Hold The Rice Please

Water Damage Free Board

My summer job has been going great! Within the last two months, I have learned so much. I have learned how to solder, open all makes and models of phones, and other gadget repair. So you might be wondering why I have entitled this blog post as “Hold the Rice Please” and there are pictures of cell phone motherboards.

Phone’s Board After Water Damage

It has been a common belief (of which I believed until I began working on phones that were dropped in water) that if a phone ever got wet, the best thing was to place it in a bag of rice. This makes a lot of sense considering that the rice will absorb all of the excess moisture that leaked into the phone. Believe it or not, the water is not a phone’s worst enemy. The real problem is the other chemicals or contaminants that are found inside the water. The phone above is of a customer’s phone who came to us several weeks ago. She told us that she dropped her phone in her pool and immediately turned her phone off and placed it in a bag of rice for two days. Well when it came to us, I had the privileged of working on her phone. It arrived in this condition.

See the black spots on the connectors?

If you ever experience dropping your phone in water or spilling it, the first important thing to do is immediately turn off your phone. It would be best to take out the battery, but a lot of phones are moving away from removable batteries. A bag of white rice will help to get the moisture out of the phone, BUT DO NOT TURN ON YOUR PHONE. Depending on the water source you dropped it in, there will be certain residues left inside the phone. If the phone was dropped in a pool, there are chlorines, salts, and other chemicals that help keep the pool clean. If it is the local water supply, well different municipalities will put different chemicals in public drinking water to help clean it and purify it for consumption. Here in Cumberland County, they also add Fluoride to our local tap water.

That is the connector for the LCD, see the black spots (corrosion).

There is a severe risk that if you only absorb the water out of the water with rice, these chemicals can create a short in your phone. The chances of anyone fixing your phone after a short is slim to none, especially at a cheap price. Also I want to stress that this phone the customer brought into us had only been dropped in some water ONCE and it had been only TWO DAYS before she brought it in to us. So next time a friend of yours recommends you putting your wet phone into a bag of rice, please educate them that that is not all that is necessary. In fact, I would discourage anyone from doing that. It creates a false sense of security concerning their phone.

By the way, speaking of placing a phone in a bag of rice. I have an excellent story from another customer concerning rice. A guy came in last week who accidentally dropped his Samsung Galaxy SIII into his dog’s water dish. Instead of putting his phone in a bag of white rice, which he did not have, he placed it in a bag of saffron Spanish rice! Needless to say his phone smelled like saffron and there were traces of the seasonings all inside his phone. It was one of the funniest things I have witnessed since I first began this job. So if your bold and have a strong desire to use rice to help dry out your phone, DON’T USE SEASONED RICE! Unless you want to make it into a soup or something.

~ by branhow on July 4, 2013.

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