• REGEND

    So here’s my drink spill story. I Dj’d a Halloween party alongside a friend and were arrived at the venue early. We witnessed some people stealing Hennessy bottles from behind the bar and they left. The party promoter blamed my friend and I and even though she didn’t know my name she remembered my face. Fast forward a few months to May of the next year and I am Djing a party at a bar and same promoter was there, saw me, and time her drink spill as soon as i dropped a big tune and pretended to act as if someone bumped her. Luckily nothing happened but I did have to clean out the faceplate and faders on my Tascam XS-8.

  • Jesse Herr

    qc cleaner?

  • Sam

    you guys rock. I literally asked you guys a question about this like 2 days ago.

  • Ledisko

    Quick tip… Those silicon keyboard covers have saved my laptop’s life a few times. And try to rise things off the dj table so if a drink spills on the table it wont affect the electronics.

  • The Real DJ Khinoti

    Now this is an article that every deejay deserves to have all details about in all their deejaying career.Well done DJ Tech Tools.

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  • Don Julien

    About 2 months ago I accidentally dropped my coffee on my MacBook Air. No big gig here, just a pre-office Starbucks… Anyway, I turned the thing upside down, turned it off, and started to dry it as much as possible with napkins.

    As I was at a mall, I left the shop in shame and ran to the office supply store, where I bought a can of compressed air. Since you can’t open a MacBook Air fast enough without the right tools, I needed to get out as much capuccino as possible, fast. I blew and blew compressed air in between the keys and every cavity I saw, cleaning the droplets of coffee with more napkins. If you remember your physics lessons, you could have guessed that given the sudden pressure change inside the air can, its temperature drops. Boy, it drops! I had to use the coffee sleeve to handle it, just to go from hurting cold to uncomfortable chill. I think I used most of the air out of the can, but no more droplets came out. The can was covered in frost.

    The Mac shop was still closed, and I had to go to the office. At lunch time, the Mac shop was already open so I went. The tech guy gave me the lecture about how unlikely it would be for my Mac to survive. I insisted to get it opened and cleaned. More lecture and disclaimer, but they took it. I’m pretty shure they go the alcohol route stated here.

    Two days later, tech guy called. “Your Mac is OK. I guess your air-blowing saved it. It could still fail at any given moment, but for now, it seems just fine”. And fine it is!

    Maybe it would be good advice to keep a can of compressed air with your gear ;)

  • sandeep

    place it in a box of silica gel (small sachets found in various shoe boxes) and forget about it for 3-4days

    • noxxi

      only if its just water on your gear, if its juice like a vodka and coke, thats not going to help at all :( sorry

      • sandeep

        yes it would end up sticky for anything other then water.

  • Docks

    Sadly happened to my S4 cuz of a friend of mine that bought me a drink… I cleaned it up, opened it to dry it but my right fader is having some bugs (the middle range can’t be used anymore) and my S4 is now unable to work properly… Never let this happened. 1 time is enough, take care of your gear guys…

    • noxxi

      try squirting water directly into the fader slot (you need to open it up again) whilst sliding the fader back and forward. trust me this is almost guaranteed to work, there is most likely gunk stuck on the fader tracks inside.

      • Docks

        Yep that’s what I tried yesterday afternoon, last chance ^^
        I pulled of the back panel and use my shower to put water in the fader slot while i slid with it. I’m waiting for it to dry. Fingers crossed !

        • noxxi

          good luck! i hope it works for you, s4′s certainly aint cheap!

  • tetrix

    All i saw was water being poured on a circuit board and a tear fell from my eye

    • noxxi

      haha! dont worry, it survived ;)

  • http://www.2pr0sp3r.tk ??????? ???????????

    99% Isopropyl alcohol is THE best for cleaning internal electronics. It is cheap, effective, and safe (for the electronics). It is FLAMMABLE, so work smart. 90% still has impurities that may leave your board with a white film (impurities) which still may lead to short circuits. 99% ISA can be purchased at almost any drug store and online. Go ahead and use a medium bristle toothbrush to scrub it down. Here is a video about removing flux, but the concept is exactly the same. In the video he states to avoid anything mechanical (physically moving parts), but if you have a drink gumming up the physically moving parts, this is where you want to clean.
    https://vimeo.com/95181275

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  • Mike Kraze

    Oh also a bin of dry uncooked rice is your best friend here!

  • Mike Kraze

    I still wouldn’t use tap water, especially here in Florida the water is very hard. 90% isopropyl/Rubbing Alcohol should work even better and will evaporate in seconds. Just my $0.02, great article though.

  • http://www.subterror-radio.com/ DJ Shiva

    I’m a Nazi about drinks near my gear. I will toss out people’s drinks if they set them on the same table with my gear.

  • Richard

    I had such a lucky break at my gig tonight.
    At this particular venue, you DJ on stage in front of everyone. There’s a small cage which the DJ gear sits on – only big enough to fit the CDJs and mixer, so I had to put a small table next to it, to put my laptop on.
    Only problem is though, if you’re playing a killer set, everybody jumps up on stage to dance with you and that table becomes an instant magnet for everyone to put their stuff down on to. Shirts, handbags and yes – drinks.
    I tell anyone that puts a drink there to move it away, but as you say – you only have to take your eye off the ball for a second for disaster to strike.
    Some intoxicated guy went to put his drink down on the table and misses – the full glass of beer goes everywhere. Luckily most of the beer went in the opposite direction to the laptop, which only got a light splash on it.
    And I was able to quickly lift it off and wipe up the puddle on the table before it could do any real damage. But most of the beer went over the edge and poured directly in to the powerboards for the CDJ and mixer (which were hidden from my sight).
    Since I’d save my laptop and “the show must go on”, I kept DJing for about 30 mins before BOOM – the powerboard frizzed and everything went dead.
    Took about 5 mins before we had the power back on to everything – but what a nightmare that was and completely exhausting,

  • Santa Creek Furrows

    I’ve seen this stuff in action on RC electronics, it can pretty much make things waterproof…. it’s worth looking into. I’m going to source a can of it for a few applications, and may just try and hose down my mixtrack pro 2 internals with it and see what happens…. wondering if it will be OK on the faders. http://corrosionx.com/corrosionx.html

    • noxxi

      the faders would likely scrape it off the tracks inside, plus you need to watch out for it gunking up the tactile switches. it will probably protect most of the smal components though, but only to a minimal degree. if that helps

  • Matthias

    Dont use a hairdryer, too easy to overdo it… just let it dry out for a week with a pc casefan running next to it.

  • he he

    LIQUIPEL it like Steve Aoki

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  • Futureglue Musik

    “No Beer Near The Gear” is my moto. Hasn’t happened to me yet [fingers xed]
    Thanks for the upside down trick!

  • Eduardo

    you always want to blow dry it and give it a few hours to dry, same principles can be applied to any electronic device. Also if anythings gets into a fader you want to clean immediately because I had several times where beer has gone into my crossfader and it makes corruption on the contacts of the fader.

  • Shaku Belascoain Kirby

    A mi me ha pasado con cerveza y vino. Por suerte no hubo ningún daño, ya que yo soy de los “the show must go on” =/
    Creo que si me hubiesen tirado mucho líquido, hubiese apagado todo… voy a tener en cuenta estos tips gracias.
    PD: soy el único que escribe en español (?)

  • FUNK SINATRA

    Actually, the only real time a thing like this happend to me:
    2000, a guy drops a full glass of beer on my cd metal suitcase,fulled with orginal cd singles and original albums. glass and beer all over. There and then I wished for a computer to play music with…..

  • Stephine Prestatyn

    I manage and DJ in a venue , dont let any drinks near the gear !! ,,,and i make it clear to other DJ’s … best thing is to have a drink holder built in the dj box and only use that. customers thou when they have had a few and its busy can be a challenge if you have a “open” DJ box

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  • http://www.mixcloud.com/phoenixfyrewolf/ Fyrewolf

    Something that saved quite a few bits of gear in my time…if you can’t get the gear to a spot to open it up right away, find a place that is warm and dry to put it until you can. I had a laser get rained on at a festival. We put the thing near the amp racks for the rest of the weekend and when we opened it up we found that the damage was minimal. I’ve seen many promoters and DJs say “well it’s ruined already, so screw it” and leave gear out in the rain or in places where more crap gets spilled on it. That extra step of stowing wet gear someplace where it will be dry seems like a no-brainer, but people tend not to think about it in a panic.

    Great article!

  • DeeJay Fotifo

    one girl spilled a drink on my laptop which fried instantly.
    I was so pissed

  • Juliane

    As others have pointed out, using water is not the best way. For alcohol I always keep some isopropyl alcohol (2-propanol) at home (and otherwise can get it at some stores or a pharmacy). Isopropyl alcohol can be used for many cleaning uses and it is good to cleanup spillage. It will also drive out water out of connectors etc.

  • Marcel Mono

    I’ll dj on a shaky boat with lot’s of drunk people, so this article may be relevant to me…i hope it won’t ;)

  • Patch

    AWESOME custom cable work there, Noxxi ! ;-)

    • noxxi

      haha! thanks! using a “wiring loom” helps to me to set up a lot quicker, its probably not so good for the cables, but i always take spares :)

  • Patch

    AWESOE custom cable work there, Noxxi ! ;-)

  • Oddie O’Phyle

    i’ve used alcohol to clean up pcb’s and mobo’s for just this reason, i find that it’ll even break down dried coca-cola. as for a hair dryer, i find that the forced air gun on my smd solder station makes short work of it. thankfully i don’t have this problem myself as i don’t drink and my practices over the years don’t allow me to put open fluids by my gear.

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  • teknik1200

    Only beer spilled on me went right inside of the record box.

    I learned to store my records with the opening to the side from there on out. They all came clean but cleaning 100 records is a PITA but at least not electronic!

  • Kamma Loca

    The best thing that u can can do,with your own equipment, after the disaster strikes

    is to to leave them dry ,and then take them to a proffesional to open them… you are going to loose some bucks, but propably you are gonna save the equipment…..

    • noxxi

      this is false, if you leave it to dry inside, then removing the gunk will be much harder, the gunk is also corrosive, very corrosive, by the time its completely dry irreparable damage may have been caused. sure a professional will be much better equipped to dismantle equipment, but anyone with patience can do it, its really not that difficult to take a few screws out and unplug a few wires :)

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  • Gabbo

    fuck it, it’s only a Behringer

    • Ian

      Behringer has some surprising gems if you know what to look for.

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    A note on laptops; once the battery is out, hold down the power button to completely discharge any residual power in the system.

    • noxxi

      this is a great call, that i forgot to include in this article. well spotted

  • Greg Lane

    You should use alcohol and alcohol only that you would use for soldering.

    • noxxi

      you probably should, however not many people have a lot of alcohol lying about. rinsing a large board would require litres of the stuff. you also don’t want to leave that gunk on your gear corroding circuits whilst you wait on acquiring said alcohol. i do appreciate where your coming from though :)

  • Cyberia

    You could also get a KB Cover for your laptop. It won’t be 100% waterproof but it saves it from most liquids getting below the keyboard into the internals.

  • chris

    normally, i had some aura in the controller-area, and everybody knows this, that when the music stops, this is an really bad mood.

  • Steve Francesco

    Most Tap water contains minerals that will leave deposits on the equipment. If you are going to use water its use distilled water or at the very least boiled water that has been left to go cold. Pure Alcohol or Non lubricating contact cleaner spray is a much better solution.

    If you are going to go to the extreame of washing out the gear with water, you can set up a little “greenhouse” tent in a sunlit area out of a few plastic bags and coat hangers set up over a rice filled tray and set your gear up on a raised platform inside this will allow mosture to be drawn out without leaving a starchy mess on your gear.

    Above all, get sugary drinks like beer, cocktails or soda out of your equipment as fast as possible as many are corrosive beyond belief and can do serious damage within hours.

    • noxxi

      that’s a good point to add to this article, i live in scotland where the water is very soft, so this isn’t a huge problem for me and i have had this technique work many times.
      again your totally correct about getting the gunk out asap! maybe a good compromise in this situation is to wash it out with tap water immediately, and then when you have distilled water or alcohol, give it a second wash to remove any calcium deposits or metals the tap water left behind

    • Oddie O’Phyle

      citric acid has to be one of the worst for this.

    • Chaser720

      Q-Tips and alcohol are your friend here.

      Also be sure to clean the plastic casing thoroughly too. I had an issue on my Z2 where buttons were sticking after a spill. After board cleaning and reassembly, I realized the stickiness was gunk between the buttons and faceplate of the mixer.

  • http://djsaintrob.com/ Saint Rob,Club mU

    This may sound a bit odd but i’ve taken to the habit of putting all my drinks on the floor while in the booth. While I’ve kicked over a few drinks during my set, I’d rather have a wet floor than wet gear. Also, if someone is handing me a drink, I use the opportunity to politely explain that you never pass a drink over the equipment.

    • noxxi

      yeah i usually put them anywhere but near the decks! too many lessons learned the hard way!

  • kebzer

    Let me share my experience with such situations.

    Last summer during a festival I had an entire pint of beer dropped on my mixer, while the music was on. To give you an idea of the damage, when I turned my mixer upside down, about half of that pint dripped out from every possible opening of that mixer…

    Now the real problem was with that specific mixer. See, I sport a VESTAX PMC 08, which is a 100% digital mixer. With the 05s of the past, you could get away from such a situation because they didn’t had that many digital boards in them. But with the 08, the chances of a complete fry were more than evident…

    What I did, besides the *very* correct steps described in this article, was to WAIT. Yes, I waited patiently for a whole week for everything to be completely dry. If you dry everything with a hairdresser you might miss a few spots, especially inside the casing, and if you rush and fire up the thing right away you might cause again a short circuit and kill it completely. Keep everything separated and let them dry out for an entire week. Your chances of saving it might increase exponentially.

    And a few extra tips around such a situation:

    1. Always have access to a MASTER MUTE button/switch, in case you don’t have one on your equipment. During a spillage your machine will most probably overdrive the shit out of the MASTER output and A) you might fry the entire sound system B) destroy the hearing of your audience and C) piss off everybody to the maximum possible point.

    2. Always carry with you a set of screwdrivers with interchangeable heads. Chances are that if you tear everything down within the first half an hour of the damage, you will stop the damage on spot and save your machine from further troubles.

    3. Always, and I really mean always, KEEP AWAY any drinks. From anyone. You cannot stop someone from the audience from throwing a bottle on stage, but you most definetely can stop someone from stepping over a cable inside the booth and *accidentaly* throw his vodka on your machine. In my case that person was the next DJ on the line up, i.e. not some random dude.

    4. Sugar contained inside drinks is what causes the most of the damage. Even if a soda is thrown on your equipment, you must make sure that you wash out all kinds of residuals from that drink. If they stay on the boards, they will eat out the shit of everything.

    5. Alcohol is not the ideal solution for washing any boards. It can burn the boards and circuits. The safest is the solution used for cleaning vinyl records.

    6. Take some time and learn the insides of your equipment. Knowing where is what can save you highly valuable time in such a situation.

    7. Be 100% sure of what you are doing when you are putting everything back together. A lot of damages occur during reassembling from miss connected cables on boards.

    • noxxi

      nice tips, and thanks :) the inspiration to write this article came from my experience as well.
      at the end of a not to spectacular night in a local club, i stupidly accepted a beer bought for me and placed it next to my equipment. everyone had left by now so i assumed it would be fine. however as i pulled out my usb cables, i didnt realise that half of them were nicely coiled around my new pint. boom beer in one of my PL-1′s my Kontrol F1 and my MM-1. it was pretty gutting as i literally poured the drink out from the fader slots!

      still though, that gear is working fine again, following the steps. making sure its completely dry is very important, i was comfortable with just a hair dryer, but if it have been an s4 or a z2 i would have waited longer, cuz you know… they are pretty expensive :D

    • Oddie O’Phyle

      to be honest, it’s not the sugar that will corrode the traces, it’s the citric acid contained in soda and fruit juices that is your real problem. the sugar is still a problem as it tends to coat everything in a sticky mess.
      i had no problems cleaning the laptop mobo that my brother sneezed a full mouthful of iced tea on to. the pop that he heard before powering down was thankfully only a controller/logic board on the hard drive itself.
      after cleaning the mobo with pure alcohol and resealing the traces, i can say that 5 years later it is still running.

      • kebzer

        Thanks for the tip around the citric acid, my chem knowledge is not that extensive!

        Pure alcohol is a bit tricky though. I’ve noticed through the years that if I use it on a board, it can cause burns on circuits because they tend to overuse silicone to keep things together, even on parts they are not supposed to, due to cost cutting. That is why I use the same solution for vinyl or for cleaning tape heads, its the safest option for someone not so keen with circuits/chemicals.

  • isaias

    i herd putting in a bag of rice helps with wet electronics.

    Does anyone know that this is true?

    • Merkaba

      Yes, rice will help to draw moisture out, however it will not remove the sticky sugar from things like beer or soft drinks.

    • Richard III

      Rice will absorb the humidity. Still ,it will leave some non desirable starch on your gear, which you will have to wash after that…
      Best emergency dryer is paper nakpin. quite absorbant and you can find it in every single party.
      If you get vodka or gin on your gear it might not be the end of the world. But if it’s rhum or if there’s any kind of sugared soda in it, man you’re gonna have a bad time cleaning it. That shit sticks like hell.

    • kebzer

      Yes, this is true but it is a very slow process, not ideal in case of a damage. Another option is to keep those small bags you find inside your new pair of shoes and use them as moisture absorbers, but again they work slow.

  • Carl Frie

    Very timely article, just happened to me late Saturday night!

    • noxxi

      unlucky! hopefully your gear is ok!