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Hot!Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :(

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oranjoose
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2022/05/10 16:06:42 (permalink)
Hello, I'm here to seek help on next steps for trying to get my computer/GPU up and running after a water spill.

Here's what happened: My computer was running when water spilled on the top of my tower, entering the inside through the vent up top. I immediately powered off, but that took about 4-5 seconds of holding down the power button and, before it fully powered off, the monitor went black. Once the power was off, I flipped the I/O off and unplugged the power cord, then opened up the case and unplugged the GPU and RAM sticks. Water got EVERYWHERE, but it looks like the GPU took the brunt of it based on how it's positioned in the case (it basically caught all the water falling down on the cooling plate behind the PCB. That said, when it tipped the card, an ounce or two of water poured out of the light-up silver piece that says EVGA GEFORCE RTX 3080 Ti.
 
I know my warranted is voided now and I have no intentions of sending for warranty/RMA, so I figure my best bet is to open up the card and swab it all with 99% Isopropyl alcohol before attempting to power it back on. It's been about a week since the incident and I finally just got my hands on some 99.9% alcohol. Here are the questions I have:
  • Is there a guide I can follow for which pieces I should wipe down and how best to do so?
  • I assume if I open up the GPU, I'll need to get some new thermal pads and replace those. Where can I get these and will I need any other parts?
  • I don't believe any water got on the CPU, but on bits of the motherboard. I'm going to wipe down the ram, but are there any other bits I should make sure to wipe down with alcohol? Or just hit everything?
Lastly, I've not been able to find any guides or videos online about how best to recover from something like this. If anyone knows of such a thing, please send it my way. This was a freak accident and I'm absolutely crushed at the prospect of losing my rig.
 
 
Any help or resources y'all can offer will be very much appreciated.
 
(Note: Because I know I'll get the "DON'T DRINK WATER NEAR YOUR PC" comments, the reason I mention this is a freak accident is because so many things contributed. First I tripped with my water bottle, it basically flew a few feet and landed squarely on my desk, my mouse pad was being cleaned so it wasn't there to soak up the bulk of the water AND, the most messed up part, my machine is fully under my desk and the water's surface tension allowed it to roll up under the desk and drip directly down the vents on the top of my case)
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    wanescotting
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:11:52 (permalink)
    I've used alcohol to displace water on electronics before, but it was done right away... that won't help here, although a good clean is worth the effort.
     
    Did you remove the cmos battery ? If not, do that right away.
     
     
    #2
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:12:31 (permalink)
    Basically hold off on new thermal pads for now.. test the card first.

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    oranjoose
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:16:22 (permalink)
    wanescotting
    I've used alcohol to displace water on electronics before, but it was done right away... that won't help here, although a good clean is worth the effort.
     
    Did you remove the cmos battery ? If not, do that right away.



    Shoot, I didn't! Do you think after 7 days it's still worth removing the battery? Also is the reason alcohol won't work at this stage because the water will have had a chance to "soak in" or something like that?
    #4
    CraptacularOne
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:16:29 (permalink)
    Well I can certainly identify with this. Unfortunately for me I ended up killing almost the entire PC when I dropped water on my tower about 10 years ago. I would definitely advise taking everything apart and swabbing with alcohol and then letting them sit out for a couple days to make sure everything is dry. You can use a hair dryer set to the lowest setting and holding about 12 inches away to assist in drying too. As for the thermal pads you may need to replace them but honestly if you are careful they should be just fine to reuse. The only thing you will definitely need is thermal putty they use for the VRMs which you can get here:
    https://www.evga.com/products/product.aspx?pn=M047-10-000003
     
    There isn't really any sure fire guide to it. You just have to hope nothing shorted when the water spilled on it. Good luck, let us know how it goes. 

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    #5
    talon951
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:18:00 (permalink)
    All you can do is dry it thoroughly. Alcohol won't hurt but it really just needs to be dry. It'll either come back to life or it won't.

    BTW, the switch on the PSU turns the machine off instantly. Never wait for the machine to power off. Or just yank the power cord.
    #6
    oranjoose
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:23:31 (permalink)
    Sorry guys, new account so I'll try and respond to everything at once since my posting velocity is limited.
     
    AHowes
    Basically hold off on new thermal pads for now.. test the card first.

    So you're basically saying I should just put everything back in and fire it up? I still plan to at least wipe down the connection points for the GPU and RAM, but can test it all after that.
     
    CraptacularOne
    Well I can certainly identify with this. Unfortunately for me I ended up killing almost the entire PC when I dropped water on my tower about 10 years ago. I would definitely advise taking everything apart and swabbing with alcohol and then letting them sit out for a couple days to make sure everything is dry. You can use a hair dryer set to the lowest setting and holding about 12 inches away to assist in drying too. As for the thermal pads you may need to replace them but honestly if you are careful they should be just fine to reuse. The only thing you will definitely need is thermal putty they use for the VRMs which you can get here:

     
    There isn't really any sure fire guide to it. You just have to hope nothing shorted when the water spilled on it. Good luck, let us know how it goes. 

    Okay, thanks for the advice. Did you use Q-tips or something else to do the swabbing? Thanks for the heads up on Thermal paste. Will the manual include the info where that is needed?
    talon951
    All you can do is dry it thoroughly. Alcohol won't hurt but it really just needs to be dry. It'll either come back to life or it won't.

    BTW, the switch on the PSU turns the machine off instantly. Never wait for the machine to power off. Or just yank the power cord.

    Yes, in retrospect, I wish I had the wherewithall to just flip the I/O instantly instead of doing a hard power down via the button on the case. I panicked and wasn't thinking too clearly.
     
    Lastly, another question for y'all. I have a backup GPU I can test as well. If the original one doesn't fire up, is it safe to use my back up as a test without ruining that one?
    #7
    kraade
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:23:31 (permalink)
    was it tap water? not sure if you are dry now that cleaning will help that much, Search Gamers nexus for card tear downs if you want to see the innards. although not sure He broke down the 80 Ti, All the other cards he has disassembled though.  Try to power it up and see if you beat the water to taking out a component. 


    #8
    bill1024
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 16:33:13 (permalink)
    I would take it apart and use a hare dryer like CraptacularOne said. 
    Low speed medium heat setting about 10-12 inches away and always moving around over the parts.
    Let the parts get warm, then wait a bit let them cool, do that over and over until you're sure they are dry.
    Do that to all the parts that got wet and the case.
     
    Good luck!
     

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    #9
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 17:47:03 (permalink)
    Of the card blew wouldn't it just be the fuse on the card? As in one could just replace the fuse or evga?

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    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 17:49:41 (permalink)
    7 days?.. I'd still remove the back plate just to make sure it's not still holding water.

    Yes wipe everything down with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Prob can only find 95-92% now.. will work.

    Basically just remove the backplate that had the water and make sure the thermal pads aren't moist still.

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    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 17:50:59 (permalink)
    Start the system with the current card.. see what happens. If the mb lights up and trys to post but can't cause of the gpu.. then try the back up card.

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    ty_ger07
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 17:57:05 (permalink)
    You should have hosed it off with alcohol right away. The same day. ASAP. I mean fully submerge it in alcohol so that it can get under every chip; not just a little wipe-down.
    It's probably too late now. Any corrosive damage done is already done by now.
    It's worth making sure it is dry, using alcohol, but probably it makes little difference at this point. Good luck!
    #13
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 18:01:31 (permalink)
    Corrosion can be cleaned with nail polish remover/acetone and a brush. Scrub and then clean thet off eith the alcohol.

    Just remove the back cover of the card and show us pics..

    Don't waste time buying pads or putty atm. Eirher ya get that post with the card installed or not.

    Don't go test the thing gsming or what not. Test to see if the card is alive..

    Then if it is.. then go buy the pads and putty and thermal grease.
    post edited by AHowes - 2022/05/10 18:03:13

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    ty_ger07
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 18:05:28 (permalink)
    AHowes
    Corrosion can be cleaned with nail polish remover/acetone and a brush. Scrub and then clean thet off eith the alcohol.

    Not under every chip, it can't. The GPU core and memory have a big amount of BGA contacts underneath them which will corrode. Corrode, oxidize, whatever you want to call it. Not good.
    Good luck and fortune.
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    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 18:07:01 (permalink)
    ty_ger07
    AHowes
    Corrosion can be cleaned with nail polish remover/acetone and a brush. Scrub and then clean thet off eith the alcohol.

    Not under every chip, it can't. The GPU core and memory have a big amount of BGA contacts underneath them which will corrode. Corrode, oxidize, whatever you want to call it. Not good.
    Good luck and fortune.


    Water was on top (backplate).. most likely had enough chips and stuff to hold it their.

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    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 18:10:22 (permalink)
    Hit a dollar store and buy a medium tooth brush and Scrub the backside of the card with alcohol after you show us the pic of it bare first. :)

    Grab a box of qtips while your there..

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    rjbarker
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/10 22:46:06 (permalink)
    You maybe ok....depends whether any components actually shorted prior to the power down.
     
    Filling my loops and seeing one bad leak over the last 9 yrs I can say the water wont hurt anything provided its completely dry prior to booting up again.
     
    Its been 7 days so likely its dry, however assumiing you:
    - completely removed the Board from the case and carefully turn it and prop it upside down, leave it like that with a portable fan blowing across the Board for a few days, just to be sure.
    - separate the GPU PCB from the stock air cooler and do the same as Motherboard above.
    - Check all cables going into the psu for any signs of moisture, unplug them from psu and have a close look, dry em out if there wet.
    - Remove the cover from the psu (if possible) and place it upside down to air dry like motherboard and GPU with portable fan.
    - Check and ensure no moisture in RAM stick, remove heat sink if possible and let them air dry for a few days like Motherboard with the portable fan.
    - Ensure the entire inside of the case is bone dry.
    - Re-install everything provided everything is bone dry.
    - Wipe down the pcb of GPU carefully with alcohol, including VRAM chips, Inductors etc then Re-install thermal pads (use originals if possible or order new replacements from Evga), putty & Grease.
    - Re-Assemble GPU and install
    - Re-assemble RAM chips and install.
    - Connect everything and flip the power switch on the psu (with fingers crossed), if the Board lights up normally, turn on pc with fingers crossed.
    - If you post, and load windows your good, now test.
     
    If no power to Motherboard when flipping power switch on the psu your motherboard is toast. (dont forget to re-install your Mobo battery).
    If Board powers up ok but fails to post with a proper display, likely your GPU is toast. If GPU is toast could very well just be a fuse (should be) , contact Evga and arrnage a repair through them.
     
    Let us know how you make out....
     
     
    post edited by rjbarker - 2022/05/10 22:47:59

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    #18
    firerain
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 04:37:22 (permalink)
    Spray some wd40 like all over the pcb, then wipe it down. Then dry it out real good. Should be good if it did not fry at the spill.

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    rjohnson11
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 04:45:37 (permalink)
    Hope you can manage to get this working. So the lesson learned is not to put any drinks or liquids on top of your PC tower. That's because Murphy's Law is waiting on you!

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    talon951
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 05:54:17 (permalink)
    firerain
    Spray some wd40 like all over the pcb, then wipe it down. Then dry it out real good. Should be good if it did not fry at the spill.


    WD40?!?!?! Pretty sure you want something that evaporates and doesn't leave any residue.
    #21
    B0baganoosh
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 07:34:02 (permalink)
    talon951
    firerain
    Spray some wd40 like all over the pcb, then wipe it down. Then dry it out real good. Should be good if it did not fry at the spill.


    WD40?!?!?! Pretty sure you want something that evaporates and doesn't leave any residue.

    I'm with talon on this one. Alcohol or bust.
     
    A couple things to note. Tap water, depending on where you live, is not always very conductive. There's always something in it that makes it conductive, but it's usually like a 100k resistor or so (very rough average) unless there's particulates of salt or something in it. DI or distilled water for example is non-conductive and often what is used in the wash cycle (they seriously look like dishwashers sometimes) to clean PCB assemblies in manufacturing after the board goes through the reflow oven. Of course that depends on the flux used and alcohol is definitely more often used for spot-cleaning. That said, tap water is not DI water, so there will be some conductivity in it and that will most certainly mess with things like timing control circuits, feedback resistors (higher impedance ones), etc. It just isn't like a "dead-short" situation where high currents are going through the water...more like odd external impedances are put in parallel with resistors already there on control circuits (and also new resistance paths to rails and grounds, and that causes everything to go squirrelly. That induced bad behavior can still cause damage, but hopefully you caught it in time before anything went too far awry.
     
    I agree with the other folks on the low-temperature air dryer. I've also put things in a toaster oven that can go as low as 150°F for 20 minutes or so. You just don't want to go much hotter than that or you can start flowing/softening things and you can damage the plastic parts. Air dryer is probably safer as long as you don't put too much heat on one particular part. You really are just trying to push warm air everywhere to make sure any moisture evaporates. Gentle alcohol toothbrush treatment also was a great idea.
     
    Hopefully, you just caused a bit of a soft-failure in that some IC(s) went "oh crap this isn't right" and shut down to protect itself. Remove the fault and it'll go back to normally (again...hopefully). 

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    #22
    ty_ger07
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 07:56:50 (permalink)
    B0baganoosh
    Remove the fault and it'll go back to normally (again...hopefully). 

    Whether or not it will work is most affected by whether or not corrosion has occured under any of the components. Removing corrosion under components is not feasible en masse.
    The absolutely most critical thing to do is remove the water immediately. That wasn't done.
    #23
    oranjoose
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 10:11:25 (permalink)
    Thanks everyone, I'm currently traveling for work, so will open up the GPU and hit it thoroughly with alcohol later this week. Sounds like I may have missed my window for preventing further water damage, but I'll clean the card and pop it back in to see if it actually works and update the folks here.
     
    For what's it worth, I cleaned out any visible water droplets with highly absorbent towels immediately after the spill. I didn't have any alcohol on hand and I don't live anywhere that's close to stores that would have those so, unfortunately, it wasn't an option to use alcohol immediately after the spill.
    #24
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 10:15:42 (permalink)
    Ok.. can't wait to hear what happens haha.

    Better then reality tv.

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    #25
    B0baganoosh
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 10:23:55 (permalink)
    ty_ger07
    B0baganoosh
    Remove the fault and it'll go back to normally (again...hopefully). 

    Whether or not it will work is most affected by whether or not corrosion has occured under any of the components. Removing corrosion under components is not feasible en masse.
    The absolutely most critical thing to do is remove the water immediately. That wasn't done.



    I wouldn't expect a ton of corrosion just from some tap water. I understand the concern about under BGA parts though. Those are...tricky. Sometimes you get saved by the surface tension of the water not letting it get sucked under the part. If it just sat there for a long time though...hard to say.
     
    On another note, you can use baking soda and distilled water to clean some of the corrosion if there is some, but it'd be pretty hard to get to the bottom of the BGA parts, as mentioned. In my career, I've submerged circuits in tap water before and I've never seen it cause any kind of instant corrosion. Not to say there wasn't any, but it usually is just cosmetic and often created by skin oils from handling, not the water. I'm in no way saying it can't happen, just that I wouldn't panic as much as some of the folks here. Also, it may depend on where you live. Sometimes if you live closer to the ocean or super humid places it can be worse. I don't happen to live in those places.

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    #26
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 10:41:29 (permalink)
    This is the backside of the card though.. mem chips on the other side.

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    B0baganoosh
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 10:56:55 (permalink)
    AHowes
    This is the backside of the card though.. mem chips on the other side.



    True, but they did say the water was "everywhere" lol.
     
    I actually did a hybrid cooler swap on my 3080ti, so I have some pretty good high-res pictures here. Just taken with my phone so they aren't the clearest pictures in the world when you're trying to look at the tiny details.
     
    You can see that on the backside the only components that may have pads on the bottom are the voltage controllers (the three square black ICs in a sea of capacitors and resistors next to the black tape they put under the OLED cable). They have a heat-slug in the middle like the 5 unpopulated ICs around them did (heat slug is the middle solder pad that is tied to ground in this case according to the datasheet). You can also see how if something got under those, it would be impossible to clean the surfaces there, as tiny as they are, even though they aren't BGA. There are some even better close-up here.

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    #28
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 11:02:50 (permalink)
    Ok.. well from that pic it's safe to say he should remove the led panel from the backside and the black sticky tape used to hold it on. (Use heat to warm up the tape to safely remove without pulling stuff off with it).

    Guessing that could be holding water. Or atleast stayed damp after since he could not get to it.

    I'd remove it totally for now.. clean good under it.

    Maybe try to put it back later after replacing the double sided tape.
    post edited by AHowes - 2022/05/11 11:04:21

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    #29
    AHowes
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    Re: Help! I spilled water on my 3080 Ti GPU :( 2022/05/11 11:05:22 (permalink)
    Yeah spend a day cleaning it multipal times haha. Use a 10x loop to check for any corrosion.

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