How to get smoke smell out of used video card?

DaRuSsIaMaN

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I picked up a couple old agp cards off someone on craigslist. And they smell of smoke. Not a big deal, I guess. I could pop it in, and I think the smell wouldn't reach me since it's only one component tucked away inside the case.

BUT I kind of want to be thorough anyway if it's feasible. So what are my options to how to get rid of the smell? The first thing I tried, obviously, was to give it a good dose of compressed air. That made a noticeable improvement but not a whole lot. What next? Should I just prepare a pot/sink with soapy water and dunk it in that? As long as everything completely dries out afterward before use, that would be fine right?? Or ... not? Would it have any detrimental effect on the thermal compound between heat sink and gpu?
 

cannondale06

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wow this has to be about the strangest thread on here. sure go ahead and dunk that card in soapy water...
 

Elledan

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You can rub it down with various cleaning agents, but unless you go for the really heavy stuff (which may dissolve parts of the card :p ), be prepared to always have a faint smell of smoke clinging to it. The particles in cigarette smoke tend to work their way into the material itself, which takes decades to release on their own.
 

simplesam

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I've seen tutorials for recovering a latop from a liquid spill, where they use Denatured alcohol or 99% pure isopropyl alcohol to rinse electronics.
 

YeuEmMaiMai

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wash them down with circuit board cleaner and your problem will be solved. you can buy that at radio shack
 

PrincessFrosty

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I wouldn't dunk the entire card, any capacitors holding charge could still damage ICs if they're short circuited through water.

Most of the smoke smell will be from the actual HSF itself since that dealt with the greatest throughput of air, I'd carefully remove that and detach the fan, then soak it for as long as possible give it a good wash down then let it completely dry and reattach with new thermal paste.
 

LanceDiamond

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Radio guy told me this trick for used HAM equipment owned by smokers - works great.

Take a bunch (10+) of dryer sheets - bounce or whatever - and place in a plastic bag with the thing you want to de-smell. Seal the bag (I used a large garbage bag with a bunch of equipment and just tied the top shut but for a video card a large zip-loc should be fine.)

Leave it sealed up with the dryer sheets for a day or two. Done.

Obviously avioid using dryer sheets with some Godawful smell to them.
 

Notleh

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This is nasty. I would be so pissed if I had a card that smelled like cigarette smoke. I would be cursing at it all day.
 

canon.tk

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This is one of the reasons I stopped fixing people's computers. The computer seems to suck in whatever nasty smell they have in their home.

One time this woman brought her PC into work so one of us could fix it. The moment you turned it on it gave you the nastiest blast of smoke stink you could ever imagine. We refused to work on it.

Even if you don't do anything with it, the smell will go away over time. After my grandmother was put in a home I was given a couple of old old family furniture items. My uncle smoked in her home and both items smelled badly of smoke. I wiped them down with Pledge and after a couple weeks the smell was gone.
 

ZMTToxics

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Rubbing alcohol is about the only thing I can think of, then let it sit out for a while (day or 2).
 

dandragonrage

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Acetone is what I would recommend, not alcohol. When circuit boards are soldered, they are cleaned with acetone.
 

dandragonrage

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True or not, acetone is better. Otherwise, circuit boards would be cleaned professionally with 90% isopropyl alcohol and not acetone. It probably is the HSF unit mostly, though.
 

kwiksilver

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I just tried the dry sheet trick that lance posted, and it worked pretty well.

I bought a used TRUE 120, and the owner obviously smoked like crazy. I opened the box and it smelled like a bowling alley. I put it in a ziplock with some dryer sheets, and left it for a fews days. Problem solved.
 

ZMTToxics

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True or not, acetone is better. Otherwise, circuit boards would be cleaned professionally with 90% isopropyl alcohol and not acetone. It probably is the HSF unit mostly, though.

What is he more likely to have in the house? Rubbing alcohol or acetone? :p

We used isopropyl in the electronics labs when I did electronics engineering in college, it works just fine and there is no reason to say acetone trumps it when isopropyl is usually more readily available.
 
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mtrupi

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Acetone is a solvent to plastics so be careful if you use it on your electronics.
 

ir0nw0lf

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What is he more likely to have in the house? Rubbing alcohol or acetone? :p

Um, LOL, around these forums and what some of the people here do, probably not clear-cut answer to that like you'd think. :p

I've heard of the dryer sheet thing before from a HAMmer many years ago. Good cheap and readily available option to try, if it doesn't work, not like you are out big $$$.
 

BinarySynapse

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dismantle the card, use a soft brush and a sink ful of warm water mixed with a mild dish soap. I've done it dozens of times and never had an issue with hurting anything. The only problem that might be made worse is a bad cap. Just make sure to get it completely dry.

EDIT: make sure you replace any thermal paste, and keep any thermal pads dry if you plan to reuse them.
 

kent

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What a bunch of sissies you guys are

I don't even smoke but it's not that big of a deal.
 

BinarySynapse

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What a bunch of sissies you guys are

I don't even smoke but it's not that big of a deal.

The smell get to be quite awful after 5 years of chain-smoking right beside the computer's intake vent.


Being around someone smoking doesn't bother me.. being in their house makes it hard to breathe for me.
 
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What a bunch of sissies you guys are

I don't even smoke but it's not that big of a deal.

It kind of is, I wouldn't by a used car that has ever been smoked in even if it were a great deal. Sure as heck wouldn't buy electronics and other more readily available items that reeked of smoke either... that shit is nasty.
 

Spare-Flair

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I am a wierd one. I don't smoke but I like the smoke smell. Reminds me of hotels for some reason.
 

cannondale06

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I am a wierd one. I don't smoke but I like the smoke smell. Reminds me of hotels for some reason.
stinky hotel rooms, gross. at times smokers make life miserable for the rest of us with that disgusting stinky smoke. I guess if they don't care about themselves then they usually aren't concerned if it bothers others.
 
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I've always wondered whether ozone would do enough damage to the PCB that it would shorten the computer's lifespan significantly. It would be very nice if you could just stick a stinky computer in a box with an ozone machine for a few minutes.
 

NKDietrich

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People who smoke around computers need to have their computers taken away from them. I've seen some disgusting smoke damage over the years. Brown filth caked into heatsinks, etc. Bought an old rig off someone a couple years ago for $20 that I figured I could part out for $200-250. Once I got it and saw what was inside, and the smell, I decided to eat the $20 and destroy the thing because there was no way I was going to sell anyone those components.

Seriously. Putting contaminants into the air where your computer is running is just stupid as hell, to say nothing of your inevitably long and painful death from lung cancer.

If you're going to do it, at least have the good sense to label your shit "FUCKING NASTY SMOKE DAMAGED SHIT" when selling it.
 

canon.tk

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Just imagine what their lungs look and smell like. Oh yeah, well all know and people still smoke.

"But I'm stressed! I NEED to smoke!" "When you're stressed don't you feel like smoking?"

Yeah, never.
 

SPARTAN VI

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Mask it with none other than... BACON.

Next time your mommy/wifey/girlfriend/random female decides to make bacon, grab the left over bacon fat and rub it over your heatsink. Every time your GPU is under load prepare for bacony goodness. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm..
 

BallerX

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Fuck you guys, I like smoking.
Anyway, if you don't care about the stickers and such, then just remove the heatsink and soak the card in 99% iso for about an hour. Put it in the oven with the door cracked on 150f for about 2 hours. Good as new.

If you don't feel like going through that. Then buy a couple of cans of electronics parts cleaner from RS and hose it down. Let it sit for long enough for the cleaner to evaporate and you are GTG.

On a side note. I have never had a piece of equipment smell like smoke and I puff like a chimney. Some people don't know how to clean their shit.
 

cannondale06

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Fuck you guys, I like smoking.
Anyway, if you don't care about the stickers and such, then just remove the heatsink and soak the card in 99% iso for about an hour. Put it in the oven with the door cracked on 150f for about 2 hours. Good as new.

If you don't feel like going through that. Then buy a couple of cans of electronics parts cleaner from RS and hose it down. Let it sit for long enough for the cleaner to evaporate and you are GTG.

On a side note. I have never had a piece of equipment smell like smoke and I puff like a chimney. Some people don't know how to clean their shit.
you may not notice it but everything you smoke around stinks just like you.
 
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