A+ Computer Hygiene

Computer repair nightmare


Last week a devastating event occurred. While sipping on a Summit IPA, I knocked it all over my desk. The drink dripped off and down into my desktop. All was well for a few minutes as I frantically start cleaning up my work area, but then it happened. The dreaded freeze of death, it wasn't a blue screen, but it might as well have been.

Damage Assessment

Jumping forward to Sunday, I finally had time to asses the damage. It has been more than 72 hours since the spill, everything has dried, and yet nothing is working. I gather my tools; Screwdrivers, 91% Isopropyl alcohol, and one can of compressed air. Isopropyl was chosen for it's low water content as a recommended alternative to electrical contact cleaner.

Moving out of the bedroom to the garage to being bench tests. Just another event in the series of unfortunate events occurred, I happened to drop the monitor on my way up the stairs. Just my luck, the screen was still working, just some aesthetic damage there. The monitor lives another day.

I had worries that the new carpet causing Electrical Static Discharge (ESD). Without the proper tools to prevent ESD, I found the best environment to work. This is a hot topic for discussion on the internet with many claiming with modern hardware ESD is no longer an issue, but I choose to stay as safe as possible.

So I tore apart the desktop, cleaning out all the dust as I went. The disassembly wasn't too complicated. Removed the motherboard and card, to be replaced with an OEM board from HP along with my older graphics card.

Temporary Solutions

Finding the new 970 card to cause beeps with the OEM board even with my overkill power supply, I removed it for cleaning along with the dirty Motherboard.

I took a toothbrush and gently went at removing the dried beer gunk from the boards using a small amount of Isopropyl alcohol to clean them up. For now I will use my old components until this dries and can be further tested.

Pro Tip - Use a pencil, screwdriver, or another stick-like object to hold the fan in place while cleaning. Fans can become damaged from spinning when off.

Tt Guru - How to Clean PSU by Compressed Air Duster

Square One

So I packed up my assumed dead components and brought them over to a friends house for further testing.

We pop in the graphics card into his computer, all is well, it appears the Isopropyl alcohol cleaning was effective in reviving the card.

Next we found an even older card to process graphics, because this motherboard does not have on-board graphics. Now with the older card in place, we have a motherboard booting. Another successful test.

Now back to square one. The components where shuffled back into their respective chassis. Now the moment of truth. Testing the dirty but now clean components resulted in nothing. No input detected by monitor. Now I have no idea what is going on and have came full circle back to square one.

...To be continued...

TL;DR Do not drink and compute, and Isopropyl can be effective in cleaning electronic components.