(I should get a gold medal just for the title alone!)

So anyway, I'm out recording the deluge of rain we're getting in Los Angeles last night and I tripped over something and half-submerged my Tascam DR-680 in a wheelbarrow full of muddy water. Not just regular water -- MUDDY water. All 6 mic inputs started frizzing out and then the whole unit shut down. Yesss…

Did I panic?

Of course.

To make a long story shorter, I disassembled the whole thing, drained it, let it air dry overnight, then placed it over a space heater for about 1 hour. And guess what? IT WORKS!

I'm impressed, Tascam. Keep up the sturdy engineering.

  • +1 for the "Best title of the year Gold Badge"! +100 for getting your unit to work again! Must be karma Jay! Dec 21, 2010 at 20:16
  • I just picked up the DR-680, Its good to know it's repairable in even the of worst of situations! Dec 21, 2010 at 20:31
  • 1
    Wow. Unbelievable -- glad it's still alive! Sounds like a story Tascam should feature on the DR-680 product page.
    – Tyler
    Dec 21, 2010 at 21:11
  • @Tyler, it would make a great story but they might not like the fact that I disassembled it myself…they'd rather I'd taken it in for service. Dec 21, 2010 at 21:20
  • 2
    @VCProd wrote, "usually some alcohol at least is needed." But not as much as @Jay would need if his recorder hadn't recovered. :-) Dec 22, 2010 at 0:27

4 Answers 4


Water or other liquids that find their way into electrical items can cause damage when the item is powered up. If this happens, removal of all power sources as soon as possible is your best bet of saving your appliance.

It should also be noted that the sugars in some liquids (coke, beer, etc) will eat into and damage PCB's quickly, so it is imperative to clean these sorts of spills as soon as possible.

From personal experience with various mishaps spilling something onto an electrical item, these are my tips...

  1. Remove all power to the item as soon as possible.
  2. Open, inspect and wash with clean water until you are sure the items are clean
  3. if water alone isn't working, try isopropyl alcohol and a cotton tip (especially for the sugars)
  4. Allow to dry naturally or dry with compressed air completely
  5. Reassemble and you should be sweet to go.

I have used this procedure on many electrical/audio items and it has never let me down. It even worked to clean the pots on an original Roland TR-909 drum machine.

I would love to hear any other solutions people may have.

  • @Dan, great insights for all future waterlogged recordists! Dec 22, 2010 at 3:07
  • I think distilled water is good to use for cleaning electrical products as conductive impurities have been removed. So I would soak it in that first. Of course depending how much dust and crap you have on the motherboard it may take a few soaks. Also remember to use an antistatic strap while cleaning the board and any electronic components.
    – ofa
    Dec 23, 2010 at 13:30

Ok Jay,

You've inspired me :) I posted some of the rain that I recorded yesterday up on my blog:


  • Yesss! My clever ploy has succeeded… Dec 21, 2010 at 23:49
  • @Chuck, great recordings! Dec 21, 2010 at 23:50
  • Thanks Jay! Looks like there will be more recordings soon, these storms are persistant. Dec 22, 2010 at 0:33
  • @Chuck - I'm curious, what types of rain recordings would you focus on if you only had dynamic mics available? Dec 22, 2010 at 3:31
  • Good question. I've never tried dynamics for rain, but I suspect my approach would be similar to what I've done with condensers. I try to find place with the rain interacting with something that makes a cool sound: on cars, puddles, mud, coming out of a drain, a wheelbarrow full of water :), etc. I usually try to get my mics real close to the source. Dec 22, 2010 at 4:00

OK @chuck,

You've inspired ME! Posted a snippet of that intense rain we had in the valley today:


Not sure the recording really does it justice…there was so much power and violence in that storm. Scary rain!

  • Nice stuff! I was out during some of that crazy rain yesterday. Have to go through the recordings still. Dec 24, 2010 at 4:16

During a foley session which involved a bucket of water, I accidentally bumped the mic stand which was housing a studio prospect mic and timber!!!!! it went directly into the full bucket of water!

I turned completely cold as it was not my mic and could only think of the damage I had just caused and the bill I would receive. After some quick thinking/internet surfing, I found that putting it outside under the sun to dry might work ...and....voila! It worked!

Good gear tends to be very durable.

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