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View Full Version : HELP! Salt like substance covering everything! Motherboard GPU etc



PC builder
18-12-2014, 04:10 PM
One day out of the blue my computer did not boot, upon inspection everything inside my computer was covered in this salt like crystallized substance.
It seems like the motherboard was short circuited from this as I found an area that was burnt out.

I have been to multiple computer shops but they have no idea of what it actually is.

I think the Graphics card may still have some life in it if it was cleaned properly, any suggestions? I have tried high pressure air to no avail.
6088
Thanks

wainuitech
18-12-2014, 04:31 PM
First thought is something like capacitors or the internals of something have blown, but they normally don't shower their contents all over the board. Could also be corrosion just spreading, what started off as something small has been allowed to grow. if you look at it, its heavier around all the solder points.

CYaBro
18-12-2014, 04:33 PM
That looks like some sort of liquid has got in and then dried out leaving behind that residue.
For it to cover such a big area, is anything else inside the case covered in the same stuff?

dugimodo
18-12-2014, 04:33 PM
Residue from something burning perhaps, or the insides of an exploded capacitor although that usually looks more like polystyrene.
If all else fails try good old water and possibly a soft brush. I once fixed a motherboard that had been subjected to cat pee with a garden hose (from wouldn't power up to fully functional). You may need to pull it apart partially though, depends on the design and how well it traps water etc.

Water will not usually actually damage electronic components provided they are dried off completely before any power is applied. It can take a week or longer in a dry environment though for it to leave every nook & cranny so don't rush anything. You want to avoid any harsh chemicals or solvents so water is probably safest.
Why it usually is bad to get something wet is because water with trace impurities in it conducts electricity so it goes places it's not supposed to and shorts things out.

For the motherboard I left it stood on edge in the hot water cupboard for a week then blew dry air over it for a half hour or so with a fan, never expected it to go again but with nothing to lose I figured why not. I also had to take to the RAM contacts with a toothbrush to remove some corrosion.

1101
18-12-2014, 04:37 PM
Are you willing to risk blowing a motherboard or Monitor by using that dodgy vid card ?

Could it be from a very damp house, alot of airborne moisture being sucked into the PC .
And rust or corrosion on anything in the PC,any copper parts gone green ?

dugimodo
18-12-2014, 04:39 PM
Another observation from the cat pee incident - the case had a side fan with a plastic tube directing air to the cpu. The offending (and offensive) liquid was sucked in by the case fan and distributed around the case by the CPU fan and was all over the place. Where it made contact with some metallic parts they had begun to corrode.

I don't know what happened in your case but the point of the story is if any liquid gets near a spinning fan it gets spread very well.

Poppa John
18-12-2014, 05:16 PM
Abandon ship!!!!!!! Its the Dreaded Lurgi!!! PJ

PC builder
18-12-2014, 05:29 PM
Thing is location of the computer was in a very sunny room on top of the desk no sign of dampness.

PC builder
18-12-2014, 05:35 PM
That looks like some sort of liquid has got in and then dried out leaving behind that residue.
For it to cover such a big area, is anything else inside the case covered in the same stuff?

The motherboard was fully covered in this stuff. RAM and hard drives also had traces of it.

wainuitech
18-12-2014, 05:43 PM
The motherboard was fully covered in this stuff. RAM and hard drives also had traces of it. By any chance is there any sort of aerosol spray ( flies etc) or scent spray etc ?

Sounds more then its been sucked in Via the intakes, possibly over time.

CYaBro
18-12-2014, 05:55 PM
I know a guy who had a break up with his wife, and before she left and moved out she threw a bucket of water, with laundry power in it, over the back of the husbands computers. (3 of them in total)
They looked very similar inside to the photo you posted.

We managed to get two of them going again after cleaning all the parts in water and drying out completely.

fred_fish
18-12-2014, 06:42 PM
Yep, can also vouch for clean water and *thorough* drying.
Had a laptop that drank a beer via the keyboard and died on the spot, then sat in a bag in the back of the car for three days. Was a horrible sticky mess when disassembled, but (carefully) scrubbing all the components in the kitchen sink with a toothbrush and then a week in the cylinder cupboard resurrected it nicely.

tweak'e
18-12-2014, 08:59 PM
is the stuff over everything, eg over the label?
if not i wonder if its the boards coating flaking off. i have seen it before, wonder if high heat or UV could be the cause (hot sunny room up on a desk).

PC builder
18-12-2014, 10:57 PM
is the stuff over everything, eg over the label?
if not i wonder if its the boards coating flaking off. i have seen it before, wonder if high heat or UV could be the cause (hot sunny room up on a desk).
Naa just over the components.

pctek
19-12-2014, 07:10 AM
http://oldcomputers.net/corrosion.html

http://www.computer-resale.co.uk/TOTM/recent.html

2 possibilities. If a battery though - it would be limited to the area directly around/under it.

I'd say something was spilled at some point.

Agent_24
19-12-2014, 06:17 PM
Most stuff nowadays uses Lead-free solder and no-clean flux. If the flux gets wet or is cleaned with the wrong solvent, it can cause white residue.

This could well be what the white stuff is, but doesn't explain what got in there to react with the flux.