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View Full Version : Any ideas for dehumidifying a garage PC?



timzak
March 9th, 2009, 05:56 PM
I have a garage PC that gets exposed to a lot of humidity. I actually had some hardware damaged due to water condensation, so I'd like to take steps to prevent this from happening again.

Any ideas on how I could do this free or very cheaply? I'm guessing I need to duct tape all openings, but how do I do this without blocking airflow from the P/S fan?

I don't want to spend too much on this project because the computer itself is a salvaged throw-away.

Thanks

mips
March 9th, 2009, 05:59 PM
I would take the lid off the case and let a low speed fan blow over it.

Therion
March 9th, 2009, 06:04 PM
What about desiccant packs inside the tower?

Also, I would think leaving the PC running as much as possible would keep the interior warm and prevent any moisture build-up to begin with.

timzak
March 9th, 2009, 06:23 PM
Thanks for the ideas. Desiccant packs might do the trick. I'd prefer not to leave the PC on 24/7 as the power draw would end up being #2 behind my refrigerator. 80 watts @ 24/7 really adds up.

I wonder if I cover all case openings with used fabric softener sheets, if that would keep the moisture out? I've heard of doing that to keep dust out of the case. Whether it works with moisture, I don't know.

BGFG
March 9th, 2009, 06:30 PM
Copper II Sulphate crystals are a good dessicant, If you have any friends in a High School or College lab :)
A flat wide container at the base of your case could do the trick....

Therion
March 9th, 2009, 06:38 PM
I wonder if I cover all case openings with used fabric softener sheets, if that would keep the moisture out? I've heard of doing that to keep dust out of the case. Whether it works with moisture, I don't know.
Dryer sheets are good for keeping the Dust Bunnies at bay while keeping your PC's interior smelling fresh but they do nothing to stop moisture.

Also, bear in mind a little humidity is a good thing around electronic components as it helps prevent the build-up of static electricity. There's a critical difference between humidity and excessive moisture and/or condensation.

timzak
March 9th, 2009, 07:30 PM
Dryer sheets are good for keeping the Dust Bunnies at bay while keeping your PC's interior smelling fresh but they do nothing to stop moisture.

Also, bear in mind a little humidity is a good thing around electronic components as it helps prevent the build-up of static electricity. There's a critical difference between humidity and excessive moisture and/or condensation.

I'm guessing visible water droplets on the ribbon cables and 1/8" of water on the floor of the case would be considered excessive. ;)

How that got pulled through the P/S without frying it, I have no idea. It must have happened over a long period of time, in small concentrations.

Thanks for the advise on the dryer sheets.

Firestem4
March 9th, 2009, 07:46 PM
Sorry this post will not be very relative or helpful. But you could always sumberge the PC in mineral oil. (Fish-Tank computers and the like). You wont have to worry about dust, moisture, or cooling problems. lol

Stan_1936
March 9th, 2009, 07:59 PM
...you could always sumberge the PC in mineral oil. (Fish-Tank computers and the like). You wont have to worry about dust, moisture, or cooling problems....

+1....especially for a garage pc.

cmat
March 9th, 2009, 08:19 PM
I've seen the oil thing but I'm not sure you can find a container durable enough to contain the oil and stay in a garage.

Bart_D
March 9th, 2009, 08:22 PM
- fishtank
- (semi)/transparent box-shaped bucket/mini tub
- hard(very) plastic old furniture drawer

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/strip-fans,1203.html
+
there are several videos on youtube relating to a pc submerged in oil
+
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=695593

If you're a computer builder you will be more comfortable doing it that if you're not.

Firestem4
March 9th, 2009, 08:27 PM
You don't have to use any specific case. You just have to make sure you use a sealed container (alteast leak-proof floor and walls)

If you do Do this: Make sure you deactivate the fans, or anything that runs a fan don't submerge it.(The increased drag on the fan will burn out the electric motor and short it, which could potentially do more harm to the component.)

Bart_D
March 9th, 2009, 08:30 PM
good point

Without the fan, assuming you use the pc regularly, you'll need to connect a radiator to cool the oil.

If it's not being used a lot, you *may* be able to get away(or you may not) without cooling the oil....that depends on the temperature in your garage though.

Firestem4
March 9th, 2009, 08:33 PM
Actually you do not need a radiator either.

The reason Oil-PC's work so well is because mineral oil has high thermic properties. It can absorb heat easily, and it can shed it just as easily.

If you run a PC, all of your components will heat the oil which will create a moving current between the cold and warm oil (Fluid dynamics). The computer will have its own internal circuilation that will keep the oil itself cool and move heat away from the components.

cmat
March 9th, 2009, 08:37 PM
Why not get a PC designed for the elements? There are manufacturers that make PCs that have components covered in a resin.

Dougie187
March 9th, 2009, 08:46 PM
You could just go to walmart and buy a portable dehydrater for like 5 bucks. i think its called damp-rid

linuxisevolution
March 9th, 2009, 08:51 PM
The submerging it in oil is a very good idea, just make a home-made little radiator with a case fan and some copper tubing to keep it cool. Then that pc will never die :D


Just have a durable, leak proof, case for it, like a plastic tub that you can buy at a locale dollar store.

timzak
March 9th, 2009, 08:59 PM
Great suggestions...don't think I'll be investing the time or energy into oil submersion, though...lol. This is a throw away PC, it's 466 Mhz, 256 MB, 20 GB hdd and Voodoo3 PCI video, salvaged from the old PC recyle bin at work. Just fast enough to play music and do basic auto maintenance spreadsheets. That's all I use it for. It would be more cost effective to recycle another throw away PC from some company than to spend the money it would take to protect it. That's why I was looking for free or very cheap suggestions.

I'll checkout the wallmart dehydrator. I need to see what it looks like to see if I could incorporate it into the PC's environment.

oldsoundguy
March 9th, 2009, 09:01 PM
http://www.consumersearch.com/dehumidifier-reviews

I used and still use an air conditioner (casement type) mounted between the studs (now in my media room to cool the wall of A/V equipment and the 3 computers in there). More expensive, but it also maintains a constant temp as well as extracting moisture from the air.

linuxisevolution
March 9th, 2009, 09:02 PM
Great suggestions...don't think I'll be investing the time or energy into oil submersion, though...lol. This is a throw away PC, it's 466 Mhz, 256 MB, 20 GB hdd and Voodoo3 PCI video, salvaged from the old PC recyle bin at work. Just fast enough to play music and do basic auto maintenance spreadsheets. That's all I use it for. It would be more cost effective to recycle another throw away PC from some company than to spend the money it would take to protect it. That's why I was looking for free or very cheap suggestions.

I'll checkout the wallmart dehydrator. I need to see what it looks like to see if I could incorporate it into the PC's environment.

That is not a throw away pc!!! I have a 75mhz laptop with 16mb ram, and it runs NETBSD and windows 95 very smoothly. Plus my server is only 550mhz and 256mb ram and it serves apache2, mysql, php5,php4,cgi,python,openssl,openssh, and more.

timzak
March 9th, 2009, 10:16 PM
That is not a throw away pc!!! I have a 75mhz laptop with 16mb ram, and it runs NETBSD and windows 95 very smoothly. Plus my server is only 550mhz and 256mb ram and it serves apache2, mysql, php5,php4,cgi,python,openssl,openssh, and more.

I agree! That's why I have it instead of it being in a landfill. I just meant that it was earmarked as a throw away before I rescued it.

timzak
March 9th, 2009, 10:24 PM
The Damp Rid looks promising!
http://www.amazon.com/FG01K-Refillable-Moisture-Absorber-10-5/dp/B000UGTLWC/ref=pd_bxgy_k_text_b

I'm guessing if I just stick a tub behind the PC case it will do the trick. At <$5 per tub and <$5 per refill, looks like it might fill the bill of being cheap and effective. Thanks Dougie187.

Thelasko
March 10th, 2009, 04:42 PM
http://www.consumersearch.com/dehumidifier-reviews

I used and still use an air conditioner (casement type) mounted between the studs (now in my media room to cool the wall of A/V equipment and the 3 computers in there). More expensive, but it also maintains a constant temp as well as extracting moisture from the air.

Yes, the best solution is an air conditioner. More specifically you need to cool the air before it enters the case.

When was this PC damaged? Was it on at the time? (I doubt it)

The problem isn't the humidity in the garage, it's the temperature changes. When warm humid air from your house comes in contact with the cold air outside, the water condenses. The opposite happens in the summer. Since the computer is made out of metal, it will become cold faster than other things around it and water will condense on it.

The reason I doubt the computer was on is because the computer would stay warm if it was on. A warm computer shouldn't have any water condense on it.

Let's say the computer is always on and still having water condense on it. The simple solution is to put something cold in front of the air intake to condense the water before it enters the machine.

In summary, some things you can try:

Leave the machine on all of the time
Cool the incoming air
Provide a place for the water to go. (tilt it!)
Use a plastic case (In theory it won't conduct heat as well, I'm not sure if this will work)

eljalill
March 10th, 2009, 05:41 PM
You said you were looking for cheap solution, so here is a very low tech one: Just deposit some rice in about and on your computer, preferably without getting into any critical slots, though. Rice will draw the moisture out of its surroundings rather effectively (and thus will have to be changed before molding). If you are worried about it getting where it shouldn't you can put it into disposable tea or coffee filters (do they sell them in your part of the world, tape them shut) or sew little fabric bags for them if you are more of a artsy person.

Actually I think it would be a great picture, your PC surrounded by little rice pillow bags... so cuddly! ;)

scphan
March 10th, 2009, 07:25 PM
You said you were looking for cheap solution, so here is a very low tech one: Just deposit some rice in about and on your computer, preferably without getting into any critical slots, though. Rice will draw the moisture out of its surroundings rather effectively (and thus will have to be changed before molding). If you are worried about it getting where it shouldn't you can put it into disposable tea or coffee filters (do they sell them in your part of the world, tape them shut) or sew little fabric bags for them if you are more of a artsy person.

Actually I think it would be a great picture, your PC surrounded by little rice pillow bags... so cuddly! ;)
or silica gel bags

Therion
March 10th, 2009, 07:43 PM
Actually I think it would be a great picture, your PC surrounded by little rice pillow bags... so cuddly! ;)
Back in my day we bought one-pound bags of rice and punched the bag with a fork a few times.
And we LIKED it that way.






/My raised floor, get off it.