Water Damage, how to save your smartphone?

While you swear that this could never happen to you, researchers predict that 19% of the smartphones that will need to be repaired will end up in the toilet, if this ever happened to you, are you prepared to act the right way? or will you panic and cause more damage to your smartphone.

We are well aware that electrical current and water don’t mix. Smartphones even on standby consume current, so once they touch water the race is on to try to minimize the damage due to water getting to the internal components of your device.

Is under water, what to do first?

Please read this and memorize it so that if it ever happens, you are ready to act. DO NOT TRY TO TURN IT ON TO SEE IF IT WORKS. If you are lucky and own a smartphone that has an easily accesible battery, TAKE IT OUT, this will prevent further damage due to electrical current on the components mixing with water.

If you can’t get the battery out, (ie. Apple iPhone) TAKE OUT THE SIM CARD, this will power off the transmitter and you will have a better chance to minimize the damage.

What to do next

If I put it on a bag of rice will it work again? I really don’t know where this myth was originated, but it will most likely not work and could cause further damage by stacking rice grains through all the orifices of your device.

Take it or send it to a smartphone repair center, but be very careful and ask the right questions before leaving your device for service.

Questions to ask your Smartphone Repair Center in case of Water Damage

The first question to ask is the obvious one: do you repair smartphones with water damage? Believe it or not many repair centers won’t touch a water damaged phone and I’ll give thumbs up if they are honest enough to tell you that upfront, instead of trying the rice trick on the back of the store.

The second question to ask is: do you use alcohol or thinner to clean and “repair” water damage? Let’s start with the thinner, the PCB or motherboard of your smartphone is composed of multiple layers bonded with polyamide isolators sensible to solvents and degreasers, do I need to say more? If you submerge the motherboard on thinner, eventually with time, all those layers will fall one on top of the other, causing a catastrophic failure that your device will not recover from.  As for the alcohol, have you ever put in a glass 2 ice cubes (frozen water) and add your favorite adult beverage?, let’s say vodka for better graphic image, what happens once the ice cubes melt? They will blend and your device will still be wet inside.

The third question is: do you use an ultrasonic cleaning machine? Ultrasonic machines are used for cleaning different objects, the most common is jewelry. If you want the best description for these machines you can find it here but the important notes to consider are:

These bubbles collapse with enormous energy; temperatures and pressures on the order of 5,000 K and 20,000 lbs per square inch are achieved

In other words, the bubbles hit all the components on the PCB and may break the BGA’s that hold them together, if they break your phone won’t work.

If you were to remember anything after reading this post, we hope it is to avoid the urge to power up your phone to see if it works after you pull it out of the water. The sooner that you can get it to a certified Level III repair center the better chances you will have to recover your smartphone.

Finally remember this, if you are willing to wait 3 days for the rice trick, that means you can wait 3 days to ship your phone to us to check it out, our prices for diagnostic after water damage start at $19.95 + $5.95 if you want your phone back in case we cannot fix it or if the price to fix it is beyond your budget.