Emergency! How to dry soaked scanner

Status
Not open for further replies.

TheFlyingPilot

MPSCS Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
75
Location
Frankfort, Michigan
Dropped my BCD325P2 in the water, it got left there for ~8 seconds as I searched for where it went. I have now taken the back off and it's air drying. It stayed on but was playing static when I pulled it out. The water was not clean. Any additional help/advise would be very appreciated.
 

letarotor

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
915
Location
Arlington, TX
Put it in a bag of rice and don't turn it on again until it has had plenty of time to dry and then some. I'd probably leave it like that for close to a week myself. The rice will soak up moisture. When you put it back together, take something like a paintbrush or some sort of brush where you can clean out every little nook and cranny on the inside of the radio also. As long as it wasn't salt water, you stand a good chance of not having any problems. But don't turn it on while it's wet or drying!and I'm sure I don't need to mention this but definitely take the batteries out also.

Brian (COMMSCAN)
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
10,520
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Spraying down the circuit board with 100% isopropyl alcohol will help clean things up and carry the water away. You can usually dunk the entire radio minus the speaker in alcohol, the circuit board went through something similar during assembly. The water will mix with the alcohol and evaporate faster than without. If the batteries were in the unit it could have damage to circuits due to battery contacts conducting through the water to other areas of the circuit board. I've seen radios with batteries that were in the water for only 30 seconds have copper electroplated to every other conductor in the radio. If you lucky it will come back to life.
 

K4EET

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,563
Location
Severn, Maryland, USA
Since it was powered on when you dropped it in the murky water and since it "was playing static when [you] pulled it out" of the murky water, it probably has damage to its electronics. Dry it the best you can and see how much residue is left on the innards. You probably should plan on a trip to the repair depot. Sorry for your misfortune...

<edit> @prcguy's recommendation of isopropyl alcohol may be OK but I would have left the cleaning to the repair depot (unless it miraculously works when all is said and done). Let's hope for the best...
 
Last edited:

Bob1955

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
655
Location
Eastchester, NY
Dropped my BCD325P2 in the water, it got left there for ~8 seconds as I searched for where it went. I have now taken the back off and it's air drying. It stayed on but was playing static when I pulled it out. The water was not clean. Any additional help/advise would be very appreciated.
TheFlyingPilot- My friend's Bearcat BC-125 AT(like yours but a analog version) fell off a (5) story balcony and hit the pavement bellow survived with just starches. Richard found the battery cover and the (2) AA batteries off the handheld. It just shows how well Uniden America Corporation is made. I'm hoping you can get that dried out and use it again. How old is it?
 

TheFlyingPilot

MPSCS Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
75
Location
Frankfort, Michigan
TheFlyingPilot- My friend's Bearcat BC-125 AT(like yours but a analog version) fell off a (5) story balcony and hit the pavement bellow survived with just starches. Richard found the battery cover and the (2) AA batteries off the handheld. It just shows how well Uniden America Corporation is made. I'm hoping you can get that dried out and use it again. How old is it?
bought it last December (2018)
 

TheFlyingPilot

MPSCS Newbie
Premium Subscriber
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
75
Location
Frankfort, Michigan
That's a shame! It is such a great handheld. I own the base version which is the Bearcat BCD-996P2. Let us know of the outcome. I'll be able to find the best place pricewise if it has to be replaced. This handheld is in the $360 plus area now.
Thanks. I picked mine up for $350. Don't remember where
 

ramal121

Lots and lots of watts
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Messages
1,774
Location
Sonoma, CA
A few hours late here, but this is my procedure for liquid intrusion into any electronics. Kinda reflects the advice from the sage people here.

First kill the power as fast as you can. Pull the battery or the cord. If it's wet inside it may have already gone to electron heaven but don't linger on your demise, it may be just on the edge of crapping out.

Liquids seem to have an easy time getting into the guts of things but trying to reverse that is almost impossible before damage due to corrosion occurs. You have to bite the bullet and disassemble it the best you can. Pop the case open or split the unit so the majority of the PCBs and inner workings are are exposed. You cannot dry anything out by the way it got inside in the first place.

Now what liquids have intruded is the next question. Clean water water is not a problem. You say it was dirty water. How dirty and with what? If after drying out it leaves a little crust or some mung on the board as long as it is not corrosive to the innards it may be of little concern. Now I do get calls for hits of coffee or coke. That now is a code three rescue.

If you decide that the inside needs to be flushed to rid it of anything that might cause damage just go ahead and do it. I second and third the use of alcohol to wash the board and components. It will help disperse water and flush out contaminates. 99% isopropyl is best, but heck denatured or even 70% isopropyl is better than the alternative. Clean water works too especially when coke or coffee is the culprit. Distilled is best but my bottle of drinking water has been pressed into service when I'm in the field. Very few things can be damaged by water. The speaker was mentioned so watch for those type of things.

If need be a cleaning agent can help dislodge the crud. A drop of dish soap or a very light spritz of simple green can get things moving as long as you rinse well. Using a small brush to work into the components and all the nooks and crannies is very helpful. Pay attention to LCD displays, large IC's or anywhere moisture can hide behind.

Now that you have a clean and rinsed and very wet device you need to dry it as quick as you can. There are numerous ways to do this. What I don't recommend is a bag of rice, or flour, or wheat chex or anything of the sort. It just takes too damn long. Kind of like watching paint dry.
You need warmth and air flow. My favorite is to start the car, turn on the defroster to high and stick the unit right over a vent on the dash. Turn it often like you were roasting it on a spit. Fifteen to twenty minutes later the device will be very toasty warm and dry. The next best would be outside in the direct sun and fresh air for at least an afternoon. Lastly a hairdryer if you're careful not to get it too hot.

Hope you are successful in the rescue efforts.
 

prcguy

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
10,520
Location
So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
Yes on all this and you can turn your oven on the lowest temp it will go, usually about 170F, open the door and find a spot outside and above the door opening where a safe level of heat is rising, maybe 150F at the highest and park the circuit board there. The moving hot air should dry things out in 10min or so depending on how many nooks and crannies it has.

A few hours late here, but this is my procedure for liquid intrusion into any electronics. Kinda reflects the advice from the sage people here.

First kill the power as fast as you can. Pull the battery or the cord. If it's wet inside it may have already gone to electron heaven but don't linger on your demise, it may be just on the edge of crapping out.

Liquids seem to have an easy time getting into the guts of things but trying to reverse that is almost impossible before damage due to corrosion occurs. You have to bite the bullet and disassemble it the best you can. Pop the case open or split the unit so the majority of the PCBs and inner workings are are exposed. You cannot dry anything out by the way it got inside in the first place.

Now what liquids have intruded is the next question. Clean water water is not a problem. You say it was dirty water. How dirty and with what? If after drying out it leaves a little crust or some mung on the board as long as it is not corrosive to the innards it may be of little concern. Now I do get calls for hits of coffee or coke. That now is a code three rescue.

If you decide that the inside needs to be flushed to rid it of anything that might cause damage just go ahead and do it. I second and third the use of alcohol to wash the board and components. It will help disperse water and flush out contaminates. 99% isopropyl is best, but heck denatured or even 70% isopropyl is better than the alternative. Clean water works too especially when coke or coffee is the culprit. Distilled is best but my bottle of drinking water has been pressed into service when I'm in the field. Very few things can be damaged by water. The speaker was mentioned so watch for those type of things.

If need be a cleaning agent can help dislodge the crud. A drop of dish soap or a very light spritz of simple green can get things moving as long as you rinse well. Using a small brush to work into the components and all the nooks and crannies is very helpful. Pay attention to LCD displays, large IC's or anywhere moisture can hide behind.

Now that you have a clean and rinsed and very wet device you need to dry it as quick as you can. There are numerous ways to do this. What I don't recommend is a bag of rice, or flour, or wheat chex or anything of the sort. It just takes too damn long. Kind of like watching paint dry.
You need warmth and air flow. My favorite is to start the car, turn on the defroster to high and stick the unit right over a vent on the dash. Turn it often like you were roasting it on a spit. Fifteen to twenty minutes later the device will be very toasty warm and dry. The next best would be outside in the direct sun and fresh air for at least an afternoon. Lastly a hairdryer if you're careful not to get it too hot.

Hope you are successful in the rescue efforts.
 

majoco

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2008
Messages
3,718
Location
New Zealand
If it was really dirty water I would be inclined to dunk it into some nice clean tap water in an effort to wash out the muck then mop up as much water as you can see with a small paintbrush or paper towels, then dry it very carefully in the rice or on top of your hot water tank if you have one. Don't rush to 'try it and see', give it at least a week. Fortunately most little speakers these days tend to have plastic cones but the gap between the voice coil and the magnet is incredibly small and may be clogged with something. Tiny coils are a problem, they have a tendency to trap water in the windings which later on will give rise to the dreaded green copper disease. My guess in the patient surviving is about 50-50.

Many years ago we used to wash big radar racks which had been removed from service for refurbishment with warm soapy water, then wash the soap out with fresh water. They were then left in a sunny corner of the big shed for a few days, then a quick inspection for obvious damage then slowly brought up to voltage on a variac. Sometimes there was a spit or a smoke eruption but often they survived. Often a lot of spiders were made homeless though... :)
 

ramal121

Lots and lots of watts
Joined
Dec 5, 2008
Messages
1,774
Location
Sonoma, CA
Yes on all this and you can turn your oven on the lowest temp it will go, usually about 170F, open the door and find a spot outside and above the door opening where a safe level of heat is rising, maybe 150F at the highest and park the circuit board there. The moving hot air should dry things out in 10min or so depending on how many nooks and crannies it has.
I like my defroster because the temperature will never exceed a point where it will damage the workings (except maybe a temporary darkening of the LCD display) and there is plenty of air movement.

The oven will work well also but you have to be careful here too. Getting the unit very warm is the key but not so much that you can't hold it in your hand. Pay attention and don't leave it to do it's thing. Big hint: if the knobs are not round anymore and the antenna has a noticeable wow to it, you have set the oven a little too hot.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top