So a Thing Happened to the Server

So, and interesting thing happened just this past Friday while I was messing around playing games on my computer. I spilled water on my server.

For those who do not know, I currently use a Dell PowerEdge 1850 rack mounted server as my general purpose server for the things that I do. This server provides a platform for this website, my LizardCam, an IRC server, a Ventrilo server, and a Plex Media server that I use to enjoy my various movies and videos and things. I keep it on a desk right next to my computer. Since the actual machine is really flat, this works out well and I can just put stuff on top of it like it were a part of the desk.

Now before you think that I’m putting water on my server, no, I’m not. I’m not quite that stupid. I’m still pretty stupid though. I was keeping a big jug of water right neeext to it. And I was turning my chair and it tipped over right onto the machine. It was pretty bad and very stupid.

Now, the first instinct at the time was to turn it off. Immediately. I did a hard stop on the box and opened it up and checked for moisture and water. For the most part, it looked like it was fairly localized around the left hard drive and on the front plane. I took a few pieces of paper towel to it to try and dry it out, and removed some pieces to check for any moisture here and there. I gave it a little while to dry off, and then tried to restart it. All went well for a few minutes while the machine went through it’s various start up checks, but when it tried to spool up the disk drive for the start up check, it turned itself off.

Now, the neat thing about these Dell machines is that they will turn themselves back on after a power outage or after any event that causes them to switch off. It tried to turn itself back on. Once, then twice, and then it stayed off. That was really weird. And any time that I tried to turn it back on after that, it switched itself off again. So, at this point, I was really scared that the machine was a lost cause. I tried everything. Tried hooking up a monitor to it so that I could see any errors and got nothing. Tried to switch which power supply I was using and also got nothing. It would power up the fans for a short bit, and then switch itself off again in very short order.

So yeah, I was pretty certain that the machine was toast at that point, and it felt awful. But, I sought counsel from my various friends who are familiar with Dell products and hard ware in general. The consensus was that “Yeah, it might be toast, but you need to let it air out and dry for a few days before you try starting it up again.” So, that’s what I did, despite how impatient I was to try and restart the damned thing. The whole incident happened on a Friday, and I let it air out until Monday morning when I tried restarting again.

And here’s the really cool part. It started up and ran as though nothing had happened. I was fully expecting that it would not work, but it did! I was astonished! Very impressed with the hardware!

Oh yeah, and I’m going to try and be less stupid with this machine now. I’ve put it up on some stilts so that it sits above the desk instead of on it. That way, if there IIIS spillage, it’ll just go under the machine instead of on top of it.

So yeah, that happened.