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Thread: storing pc parts out in the open

  1. #1

    Default storing pc parts out in the open

    Just a wild question, but can sunlight damage computer circuit boards? Like having your parts laying around indoors near a closed window? Or is it the possible chill or moisture risk?

  2. #2

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    Id be more concerned about static in the air than anything.
    But sunlight can white wash the color out of the PCB. I can't see if doing anything else.
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    Temperature extremes and atmospheric moisture can really do a number on electronics.

  4. #4

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    And not just electronics. Road surfaces are extremely vulnerable.
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    Humans don't fare so well either. A good rule of thumb with electronics is that if you're comfortable without the benefit of hard-weather gear and other protective measures, your electronics are probably okay.

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    I put mine in a cardboard box in my room, however, I have them wrapped in ESD Anti-static bags for precautionary measures.
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    My dry storage typically swings between 25c in the summer and -20 in the winter. CRT's and similar products are stored where the temps can swing between 40c and -25.
    Pretty much keep them out of direct sunlight and keep them dry. Most electronics and components don't care about thermal extremes like that when they are not powered or otherwise operating. That changes however when you live in a region where relative humidity typically remains above 60% year-round.
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    No matter the storage conditions, the big thing to watch for is vermin. Mice, rats, chipmunks, field voles and even feral cats will do their best to destroy your pride and joy. (I learned that cat urine will etch the copper right off a PCB). Cockroaches are pretty much messy, but crickets will eat anything that resembles paper.

  9. #9

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    That question is very item specific.
    Most poor quality electronics die even when handled with the best of care.
    High quality circuit boards will do just fine in any weather condition and seem to survive live rodents just fine.

    Your power supply is far more likly to cook your PCB than the sun is.
    Well built PCB can survive high concentrations of chlorine gas for prolonged periods of time.
    However, complex compounds formed in such environments soon become too toxic to experiment with.
    I was forced to cease my testing.

    Although I've not lost a single PCB to sunlight or chemicals, the steel brackets and housings pass very quickly.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, I've had to clean cat pee off my stuff before. If you can find service manuals with schematics, you can at least run bodge wires and reconnect PCB traces, and conductive paint can be used for repairing keyboard pad and membrane traces.

    One of my neighbour's males (she's a cat breeder) was boarding at our house for a couple years whenever he wasn't out breeding, and he liked to... mark "his" stuff. That little bugger buggered up the traces on one of my Tandy keyboards. Managed to repair all but one of the membrane traces, but those silicone dome cups are a pain to re-align, so I've just got it on my "get-back-to-it-later" list. Not something I'd waste time on for generic keyboards, but obviously vintage hardware is worth trying to restore to at least "working" order.

    Keep your boards in anti-static bags if you have them, or at least boxes/containers so they don't get wrecked. Be sure to remove/unsolder Ni-Cd/Ni-MH clock batteries if putting away for long-term storage, because electrolyte eats traces even better than cat pee, and often spreads further. I've never had an issue with lithium cells, but every other battery type WILL leak eventually. Many a board has been ruined by those.
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