Wednesday, July 23, 2008

silica to the rescue

I recently became intimatly aquainted with Silica Gell because of stupidity. My wife and I went to the pool and after tossing the towl on the chair I jumped right in. Approximatly 3 seconds after jumping in I realized that my car keys (with built in keyless entry / alarm system) and my USB flash drive were in my pocket. Immediatly I got the keys out of the water, poped open the keyless entry and removed the battery. When I got home a few minutes later I ran both under the faucet to flush out the chemicals from the pool. Enter the salvation for electronics - silica

If you've purchased anything from a jacket to a camera bag over the past 50 years, chances are you have run across Silica Gell packets. Silica is designed to maintain low humidity within it's local surroundings by absorbing moisture. Manufacturers who ship camera bags or clothing place the gel in their product to maintain the integrity of their product during transit from the factory to the warehouse and then to the vendor. Changing temperatures can cause condensation which can lead to mold or discoloration of cloth. Silica was initially developed and used during WWI & WWII to keep shipments of penecilin dry and reduce moisture damage of military equipment.

I placed the wet electronics in a sealable plastic bag and filled the bag with as many silica packets as I could find. I let the keys sit for two days in the bag and when I removed them - THEY WORKED GOOD AS NEW! The Silica actualy reches in and abzorbs the moisture from the components. If you shoot in humid enviroments toss some Silica in your camera bag and any condensation will be absorbed. When I shoot in the winter and I come inside - I dump tons of silica packets in my bag as soon as I come in the door. After filling my bag I zip it up and leave it by the door. No matter which way you slice it - moisture kills electronics. Silica is dirt cheap (in most cases free). If you don't have any you can purchase packets of Silica at most hobby / craft stores. Silica Gell just might save your electronics!

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