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It's common knowledge that water damage on many electronic devices can be mitigated using isopropyl alcohol at a high concentration.

Many guides have mentioned disconnecting the battery before using isopropyl alcohol on the device. It can be tricky to remove the battery of certain electronics devices (such as many apple laptops), so I was wondering whether someone could please inform me about the consequences of submerging the body (not the screen) of a laptop that has been powered down in a tub containing 99.9% isopropyl alcohol without unscrewing any components (i.e. leaving the lithium-ion batteries inside the device)? The amount of isopropyl alcohol will be just enough to cover the keyboard.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont know the answer to your question. But if you try this please do it in a fire proof container, in an area where you are okay with having a large fire and fumes, and have a lid nearby so that once the fire starts you can easily close a lid over the top of the container. Oh, also have something to put out any flames that start on nearby materials and give some consideration on what to do if the container developes a leak while in flames. Good luck :D \$\endgroup\$ – serpixo Nov 21 '19 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen so would it be generally considered safe to perform the procedure described in 99.99999 anhydrous isopropyl alcohol and then leave the device for a few hours to dry out? \$\endgroup\$ – NM_ Nov 21 '19 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NM_ No, because your laptop is going to introduce residues into the solution. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen Nov 21 '19 at 18:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would NOT do this! Stuff happens - cell phones catching fire, hover boards catching fire. You could be disfigured for life. Take the thing apart or buy a new one. It will cost less than the medical bills. \$\endgroup\$ – peterdeco1 Nov 21 '19 at 18:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you really have 99.9% isopropyl alcohol? IPA forms an azeotrope with water, meaning 91% concentration is the max from simple distillation. To reach a higher purity, molecular sieves or other methods are used, which adds to the cost and reduces availability. In any case, it would take much longer than a few hours to dry internally - perhaps several days due to essentially zero airflow internally. \$\endgroup\$ – rdtsc Nov 21 '19 at 19:30
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Pure isopropyl alcohol is not conductive...but minor contaminants (such as those that may be found on a PCB board after manufacturing) will cause it to become conductive. I would not do it ever.

As for consequences...explosive lithium fires.

If I really did not want to remove the battery, I would make a makeshift vacuum chamber to try and dry it out.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Even disregarding the lithium, IPA is flammable/explosive by itself! \$\endgroup\$ – bitsmack Nov 21 '19 at 18:57

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