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How to Repair Water Damaged Mobile Phones

Updated on January 2, 2014

There is hope for Water Damaged Phones

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Have you ever mistakenly dropped your Phone inside Water?

How to repair water damaged Mobile Phones is not an uphill task. Water contact on cell phones is one of the greatest challenges of using a phone. Technically, this can also be referred to as liquid damaged phones. Why everything should be done to avoid liquid contact especially water on phones, if it however happened, there is a solution.

I prefer using the term “water damaged” than liquid damaged because not all liquid are injurious to mobile phones or electronics. In fact some liquid aid phone repair but water as at the time of this discourse is one of the greatest enemies of cell phones. We are still waiting for phones that have water friendly circuit boards.

Mobile Phones have different makes and configuration.The approach to solving a fault caused by water may differ slightly. There is a first aid approach which is applicable to all make of cell phones (I called it First Aid Approach for the sake of simplicity). The advance approach will differ in accordance to the type of phone make with respect to dismantling and heating up the phone to drain the liquid.

A First Aid Approach to the Repair of Water Damaged Mobile Phones

The extent of liquid damage on mobile phone will determine the solution adopted. If the volume of water on the phone is not much, the first step is to remove the battery. Don’t make any attempt to switch on the phone. The First Aid approach may be sufficient if it is a minor water contact. The following steps have proved to be very helpful:

  1. Remove the battery: The first thing to do is to remove the phone battery. It depends on the extent of damage; it is advisable to change the battery as this could cause further damage if there was water contact on the battery. Water and cell phone battery are unfriendly. Once there is water contact, battery leakage is unavoidable though this may not be noticeable immediately but the damage will be done gradually on the phone power circuit until the phone goes dead.
  2. Don’t switch on the Phone: As soon as you observe liquid on a phone remove the battery .Don‘t switch it on immediately. Out of panic whether the phone will still work or not, you may be tempted to switch it on. If you do so the integrated circuit (ICs) will absorb water and the mobile phone may never work again.
  3. Expose the phone to free air: Expose the phone to air and let it get dried before use. Some phones casing are easy to remove. If possible remove the casing for easy aeration to aid the liquid (water) getting dried up.
  4. Incubate the Phone via Electric Bulb: After removing the external casing of the phone, the phone can be incubated through electric bulb (not energy saver) for a number of hours depend on the extent of water penetration. The heat generated from the bulb will help drain the water (dry it up). This is a very simple approach but very effective. It has lesser side effect on the phone than a Hot Air Station.
  5. Examine the extent of Damage: Another very important factor is to examine the extent of damage. A situation when the phone was inside a bucket of water for more than 2mins, an advance Solution approach will become necessary. Follow the steps for Solution as discussed below.


BlackBerry Q10

There is a hope for a phone as costly as these rescued from a pool of water
There is a hope for a phone as costly as these rescued from a pool of water

Advanced Approach to the Repair of Water Damaged Mobile Phones

There are water damage situations that require more than a first aid approach. Though you need to begin with that same approach before getting the tools for advanced solution. Once a phone has spent more than two minutes inside water based liquid where water is dominant as stated earlier, these under listed steps are inevitable.

  1. Go through the First Aid approach: The first aid approach listed above is vital no matter the extent of water damage. But you will need to go further in a situation of serious damage.
  2. Dismantle the Phone: The entire phone have to be dismantled. At this juncture, you may need to employ the services of a professional if you are not one yourself. Some phone make can be very complex to dismantle. You may end up doing more damage to some very important components.
  3. Use the Hot Air Station: The hot air station (re-work station) is to be used by trained and certified personnel for optimum result. This machine will help in drying up any traces of water on the phone but with absolute care.

The air and heat level have to be regulated as the heat can go up to 450°c depend on the make. From personal experience, Overheating the circuit board can cause the phone to go dead especially on sensitive parts of the board such as the CPU.

The use of Hot Air Station is a Course on its own in a Cell Phone Repair training (I once had a training on this subject). Allow the heat to expire before switching it on. I will advice the minimum of 30mins to one hour after heating up the circuit board technically and successfully. If the phone is not beyond repair it will definitely come on.

Conclusion

Professionally, there is a seal on most Phones which is usually white in colour that will turn Red if it comes in contact with water. This in most cases will render the warranty void if it carries one. This may not be stated clearly in most warranty agreement but it is a means of knowing if the phone has contacted water or liquid as the case may be.

The above listed steps on how to repair water damaged phones is a well researched endeavour and it has yielded much result for me personally and as a source of income a couple of years ago. Please note, if a phone comes on after a water contact without the above listed steps. It will go dead after some time or may develop other technical faults which may be costlier to handle. It is advisable to do a thorough check.






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    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Geisha M 4 years ago from Pilipinas

      Hi Infotechnology! Thanks for this valuable pointers. I myself experienced dropping phones in the water and with panic was no longer able to use them. With your information, I am wiser. Great hub!

    • infotechnology profile image
      Author

      Omogiade, Stephen Nosakhare 4 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria.

      I appreciate your comment gmmurgirl. I am encouraged.

    • profile image

      mdt1988 3 years ago

      Great article, possibly worth also highlighting water absorption pouches as these can be a cheap and more effective way of sucking out moisture. I've used one called Rescuetec (www.rescuetec.com) which I would recommend.

    • infotechnology profile image
      Author

      Omogiade, Stephen Nosakhare 3 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria.

      Thanks for your comment and contribution.

    • profile image

      Adam 2 years ago

      you should have eileamd me via the market link. I would have sent you the beta. Speed is getting better. There is a significant jump in down speeds in the beta (at least in my tests.) I put some comparison screenshots in the other Galaxy S post on the site that show it a bit.

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