Mobile phones are essentially the lifeline of the modern day urban professional. Considering that mobile phones today are far more sophisticated than the old bulky pieces of communication equipment we learned to outgrow in the 80s and the 90s, advances in communications technology marvelously integrated with multimedia and office applications have clearly defined modern lifestyle. Imagine then if such ‘mobile office and entertainment’ had to be resurrected from the foregone effects of water damage.
But to breathe new life into these seemingly impossible to salvage electronic devices is something that should be initiated at the very first sign of water or even moisture intrusion. Like any other valuable item, the extent of the damage brought about by either water or moisture is directly proportional to the length of time that item was exposed to water or moisture. The longer you allow the item exposed to either water or moisture, the more extensive will be the damage and the more impossible will it be for you to restore it to its old functional state.
Tomorrow’s Technology Today
Mobile phones have gone a great way since its early pioneering days assisting Swedish police authorities dispense with their work functions in 1946. Less than four decades later, Motorola introduced to the world the first ever portable cellular phone fully capable of handling voice calls across great distances by the handover method. These mobile phones were more like brick stones that you had to stick to your ear with large bulky antennas that were more like the antennas of Vietnam War radios.
Second generation mobile phones or 2G were introduced in the early 90s which utilized a network of digital circuit switched transmissions. Mobile phones then had significantly better network signals, fewer incidences of dropped calls, and more improved call quality. The advances in battery technology allowed these mobile phones truly portable with an extended call time and standby time.
The mobile phones we have today belong to the third generation of mobile communications. Better known as 3G, these mobile devices have already integrated a lot of functions that were initially dedicated to a variety of other devices. Most of today’s 3G phones already have integrated office management applications, multimedia programs, video and audio applications, as well as Internet connectivity.
These mobile devices are not at all inexpensive nor are they easy to just discard. In today’s global economic uncertainty, costs become a primary consideration for any human activity there is.
Consider the Cost
Unless of course you are blessed with an unfathomable bank account, you cannot simply just throw away your precious mobile phone and purchase a brand new one. Today’s cash-strapped times call for sobriety in things that may require shelling out hard-earned money.
Water damage to mobile phones need not really be a clear-cut indication that there is nothing else that can be done to save it from its doom. A brand new entry level 3G mobile phone can be purchased for less than 100 dollars. This unit may not be at all beneficial to the modern day urbanite because it comes only with the basics of telephony. One cannot expect to find office applications as well as multimedia and internet streaming applications in a below-$100 mobile phone.
Depending on the nature of one’s needs, true 3G mobile phones can easily reach sever
al hundreds of dollars to even hundreds of thousands of dollars for a unit. A person who can purchase a $350,000-mobile phone clearly does not have any problems with money or the need to have the unit repaired and restored because of water damage. For all we know, he might have another unit or even a set of mobile handsets in his mansion.
But for the average mobile phone owner, every penny that he can save is worth every gold bouillon of the millionaire. Inasmuch as he would like to purchase a replacement unit for his water damaged mobile phone, he would always try to look for other viable alternatives to resurrect his mobile phone from the watery grave.
Handy Tips for the Mobile Professional
Because every penny today is valuable, mobile phone owners must do everything they can to save their units from water damage. Unless of course the mobile phone has been submerged in water or has been constantly exposed to moisture for an extended period of time, nothing else is lost if one were to attempt resuscitating a ‘drowned’ mobile phone.
The following are suggestions on how best to manage water damaged mobile phone. Keep in mind that it is important to act quickly and decisively if you still want to recover your functional mobile phone. For best results, mobile phones should not stay in the watery grave longer than 20 seconds. Longer than that, it will be impossible to salvage it from permanent water damage. As such, not all of these suggestions may work for the type of mobile phone you have as well as the nature of the water damage it was involved in. What is important at this point is you will attempt to bring your ‘dead’ mobile phone back to life. You also need to remember that not all attempts end in success.
1. Take note of the liquid your mobile phone was in contact with. If it was in contact with plain water, immediately remove it from the water. Remove all of its parts – the back cover, the batteries, the subscriber identity module or SIM, the housing (most mobile phones have interchangeable housing for easy customization), and other removable components such as expandable memory modules. It is best that you remove the battery of the mobile phone while still submerged in water so that water will help dissipate the heat that can short the mobile phone. It has been observed that mobile phones were more severely damaged in instances where the inside of the phone is merely wet and the battery is still intact.
2. If your mobile phone was submerged in a non-polar liquid like toluene, gasoline and other hydrocarbon products, there is a very unconventional way of restoring water damaged mobile phones. Remove the individual components of the mobile phone and immerse them in isopropyl alcohol or your ordinary rubbing alcohol. You see, alcohol can dissolve many non-polar molecules and can facilitate faster drying times. It also dissolves fat- or oil-loving contaminants such as the different solutes found in the liquid that may have damaged your mobile phone. Do not immerse your mobile phone in rubbing alcohol longer than 20 seconds, though.
Again, the success of this method has been as varied as the opinions of different people for the method. If you have serious doubts as to the effectiveness of this approach, then perhaps performing the other methods of saving your mobile phone from water damage will be a good idea. Just in case you have run out of options and that you believe it is already impossible to salvage your mobile phone from doom, then perhaps you can give this unconventional and very controversial method a try.
Think of it this way, since you are just a step away from saying goodbye to your mobile phone, why not do the unthinkable and pray that something short of a miracle does happen?
3. Dry all the individual components of your mobile phone by using a vacuum to draw out water and moisture. Vacuum the water and moisture off the mobile phone by holding it steady on a given component for at least 20 minutes before you proceed to another component. Hold the vacuum at least three inches away from the mobile phone that is being dried because a vacuum that is held too close to the unit can produce static electricity.
4. Never ever use a hair dryer to facilitate evaporation because the relatively high temperature of the air current can literally burn the circuitry of your mobile phone. Even in the lowest settings, a hair dryer can burn the different integrated circuits in the mobile phone’s motherboard. Furthermore, the outward flow of hot air current from the hair dryer can only embed moisture deeper into the mobile phone’s circuitry.
5. Do not attempt to put your water damaged mobile phone in an oven or any other heating device. Although some people have reported varying success with this method, it clearly is not the best way to manage water damage in mobile phones. You just might as well end up with a burned crisp mobile phone than a working one.
6. Use a desiccant, a water-loving water-drawing substance, to completely remove water and moisture from your mobile phone. The household staple, rice grains, can be used as a desiccant to sustain a state of dryness in your mobile phone. Try to cover your mobile phone with rice grains overnight in a covered container. If you do not like the idea of using rice as a method of drawing out moisture, there are commercially available desiccants in the market. Examples of these include silica gel, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, and molecular sieves.
7. If your mobile phone was submerged in saltwater like water from the sea, do not dry it at once. Place it under running tap water to wash off salt molecules and prevent their crystallization in the mobile phone’s components. This is very important to consider because no amount of cleaning can restore a mobile phone damaged by seawater especially if the water has crystallized inside the unit’s components.
8. Wait 24 hours before you even attempt to turn on the mobile phone. Although it may take only a few hours for the whole mobile phone to dry, there may be components that may still have traces of moisture.
If you have already performed all of these things and your mobile phone is showing no signs of life at all, then perhaps letting go is the more appropriate thing to do. Just remember that for these things to work, your quick action is important. Without it, there is no point in saving your mobile phone from water damage.