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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to Save a Wet Cell Phone

1. Get it out of the water as soon as possible. The plastic covers on cell phones are fairly tight, but water can enter the phone in a short period of time, perhaps only 20 seconds or less. So grab your phone quickly! If you can't get to it in time, your best bet is to remove the battery while it is still under water. Water helps dissipate heat from shorts that can damage the phone, so most damage occurs when the inside of the phone is merely wet and there is a power source.

2. Don't Panic. Your phone will probably not be too damaged if you right away take it out of the water. While it's in the water, immediately take it out.

3. 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. Many circuits inside the phone will survive immersion in water provided they are not attached to a power source when wet.

4. If you have a GSM carrier, remove your SIM card. Some or all of your valuable contacts (along with other data) could be stored on your SIM. To some people this could be more worth saving than the phone itself. SIM cards survive water damage well, but some of the following steps are unnecessary i.e. don't heat it. Just pat it dry and leave it aside until you need to connect your phone to your cellular network. (This step does not apply to CDMA carriers such as Verizon, Alltel, US Cellular, Sprint, etc.)

5. Dry your phone. Obviously you need to remove as much of the water as soon as possible, so you can save it from getting into the phone. Shake it out without dropping it, then use a towel or paper towel (ideally trying not to clog the wet paper in the gaps and grooves of the phone) to gently remove as much of the remaining water as possible. Dry the excess moisture by hand.

6. Remove any covers and external connectors to open up as many gaps, slots, and crevices in the phone as possible.

7. Use a vacuum cleaner if possible. Do not use a hair dryer (even on a "cold" mode) to dry out the phone, as this may force moisture further into the small components, deep inside the phone. If moisture is driven deeper inside, corrosion and oxidation may result when minerals from liquids are deposited on the circuitry. Using a hairdryer might be a temporary fix, but this will eventually cause component failure inside the phone. Instead, remove all residual moisture by drawing it away with a vacuum cleaner held over the affected areas for up to 20 minutes in each accessible area. This is the fastest method and can completely dry out your phone and get it working in thirty minutes. Be careful not to hold the vacuum too close to the phone, as a vacuum can create static electricity, which is even worse.

8. Use a substance with a high affinity for water to help draw out moisture. Leave the phone in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice overnight. The rice would absorb any remaining moisture. If available, it is preferable to use desiccant instead. Desiccant will absorb moisture better than rice. It may be found under a brand name such as the "BHEESTIE Bag™" "DRY-ALL" "Damp Rid" or "Dry Right".

9. Let the phone sit on absorbent towels, napkin, or other paper. Remember that the goal is to evacuate all the moisture and humidity, not to trap it or add even more. Check the absorbent material every hour for 4 to 6 hours. If moisture is evident, repeat the vacuuming step and desiccant steps.

10. Test your phone. After you have waited a day or so, 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, try plugging it into its charger without the battery, if this works, you need a new battery. If not, try taking your cell phone to an authorized dealer. Sometimes they can fix it. Don't try to hide the fact that it has been wet. There are internal indicators that prove moisture.

11. Take the phone apart If your phone doesn't turn on at all. Try taking it apart. First, make sure that you have ALL the right parts and know exactly where they go. Be sure to put everything back in its proper place once finished. As you're disassembling it, pat each individual part dry with a small towel and use the vacuum cleaner once more on the crevices. If this doesn't work go to the professionals.

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