Flooded Pedals Need Help

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by FW EPI 2013, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. FW EPI 2013

    FW EPI 2013 Junior Member

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    How can pedals flooded by hurricane be cleaned? Can they be salvaged safely?
    The pedals were underwater 2-3 days.

    I'd like to save these pedals for my son in law. His guitars were saved. Lost 2 amps- Vox AC3; Marshal 4x12 with head. Saved the Morgan and Fender Champ.
     
  2. Al Walker

    Al Walker Senior Member

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    Don't know if you should. There is sewage in that water. Personnally I'd write them off.
     
  3. Axis39

    Axis39 Senior Member

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    You can try soaking and rinsing them in distilled water, and then letting them dry, oiling wear appropriate, etc. Patience is probably the biggest factor.

    Definitely no guaranty....
     
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  4. penguinchit

    penguinchit Senior Member

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    Agreed, those will be a tough save. Saltwater, sewage and dirt won't be any good for the caps, resistors and coils. Even if it was just saltwater, the corrosion would start right away and then spending a few days submerged would easily soak into the caps.

    Edit: On another note, maybe you could keep and clean the housings and make some new pedals! Would be a cool, personal gift.
     
  5. FW EPI 2013

    FW EPI 2013 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I was just hoping.
     
  6. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    I'll second the distilled water soak and slosh treatment.

    A lot of people don't realize that even though you aren't supposed to get a computer keyboard wet, the MFG uses distilled water to clean them before they go out.

    I'm pretty sure some rubbing alcohol in the mix would help sanitize them too.

    A mild liquid soap would work well too.

    Lots of rinses and then drying fully is the key of course.

    Sitting on a de-humidifier helps.

    Open them up, take the backs off as much as you can and just immerse them in warm soapy goodness.....
     
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  7. FW EPI 2013

    FW EPI 2013 Junior Member

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    I'll try the distilled water & alcohol, then dehumidifier.

    Thanks, all.
     
  8. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    While some electronic components are very sensitive to moisture, it's very common to clean circuit boards with water. In fact one common form of solder flux is water soluble for that reason. Point is water and electronics is not automatically bad. However, while most electronics can withstand water for cleaning purposes, being underwater for days is a different story.

    I'd open the pedals up and rinse with tap water to start, get the main gunk off them. Then I would clean with alcohol. The alcohol will help drive off the water. It certainly doesn't hurt to do a final rinse with distilled water. Though oddly, it is amazing just how residues are almost impossible to wash out of all the little nooks and crannies.

    I'd also get a can of contact cleaner and using the little red straw tip, try to work it into the foot switch, jack housings etc. Then work the switch and plug and unplug the jack. The idea is to flush out any moisture inside the switch or other mechanical contacts and to work them to remove an oxidation or other buildup on the contact surfaces.

    After cleaning, I'd also consider warming them for hours to help drive out the moisture that may have actually penetrated into the electronic components. DON"T microwave or bake in an oven. The microwave should be obvious, but you also do not want to heat them up enough to boil the moisture becasue rapidly expanding moisture might do it's own damage.

    I'd either warm an oven up to the lowest temperature it can reach, then turn it off, and then place the electronics in there. Or another great thing is just place them on the front dash of your car facing the sun. A nice toasty car works well at drying out electronics without much chance of overheating something.

    As we have all heard, placing wet cell phones in a bag of rice is supposed to help dry out a phone. I've never done this, but I assume the idea is the rice absorbs moisture creating a low humidity environment that then increases the rate at which the moisture comes out of the electronics.

    I live in the desert, so I'm spoiled by having low humidity to start with. So perhaps the rice (or other desiccant) trick would be better in a humid place, where you obviously are if you've just dealt with a hurricane.
     
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  9. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    +1 for the rice trick.
    As a kid my grandparents always put rice in the salt shaker for the same reason. kept the salt flowing in a non air conditioned house.
     
  10. 61LPSG

    61LPSG Senior Member

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    I agree that you may be able to save them. I worked for a company that built OEM electronics, and reman'd (rebuilt) them. We used water with small bit of Dawn (good for water fowl too), alcohol, and a spray cleaner whose name I can't remember...maybe Chemtronics?.
    Any way if the saltwater hasn't corroded the components you can clean, blow off, and dry WELL for a few days.
    Try with a battery and not a power supply.
    Good luck.
     
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  11. DarrellV

    DarrellV Likes > Posts Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Thank you!
    I was gonna suggest Dawn but I wasn't sure.
     
  12. 61LPSG

    61LPSG Senior Member

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    People don't realize how robust electronics can be. We used special pressure washers (300psi) to remove the urethane potting from boards.
    I've built and repaired about 20 PCs over the years, and never damaged a part due to static, or handling.

    Just make sure it's DRY!!!
     
  13. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Do you know how many people have dropped their cellphones in the toilet, retrieved them, let them dry and put them right up to their ears and mouths because they still worked?

    Open them up and let them dry. Get some non residue potentiometer cleaner AND some with PPE lube as well. MG Chemicals makes really good stuff. Spray the entire inside of the pedal enclosure well and inside the pots with the non residue stuff. Everything. Then use the pot cleaner with lube and spray that inside the pots, switches and jacks. Clean it up good with whatever spray cleaner and paper towels and I bet most will be like nothing ever happened! Maybe all of them.

    Wear latex gloves during the surgery if you're afraid.

    Rock on! Hopefully the flood information won't get on to the Carfax report if you DIY and skip going through insurance. LOL
     
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  14. apfelbaum

    apfelbaum Senior Member

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    As long as no power was applied, they will be fine. I've cleaned some damaged electronics from saltwater. Disassemble them and put them in a bucket with distilled water, use a soft brush to knock off the dirt and rinse them till clean. let them dry, then spray the whole board down with Deoxit D5, should be good as new. The whole thing will take a few days. Do not use till your sure it's totally dry. Good luck and hopefully that is the limit of your problems
     
  15. FW EPI 2013

    FW EPI 2013 Junior Member

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    I gave them the first bath yesterday. Then let sit in the sun on the patio. I will clean with Deoxid again, bath and dry this weekend.
    All were not powered Two did have batteries in the case but not connected.
    At least they may have a chance.

    I wish the gutted house was this easy.
    Thanks all for the input.
     
  16. RicOkc

    RicOkc Member

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    I had the same problem happen years ago when my band practice room flooded.

    Blow out the pedal with compressed air, then spray it with WD-40 and blow it out again.

    Most people don't know that WD stands for "Water Displacement".

    It just takes minutes and it's quick and easy to do!
     
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