Salvaging a Watery Electronic Device

By: Jim Corkern

Whether you own a cell phone, CD player, laptop, or any other small electronic device, you probably know that letting such a device come into contact with a liquid surely means the sudden death of it. This is somewhat of a misunderstanding, simply because of the fact that it is not the water alone that makes water and electrical devices coming into contact with each other a dangerous thing for your item.

What makes water a bad thing to let get onto or into your electronic devices is whether or not electricity is running through it at the time of contact. It is the electricity that does the real damage and not the liquid itself.

If you were to put a CD player or a cell phone that had no electrical current running through it into a puddle of normal water (not containing any dirt particles or sand or chemicals), then there would probably be next to no damage done to it, since most circuit boards are made of plastic and do not absorb water very well.

Unfortunately, putting something like that into chemically treated or dirty water could cause more problems than just the water contact.

If you do happen to drop your cell phone or CD player into a bath tub or sink full of water, get it out of the water in less than 20 seconds in order to minimize the damage.

Getting it out in under 20 seconds is important because it takes about that long for the water to get inside the item and to the item's circuit board, especially if it as airtight as most cell phones are these days. Cell phones are not completely water tight, which is the reason for the time limit.

Even if the phone is on, it can be saved if you get it out in time. Remove the battery as quickly as possible and lay it on the side with openings for the water to drain out, such as on the keypad if it was a cell phone.

Put the device into a bowl of uncooked rice at least overnight and this should absorb the majority of the water from both the inside and outside of it. Do not replace the battery or try to power on the device until you are certain that it is completely dry inside.

Trying to turn it on could be exactly what does the damage that you are trying to avoid.

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