About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 4, 2011

Save my Phone!

Before I get started today I guess I have to add a disclaimer. That would be I work full time for NTELOS in the wireless/mobile phone industry. So I would never encourage you to get a phone from us, the best place around but…oops.

I have received this question many times through the years and realized today that I have not written about it. So now we will talk about a couple of things you can do after you make a big mistake with your phone. I figure that most of you have some sort of mobile phone. I will not differentiate here regarding whether it is a smart phone or not but any mobile phone will react about the same way in the following situation.

imagePicture this: you are using your phone while washing dishes and drop it in the sink. This is obviously not the only thing you can be doing to dump your phone in water, but you can imagine the others. (Note to my wife: don’t leave your phone in your jeans pocket again on wash-day.)

First, let me state that in less than a minute some of the more delicate components of your phone will start to deteriorate. Even though you follow the next steps to the letter, the decay has already started by the time you get it out of the water. This means your phone will not last as long as it would have if you had kept it dry but this will revive it for a good period of time. Speed is of the essence – get it out of the water immediately!

Next, take it apart as much as you can. Take off the back, remove the battery, remove any SD cards, SIM cards, etc. Break it down as far as you are comfortable. Now shake the pieces a few times to get major water off of the parts.

After that, get out a hairdryer and blow all the parts dry. Spend the most time drying on the internal area of the phone but include the battery, etc. I must include a couple of cautions here: You want it warm, but not hot and do not get the heat source too close to the phone or you could harm the electrical components. A foot or more away is probably best. I would not spend more than 10-15 minutes on this step.

imageHere is the step you will all think I am kidding you about. I am not. Get out a bowl that is more than large enough to hold your phone and the parts. Put in a layer of dry white rice; bury your phone and all the components in the rice until they are totally surrounded by the rice (regular, old fashioned; not minute rice). Leave it open on a counter somewhere for a minimum of 24 hours.

Now take it out of the rice, clean any rice dust off, (you could use the blow dryer again or some canned air) and finally, assemble your phone. Start it up and go on about your business.

Keep in mind this has worked countless times for many people, including me a couple of times but it is not a 100% guarantee. Over time the water will win although I know several people who never had any issues after this procedure. Another good idea is to have handset insurance.

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