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Fixes if you spill liquid on your phone

By Sami Mughal

Liquid damage is something that happens to mobile phones and other electronic devices. I have had first had experience of this, where I managed to drop my phone in a puddle and saw it loose its life. This occurred before I was in the ways of the world, and electronics.
Since then, a friend of mine managed to suffer the same fate, but the phone survived, mainly by pulling the battery out, and not using the phone for a couple of weeks. His phone, unlike mine, worked perfectly once we were brave enough to turn it back on. Since then, and you may have already noticed, I have had a keen interest in the new technologies available out there which aim to prevent your phone from suffering water damage.
In this post, however, I would like to cover certain things you can do if your phone, or indeed any other electronic device, does come in contact with water such as dropped into some water or puddle, or subjected to a splash of the wet stuff.
The first and foremost rule of dealing with the problem is to turn your phone off and remove the battery, even remove the SIM. Also, remove any memory devices your phone may have. It is worth noting that with a lot of modern unibody designs such as the iPhone, iPods, and even HTC ONE series, this is not always an option. In these instances turning the phone off is all you can do. Carrying out these actions can prevent any of the water shorting the electronic contacts within your device.
Another problem that may happen is oxidization, or if it is sea water, the crystallization of salts inside the phone. The first is just like rust, where it damages the device and eats away at the contacts, while the other can form a permanent layer in the phone resulting in the device short circuiting.
If water does get inside we do have a few alternative options:
The best way to deal with it, in my opinion, is to use one of these:
Called the Thirsty Bag, this bag promises to absorb and suck the liquid out of your device. Recently featured on the Gadget Show it does takes up to 2 weeks to absorb all the liquid out.
There are, however, some other options. Browse the internet and you will come across a few of these. They have their pros and cons, and some of the ones that seem popular are as follows:
  • ·         Leaving your phone in a bag or box of uncooked rice seems to be the most popular and most authentic method of phone recovery. Rice absorbs water and moisture naturally, and it has been used to keep salt dry in many humid areas for ages. I have tried this on a phone myself, and while I only did as a precaution, there was no reason why this method may not have worked.
  • ·         Another thing that I have seen is the use of a vacuum cleaner sucking the moisture out. While this should also work in principle, there is the danger of static charge from the vacuum causing further damage to the device.
  • ·         There is mention of using hair dryers as well, but as an Electronics Engineer, I would highly advise against it. One, if it is on the hot setting, you may end up damaging the phone by overheating it. If run on cold setting, you may end up driving the moisture even deeper into the phone, which may cause other damage.
  • ·         Another way to deal with water damage is best left to the experts. This method involves opening the phone up, wiping all the liquid off with paper towels, or other absorbent material, and then letting it dry naturally before putting it back together again. This step obviously comes with a higher level of risk. Also, if you have a device such as an iPhone, this is pretty difficult. It is worth remember however, that by doing this, you are definitely voiding the warranty of your device, so only do it if your device is out of warranty, or you are desperate.

At the end of the day though, it all comes down to how quickly the phone has been turned off and the battery disconnected. There is always a chance that it may be too late, and the liquid/water inside the phone may have already caused irreversible damage. That is why it is always better to go for prevention rather than cure, which means avoiding contact with liquids, using liquid resistant cases or buying devices that already come with liquid prevention layers (as I have mentioned in previous posts).

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