Windows

Cracking open my Windows USB flash key

9 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've cracked open desktops, laptops, dot-matrix and laser printers, flatbed scanners, hard drives, power supplies, monitors, and gods only know what else. Where's "More than one of the above" or even "All of the above and more"?

d.s.williams
d.s.williams

My wife found BOTH of my lost my USB sticks in the tumble dryer today after I hadn't used them since before my holiday. Yes, they HAD been in my trouser pocket and I feared I might have lost them from my pocket somewhere. Anyone know if flash memory can survive a washing machine and a dryer?

TheChas
TheChas

Since the heat of most dryers is not near the soldering temperature, nor the operating limit of most electronic components, the primary worry is the water and detergent. Before you attempt to plug in the flash drive, soak and rinse the drive in high quality distilled water and / or alcohol that is at least 90% pure. Suspend or support the drive with the port opening down, and allow it to air dry for at least 24 hours. If you rinsed out all of the wash residue, and it did not get too hot in the dryer, it should work. Chas

d.s.williams
d.s.williams

Thanks for that advice Chas. In fact I was very encouraged by what I saw when I got home yesterday evening. Not only had they apparently remained in the comparative safety of the pocket throughout the wash cycle, with the lids still firmly on, but there was also no sign of any moisture or detergen residue anywhere. They look just fine! Apparently the dryer only reaches about 65?C (149.0?F) so there wasn't even any melting of the plastic. My main concern is that one is aluminium, so instead of having a totally encased LED to indicate drive access/data transfer, it has a small hole through which the light shines, which could have allowed water in despite the lid being in place. From what I saw, however, I feel that washing as you suggest may actually do more harm or may simply be unnecessary. I'd appreciate any more advice. Thanks, once again! David

d.s.williams
d.s.williams

Many thanks for your advice - they both seem to work just fine!

d.s.williams
d.s.williams

Yes, good idea, many thanks! Well, it's been a few days of dry?ng out time now, so I'll give it a go & let you know. Thanks again! David

TheChas
TheChas

I can't honestly say there is no risk in plugging the drive in. That said, based on your description of the drive and the events, I think the risk is minimal. The safe way to check it out would be to plug it into a powered hub. That way, if there is anything wrong, all you will do is damage the hub and not the port in the PC. Chas

d.s.williams
d.s.williams

Many thanks Chas, In fact none of the data is critical as I primarily use them as a way of transporting data and carrying handy apps with me. So it wouldn't endanger the USB port or anythign else to plug them in if they aren't OK, I take it? David

TheChas
TheChas

Yes, being inside the pocket would protect them from the worst of the wash residue and would offer some protection from the heat. At this point, the first question is how critical is the data on the drives? If you have 1 of a kind images or hard to recreate files on them, I would use as much caution as you can. If the files are not critical and you just want to see if the drives survived the wash, then connect them up and see what you get. I work in aerospace electronics, so I have a lot of resources at my disposal to both open and clean electronic assemblies. In the end, how to proceed is your call. Chas