Question Can high humidity levels damage hardware ?

Oblivion77

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Dear all

I have sometimes used my laptop and USB drives in maybe humid conditions.

1.
What would be considered a harmful level of humidity, for a laptop and/or USB drive?

If a laptop or USB drive is exposed to a harmful level of humidity:

2.
How long exposure is required, for hardware damage to occur?

3.
Is a couple of hours enough for moisture to buildup?

4.
Examples of damage on hardware?

5.
Will it shorten the life-span of the hardware?

6.
Is 60-65 % considered harmful for hardware?

7.
Can this level of humidity damage hardware over time?

8.
Will it shorten the life-span of the hardware?

Thank you
 

kanewolf

Titan
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Dear all

I have sometimes used my laptop and USB drives in maybe humid conditions.

1.
What would be considered a harmful level of humidity, for a laptop and/or USB drive?

If a laptop or USB drive is exposed to a harmful level of humidity:

2.
How long exposure is required, for hardware damage to occur?

3.
Is a couple of hours enough for moisture to buildup?

4.
Examples of damage on hardware?

5.
Will it shorten the life-span of the hardware?

6.
Is 60-65 % considered harmful for hardware?

7.
Can this level of humidity damage hardware over time?

8.
Will it shorten the life-span of the hardware?

Thank you
The only problem I see is if you have your laptop in a high humidity environment (outside 90F and 80% humidity) for example, then bring it inside to 70F temp. You can get condensation on exposed surfaces. What you might have to do. Leave the laptop in your backpack for a while (1 hour or more) to allow it to acclimate.
 
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PsychoPsyops

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Server rooms will usually have humidity controls for temperature and condensation control.
I can't see it being too much of a problem for home computers though, unless you're in a small room with not much air flow at all.
 
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May 2, 2022
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Dear all

I have sometimes used my laptop and USB drives in maybe humid conditions.

1.
What would be considered a harmful level of humidity, for a laptop and/or USB drive?

If a laptop or USB drive is exposed to a harmful level of humidity:

2.
How long exposure is required, for hardware damage to occur?

3.
Is a couple of hours enough for moisture to buildup?

4.
Examples of damage on hardware?

5.
Will it shorten the life-span of the hardware?

6.
Is 60-65 % considered harmful for hardware?

7.
Can this level of humidity damage hardware over time?

8.
Will it shorten the life-span of the hardware?

Thank you
I live in NC, where there are lots of trees' around and, it does get hot during the summer. But I do have both, AC and a ceiling fan. Along with plenty of ventilation.

As long as the laptop is not kept/left in a hot enclosed room, or outside in the blazing hot sun. It will not suffer from the heat.
 
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Oblivion77

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I've lived in and visit an area where not only is the humidity typically 80+%, but I can pretty much see the ocean from the window. Meaning it's salty humidity. The worst that happened was a computer I had developed a patch of surface rust on the case, and this was years after having it.
What about the internal hardware of the same computer? Or other computers, who was exposed to same conditions?
 

Oblivion77

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The only problem I see is if you have your laptop in a high humidity environment (outside 90F and 80% humidity) for example, then bring it inside to 70F temp. You can get condensation on exposed surfaces. What you might have to do. Leave the laptop in your backpack for a while (1 hour or more) to allow it to acclimate.
Very good suggestion.

I never / very rarely, take my laptop or USB drives outside of my house.

Is a difference of 20 F the most critical for condensation, or just an example?
 
To sum up everything: No, you're not going to experience a significant shortage in life span of electronics by being in a humid area. The only thing humidity would possibly contribute to if the computer is just sitting there is corrosion. However, most of the metals used in a computer are corrosion resistant or are protected with a corrosion resistant material.

And to answer this question
What about the internal hardware of the same computer? Or other computers, who was exposed to same conditions?
They were fine. Every electronic device I had was fine. Heck, the SNES console I brought with me lived there for a good 10+ years before coming back to me and it still works fine. Similar story with all the electronics and related items I got back.
 
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George Sullivan

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Speaking from experience - your biggest issue here isn't the humidity, but the dew point. If you encounter condensing moisture, then you're going to run into problems. Way back I had an HTC Incredible that I'd take into the bathroom with me when I'd shower. Was a small bathroom so things would get pretty steamy. The phone never got wet per se, but you could see the mist as water would fall out of the gaseous phase and condense on various surfaces. Well, some of that water was condensing inside of my phone.

Phone stopped working about 6 months into owning it and I sent it in for repair, they sent it back untouched citing the water stickers showing exposure and moisture corrosion on one of the internal connectors. A little time with isopropyl and a brush solved the problem, but lesson learned.

High humidity isn't a problem, but if your device is cold enough in a high humidity environment to invite condensation, that gaseous water will condense on the outside and the inside of your device. Unless you plan on taking your laptop into a shower or regularly stick it in a refrigerator, you should be fine.
 
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Oblivion77

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Speaking from experience - your biggest issue here isn't the humidity, but the dew point. If you encounter condensing moisture, then you're going to run into problems. Way back I had an HTC Incredible that I'd take into the bathroom with me when I'd shower. Was a small bathroom so things would get pretty steamy. The phone never got wet per se, but you could see the mist as water would fall out of the gaseous phase and condense on various surfaces. Well, some of that water was condensing inside of my phone.

Phone stopped working about 6 months into owning it and I sent it in for repair, they sent it back untouched citing the water stickers showing exposure and moisture corrosion on one of the internal connectors. A little time with isopropyl and a brush solved the problem, but lesson learned.

High humidity isn't a problem, but if your device is cold enough in a high humidity environment to invite condensation, that gaseous water will condense on the outside and the inside of your device. Unless you plan on taking your laptop into a shower or regularly stick it in a refrigerator, you should be fine.
Thank you for your long example

I won't be concerned about this, since my laptop and USB drives only move to rooms with "same climate" and far from that level of humidity.
 
Does this also to laptops and USB drives?
Yes

"protected with a corrosion resistant material"
Can you give some examples?
https://www.industrialmetalsupply.com/blog/4-types-of-metal-that-are-corrosion-resistant-or-dont-rust

Or rather, I shouldn't say computers are protected. They use those materials. Basically, the only material in widespread use that corrodes easily in open air is iron and steel that isn't made stainless or galvanized. And computers don't use iron or basic steel.
 
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