Everyday Tech Myths

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quantumrand

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[citation][nom]TomsGuideRachel[/nom]OMG, that is gross! Good for you for trying to get the thing working again and not just throwing it out and buying another one. I wonder why the ants liked the environment inside the router.[/citation]

My guess is that they liked the warmth. Plus it was cold and rainy out, so more reason to venture indoors. Needless to say, I'm afraid to leave electronics on the floor.
 

sintekk

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I've done the keyboard trick many times... It seems like everyone's trying to get too creative with the drying cycle. All you need to do is fold a bath towel in half on the floor and drop the keyboard from a height of about two feet onto the towel about 10 times. Assuming none of the keys have fallen off, let the thing dry completely in a vertical position and you should have a functioning dishwashed keyboard in about three days.
 

nekatreven

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Older versions of Outlook corrupted saved passwords, and Windows did the same thing to pptp and dialup connections.

If you put in the right password, it just figures that's what it already has stored and doesn't update it despite that the hash it transmits is actually corrupt. You can spend a long time putting in the right password and getting nowhere.

The quickest way to fix it is to put in a random, wrong password on purpose to get it to clear the busted hash of the good password. Then you can put the correct password in again.

I don't have a ton of proof...aside from all of the times that a random bad password made the correct password work...but it works for me.
 

branson

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I say keep the PC on all the time...my friend went on vacation for 2 weeks and turned off his PC at home. When he returned and turned on the PC, the harddrive made a knocking sound and won't be recognized by any computer/USB/Firewire adapter I try.
 

AngryClown

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I used the dishwasher method on a borked Saitek backlit k/b, and it worked flawlessly with a drip-dry.

As for the on-off debate, I submit the following: I knew a taxi owner who had 22 taxis. His personal taxi never had the 2-way radio turned off. It was the only radio he never had to replace. Granted, the temperature fluctuations were extreme compared to a home pc, but...

Weird story: A friend had a pc that wouldn't boot. I tried everything- FFR, new HDD, different OS - nothing worked. I gave her a brand new pc built by me, burned in for days before I brought it over. Plugged it in- no go. I checked her AC power, and it was clean. I never got it to work at her house. Brought it back home, and it booted right away. Brought it back - no go. Tried installing Ubuntu, tried another known good HDD- nada. I gave up, and wished her well.
 

etrnl_frost

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[citation][nom]AngryClown[/nom]I used the dishwasher method on a borked Saitek backlit k/b, and it worked flawlessly with a drip-dry.As for the on-off debate, I submit the following: I knew a taxi owner who had 22 taxis. His personal taxi never had the 2-way radio turned off. It was the only radio he never had to replace. Granted, the temperature fluctuations were extreme compared to a home pc, but...Weird story: A friend had a pc that wouldn't boot. I tried everything- FFR, new HDD, different OS - nothing worked. I gave her a brand new pc built by me, burned in for days before I brought it over. Plugged it in- no go. I checked her AC power, and it was clean. I never got it to work at her house. Brought it back home, and it booted right away. Brought it back - no go. Tried installing Ubuntu, tried another known good HDD- nada. I gave up, and wished her well.[/citation]

Ambient static charge? EMF from HELL?!?
 

quantumrand

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[citation][nom]AngryClown[/nom]I used the dishwasher method on a borked Saitek backlit k/b, and it worked flawlessly with a drip-dry.As for the on-off debate, I submit the following: I knew a taxi owner who had 22 taxis. His personal taxi never had the 2-way radio turned off. It was the only radio he never had to replace. Granted, the temperature fluctuations were extreme compared to a home pc, but...Weird story: A friend had a pc that wouldn't boot. I tried everything- FFR, new HDD, different OS - nothing worked. I gave her a brand new pc built by me, burned in for days before I brought it over. Plugged it in- no go. I checked her AC power, and it was clean. I never got it to work at her house. Brought it back home, and it booted right away. Brought it back - no go. Tried installing Ubuntu, tried another known good HDD- nada. I gave up, and wished her well.[/citation]

Was her outlet properly grounded? Most PSU's will refuse to turn on if they aren't grounded. Also, perhaps that ciurcut cant push enough amps to power 110V @ 400W. Try other outlets in different parts of her house, and confrim they're grounded.
 

sanctoon

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Just last month a shop on the floor above my IT shop got flooded, when I took in their stuff for insurance letters, water was dripping out of the UPS, tower, power supply, lcd, keyboard everything. So I wrote the Insurance letters and wrote all their stuff off as f*ckted.

Then I stripped the tower and UPS, and let it everything dry for two weeks on a work bench. Everything even the power supply, speakers, LCD and UPS worked.

So I gave them their stuff back, but since the insurance paid out for some brand new and better equipment they donated the old (6months old)equipment to a local charity.

I've seen even more unbelievable stuff with computers in my life, but this was just the most recent.
 

megamanx00

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Generally when my keyboard gets dirty, or I accidentally spill something on it and thus unplug it right away, I take the thing apart. Then I clean the face with the keys, and sometimes the underside, with dish soap and water. The guts of the keyboard I'll leave on an antistatic motherboard bag or something. If anything got through to guts of the keyboard I'll clean it with cotton and rubbing alcohol. Once it's dry put it together. If you don't wait till it's dry, well, there goes the keyboard.
 
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I used to have a really cheap playstation memory card that wasnt reliable. The card would not read the card after about an hours use. So I used to throw the memory card in the freezer while not saving my game. When finished I would grab the card out and save my game. Worked everytime for 2 months until I copied my games onto a brand name memory card. Dunno if this would work on a hard-drive as it heats up alot quicker.
 

jesup

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The big reason for not shutting down every night was not to reduce power supply wear, but to reduce HD failure. In the old days (and maybe still), HD spindown/spinup was extra strain on the motors/bearing, involved head parking/take-off (remember stiction?), and involved a big thermal swing, perhaps the biggest issue. Google has found that there's a strong relationship between HDD temperature and lifetime, but they didn't look at temperature cycling or drive spin up/down that I remember (not their interest).

If the fans remain on, that's a fair bit of extra power and lost lifetime - fans are a pretty frequent failure point.
 

the_one111

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However, you can wash SOME electronics in the dishwasher.

Not too long ago my IT tech friend had this server-related piece of silicon hardware (looked somewhat like a Mobo, he didn't tell me what part it was) get messy in a flood in a dorm room. He brought it home and put it in the dishwasher to wash it. Still works, and has been for months..
 

crisisavatar

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However, make sure you turn the computer off either with the power switch on the power supply itself (not the button on the front of the PC)

Wait what won't that sudden power shutdown dmg components ? That seriously goes against my common sense, I hope they mean shut computer down first and then flip your PSU.
 

mitch074

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I ran several keyboards through the dishwasher (mainly inexpensive ones, but also a first-gen Microsoft Natural Keyboard) but I did the following:
- take it apart, so as to remove the electronics module
- put it back together, without the small PCB that usually goes in it
- dishwasher, normal program, with soap (might as well give it a real wash), no heat (40°C)
- let it DRY in open air naturally (that oven thing is crazy! Never, NEVER put electronics in temperatures above what they are rated to operate in: 80°C is the MAX when NOT IN OPERATION; forget about hair dryers too)
- take it apart again, an put back the PCB in

There! Good as new keyboards.
 

Ed Brown

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[citation][nom]quantumrand[/nom]

*snip*

One day I get home and my internet isnt working, so I go to reset my router (one of the normal troubleshooting procedures). Well when I reach down and unplug it, all of a sudden thousands of ants come swarming out of it! I didnt know what to do, so I ran into the bathroom and grabbed the least corrosive thing I could find that might still kill them...Scrubbing Bubbles. I run back into my room and spray the growing swarm of ants. Surprisingly it stopped them. Then I proceded to open up my router to see if any got in it. Turns out they build their nest in the damn thing!!! So I doused it with a few good sprays of bubbles. Once I stopped the ants, I rinsed out the router, scrubbing gently, and then used denatured alcohol and compressed air to dry it. After about 30 minutes I plugged it back in and all was well.[/citation]

Being a resident of Texas, I've seen this before; all with just one species of ant - Fire Ants. They're an invader from South America so of course they like it hot.

However, they are also drawn to some EM fields for whatever reason - especially 60 Hz power lines.

I do odd jobs for family and friends and can't tell you how many times I've changed light switches that had their boxes just absolutely filled to capacity with fire ants. They've also ruined a couple of relays in outdoor Heat Pump compressors, irrigation pumps, ect..

I've become quite adept at "insect hardening" such things using pure silicone caulk.

Strange but true
 
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The 'rabbit ears' explanation only works for receiving antennae. The real explanation is that the emmitter is omni-directional (give or take) it emits it's power in all directions. Touching it to your hear causes the RF radiation passing through your head to literally 'bounce' around your skull and be emitted in several unidirectional lobes, or beams, of RF radiation. Since these lobes have more energy they go further. The same principle is at work for 'stealth' aircraft, you just engineer the surface of the aircraft so that these reflected lobes are not pointing back at the emitting radar station.
 

hortnut

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Common sense can go a long way to making a "myth" a reality.

If a keyboard appears to be constructed in some way that will cause it to hold water or has other gizmos inside, it is best to skip the dishwasher. But I have cleaned many keyboards, electronic boards in the dishwasher - no soap, gentle cycle and no heat. After taking KB out shake out excess water and leave face down on a towel for 3 - 4 days.

I still have a NoName, WhiteBox 386SX25, 16meg ram and 20meg hdd, running windows 3.11 that I got in 1992 - need it to run some specialized programs. It is turned off at night and on in the am. Maybe I have been lucky, but not problems so far.
 

irzyxel

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Granted this was an old machine and several years ago. It still makes me wary today about using standby features. I had a mobo with power saving features(bios). The machine was running 2000 pro. I forget which was set to what. The mobo set to spin down the hdd and windows was set not to. Either or.

The idea in my head at the time was: Why use power saving features from two sources? They will conflict. So disable one and enable the other yes? Bad decision. Unfortunately there wasn't an all off option in the bios for power management features. It was either don't spin down ever or spin down after a certain amount of time.

Either way, when the idle time had passed the mobo and windows faught. You could hear the hdd going back and forth between spinning up and down. Then all you heard after around six seconds was a click click click click click. Yep it was dead! Doh! Guess I should have just left windows power options completely off.

Man that was painful at the time. I hadn't gotten one of the few expensive burners that were out yet and was low on backup space. I lost a lot of data. Never again!

Luckily at that time Maxtor was amazing with their warranties. I called and they next day air a new drive. An upgrade since the model was discontinued. Forget how much, but almost double the capacity and higher transfer speeds(from 66 to ATA100? lol). All I had to do was ship the dead one back in the same packaging.

Anyway, that is why I don't use standby features today!
 

eljefe512

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Electronics can be washed, with a few simple guidelines. In fact, before the prevalence of "no-clean" solder, most electronics were washed and dried just after coming off of the solder line at the manufacturer. As hortnut said, just don't let them hold water. Standing water is your enemy and will cause corrosion on the leads of the chips, possible delamination of the PCB, and other nastiness. While I don't think baking them in the oven is crazy, I think it is unnecessary. I would be more worried about the plastics than the PCBs or components. I usually blow off the majority of the water with compressed air, and let them dry on a towel for a few days. Yes, days, because if you power them up too soon, you will have wasted all of your efforts.
 
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