inside the power supply. :thumbsup:
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#5 heidihopes

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 06:56 PM

Boy, thanks for that too. I just assumed that if the computer was unplugged, all power was off. I wouldn't have guessed there could still be a jolt available somewhere.




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