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Leaky pipe dripped on back of PC while I was at work

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#1 byerger


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Posted 08 January 2014 - 06:53 PM

Okay, so hard freeze here and I have a shutoff valve for the outside water line right by my computer.  I shut it off and went to bed.  Little did I think that it might leak where it was shut off.  So, while I was at work (the computer was on) it dripped on to the back of the computer case without a direct opening but drained down inside I assume.  The computer is new and was built by my friend as a gaming PC last month.  


When I came home this evening, the computer fan was spinning which was unusual as it runs quite cool and has never come on before.  This is before I realized it had water dripping on it.  I tried to bring the thing on screen and it didn't come up, so I held power to turn it off.  Then I immediately tried turning it on which didn't succeed on for a second and then shuts off.  I did this about four times and then started to look behind it when I felt a drop of water land on my head.  This is when I discovered what was happening.  I immediately unplugged everything opened it up.  I couldn't find any water inside just a little bit on top of the case so I don't think a lot of water went inside but obviously something did.  I ran a blow dryer over a good bit of the inside (no heat).  


My plan is to let it sit until Friday and then try plugging it all back in.  What else should I do.  If not working correctly how do I troubleshoot different parts of the computer as I would assume that it will be the mother board, the power supply, the fan(s) or the graphics card as they were the things that were towards the back.  


Anyway, please let me know what to do first and I will follow up as new problems are found (hopefully this will be none).


Thanks a bunch in advance,



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#2 goldfist


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Posted 08 January 2014 - 07:41 PM

If your lucky it just got water into the power supply and you just have to replace the power supply, however if any water came across any circuitry while it was live, even a small drop of water can kill a motherboard if it made a connection across 2 circuits, especially if it allows 12V to travel to a lesser voltage circuit, however the most common damage is called electrolysis. This is where the water with electricity present eats away at the metal contacts, legs to chips, and traces, and of which the damage can reach into the layers of the motherboard which are multilayer if a thru hole ( barrel ) or ( via ) gets eaten out thru this process and water flows into the cavity that is created through the destructive process.


Inspect the motherboard for any oxodized cuicuitry usually a white crystal powder growth on IC legs etc( lead oxide powder ) as well as blackened traces on the motherboard.


Inspect all addon cards for this problem as well.


When the system is completely dry ... Try to boot the system without the videocard if the system has integrated video as an option. *Also inspect the pins to the video cable to make sure that they are not corroded and are still clean copper/gold pins. If the video cable is damaged with corroded pins replace the video cable. If you have another computer test the display on another computer to make sure water didnt kill the display.


Worst case scenario you would probably only have to replace power supply, motherboard, and video card. The RAM, CPU, Hard Drive(s), and optical drive(s) are pretty well protected unless it took a shower of water vs a drip down the back side.


I have salvaged many systems in the past that died similar deaths and the CPU, RAM, and drives out of all 8 systems were able to move to a new motherboard and power supply. So for around $150 per system for these systems I had them back up and running healthy with $90 motherboards and $60 power supplies.

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