How To: Dropped Your Phone in Water? The Quick Response Guide to Saving Wet Electronics

Dropped Your Phone in Water? The Quick Response Guide to Saving Wet Electronics

It's no secret that water and electronics don't mix well, but somehow, people always manage to combine the two. I've had my fair share of water-damaged electronics, everything from cheap headphones to a desktop computer. My devices are getting dunked in water so much, it's like doughnuts in coffee. And I know I'm not the only one. That jam session with your favorite song will end really quick when your iTouch is chilling in the toilet bowl.

Dropped Your Phone in Water? The Quick Response Guide to Saving Wet Electronics

That's why today's Null Byte is all about giving you a universal first response guide to saving your precious devices, with the easiest, most effective methods. Most devices can be saved, even if fully submerged. But beware, not all water damage can be repaired.

Requirements

  • White rice OR silica packets (i.e. those little packets that say DO NOT EAT on them, which often come in shoe boxes, leather clothes, some foods, etc.)
  • Oven
  • Cloth OR aluminum foil
  • Ziplock bag OR airtight plastic container

NOTE: Silica packets are preferred.

Step 1 Remove the Battery and Disassemble

This is the most important step. Remove the battery! If the battery is not in the device, it won't have any power going through it. If you don't remove the battery, then it's likely to short-circuit. After the battery has been removed, disassemble the device down to the circuit board.

Step 2 Dry It

It's an obvious step, but you've got to get the device dry. Suck the moisture out using rice, or the more preferred silica. Just submerge it directly in either, locked inside a ziplock bag or airtight plastic container.

Dropped Your Phone in Water? The Quick Response Guide to Saving Wet Electronics

After we've done that, we will go a step further and stick the device in the oven to cook the extra moisture out. Contrary to popular belief, heat is fine for most electronics, right up to 200 degrees, sometimes even more. So we can use that to dry it completely.

  1. Place the device on something non-flammable, surrounded by your rice or silica.
  2. Place the device in the oven. Set to 350 degrees without preheating for 10 minutes.
  3. Take the device out and reassemble it.
  4. Check if it works.
  5. If it's still broken, place it back in the oven for one more 10-minute round, while it's fully assembled.

If it doesn't work at this point, leave it in the bag of silica for a few days... and pray.

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Photo by geeksyrup

5 Comments

Nice info, I haven't thought of using silica packets before but they would be heaps better than rice (what i usually use), I'll have to start saving them.

What about rinsing the device with demineralised water before drying it out? I've heard of this and it sounds like solid advice, especially if the liquid that contacted the device was acidic (coke). But even tap water has lots of corrosive ions (chlorine/fluorine) that would be better off not left in the device, as I'd assume these would allow moisture in the air to continue to corrode the devices wiring after it has been dried.

It's the power held in the capacitors that allow the water to make the device potentially short-circuit. So even distilled water wouldn't be good...What you can do is actually soak it in isopropyl alcohol, because alcohol has that odd property of being a "dry" liquid (it vaporizes when oxygen hit).

Take Battery out, then compressed air, jewel screwdriver set and an x-acto scalpel. Take apart the phone and more compressed air. Sun dry for best of three days. when fog has lifted from screen, vawalla, good as new. Put back together and cross your fingers.

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