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Author Topic: Drying out radio equipment  (Read 16076 times)
AA5VB
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Posts: 3




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« on: September 08, 2013, 09:39:15 AM »

Hello everyone -

A few days ago, the wind blew the roof off my Ham Shack, and resulting rain caused my worst fear to happen - ALL of my radio gear got soaked!  Some is modern, some not so much, and all is ruined!  The only thing I have going for me at this point is 1) Everything is insured and 2) Nothing was plugged in to either an antenna or a power source.

I'm guessing even when completely dry, there will still be conductive residue that could send current where it doesn't belong, causing havoc with microprocessor-controlled circuits.

Have you ever heard of someone successfully drying out radio equipment?  I'm thinking perhaps my only chance at success would be a careful disassembly and washing with distiller water. I've thought about using rubbing alcohol but I'm not sure the plastic would like that too much. Obviously an extended drying time would be mandatory.

In a worst-case scenario, the gear is ruined anyway, right?

Your thoughts / suggestions please?
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W5FYI
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 10:09:12 AM »

You're right, washing the equipment with distilled water is first and foremost. Make sure all power and batteries are removed, and don't add alcohol to the wash--it won't be needed. Distilled water should wash away any conductive minerals, and it should be allowed to dry for several days and inspected for water damage before replacing any memory cells or power.  (Water damage may appear as white calcite traces between p.c. board pads, especially around power or electrolytic capacitor connections). If you find calcite deposits, a fiberglass burnishing tool might be able to remove them, and a contact cleaner containing silicone oil may prevent further damage. GL
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KK6GNP
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Posts: 158




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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 10:09:50 AM »

For the drying part of your cleanup:  I know with some electronics you can put them inside of some kind of container with desiccants (I've seen rice used for wet cell phones), and that will go a long way to pull moisture out of the nooks and crannies faster than just air drying.  If it was me, I'd probably get a couple of those big tupperware storage containers, and seal my gear in there with some form of desiccants or another for a few days.  Rice is super cheap in bulk.

http://lifehacker.com/5435480/testimonial-rice-resurrects-even-the-most-soaked-of-gadgets

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-dry-out-and-hopefully-s-107945
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 10:13:33 AM by JEEPESCAPE » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK0G
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 12:02:18 PM »

My suggestion? Let the insurance company write you a check, that's why we pay for insurance.
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WY4J
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 12:38:11 PM »

30 years ago I had a washing machine hose blow a leak in the garage and the spray was aimed directly to my ham station. For hours it rained water on all my gear. Everything, transceiver, amp, meters microphones, telephone, switches, Atari computer, everything.

First thing, I did not power up anything. I opened up all the equipment and laid it out on a blanket underneath a ceiling fan. I took a hair dryer and blew hot air into every nook and cranny I could get into. I then lowered the temperature on the a/c and let the equipment air out for about a month. I did not lose a single piece. In fact I still have some of the equipment in the shack and all is well.

The only thing I would do today which was not something people kept at home. I would first blow the equipment out with an air compressor and them use the hair dryer.

My two cents worth my my personal experience.
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KE4JOY
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 01:51:11 PM »

You will be supprised, as long as no power was applied (battery backup might be an issue) everything will dry out and probably be just fine.

I had an old heathkit depth finder that sat in a boat completely submerged in rain water with a little oil and gasoline for good measure for three days. I poured out the water, dried it off with a towel, and let it sit out in the sun for a day. It powered right up and worked fine.
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AA5VB
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 05:27:23 PM »

Thanks, everyone for the good advice!  I moved a Behringer 4-channel mixer from off of the desk, hoping it didn't get "too" wet. As I tilted it, out came quite a bit of brown, brackish water - so I'm not feeling very hopeful at this point.

One of the rigs is a Kenwood TS-430 that I aquired from a longtime Ham friend, who has since become a Silent Key. It's only worth about $150, but it's sentimental value is far greater to me, and I'd like to see it working again, in his memory.

I'm meeting the Adjuster tomorrow, so we will see how "wet" I get again :-(

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K8AXW
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 06:54:25 PM »

VB:  As one said, let the insurance company write you a check.  Now, about the adjuster.  My experience with an adjuster was great!  He suggested and pointed out things that I never considered and paid me for them.  As he pointed out, this is what a person pays insurance premiums for.

However, if you have a hardass, then argue with him.  Be just as hardassed as he is and then some.  You might have to do a lot of research for prices and current values though.  Aim high and let him haggle you down if necessary.  Not the other way around. 

Now as for salvaging the gear.  (It's possible the insurance company will take the gear after settling.  In this case, find out what it would cost to buy it back.....or at least the gear with the sentimental value. Quite often the insurance company will sell it back for a pittance.)

A friend got flooded out and we both worked for a month or more salvaging his ham gear.  He had quite an accumulation.  We simply washed it out with fresh water and let it dry for a very long time.  Since his was river water, there was a great deal of mud (sediment) in every nook, cranny and hole!  This included the meters.  Most of this stuff had to be stripped down and cleaned.  Be prepared for a lot of work but it can be done with patience. 

If the insurance company buys you replacement gear then I would advise letting it go with the exception of the gear that I absolutely wanted to keep.

Good luck.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4328




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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 07:46:02 AM »

On one of W4BPD's DXpeditions, the KWM2A got submerged in sea water. He washed it out with fresh water and let it dry in the hot sun for 2 days. It worked OK after that.....
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WN2C
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Posts: 428




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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 10:15:20 AM »

Thanks, everyone for the good advice!  I moved a Behringer 4-channel mixer from off of the desk, hoping it didn't get "too" wet. As I tilted it, out came quite a bit of brown, brackish water - so I'm not feeling very hopeful at this point.

One of the rigs is a Kenwood TS-430 that I aquired from a longtime Ham friend, who has since become a Silent Key. It's only worth about $150, but it's sentimental value is far greater to me, and I'd like to see it working again, in his memory.

I'm meeting the Adjuster tomorrow, so we will see how "wet" I get again :-(



If the adjuster is going to prorate your equipment because it is older than 1 year and you have replacement value coverage, then tell him you want it all repaced. Some insurance companies will order the equipment and have it shipped directly to you. Don't make the mistake I did and not tell him what it is you want fully replaced and take the prorated amount and have to go buy it yourself and then have to send the ins.co. a copy of the receipt for the difference. Oh and don't forget, if you have a beam on the tower, make sure that you are able to get the wiring from the rotor to the control box is included, if you can't get up the tower yourself.  If you can't find or read the your documentation for the color coding of the wiring diagram from the rotor to the control box, how are you going to know which wire goes where? ( I hope I explained that right and you understand what I mean)

Good luck with the adjuster!!
Rick  WN2C
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G3RZP
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 01:18:17 PM »

Don't forget the coax too......if the end got opened to the weather, it needs replacing.
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WI8P
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 02:45:19 PM »

My suggestion? Let the insurance company write you a check, that's why we pay for insurance.

Let me make sure I understand this: he can spend a couple hours and $10 for distilled water and have everything up and running in a day, or argue with the insurance company, and wait God knows how long for replacement equipment, which he'll have to procure, assuming it's available.

I'm pretty sure what my choice would be.
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KK0G
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 05:57:36 PM »

My suggestion? Let the insurance company write you a check, that's why we pay for insurance.

Let me make sure I understand this: he can spend a couple hours and $10 for distilled water and have everything up and running in a day, or argue with the insurance company, and wait God knows how long for replacement equipment, which he'll have to procure, assuming it's available.

I'm pretty sure what my choice would be.

I think your estimate of a couple of hours is WAY low as is the estimate of up and running in a day. In addition if he gets everything cleaned well enough to work now what about a year down the road, or two years or three when corrosion finally sets in and intermittent problems start rearing their ugly head. That's a pretty big gamble to make on what could potentially be thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I went through almost the same experience when I had a water line freeze and burst in the ceiling above my shack about 7 years ago. I have full replacement value on my policy and the insurance company never hesitated to write me a check to replace every single item. So yes, this is exactly why we pay for insurance. My advice still stands............ make a claim.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 01:05:26 AM »

If you don't make a claim, what was the point of having the insurance in the first place?
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W8JX
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Posts: 5358




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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 06:33:46 AM »

You're right, washing the equipment with distilled water is first and foremost. Make sure all power and batteries are removed, and don't add alcohol to the wash--it won't be needed. Distilled water should wash away any conductive minerals, and it should be allowed to dry for several days and inspected for water damage before replacing any memory cells or power.  (Water damage may appear as white calcite traces between p.c. board pads, especially around power or electrolytic capacitor connections). If you find calcite deposits, a fiberglass burnishing tool might be able to remove them, and a contact cleaner containing silicone oil may prevent further damage. GL

I would add 20 % or so alcohol to rinse as it will help it dry.
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