Question Rusty Screws and Rusty Spots on Video Card

Boris_yo

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Hi. Been using my PC for over 2 years since I built it. Summer is rather humid here and I use standard stand fan. I live 200 meters from coast. I don't spend a lot of time using my PC.

I had to disassemble PC recently and noticed how fan heatsink's (Wraith Spire) screws originally coated in black became partly rusty.

I noticed how some of screws on video card's (RTX 2060) PCB turned rusty. Noticed tusty spots in some areas of PCB as well. Front side has slightly white spots as well. I don't know if it's corrosion:



My first question is about cleaning video card. Should I use IPA 99% with cotton swab to clean front of video card and screws? Or should I use IPA 99% spray to apply where rust and spots are? Do I sweep where dust and spots are on PCB with small brush first before cleaning with IPA?

I also have anti-static brush from LCD monitor cleaning kit. It is much softer than small brush that I have but it's anti-static at least.

I know there are sprays for cleaning electronics. I noticed dry McKennik is more expensive than others. There's McKennik spray lubricant that in addition to cleaning adds protective coating against rust, corrosion.

Should I clean contacts first and then apply spray lubricant? Can I apply lubricant after spraying with IPA/McKennic dry contacts cleaner?

I need to find a way to reduce humidity in my room. I haven't measured it but rust and spots are sufficient indicators that it exceeds normal levels.

I saw dehumidifier on Chinese website that ramges between $35-$50 in cost but it is smaller than standard dehumidifier appliance that costs $450. Do I need expensive one just to keep PC in lower humidity?

There are 10g/50g/100g silica gel packets that I could try to fot inside the PC case. How many would fit and be enough though? My case os Coolermaster MB511 RGB. If I would to replace air cooling with liquid cooling, I would need a more closed case to minimize air getting inside so silica gel packs would be more effective.

I don't know what else can reduce humidity. Don't want to leave PC running 24/7. There is conformal coating spray that covers PCB in blue coating making it corrosion, rust, dust and static charge resistant but it has potential to cause more problems.
 
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Ralston18

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Unless some specific problem develops I would leave "well enough" alone.

Even if the screws, etc. appear rusty that may simply be a protective rust coat. Patina.

What will reduce humidity in your room is a de-humidifier. Do not put silica gel packs inside the PC. Why - they may cause other interactions and/or interfere with air flows etc..

And you certainly do not want to minimize cooling air flows to prohibit humidity getting inside.

No sprays or coatings.

Some air conditioners will help remove humidity: is your room's AC a window unit or perhaps a house/apartment unit?

Could be a configuration setting with respect to humidity.
 

Boris_yo

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No sprays or coatings.

Some air conditioners will help remove humidity: is your room's AC a window unit or perhaps a house/apartment unit?
Why not clean PCB contacts with contact spray regardless? Once in a while?

I have energy-inefficient air conditioning of ductless mini-split type and it is very moldy. Have not used it for a few years. Using it again would mean hiring cleaning air conditioner expert for thorough cleaning. If it works still. Don't know if I could DIY.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Sprays /contact cleaners and PC components do not "play well" together. No matter how careful that stuff is going to get into places where it should not be.

And the way that many products are made these days any attempts to clean, etc. are likely to cause damage. Even following the manufacturer's instructions can be risky. (Read the fine print....)

If you are in a humid location and close (200 meters) to the water/saltwater then aside from working air conditioning and/or a dehumidifier there may not be much you can do.

Leaving the computer on 24/7 may or may not help.

I would not be overly concerned about patina rust unless there is obvious corrosion and actual deterioration of metal components to where they are flaking and crusting.

One thing that could help is to use canned air to carefully clean out dust and debris. Follow the instructions very carefully. E.g., Don't spin the fans, do not allow moisture to condense on components. Be sure that the system is powered off and unplugged....

Keeping the insides clean gives moisture no place to stick. Dust is an insulator so removing dust will help cool the system and probably free up air flows that will likewise help.
 

Boris_yo

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Sprays /contact cleaners and PC components do not "play well" together. No matter how careful that stuff is going to get into places where it should not be.
What if I took cotton swab dipped in IPA 99% and cleaned the spots on PCB without touching solder joints and anything that conducts? Of course with PC powered off.

If you are in a humid location and close (200 meters) to the water/saltwater then aside from working air conditioning and/or a dehumidifier there may not be much you can do.
I saw dehumidifiers on Aliexpress but they are less powerful than floor humidifiers that have prices start from $450. Also in terms of service I don't know how they would be. I could buy 2 and place them near PC but would they reduce humidity enough?
 

Ralston18

Titan
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I do not believe that alcohol swabbing will do much to prevent further corrosion. Swabbing just cleans off general debris and gunk.

As for room dehumidifiers the first step is to properly size the dehumidifier to fit the room and expected humidity levels.

And remember that a room dehumidifier collects water in the air into a tank of some sort that will need to be regularly emptied or otherwise set up to drain away the collected water.

FYI:

Home dehumidifier selection

Not a recommendation or endorsement. Just a link to help you get started on sizing a dehumidifier.

You can easily find similar links.

Again if the rust stays intact then the rust is probably protective in nature. Leave it alone.

If the rusted components start cracking and flaking to where the screw heads are damaged (for example) then that is indeed more serious. Saltwater environment - correct?

Also:

https://acoswm.com/rust-no-its-patina/#:~:text=The natural changes in metals,way harms their structural integrity.

https://rustconverters.net/rust-vs-patina/
 
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Boris_yo

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Even if the screws, etc. appear rusty that may simply be a protective rust coat. Patina.
Again if the rust stays intact then the rust is probably protective in nature. Leave it alone.

If the rusted components start cracking and flaking to where the screw heads are damaged (for example) then that is indeed more serious. Saltwater environment - correct?
Hello. Yes. Saltwater environment. 4 months later while all this time my PC stayed unused I made new photos and noticed that white spots developed on several soldering joints. Are they still part of that patina?

 
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