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Disaster Recovery - Hurricane

By al.parker ·
Need hints to individuals who are trying to recovery their computers/pheripherials from water/dirt/pollution damage from hurricanes?

The hardware was receovered what's next?

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Re: Air holes in HDD's?

by rohmor In reply to Re: Air holes in HDD's?

I thought those "holes" were a pressure equalization mechanism, and not something that air
can freely pass through.

Can someone please confirm this.

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They have always had holes

by jbartlett In reply to Re: Air holes in HDD's?

The hole is for pressure equalization which by definition must allow air in/out of the disk enclosure. It does have a filter to block any dust from entering so the inside remains clean.

Every disk drive I've ever seen has something to equalize pressure. Otherwise the seals would be under a constant positive or negative pressure depending on the difference in elevation and temperature between the manufacuring plant and the end user.

Most 3.5" drives have an internal filter to trap any particles that are circulating while he drive is running too. Air currents form a small cyclone inside the disk as the platters spin so this filter will trap flying debris.

Depending on how deeply the disk was submerged water could infiltrate this hole and get inside the drive. I have to agree with the suggestion to keep any disk with valuable information wet and sealed in ziplock-type bag and send to a recovery firm. It may work OK if no water has leaked in but there is no way to tell until the disk crashes on power-up.

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Just to go one step further

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to They have always had hole ...

A new 200 GIG Seagate that I* have on the bench right now not only has a hole in the top that is for pressure release but it also has a sticker beside it that says "Void If {Hole} Blocked" They are very important in allowing a standard pressure to remain inside a HDD and not have a pressure build up when it heats up and a corresponding drop in pressure when it cools down.

Also a lot of these units are flown to their finial destination in unpressurized aircraft holds so they prevent the decreased outside air pressure from causing the seals to blow out.

Now if one or even several of these drives has been underwater for several days it is only reasonable to expect water penetration and as that is not clean water there will be a lot of rubbish that has infiltrated the inside of the drive as well. In a best case scenario it will get thrown off the platters as the drive spins up but more likely it will have got into the motor bearings and prevent the motor spinning up smoothly and be trapped between the read write heads and the platters. Destroying the magnetic material as the heads move across the platters.

While the platters will spin up they will never reach their proper speed and the motor will be sucking far more power than it should be thus destroying the circuitry in the controller card of the HDD.

I've seen Winchester Drives opened and full of MUD which after being hosed out and dried quite a bit the remains of the drive are them placed in a Lamina Flow Cabinet dismantled and the platters taken out and placed into another drive enclosure after again being washed down in a substance that will not harm the material on them. From Memory we used Mohawk Safety Solvent but it was a very long time ago now so I'm not overly sure but we certainly had drums of the Mohawk Safety Solvent on hand as it had no adverse affects of any Plastics electronics or anything else that we used it on.

Of cause when we where working in areas without power we used WD 40, RP 7 or CRC in spray bottles to wash things down with after a quick wash out with clean water to remove the worst of the rubbish that had got inside them.


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by Tawz In reply to Well first thing is to re ...

You really know what you are talking about. There are some elements not to be over looked. This water has got it all even chemicals too.Depending on how important the data is, its better to consider proffetional help coz they got all the angles covered. Consider that one mistake can **** out the whole effort

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Great but...

by beamer In reply to Well first thing is to re ...

A couple of things...
I use air under pressure soas to **** the water off (the clean water you use to clean with) so that there are nodried mineral deposits or other "stuff".
I also use a silicone release spray as a water resist. I spray all my electronics both computer and audio gear as it keeps the water (or beer, or soda pop) from getting at the good parts in the first place.
Once I **** off the water, I let it dry at least over night.
Please, no hair driers, (heat, too slow) On tour I often use compressed CO2 as it is readily available
As for disaster relief, I'd be happy to clean a few computers for just the cost of shipping. Anyone closer could do the same just for the Karma point

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by sailor1 In reply to Well first thing is to re ...

Some of your ideas are right on. I'm in the same business as you for over 20 years now. When getting to the point of washing off mother boards, compressed air works great displacing even the smallest amounts of water, and I'm not talking canned air, I mean high preasure 80-100lbs which can be provided with portable pancake style compressors. Also, for removing chemical residues, use spray on brake cleaner, it cut the grease and other chemical residues and dries instantly; again hit with high air presure to remove any puddling. As far as the WD-40 goes, I thought that it conduct electricity and even if it does'nt anything oily like that is just a dust magnet. In the long run though, depending on what hourley rate is being paid, it's cheaper to "JUST TRASH IT"; with the cost at wich these can be replaced, whether it's Dell or what ever, your further ahead on recovery time and cost, not to mention future headaches.

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Well if you would like to look up the Australia Day Floods

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to "JUST TRASH IT"

In Brisbane of 1974 we had at least 30 foot of water through the place. Unfortunately the Main Frame rooms where below street level so they got hit worse.

We had limited supplies and several feet of mud and crud through the rooms that had a lovely smell as well as being highly contaminated. While normally I would never recommend any oil based substance to be sprayed on M'Boards it did protect the ones that we had submerged and could get to as the water dropped. We didn't have a single failure of those that we got to quickly but as I stated above if they had been unattended to after 3 days they had started to corrode and where destroyed so in that case we needed something that would leave a coverage over the components to prevent corrosion but and this was the big one nothing at all was plugged in and power applied until well after everything was allowed to sit for at least 1 week to allow the products that the boards had been hit with to dry off and as well didn't have electricity at the time there was very little else that we could do.


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Use air pressure is fine but not so high a pressure

by robtec88 In reply to "JUST TRASH IT"

Using air pressure to clear moisture from circuit boards such as motherboards is fine but don't use 80-100 psi!!! I hope you have a regulator on your pancake style compressor so you can drop the air pressure down to a more reasonable 30 psi.

The No.1 reason not to "hit" circuit boards with 80-100 psi is because that kind of pressure can dis-lodge Surface-Mount (SM) components and that would render the board completely useless once that occurs - Time well wasted!!!

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Dirty water

by Tech Supporter In reply to Disaster Recovery - Hurri ...

Be careful as the water will be contaminated by excrament etc. Wear suitable gloves - you do NOT want to get any of the dirt into your bloodstream as that could prove life threatening.

Junk all the equipment and retain the drives for data recovery. That was our line following a server room flood some few years back.

Good luck.

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Internal cleaning

by cmurray In reply to Dirty water

For those adventuresome folks cleaning the interior of your computer from water damage need not be a major undertaking. I used a fine mist, pure water spray and a hair dryer to clean mine. You have to do it at least twice, maybe three times. Delicate connections can be damaged if subjected to a hard flow of water. If you have access to a dielectric solution then this is the best to use. However under no circumstances allow it to touch your skin. I hope this is of some help. And wishing all good luck!

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