Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A real sinker

More & more often, our cell phones go lots of places with us. And it is inevitable, that at some point, many people find their cell phone taking a swan dive into the nearest body of water... When this happens, you might think it's money & contact info down the drain... but this may not be the case.

A few years ago, I worked briefly as a customer service rep for a cellular company, as well as spent a couple years in other capacities for the company. The knowledge I gained there has been pretty helpful, I'm an expert at troubleshooting my own phone. One great tip that I picked up while there was how to handle a wet cell phone. I've shared it with a few people, most recently with one today, and decided it might make a good blog post, in an attempt to get the info out to lots of people faster.

So, if you find yourself in a situation where your phone is in the water, the first step is pretty simple:

GET IT OUT! The longer the phone is in the water, the less likely you might be to restore it.

The next step is very critical... DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, attempt to turn the phone back on to see if it still works! The truth is, often times a phone can survive being dropped in water, as in most occasions, the phone powers itself off when it hits the water. When you try to turn the phone on, because there is water inside the phone, you then short the phone out, frying it, so to speak... Water + Electricity = BAD

Now, quickly remove the back of the phone and get the battery out. This is really important if your phone by chance didn't power off, because you need to temporarily "kill" the phone.

Grab a towel, and dry your phone. Dry all the visible places... inside where your battery case is, around the hinges, open the little covers that hide the charger openings (you can use a Q-tip to try to soak up some moisture there) If your phone flips or slides or anything, open that too. The key is to expose as much as possible of your phone to air.

Next place your phone on a clean dry towel.

Now walk away, that's right... just leave it... you've done all you can do, and now you must leave your phone to the elements... Depending on how long your phone was in the water (say I dropped it into the sink and immediately grabbed it back out, versus I went into the pool and forgot I had it on me) You'll want to let your phone dry out for anywhere from 24 - 48 hours. If you have a small fan, it wouldn't hurt to set it near the phone to provide some air circulation.

After 24-48 hours, come back and reassemble your phone. Attempt to power it on. If the cellular gods are smiling on you, your phone should power back on. If it doesn't at first, you may want to try plugging it in and charging it, some batteries lose their charge quickly when wet.

I've had personal experience, and my phone came through just fine. I've also heard some really weird stories of things people have suggested that ended disasterously, such as:

Freezing your phone: BAD IDEA... water expands when it's frozen... you could really do more harm than good, plus you're going to be allowing more moisture into the phone.

Baking your phone: You would have to be VERY careful and I would NOT recommend baking the battery. Even without the battery, the LCD screen can be very tempermental when exposed to heat.

Of course the best plan is prevention... but we know that it's not always possible.

*On a side note, I imagine you could use the same process for other small handheld electronics, like Ipods, etc... but I've never had personal experience with 'em

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Wish I had known that a couple of years ago when mine went swimming in the toilet.