Fluids in Your PC...

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Just What Do Liquids Do To A Computer?

Liquids will do great damage to electronics, that means computers too!

Liquids can cause a lot of damage - water and electricity don't mix when applied in raw form...

About fifteen years ago a big storm came though where we live. We had roofs torn off houses and the houses filled with water from the rain.

A friend's home was totally destroyed inside from the water damage. And like a good computer owner he had a 2000 Watt UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to keep his two computers running when the power fails. Which it did, unfortunately for my friend he was out of town when the storm took his roof off.

That UPS kept those two computers running for almost another 12 hours then it fried and so did the computers. Luckily for my friend he had done his weekly back up just before he left town.

The only thing we could salvage out of those two computers were the cases every thing else was ruined or burned. And wouldn't you know it one was a proprietary server that he was using as a desktop. The computer being four years old meant that there were no spares (at a reasonable price) available because he didn't have a maintenance contract with the manufacture. (Manufactures of servers need to keep a certain amount of spare parts for their products that are under warranty and some warranties are as long as seven years - the life expectancy of a high value server).

Now why do I bring this up?

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Well we are coming to the spring/summer seasons in the Northern Hemisphere and that means thunderstorms, lightning, and the liquid stuff most maintenance types hate worse than being cold. Ya, rain running down yer neck...

So I would like all you adventurous types to think ahead - that is plan ahead past tomorrow. Consider this a Disaster Preparedness Plan...

  1. Back up your data on a schedule.
  2. Store the data in a safe place, not you cellar or attic, maybe in someone else's house a few hundred miles away, or bank safety deposit box
  3. If you can't afford to send your data to someplace far away or a safety deposit box then do multiple backups on different types of media, one or more will survive.
  4. If you have frequent power outages and lighting storms get a UPS and insure that the option to shut the computer down gracefully after a certain length of time is enabled (my friend turned it off - DUH!)
  5. If you can't afford a UPS then buy surge suppressors to put between the AC outlet and your computer/electronics and then power down the equipment, turn off the power switch on the surge suppressor when lighting gets close. A power surge will kill anything that isn't protected! (The White House in the USA has over 40,000 AMPS surge protection!)
  6. Then set your Power Settings in your BIOS to not restart on power outage, that is one of the best ways to fry your computer during a power outage that I can think of, as soon as the power hits your building the computer starts up and takes all that surge in to all the components...

Do you really know what happens when you dump a Cup 'O Joe, soda, water, tea, milk, or any other liquids in to a computer? (Laptops are a little different and will be discussed in another article)

The liquids (some oils are excepted from this rule) creates an immediate short to ground. This short allows any and all electricity to flow straight from the power supply through the component that has the liquid surrounding it then to the ground plane of the computer. Now if the electron flow went from the power supply to the liquid and then to ground there wouldn't be much damage if any but that isn't the way it works.

The electron flow goes from the power supply through the power plain (all the traces that connect from the motherboard power connector to each place power is needed) through the component then back to ground but that power is controlled by the component internally.

Take that control away from the component and place it where it goes in any connection and back out to ground with out any external resistance or filtering and the component gets hot really quick - we call that fried...

Other than thinking about my friend that fried over $7000 worth of computer equipment by turning off an option (seen some lightning tonight - far away) and a question in the (now gone) Q and A about milk in a desktop I decided to give you a heads up before the adventure starts... :)

P.S.

Enjoy the Summer!



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You keyboard isn't thirsty, and it doesn't need calcium. Milk and other liquids will ruin a keyaboard!


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Liquids in your computer will ruin your whole day and the computer!





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