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  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Redford MI 48240
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    Angry Remove Possible Smoke Damage from Computers

    I had a fire in my house last week.

    I have several home brew computers that look like they have not received any actual fire or water damage. I've heard that the acidic qualities of the smoke may also be an issue for the components of computers.

    Before applying power and starting the for the first time, I am considering giving each machine a thorough cleaning by breaking them down to their components and cleaning them with denatured alcohol. Dabbing each connection using foam swabs and then patting dry with pure white paper towel. Replacing the heat transfer paste between the CPUs and heat sink/fans. The primary goal is to avoid having to invest in a new computer at this time. The secondary is to retrieve data.

    Does anyone have any better ideas or suggestions for long term success?

    Thanks Ted

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
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    That sounds like a good plan to me if you've got the time and your comfortable doing it.

    Depending upon how much smoke grime there actually is, you may very well have your work cut out for you.
    Smoke is worse than anything in so much that it tends to get into everything and leave a thick moist sticky coating, unlike dry dust.

    Some thing I would avoid doing is taking a PSU apart to clean, that would depend upon your confidence and skill.

    The processor and heat sink I would definately do, those are relatively easy to do, along with all of the case fans.
    Some things can even be put in the dishwasher provided that they are allowed to dry properly and that they don't end up getting burnt by the heat of it.
    Take good care to avoid static electricity.

    Your hard drives should be OK though, I can't see the need to retrieve data if they were'nt directly effected by the fire or water.
    But backup is always a good idea irregardless.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-08-13 at 13:18.

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