Cell Phone Survives a Plunge in the Catawba River
Can Cell Phones and Water Mix?
Recently Carla and I were taking pictures of Spider Lilies in the Catawba River in the Landsford Canal State Park near Chester, South Carolina.
Since they only grow in the water, I went through a lot of trouble getting out to where I could get a better picture. On the way back, I jumped from a rock and grabbed an over-having limb on the bank in order to maintain my balance. I sensed, more than felt, that my phone -- leather case with belt clip and all -- had fallen into the river. I reached down to my belt where it should be; and, just as I suspected, it was gone.
I backtracked a few feet and saw it sitting in a small pool just a short distance away. The rocks that created the pool had kept it from floating downstream. I picked it out of the water as quickly as I could. My guess is that it had been in there for about a minute. I had never had anything like that happen before. I remembered that a friend of mine said his phone still worked after he dried it out when it had fallen into a bucket of water.
There Can be Life After Dunking
Drawing faith from his experience, I removed the back from the phone and took out the SIM card and the battery. I shook out all of the water I could, and put each item in a separate pocket, thinking that some of the moisture might be absorbed by my clothing. I carried the cell phone itself open in my hand, hoping that the air and sun would help to dry it out.
Since we were deep in the woods, I was in a hurry to get back to my car where I could put everything in the back window where it could get more direct sun and less humidity.
Needless to say, the outing was shortened. All I could think about was if I had completely ruined the phone. It is a Motorola V176 that I bought through my cell phone carrier NET10 Wireless - Pay As You Go Made Simple
It has a good reputation for reliability, but I wasn't sure about its ability to withstand the dunking. Since a pharmacist is also a chemist, I took some solace in the fact that the Catawba River was running cold and clear where this had all happened, so there shouldn't be a lot of minerals or dissolved contaminants to worry about.
When we got home, I put all the pieces on a chair in the patio room where they could get direct sun for most of the day. I got on the Internet and found out that there had been varying experiences as to recovery possibilities under these circumstances. I also found out that there is a little dot that turns red and invalidates any warranty when it has been submersed. Yep, it was red.
After about twelve hours -- I couldn't stand it anymore -- I put the battery and SIM card back in to see if it would work. The phone software loaded up, but it didn't show any reception. I was afraid that I might have ruined the antenna somehow. Indicating more faith than I really had, I removed the battery and put it all back out in the sun again, hoping that I had not screwed up any chance of it recuperating on its own by doing what I had just done.
With a sense of apprehension, I put the battery and SIM card back in about a day later. Everything seemed to work fine. All the functions seemed to be normal.
I was still worried about plugging it into the charger. It might be that the current produced by the charger could ruin something that the low voltage from the battery hadn't. I let it sit there for about another day. I plugged in the charger, the light came on and nothing sizzled.
That was about two weeks ago. I am certainly happy that everything seems to be as it should.
This turned out to be an inexpensive lesson. It could have been a lot worse.
The take home here is that I need to secure the phone on a lanyard or in a deep pocket before I head back to the river. If I plan to be in the river I will have to put it in a watertight container of some sort.
Bob Diamond R.Ph
PS. It has been two months since the phone got dunked. It is still going strong!