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GPU got wet, system was on.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 3, 2012 1:55:26 PM

I have posted this under windows 7 as well, but since I am looking for as much help as possible I hope no one minds me posting it here.

Here is my story, I hope you can help:

I was gaming one morning. My nephew was watching me, I went to use the rest room. I come back and he had spilled his juice inside my machine. I lost video and the fan on my brand new 7770 was stuck on max rpm. I turned everything off, took out the gpu, cleaned it, let it dry. Let the rest of the computer dry. I reinstalled the GPU and turned on my machine. The fan was no longer stuck on max RPM, so I felt I dodged a bullet. However, windows failed to start. It continually fails to start. I tried an older GPU (9500 GT). The fan on it would, for some reason, not spin, but I saw the model come up when I started the PC. Windows wont start. Initially I believed my problem was limited to a shorted GPU and I don't mind buying another new one, but since I was unable to get my old GPU to work I'm worried something else has shorted.

Please, for the love of all that is sacred, someone help me.

More about : gpu wet system

a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 2:19:27 PM

Might be your PCIe slot too cuz you stated that the second card's fan didn't work? Contact the manufacturer ASAP! Don't tell them what happened! Just say that it just didn't work!
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September 3, 2012 2:28:39 PM

arzbhatia said:
Might be your PCIe slot too cuz you stated that the second card's fan didn't work? Contact the manufacturer ASAP! Don't tell them what happened! Just say that it just didn't work!



Correct, the older card [9500 GT]'s fan wouldn't spin but I saw it's information on start-up. (PNY GeForce etc). I'm using my old PC with that card right now as I type this message and it is working fine. I'll admit I am not the savviest with these things, I wasn't even able to find a spot for the PCIe plug to go into the 9500GT like it does on the 7770.

I never tried looking in BIOS, should I? I don't know what that will accomplish.

Contact the manufacturer of the GPU or the manufacturer of the computer itself? I suspect if I contact the manufacturer of the computer they will want me to mail it back to them and they will see what has happened. I can try to contact xfx and get a new card, but since my old one didn't work either I'm worried it's more than just a GPU issue.
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 3:02:50 PM

Where abouts did the liquid go? Did any touch the mobo? What kind of juice was it?

Trying to power it on after was probably the worst idea, but what exactly happened when you did? Did you get a post beep? or a windows loading screen?
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September 3, 2012 3:08:33 PM

paddys09 said:
Where abouts did the liquid go? Did any touch the mobo? What kind of juice was it?


Apple juice... Some of it got on the main heatsink fan and a little on the cooling for the CPU but all of those appear to be functioning properly. The GPU got it the worst. I guess some of it got on the mobo but not very much at all, not in comparison to the amount that was on the GPU. There are holes cut in the top of the case for heat to escape, unfortunately juice got in. The mobo stands vertical, as you may have guessed, and the GPU is horizontal (parallel with the top of the case) so when the juice fell in it went right onto the GPU's PCB.

Immediately after it happened I turned the machine upside-down. I don't know if this was bad or not but my first instinct was to prevent gravity from bringing any more juice onto the hardware of my machine. Then I shut the computer off, removed the GPU, cleaned it, let it dry with the rest of the computer. Once it was dry I re-installed the GPU and turned it on. I begin seeing the Windows 7 animation but as the first two colored balls (whatever those things are in the windows 7 loading animation) it re-boots. Finally, it shows me a "windows failed to start" screen and it attempts system repair. System repair fails, and it starts all over.
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 3:14:06 PM

Ok Apple juice wont be so bad, but just drying it out wont help youll probably need to clean the pcb.

What happened when you tired to boot up?
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September 3, 2012 3:16:19 PM

Take a look at the watercooling section, you will find lots of info how to handle spills there.
Sending your card or mainboard in for a warranty replacement without mentioning that liquid got spilled on it is a bad idea, that would be fraud. Liquid spills are usually detectable - in your case i would guess that you removed all visible liquid, but that some is still hidden.

When spills happen inside a computer some of the liquid is pulled into the tiniest cracks by capillary forces, so there is probably some under the plastic of the slots, under some chips...
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 3:17:32 PM

Sorry you edited the message before I read.

Its hard to say exactly whats at fault, but this doesnt seem so bad, I would expect to hear a warning on post if you had damaged the PCIe slot but you never know.

What are your system specs? Can you use integrated graphics to start up?

Edit: Yea what JustAnotherNoob said is good advice, don't rma it with any evidence. As far as I'm aware XFX allow you to remove the cooler as long as you dont break anything, which will give you opportunity to get rid of anything but read the T&C's first.

Anyways lets try and find the part thats giving issues first.
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September 3, 2012 3:23:07 PM

paddys09 said:
Ok Apple juice wont be so bad, but just drying it out wont help youll probably need to clean the pcb.

What happened when you tired to boot up?


Well, when I turn it on everything is normal until it tries loading Windows. I am able to access BIOS, etc. Loading Windows is unsuccessful. I am going to link a YouTube video of the Windows 7 Boot animation so I can be more specific.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m1OeK7ZJIs

Okay, so it's literally less than a second into the boot animation that Windows fails to start and the system re-boots. Specifically when the red and green colors begin moving toward each other. After re-booting I see "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause." I thought it was just a shorted GPU so I tried a different one. I see the model of the GPU on startup along with my mobo, the usual things, but then the same problem occurs at the same time. Windows fails to start. I'm actually running the 9500 right now on my old machine which I am thankful I still have but am still upset that I possibly turned this new system into toast after having it for 3 days :( 

EDIT: I can give system specs but what ones are more important? I guess I can list every piece of hardware I have in it but I don't think anyone care's that i have 2 4GB sticks of RAM... What information would be most relevant?
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September 3, 2012 3:29:13 PM

JustAnotherNoob said:
Take a look at the watercooling section, you will find lots of info how to handle spills there.
Sending your card or mainboard in for a warranty replacement without mentioning that liquid got spilled on it is a bad idea, that would be fraud. Liquid spills are usually detectable - in your case i would guess that you removed all visible liquid, but that some is still hidden.

When spills happen inside a computer some of the liquid is pulled into the tiniest cracks by capillary forces, so there is probably some under the plastic of the slots, under some chips...



I'm hesitant about disassembling the entire thing. I am confident installing/removing RAM and the GPU but that's about it. What if I let the machine sit outside in the sun? Would drying it out be what fixes my problem or have I basically ruined this thing? I don't mind purchasing a new GPU. I know it's my fault I left my nephew unattended near my machine and I take full responsibility. I think if it was still wet when I turned it on I burnt it, but I don't know. I can't figure out why the GPU fan was stuck on max RPM after the spill but back to normal again after I cleaned it's PCB and let it dry.
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 3:35:44 PM

Yea there will be residue left over and sugars that wont evaporate. Have you tried integrated graphics or starting up in safe mode?

I think the best thing to do now is remove that card completely to rule it out.

Also could you try it in your other machine? Leave this option until the end to prevent any further damage.
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September 3, 2012 3:40:00 PM

paddys09 said:
Yea there will be residue left over and sugars that wont evaporate. Have you tried integrated graphics or starting up in safe mode?

I think the best thing to do now is remove that card completely to rule it out.

Also could you try it in your other machine? Leave this option until the end to prevent any further damage.



I don't think the 7770 would work in the machine I am using right now. This motherboard is 5+ years old. I tried the GPU in this computer on the new computer, though, and had no luck. Same exact series of events happened when using either GPU. I will check the BIOS to see what graphics is selected as primary. I will also try safe mode. I want to get as much info as I can before I make another attempt at finding the problem. I only have one monitor so it's a bit of a hassle switching computers back and forth. Thanks so much for the help so far, I would love it if you stuck around to continue helping me, too, but just wanted to say thanks.
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September 3, 2012 3:51:58 PM

Letting the whole thing sit in the sun might work if you give it a few days and take it apart as much as you dare. Minimum would be removing the graphics card and removing the mainboard from the case.
Removing the memory, CPU heatsink and CPU would be better (not strictly necessary if you are absolutely sure that no liquid got into those areas).

The best way to do it would be taking the whole system apart and then taking the GPU cooler off the graphics card, as if you were building a new system and installing an aftermarket GPU cooler. However this will usually void your warranty.

Generally speaking, blowing the remaining water out of these tiny gaps with compressed air would be a good start, but you need to be able to see those areas, and you really can't as long as the GPU cooler is installed.

If you just let it sit in the sun there is really no telling how long it would take, remember that the heatsink is designed to remove heat from the parts of the graphics card. But you actually need it to get warm so the water underneath the chips slowly evaporates.


I would still recommend looking at some of the big watercooling forums (xtremesystems.org, overclock.net, overclockers.com..., more links are at the bottom of the THG watercooling sticky). What you just expierienced is not that different from a watercooling leak, and those systems are fixable more often than not.

My tip for you would be to let the system dry for a few days at least (a week would be good, if you are that patient). Then put it back together, double check if you forgot some power connector somewhere, and see if it runs.
If the graphics card still does not work after a week in a warm, dry place you might as well try removing the heatsink and dry it again, the manufacturer will not take back a card with water damage, so from this point on you can only win by fixing it yourself.
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September 3, 2012 3:56:57 PM

I will try all of this. Thank you very much for the help. Just bought this machine, haven't had it a full week yet. I am pretty desperate, so I think I might try taking more of it apart than I feel comfortable doing. I have been meaning to learn how to assemble them from start to finish anyway.

Thanks again. Any more info you may think of is appreciated, don't hesitate to add more. Like I said, I'm getting desperate lol...

EDIT: To clarify - you said take the mainboard off the case... can this be done without taking the CPU off the mainboard?
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 4:09:18 PM

Water will evaporate, apple and sugar etc will not. If something is shorting I would recommend cleaning the pcb as soon as possible as the liquid may contain acids which may eat into the traces.

Apple juice probably isnt as bad as coke or orange juice but I wouldnt let it sit there for long.

I have always used alcohol (Isopropyl 70%+) to clean PCB's, I'm not sure if this is the correct way but has always worked for me so do what Justanothernoob says and read up on it. I know there are types of PCB wash available but I havent tried anthing like that.

Yes you can leave the CPU on, but I would recommend disassembling everything and buying some compressed air, thermal compound, and some decent isopopyl.
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September 3, 2012 4:12:13 PM

I have absolutely no idea how to apply thermal compound. The GPU's PCB is clean but the motherboard might have a spot or two that I didn't see or that I missed. I'lll get the things listed and give this a shot tonight. Hope I get somewhere, but if not, oh well =\
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 4:19:06 PM

Applying thermal compound is pretty easy, you should watch some system building videos from reputable sources like NCIX or Newegg, both can be found on youtube.

When you have everything dissembled inspect everything to look for residue or staining and clean any spots of with the alcohol and use the compressed air to get into the PCI-e slots etc.

Then rebuild accordingly.

Hope you get sorted, but im fairly confident youll be able to salvage most if not all your parts. Worst case scenario you'll need a new GPU or mobo, but you may be able to get an RMA if its new.
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September 3, 2012 4:22:35 PM

Excellent! this is the most optimistic I've felt about it since it's happened, I thank you greatly. I will keep this posted because chances are I'll have more questions. Or, hopefully, I get it figured out. At that point, I owe you guys big time. Thanks again in advance and I hope I see some success. I will take everything off the motherboard, the motherboard off the case, clean it with some iso, let it dry for a few days, and hope like hell it works again.

What type of fabric or brush should I use to clean the motherboard?
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a b U Graphics card
September 3, 2012 4:29:39 PM

Lint free cloths are the best option, Coffee filters can be used also. I have used cotton buds and kitchen roll before without any issues.

Avoid any brushes as they could generate static. Just be gentle and don't apply to much alcohol.

If you are getting the windows loading screen your in a good stance, In my experience PCBs are far more resilient than people make them out to be. It'll be good experience in system building for you aswell.

Keep us posted :) 

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September 3, 2012 4:59:16 PM

Well, I get to the load screen for Windows, I see the animation beginning, but that's when the system re-boots and I see "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change may be the cause." But yes I will definitely keep the thread posted. I have a few more things to do today and I'll see if I can get this thing taken apart, cleaned, and set to dry for a few days. Thank you again, can't thank enough. I just hope it works !
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September 3, 2012 5:58:40 PM

Have you tried reinstalling Windows? I know Windows has issues sometimes. For instance once I simply plugged in a fan into my MOBO and then Windows threw a tantrum and insisted on doing a system recovery. The way I see it everything works because it gets through POST and BIOS, its only when the BIOS hands over control to the OS that things go haywire. So maybe a clean install of Windows will solve your issues. If there is data that you want to save take out the HDD and put it in another pc as a secondary HDD and copy all the files u want to save. Good luck!!
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September 3, 2012 8:32:55 PM

I have not tried re-installing Windows... This computer is less than 5 days old so I have nothing important I can't easily retrieve. Just downloadable games.

I'm not installing a brand new piece of hardware. It arrived assembled and worked marvelously until this happened. I will keep the tip in mind, though, and I greatly appreciate any advice offered to me here. Thanks.
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September 4, 2012 1:05:47 PM

Best of luck to you man! I know the feeling!
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September 4, 2012 1:08:45 PM

Oh and I know you're not installing hardware. I just said it as an example. :) 
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