Saving A Wet Cell Phone
November 8, 2006 10:41am CST
Did you ever drop your cellphone in a puddle or even the toilet? I did. (Don't ask how that happened…) It happens to be one of the most annoying things to happen to a cell freak like me. It usually means you have to replace your phone, which obviously sucks. But now - thanks to the experts at WikiHow - we learn that sometimes, if you're fast enough, you can still save your baby in time. * Remove the Battery. This is one of the most important steps. Don't take time to think about it, electricity and water do not mix. Cutting power to your phone is a crucial first step in saving it. * Dry your Phone. Obviously you need to remove as much of the water as soon as you can to prevent it from getting into the phone. Use a towel or a paper towel to remove as much of the water as possible. * Soak in Alcohol. Alcohol is hygroscopic (attracts water), it will dissolve all the water in the phone, which will then pour out of the phone with the alcohol. Any remaining alcohol will evaporate. Alcohol will not harm your phone but may mess up glue (from stickers and the like). Use 95% alcohol, not the regular 70% rubbing type. Do it outside!. If you use alcohol, do not follow the rest of the advice here, instead leave your phone outside for a day or two to dry. * Allow the phone to dry. Since you do not want to ruin your phone or lose all the numbers in your phone book, you need to allow the phone to dry. Don't try putting the battery back on to see if it works as this would risk damaging the phone with a short circuit. Leaving your phone in a bowl of dry rice will help to expedite moisture evaporation. * Heat your Phone. Apply enough heat to your phone to cause the water to evaporate without waterlogging your digital screen. One of the best things you can do to save a cell phone is to set it on the back of your computer monitor or TV screen over the heat vents. This is usually the perfect amount of heat to fix your phone. The convection action of the heat vents will help carry away the moisture in your phone. Leave the phone on the heat for at least 2-3 days. Another option is to leave it overnight in the oven on warm (make sure to take off the battery first). * Test your Phone. After you have waited 3 days, make sure everything is clean and dry looking and re-attach the battery to the phone and see if it works. If your phone does not work repeat step 4. If it still won't work, try taking your cell phone to an authorized dealer. Sometimes they can fix it. TIPS: 1. Don't put the battery on for at least 3 days or longer if your digital screen is foggy. 2. Place a piece of satin finish scotch tape over your water damage sticker before you drop your cell phone in the water to prevent the water damage sticker from voiding your warranty. This sticker can usually be found under your battery. It's a small round white sticker, possibly with dots on it. If this sticker gets wet it changes color and your phone is marked for water damage. 3. Remove the tape if you ever have to return your phone for repairs or warranty. (See the note in the 'Warnings' section about doing this!) 4. The best way to dry out your phone is to place it in front of an air conditioner or air conditioning vent. Cold air won't damage your phone (hot air can warp or in extreme cases even melt plastic), and air from an air conditioner is dry, and so will evaporate water faster than you might think (which is why a car air conditioner will de-mist the windshield so effectively, even if the engine hasn't warmed up yet). Warm air from a reverse-cycle air conditioner works even better, of course. If you dry your phone in this way overnight it should be fine by the morning. 5. Use a hairdryer set on warm; it won't melt your head so your phone should be safe. 6. Use a food dehydrator. 7. Use the oven on the warm setting (make sure to take out the battery) WARNINGS: 1. Don't heat the battery or it could leak acid. If you use an oven or hairdryer, make sure to remove the battery first. 2. If you use alcohol make sure to do so outside, and do not apply heat in any form, not even the gentle heat of a monitor. Do not hook up the bettery till the alcohol smell dissipates. 3. Do not apply heat to your phone other than mentioned above. You don't want to melt or burn your phone. 4. Warranty fraud is naughty! If you dropped your phone in the can with your other 'droppings'–are you really going to send it in for a warranty tech to have to open? Yuck! 5. FYI, Most modern phones have more than one liquid damage indicator on them, only one visible to you (and sales/technician agents), and chances are, if the sticker under the battery is triggered (or would be, with the scotch tape trick), then the odds are that the internal stickers you can't access are tripped as well. This will still result in you paying a voided-warranty fee in the long run, and it may be best to just learn from your mistake (and not make it more financially severe!). 6. Even if all these steps are followed, minerals dissolved in the water can precipitate on solder and component pins, causing corrosion or shorting. Components pins are packed so closely together in a modern cell phone that even a small encrustation can create a short, rendering the phone inoperable. .