Saturday, February 26, 2011

Liquid Damaged Cell Phone?! What Now??

If your reading this post I will assume your cell phone has gotten wet. So the first thing you want to do is TAKE OUT THE BATTERY, set the phone on a paper towel and finishing reading this post to learn what you can do to save your cell phone. Liquid damage is not death to your phone. It can be saved, but you need to do something to save it and you need to act quickly.

Let me say first there is no magic bullet. There is no miracle cure. There is no ONE way to make your phone work again. There are thousands of DIY ideas out there and one might work for you -- some better than others. But there is no one way that you can save your phone and make it work again. Your best option is to take it into a cell phone repair shop and have them work on it ASAP! Time is of the essence here if you want to save your phone and/or the data on it.

Now before you roll your eyes again and say, "Gee WiGoMan, it seems a bit self serving to tell me to take my phone into a repair shop when you work for a repair shop." (Full disclosure here) Getting it dry is only the first step in the repair. Home remedies are nice and some will work, but if you really need your phone to work again and/or want data off of it TAKE IT TO A PROFESSIONAL.

Liquid damage is a funny thing and it will effect phones in different ways. I have seen customers completely submerge their phone in salt water and we were able to recover it and have it fully functional. On the other hand I had a customer get one drop of rain in an exposed charge port and it fried the motherboard, never to work again.

How do I Know My Phone Has Liquid Damage?
Every cell phone has at least one "Liquid damage indicator" that you can see. Most have additional indicators inside the device that only a technician can see. Either way it is pretty easy to know when a phone has gotten wet.
The indicator is normally a white dot or square. When the phone gets wet it turns red. Many times you will find the indicator under the battery or just inside the battery door. Most cell phone batteries also have a liquid damage indicator that will turn red when exposed to liquid. When you take your phone in for service this is one of the first things they will look at. The iPhone liquid indicator is a little tricky to see - one in the bottom port and one in the headset jack.
If you cell phone has gotten liquid damage you have voided the warranty. Let me repeat that: If you get your cell phone wet - in anyway - you have voided the warranty. You might not know how your cell phone got wet, but if one of the indicators is red it got wet and your cell phone carrier will NOT fix and/or replace your cell phone.

I Really Need My Cell Phone After Getting it Wet. Can I just try and See if it Works?
If you try and turn it on now you could risk MAJOR damage. It needs to dry! Water is conductive and it will burn out many components when electricity is applied. It will take 48+ hours to dry it out completely. If you cut corners it will more than likely die for good. Again get it to a professional Cell Phone Repair Shop if possible. If you want to risk it with a home remedy your chances of a full recovery are slim.


I've Read About Rice, Vacuum Cleaners, Ovens, Hair Dryers and Other Things to Try?
Home remedies to dry the phone can work, some better than others. Putting the cell phone in a bowl of DRY/UNCOOKED rice is not a bad idea. Get a hold of some Silica or Desiccant for the best results. This material will suck up the liquid in your cell phone and is arguably the best way to dry it out. DO NOT use a blow drier or stick it in an oven. You could cause more damage to the device. A slow method is the best. We're talking days here people, not a couple of hours. If you want it to work again you have to be patient!
Here is the problem with the home remedy of drying it out. Once it is dry whatever liquid got into the phone will leave behind corrosion. This is where things get tricky - in some cases sticky. Corrosion is the thing that will truly damage the phone - after all corrosion is the primary means by which metals deteriorate. Corrosion can and will eat away at main board components and cause severe damage over time. In other words, the phone might work after drying it, but there is a good chance it will fail later on for good. Think of corrosion like mold. It's bad stuff that can grow and cause big problems.

Massive Corrosion on Motherboard

Minor Corrosion to Connection

I Dried My Cell Phone and Now it Turns On. It's Fixed Right?
Maybe. Maybe not. The liquid will have left behind corrosion. The cell phone might appear to work fine after getting wet and drying. But behind under the cover on the motherboard the corrosion is eating away at circuits and connections. I have seen cell phones work for moths after getting liquid damage only to have things go out on the phone one by one. But even months after liquid damage we have been successful in repairing some phones.

I'm Getting a New Phone So I Just Want Contacts or Data off My Liquid Damaged Cell Phone.
Many times we have been able to retrieve data (Contacts, pictures, etc.) off of a liquid damaged phone. Our techs can take many different approaches to repairing a liquid damaged phone from full repair to  data retrieval only. The faster we get it the more likely you can get your data.

So I Want a Professional to Fix My Liquid Damaged Cell Phone. What's it Gonna Cost Me?
It will cost you only $29.99 to check the phone into our shop and have it worked on. For that fee we will take apart the cell phone and put it through a cleaning and drying process to remove all of the effects of liquid damage. We will also assess the phone for any damaged parts that need to be replaced. After the initial work we will contact you with the results and give you a quote for the final work if needed.

Great Stuff, BUT How Can I Protect my Phone from getting wet in the first place?
OK, you have a few options but the BEST by far is LIQUIPEL which is a company that can coat your phone with a nano-tech to protect it, read my blog here: Protection from Liquid Damage. I also have a blog about how to protect your cell phone here: Cell Phone Liquid Damage - Tips to Prevent it

As always if your in the Washington DC metro area come visit us at WiGoClinic - Cell Phone Repair if your out of the area and would like to ship your phone to reputable cell phone repair business you can follow this link to ship your cell phone to us for repair: Mail-in Your Cell Phone for Repair.

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