Liquid abuse of electronics

2023-11-30 @Technology

This year I managed to soak two electronic gadgets. The earlier occurrence involved the Sanyo Xacti (2010 model) recorder/MP3 player. This slipped out of my hand and plunged straight into the reefs of the (thankfully flushed) toilet. I genuinely did not think the slim device (cross section of less than a credit card) resilient to such aquatic feat; contrasting, say, a common digital wrist-watch.

Twenty-four hours after the incident, though powered on, the cyber-punk red LED screen displayed no text, merely flashing a random pixel or two. It’s a goner. I languidly abandoned the prospect, this being an otherwise professional-level and not inexpensive device in its diverse superpower.

Thus neglected for month, a tinge of curiosity urged a repeat trial. And abracadabra: perfectly functioning … through the present day, some six months later. How? By what means?

Two months back I also spilled a respectable dosage of hot, natural dark chocolate over my laptop keyboard. In retrospect, the pure, sugar-free, artifice-free nature of the beverage must have been paramount in averting heavier casualties. That is to say, casualties were sparing. Or more accurately, there were no casualties. Thus far.

The incident caused me further stupor. The beverage precipitated over the left portion of the keyboard, underneath which, memory serving, a fair amount of guts were to be situated, processor included. Oh heck, the motherboard spans the entire breadth of that keyboard. It’s all vital.

And yet, the laptop on at the time of impact, the screen didn’t even flinch. Liquid slowly dissipated underneath and through the left apertures: USB, Ethernet and ventilation. With a cotton swab, I superficially cleaned these ports of sticky residue. But I never even opened the case for further inspection. Probably should have. Other thought pervaded at the time.

Otherwise, I merely disconnected the AC cord, but let it continue on battery. Continue it did. I don’t think I would power off the laptop for another week or more. Perhaps naively foolish on my part.

Now I begin to wonder what it’s like underneath: if any notable transfiguration took place. Alas, the laptop now rests thousands of leagues from my present whereabouts, and will so remain for the time being. I hope to find it in the same spirits as when we parted.

This, mind you, is the Lenovo X140e (2013) laptop, one of those models from way back famous for all sorts of resilience: specifically, to 1) water 2) physical impact (ie falls) and 3) ill-humour. For an 11' screen, it certainly packs enough extra brass. It weighs a ton! (This in contrast to the effectively weightless Sanyo, suspending effortlessly by the very headphones cord.)

I always believed these legendary properties subject to hyperbole, if not plain myth. But the extra guts might bear some responsibility for channeling spills to areas less vital. Who knows. And who knows how this impacted the ultimate life expectancy. Being a 10-year old model, I’ve not but upgraded the HDD drive to an SSD, the remaining anatomy original. Maybe it won’t live to eternity.

Moral to the story? Be thankful for miraculous outcomes, but don’t expect them in plenitude. Don’t tempt.

Questions, comments? Connect.