BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Delmer Hoover
 

Clean camera


Is there any way to clean and/or repair a camera that was accidentally soaked in hairspray?


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9/20/2007 4:36:08 PM

 
W.    With a brush and dish washer detergent?


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9/20/2007 4:58:58 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   We need to know more!
Exterior only in hair spray?
Soaked, meaning submerged?
Type of camera?
Type of hair spray?

Alan Marcus
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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9/20/2007 5:21:53 PM

 
Delmer Hoover   My Fuji FinePix 330 digital camera was soaked with Suave extreme hold unscented hairspray with the batteries installed but not turned on. The spray can was accidetally turned on. Although the camera was not submerged, there was significant liquid inside. It could be seen on the LCD screen and some drained out.


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9/21/2007 7:51:52 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   The max value for this camera is about $150 US dollars. Therefore I think you should consider the camera lost forever.

Should you be a brave heart, you might want to try an experiment with a less than a 1% chance of successes.

First we need to find a solvent for the hairspray. I suggest spraying some on you mirror. Allow this sample area to dry and try alcohol on a cotton ball. If it removes the sample with ease, then we use alcohol. There are two kinds of commonly available alcohol. Methyl is made from wood. Ethel is made from grain. Ethel is the preferred solvent. You can get Ethel at the drug store as injection grade denatured (goes against nature makes you vomit if your drink). You can get Ethel at the liquor store as vodka. Ethel alcohol is used in optics and electronics because it evaporates (enters the spirit world) leaving no residue.

Thus as a last ditch effort, submerge the entire camera minus the batteries in vodka. Soak for an hour or two. Remove and place outside in the warm sunlight and light breeze (facilities evaporation). Maybe if you have enough pixie dust in your neighborhood, the camera will live again. Reminder, Clapp and Clapp again and repeat I believe.

PS save some vodka and add an olive on a toothpick. Continue clapping and repeating I believe.

Alan Marcus (dispenses foolish thoughts remotely related to photo engineering)

ammarcus@earthlink.net


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9/21/2007 12:48:18 PM

 
Delmer Hoover   Cute. Actually, I think it is soluble in water and we are trying that. I am not going to waste vodka. On the other hand, maybe we can drink after the experiment.

Thank you


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9/21/2007 2:52:39 PM

 
David A. Bliss   Delmar, did you try to turn the camera on after it was soaked in hairspray? If not, you might still be ok. What causes damage in electronic equipment is not that it has been soaked, but that the substance (water, hairspray, etc...) causes electricity to jump across circuits, causing it to short out.

The reason you want to use alcohol instead of water is because alcohol will dry without a residue, while water has a lot of minerals in it. If you really want to use water, I would suggest distilled, as it is as close to pure as you can get. Alcohol is probably best.

As Alan said, no matter what you use, let the camera dry for a very long time. If you live in a dry climate, leaving it out should work. If you live in a humid climate, keep it in an air conditioned area (air conditioners remove moisture from the air). Let it dry longer than you think it needs. You need to make sure all of the moisture has evaporated, and it can take a long time in the cracks and crevices of electronic equipment.


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9/21/2007 3:40:34 PM

 
David A. Bliss   Oh, BTW, as a follow up...

Salt water is a different beast. You can get away with fresh water a lot of times, but if electronic equipment has its internal electronics touched by salt water, then it is in trouble. Salt water is corrosive. This would be true of any corrosive substance.


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9/21/2007 3:46:01 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  you could light the hairspray and burn it off. Kinda like my eyebrows when I light the BBQ


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9/21/2007 5:00:41 PM

 
W.   
"a camera that was accidentally soaked in hairspray"

"My Fuji FinePix 330 digital camera was soaked with Suave extreme hold unscented hairspray"

"The spray can was accidetally turned on. Although the camera was not submerged, there was significant liquid inside. It could be seen on the LCD screen and some drained out"

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept of "accidentally" soaking a digital camera in "extreme hold" hairspray.

LOL!


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9/21/2007 6:40:48 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Derek ?? I think so.
M.


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9/22/2007 8:53:00 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   For those who are not chemically opinionated!
In chemistry distilled water is known as “hungry water”.
Water is distilled (sprits too) by evaporation and condensation of the vapors. In the case of water, after repeating the process several times the water is totally devoid of dissolved substances. This is an unnatural state for water which is alos known as the universal solvent. Thus distilled water is eager to take on solutes. This desire makes it highly corrosive. Don’t use distilled water for this project.

Alan Marcus (dispenser of useless information)
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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9/22/2007 9:44:49 AM

 
David A. Bliss   Alan, this is an interesting point, as distilled water is often used in cleaning ancient coins. But, and please, correct me if I am wrong, while it is mineral hungry, which does make it slightly corrosive, it wouldn't have enough of an effect in the short term to be actually dangerous to electronics. There could be a chance of some "softening" of weld points, but I haven't found any research to show any serious issues with short-term contact. I would think the minerals in tap water would be more detrimental. I am in know way an expert, and could be way off base! See, this is why I love forum discussions, I learn so much!

Personally, in this situation, I would think alcohol would be better for a couple of reasons. First, I have doubts about hairspray being easily water soluble. Second, alcohol evaporates much quicker, and doesn't have the high surface tension that water has, so it potentially would get into tighter spots. Also, alcohol will not promote mildew growth, which could be another issue with water, especially in the lens area.

One downside with alcohol is that it could potentially deteriorate rubber components.

This would be a fun test, if we wanted to buy 3 cheap cameras and dunk them in alcohol, tap water, and distilled water!


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9/22/2007 12:39:22 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  How did all you men come to know about hairspray?


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9/22/2007 1:26:30 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Hi David,

You are correct in the fact that distilled water is ideal for clearing as it evaporates leaving no residue. Consider that if we soak a camera in liquid some fluid will remain in nooks an crannies for some time. While in theory all would eventually evaporate, given time, distilled water will react. One unwanted reaction would be to promote oxidation. Alcohol is often uses as a drying agent. I recall that when one needed fast access to film after processing and washing in water, we would dip the film in alcohol to promote faster drying. We also rinsed film reels in alcohol when we needed them again, fast. These were stainless or plastic reels. Used to position roll film in a coil for compactness as the reel prevents the winds of film in the roll from contacting one another. Thus we develop roll film in a reduced space and even short strips of motion picture film. Winding the film onto the reel is possible only if the reel is bone dry. Thus alcohol was used to speed drying.

As to the camera, doubtless many parts in the camera might be harmed by prolonged contract with a solvent. Who knows which would be the best to use?

Alan Marcus (techno babble with an engineering slant.
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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9/22/2007 2:56:49 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   The girls with perfumed hair let it down when I was 35. Now that I am 70 I can tell you that some used hair spray.

Alan Marcus


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9/22/2007 3:01:15 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus   The girls with perfumed hair let it down when I was 35. Now that I am 70 I can tell you that some used hair spray.

Alan Marcus


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9/22/2007 3:01:39 PM

 
W.   
For what, Alan?


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9/23/2007 9:57:09 AM

 
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