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Uncle Ben could be your drowning cellphone's best friend

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Uncle Ben could be your drowning cellphone's best friend
It happens plenty of times. One second you are holding on to your expensive smartphone and the next second, it is part of your balanced breakfast as it sits in your bowl of cereal taking on milk. Sometimes gadgets like a cellphone will pop back to life after accidentally getting soaked, but sometimes the power will not turn back on, or the screen will show a funny image that is telling you that your device is dying.

When your cellphone does get wet enough to stop working correctly, there are steps to take  to improve the odds of a recovery. According to web site WikiHow, the first step is to get your phone out of the moisture quickly. Sitting and gazing at your iPhone as it does the backstroke in your toilet is only going to make matters worse. It takes about 20 seconds for moisture to start seeping into the electronics of a modern handset. The next step is to remove the battery. Some circuits will survive getting wet if they do not have power. If you have a GSM phone, remove your SIM card. This step could save all of your important data that you have stored on your device, like contacts. Don't heat up the card, merely pat it dry and put it aside for later.

Next, take a vacuum cleaner and try to dry out the phone. Do not use a hair dryer because it could blow water into other parts of the phone. Use the vacuum for 20 minutes over each accessible area. Done right, this step alone could get your phone up and running within 30 minutes, but don't get too close to the phone while holding the vacuum; that could cause static electricity which would doom the whole effort. Next, leave the phone sitting in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice overnight. The rice will absorb excess moisture. It is the same reason why restaurants put rice inside a salt shaker. Better than rice would be the use of a desiccant product such as "DRY-ALL" or "Damp-Rid". You can also try putting the phone on absorbent towels or paper. Check the absorbent material every hour for 4 to 6 hours. If moisture is still present, go back to the vacuum and repeat the steps from there.

After a day or so, replace the battery and turn on the device. If it works, congratulations. If the phone doesn't turn on, try using the charger. If that works, you need to replace the battery. If not, go to an authorized dealer and explain everything. (Don't try to hide the dunking. Stickers on the phone will reveal water damage). And if that fails, you can take the phone apart and try to reassemble it. If nothing works, you can just go and buy a new phone.

Hopefully, you will never need to reference this article. But if we can save the life of just one cellphone, passing along these hints will have been definitely worth it.

source: wikiHow via lifehacker


More DIY videos at 5min.com

10 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:43

1. Quemical (Posts: 162; Member since: 14 Jul 2009)


Seems sorta pointless to post this as news since itll get swept aside in a day or two, this is more of a f.a.q.(frequently asked questions)

posted on 07 Aug 2009, 16:06

2. PapaJay224 (Posts: 866; Member since: 08 Feb 2009)


**NOTE** For all of you that try this *dont* use a vacuum cleaner, thats the worst idea ever. The rice works with out the vacuum but your still looking at *atleast* 24-48 hours of recovery time. The vacuum isnt going to do anything, think about it, remember spilling a glass of water when you were a kid and you used a vaccum to cover it up before mom found out...And how it didnt do anything except spread the water...yeah same thing here, unless you have a SHOPVAC in that case your risking sucking your phone buttons up through the hose...Take it from someone who's done this... zip lock bag, fill with rice, insert phone minus the battery (which needs to be removed immediatly) and let it sit for a day or so at room temperator ....Good luck iPhone users, theres no help for you, or app for water damage...or insurance...

posted on 07 Aug 2009, 16:11

3. Quemical (Posts: 162; Member since: 14 Jul 2009)


Very good point, ANY kind of vacuum/blow dryer/ac exhaust vent will destroy the phone. Phonearena must get a kick out of misleading people who dont know better.

posted on 07 Aug 2009, 20:15

6. MTLance (unregistered)


no help for iPhone? Really? Well I don't even want to think my iPhone is in the water in the first place and, I think there are plenty of ways to safe a wet phone if done carefully enough. What a waste of article. It is about common sense, only the people without common sense need help with this. Or maybe I just love my electronic gadget too much to care about other people?

posted on 07 Aug 2009, 16:34

4. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)


u have no idea how many ppl i know that have a ruined phone sue to water/ liquid saturation. hahahahahah :)

posted on 07 Aug 2009, 19:26

5. brikz4real (Posts: 173; Member since: 24 Dec 2008)


OMG....what is up with this story? A little late don't ya think Phone Arena? I mean, Verizon Wireless techs have been giving the "rice" advice to their customers for years. Nice way to be current. What next? How to keep your toast from burning?

posted on 07 Aug 2009, 23:44

7. VSS_55 (Posts: 43; Member since: 05 Jul 2009)


If electronics get wet get it out of the wetness and pull the battery. then leave it out for a day or so, and with a little luck, it'll be Ok... Yes i said a day or two. if you got your own phone wet your gonna just have to deal with that brief time frame of being cut off

posted on 08 Aug 2009, 13:17

8. matistight (Posts: 206; Member since: 13 May 2009)


waste of a post...just send it to md wireless in california and get it repaired

posted on 09 Aug 2009, 10:55

9. puggunit (Posts: 23; Member since: 31 Jul 2009)


wasted article. common sense almost I have known about the bag of rice for years. The vaccum thing seems almost irrelivant.

posted on 08 Jul 2012, 02:38

10. homineyhominey (Posts: 29; Member since: 10 Mar 2011)


This article, and more importantly the idea that you can fix water damage with rice is ridiculous. I have seen so many phones brought in and the customer will say, "I took it out and immediately put it in a bag of rice, but it won't turn on." Or, another favorite, "I dropped it in water six months ago." Rice can, not will, get rid of standing liquid in a phone. The first thing a technician will do is open the phone and find bits of rice inside the housing. Trust me, I see it a lot. Secondly, rice cannot prevent corrosion on the board. Yeah, your phone might work for a couple days/weeks/months. When you take it to get fixed because it eventually dies on you, don't get mad when technicians find liquid damage. It is kind of their job. I have seen so many people lose important information when their phone gets wet and won't power on. Don't rely on a mobile device to store all of your important information. Be smart about it and do backups, sync to the cloud, etc, etc.

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