Sunday, February 28, 2016

Water Damage - HowTo Fix!

What's up on the U-Box?
It's TopHat again - this time, with a hardware guide! With the advent of mobile technologies, our mobile devices go EVERYWHERE with us - they can even take the place of full-fledged computers at times. But, sometimes, they get to a place they shouldn't be - like water. While companies like Samsung are already making water-resistant and water-proof devices, Apple and the rest haven't caught on yet. So, when it does (very likely - not definite), it's important to have an idea of what to do. Here's a simple check list of what to do.

- Move quickly, and remove the phone ASAP
- Power off the phone ASAP
- Disconnect all power sources
- Remove all removable parts and chips

This check list accomplishes a set of acceptable safety and damage-controlling measures set by most people, and the TXP-Network. First of all, reduce the damage that initially occurs - remove the phone to prevent prolonged exposure of delicate circuits to water. This step is important because water is usually a good conductor of electricity - a bit too good. As a result, any power source near or in water is in danger of being damaged.

Let me explain - anything that a) has differing electrical charges in its composition b) which are free to move about and flow, can conduct electricity to some capacity. Water, by itself, is barely conductive as it is - covalent bonded, polar molecule. It won't do much damage on it's own. I still wouldn't test it - oxidation is an enemy to all applicable metals and metalloids, and it has no definite time frame. But, what about tap water? Looks like fluoride takes the cake. While it's good for your teeth in small amounts, this halogen is also used in the production of salts - which are ionic bonded. This, and other minerals in water, can damage your phone - they are considered ions.

When you drop an unsuspecting circuit into 'regular' water from the tap, the ion-rich solution comes in contact with activated electrical circuits. The electricity flows to both the intended circuit(s) and the water the circuit is submerged in. This ion-rich water sends electricity to parts of the circuit that weren't meant to have power at the time - it short circuits and electrocutes the phone. Ouch!

This also partially explains the second part - power off the device. This reduces the chances of damage by deactivating the device and halting the general flow of electricity. While you're at it, you will also want to remove the battery, removing the source of electricity from the equation. This also enhances safety - you can be harmed by the electrical power in a smartphone - just not lethally. Seeing that your hand is most likely in water when pulling the phone out, this is especially important.

Now, remove your SD cards (external storage devices), SIM cards (removable system components), and your mobile card reader (removable external components). Remove any casings you can. Open the phone as much as possible. Hold the phone in a position that safely allows for the water to flow out of the device as fast as possible. This is another step for reducing exposure to water.

You now have two courses of action you may follow - rice or alcohol. Notice that I did NOT mention sun/air drying the phone. That is a conduit for oxidation and corrosion damage. By burying your phone in rice or soaking it in alcohol, you are further removing water from the phone. This reduces the damage done. Both need to occur over the course of a couple hours. Your phone should function just fine after this. However, I suggest the alcohol method if your phone was subjected to more than just water (and in most cases). With that said, I hope that you did not actually have to use this guide (but then, why are you here? :).

Good Day!

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