Why does water damage ruin electronics?

Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I don't understand how water damages logic boards. I got a water damaged iPod, and I've cleaned off all the connectors and resoldered the joints, but it still doesn't work. Can anyone give me a technical reason, such as resistors, shorts, processor problems, corrosion, and so forth, as to how water actually ruins devices? And can you submerge a disconnected and unpowered logic board, pull it out and connect it when it's dry, and shouldn't it work?

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fryarludwig, yes you could do that.What happens is that pure water does not conduct electricity. Any impurities, like salts or minerals etc., in the water enable it to conduct electricity. "When salts are dissolved in water, they separate into different electrically charged atoms called ions. Salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl), breaks up into positive Na ions and negative Cl ions." If you place a battery with a negative pole and a positive pole into water, the negative ions will be attracted to the positive pole and the positive ions will be attracted to the negative pole thus creating a closed circuit. So what that means is that it is the ions that are dissolved in the water that make water conduct electricity. You now submerge any kind of powered board in the water which contains those salts, minerals etc ( call it a solution) and you will short circuit any open contact. If it is off, you will be dealing with the corrosion that these impurities can cause, especially under SMD components, IC's etc. That is why I prefer isopropyl alcohol since that displaces water and does not carry those impurities. Always immerse the circuit boards in the alcohol. Not a perfect scientific explanation, but I hope it makes sense.

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Beautiful, thank you.

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+1 on the mark!

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Does electricity damage components other than corrosion?

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It depends on the electrical pathways created by the conductive material (i.e. salty water, metal, etc...) And in addition, a voltage that the circuit was not designed to handle (i.e. plugging in a 110 volt device into a 220 volt main, static electricity, etc...) Lastly, overtime the electrical components them selves can fail from age or overheating.

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