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Need Advice - Safety Concern - wet electronics

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by jousley, Dec 16, 2013.

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  1. jousley


    Jan 14, 2013
    Hello all - thanks in advance for your help. I have a SHARK vacuum then mop. basically its a vacuum- click a button and it steams up water and you can mop the floor with the same device.
    Anyway, the steam function wasn't working - it sounded like it was trying - but no steam coming out. I took it apart - and all the water lines looked clear - so I figured there was a clog in the pump. Looking at other websites I realized that these things clog a lot and used CLR cleaner in the basin - let it sit. then I turned it on.

    After about 5 minutes I heard a bang. I found that the final tube before had blown off of the mount because of a large glob of deposits that the CLR had loosened. Great - put the tube back on now that the blockage is gone and all good to go.

    However, I noticed that during the blow out - the water tube spilled CLR all over the circuit board. There was a protective plastic piece over it - but CLR went everywhere. I removed the plastic piece and the board was wet mostly all over. I dried it all with compressed air.

    However my question is... is there a safety concern here? Is there any possible fire or electrical shortage concern? Is this a safety hazard. As my wife normally uses this - I would toss this sucker in the trash if there is any concern. But I wanted to pass it by you guys first before I turn it on - or toss it out.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    CLR is probably not real good for electronics.

    Drying with compressed air isn't a bad idea, but the residue of CLR may still be there. It may be slightly (or more than slightly) conductive, so I'd try to clean it completely.

    I would take the electronics out if I could and flush them with distilled water. Then I'd leave it in a warm place to dry completely before I *very carefully* reapplied power.

    Operating it while wet would be *very* bad.

    More of a worry is that you heard a bang. It's quite likely that something has failed. It sounds like it was powered up when the CLR spilt on it, and that would be very bad.
  3. jousley


    Jan 14, 2013
    The bang was the water tube releasing the clog as I noticed steam coming out the back. The electronics have a sticky film left by the CLR. ...

  4. jcurrie


    Feb 22, 2011
    get a can of CRC contact cleaner.
  5. jousley


    Jan 14, 2013
    Can you explain a bit more? I won't be able to remove it from the unit as there are wires and plugs and stuff soldered in. I can just spray that stuff on and it will take care of the CLR and just let it dry?
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    See here

    After the first step, all you're doing is getting rid of the water. I use 50/50 metho and water for cheap stuff, isoporpyl alcohol for more expensive stuff. CRC Contact cleaner is also OK.
  7. KJ6EAD


    Aug 13, 2011
    I use a 5 step process similar to the advice above.

    1. Rinse with water.
    2. Blow away excess water with compressed air.
    3. Rinse with alcohol to scavenge remaining water.
    4. Blow away excess alcohol with compressed air.
    5. Bake out remaining moisture with a heat pad or light bulb.
  8. Fish4Fun

    Fish4Fun So long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

    Aug 27, 2013
    Two things:

    1) CLR is basically a hydrochloric acid derivative, and does NOT PLAY WELL with the aluminum heater housing in a Shark. Any H+/Cl- solution will wreck havoc on Aluminum, period.

    2) When my last Shark went "bang", it was a split in one of the tubes. An easy enough fix if you have access to metric sized silicone tubing....I don't, so I "spliced" the tubing using steel auto brake-line tubing. The split was near the barb, so I cut the tubing several inches back & spliced it with the steel tubing so there was enough length to go back on the barb. Lasted a few cycles, then one of the hose clamps "popped off" and I just went and bought another Shark. I was tired of messing with it and just wanted the floor clean like only a Shark seems capable of, lol.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the **Hazard** of wet, but I would worry A LOT about PV=nRT after introducing HCl into that aluminum pressure cooker;-)

    Good Luck!

  9. MikeLalonde

    MikeLalonde Guest

    I second the alcohol rinse method. I've used it to clean motherboards in industrial servers that were covered in every substance you could think of. As long as you make sure it dries out afterward, no issue.

    Mike Lalonde
    Sudbury, Ontario - M&K Mining
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