Water damaged games and consoles

Avatar image for isomeri
#1 Edited by isomeri (3125 posts) -

Well, I wound up in a shitty pickle of a situation this past weekend. A municipal water main burst next to my building on Saturday, flooding the basements of 15 apartment buildings including my own. Everything in the basement was totally submerged for more than 24 hours and water is still being pumped out as of Monday morning.

My basement storage room mainly contained old childhood toys, my CD- and DVD-collections as well as my collections of games and consoles. Hundreds of games as well as PS1, PS2, PSP, DS and original Xbox hardware now lay down there soaking wet.

So far I've only managed to recover rescue a couple of albums of childhood photos, but hopefully tonight I'll be able to tear into the contents more thoroughly and hopefully still do something with those games.

My question then is, if some duders out there have previously been in a similar unfortunate circumstance, and if you could provide any tips on how to go about cleaning and drying game discs for example? Or if someone has even managed to rescue water damaged controllers and consoles. Most of the items should be covered by my insurance, but finding a clean and working Duke controller for example might be difficult.

Thanks in advance for any and all tips and discussion.

Yeah, this is probably all done for
Yeah, this is probably all done for

Avatar image for damodar
#3 Posted by Damodar (2185 posts) -

Ooooof, that sucks :(

As far as all the stuff like consoles, controllers etc, obviously it's not ideal that they were submerged for so long, but if you can get them dry before anything starts to really corrode etc, at least some of it should be salvageable. You'd need to make sure they were TOTALLY dry before trying any of them, which probably means some disassembly (xbox uses hex head screws for the console, I thiiink everything else is phillips) and getting some fans on there to dry them out, maybe use something like rice to absorb any moisture, all those sorts of tricks. Some things are a little iffy, like the xbox hard drive is a tough situation and I'd be nervous about putting mains power into the power supply of something that had been under water, but something like the duke controller, I think you could definitely save it if you wanted to. The only potential issue I can really think of there is water seeping into the rumble motors.

Probably a lot of work to save stuff though, it's good that you've got insurance. Anyway, that really sucks, sorry you're in that situation, duder D:

Avatar image for monkeyking1969
#4 Edited by MonkeyKing1969 (7652 posts) -

Was it water or sewage?

If water there is still a contamination risk, but just wimping things down with a safe disinfectant (water with vinegar for most plastics, never ammonia) and drying out the boxes should be okay. If sewage, I would games out,but TOSS all the paper cardboard. Dirty water damage is a contamination risk -forever without very harssh cleaning. If the systemare just wet but ever submerged you cna just clean them off and get them very dry inside and out.

[Look up cleaning advice online...but here is what to expect if you need to really clean. Like they were sunk in water.
Game discs and carts can just be wiped down if it IS water damage, as long as the discs/carts are super dry before being stored again. I woudl think for the game systems you need to triage, meaning decided how much work you want to put into cleaning a systemwas as soaked even in clena water. For irreplaceable systems would open,take them apart, then clean with 90% Isopropyl Alcohol. In case of sewage when there is grit or a film on the PCB, use dry baking soda together the grime off a soft-brush toscrub and trapteh dirt. Then rinse the baking soda and dirt waywith filtered water - THEN rinse with distilled water. (Distilled water can be expensive so clean with filtered tap water first, then do a final rinse with distilled water.) Then dry everything for as long as you can before putting everything back together. DO NOT test the systems until they are fully dry!!!

Don't use rice, it does not work, and you don't want rise 'dust' in your console. If you get rice dust in that console the next time it gets we you have just made 'sticky rice' on your PCB. Dry with fans blowing room temp air is better and won't introduce sticky starch dust.

Avatar image for nutter
#5 Posted by nutter (2299 posts) -

Nothing definitive, but I used to briefly submerge discs in boiling water and they’d be fine.

OXM demo discs would often have a film on them making them not play properly. I was skeptical, but tried and the would run perfectly fine afterwards.

I don’t know...maybe they work okay once dry? Maybe try boiling them briefly to kill bacteria and/or see if they play? Maybe start with that MotoGP disc. ;)

As for cart based games, my friend had some floating around in a flood and they apparently worked fine afterwards, though this was decades ago. I suspect the water is not great for carts...