There simply is nothing more frustrating than attempting to resuscitate your precious mobile phone or even your trendy and hip iPod from water damage. The common knowledge is that once an electronic item such a mobile phone whose sensitive circuitry can get damaged with the slightest entry of water and moisture, it takes a Lazarus act to bring it back from the dead.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, the mobile phone has effectively transcended the barriers from being mere communications equipment to a complete mobile telecommunications and multimedia platform. Majority of today’s professionals would admit to the indispensability of these mobile communications devices in the performance of their many functions. The ability to get Internet connections anytime anywhere as well as the capacity to perform office functions and a host of multi-media applications with just a click of a button or even a tap on the screen underscores the importance of these devices in modern living.
iPods are every music lover’s mobile multimedia companion although there are some mobile phones who have already integrated a lot of these features in their circuitry. iPods are more than just pieces of mobile entertainment; they afford the user a certain air of preeminence usually found among those who take pride in something. And to be a proud owner of an iPod is something that has been growing ever since the introduction of the very first iPod units in 2001 is nothing short of iconic.
The Need to Revive
Knowing very well the importance of this mobile office, internet, communications, and entertainment rolled into just a single platform in the lives of modern day professionals, it is quite unthinkable if these were suddenly snuffed out of their functionality. There are a variety of reasons why the full operational functionality of these mobile phones and iPods can be drastically cut short. Among these include water damage, extremes of temperatures, excessive vibrations, as well as impact damage.
The need to revive these devices from their watery grave is thus anchored more on economics and, to a lesser extent, the personal attachment one has developed with the unit. Because of the usefulness and the inherent ability of these devices to complement, if not define, the personality of the owner, there is a strong likelihood that the owner can develop strong feelings of attachment to the unit. There have been incidents where an owner literally “grieved” over the loss of a mobile phone or even an iPod.
Economic issues aside, the value placed on something is a reflection of the owner’s attitude towards all things around him or her. Although this outpouring of emotions may seem inappropriate to some, it is considered as a normal part of healthy grieving process. Only when the loss has significantly robbed the individual of his or her inherent ability to resume normal activities of daily living does grieving become dysfunctional. And to grieve rather incessantly over an inanimate object, no matter how important that object has become in one’s life, is truly something that is not only inappropriate but is also disturbing.
Nonetheless, the principal impetus for the need to resuscitate these devices from water damage, insofar as most individuals are concerned, is more on economics.
1. Such devices do not come cheap especially those units that already come with a host of features that enable the owner to perform a lot of his needs on the go. Unless the owner has no problems with finances, then purchasing a replacement unit, perhaps even better than the damaged one, is not a problem at all. However, for the average American and because of the rather inconsequent turn of events there can hardly be enough resources to buy another unit.
2. The subscriber identity module or SIM contains much useful information such as contact details of friends, acquaintances, businesses and other relevant persons in the owner’s life. Other vital information can also be stored in the module depending on the different services that come with the subscription. In most cases, mobile banking information as well as consumer reward system can also be integrated into the SIM. A mobile phone that has very extensive water damage may render the SIM and all its information useless.
3. Most of today’s mobile phones come with expandable memory slots for a variety of storage cards. These can include compact flash, secure disk, mini multimedia card, and other forms of data storage for mobile phones. These essentially store countless pictures, images, videos, games, audio files, and other applications that cannot be stored in the phone’s memory. When these files are lost to water damage, nothing can be done to bring them back and the memories that were embedded into each of these files will remain just a memory.
4. The phone’s internal memory stores other useful data such as security features and the phone’s mobile operating system. Although these are not commonly retrievable and pose a less than significant impact to the life of the owner, it does still has its economic repercussions in the long run.
5. iPods, when damaged by water, has its economic effects less significant than that of the mobile phone. Perhaps the only remorse is in the cost of such a unit because a significantly low end iPod can already mean two to three units of a low end mobile phone. And there is not even the convenience of telephony involved.
Water Damage First Aid
Understanding the basic need to restore mobile phones and iPods from water damage is one thing. Breathing into them new life is an entirely different matter, often times with varying degrees of success.
It is essential to understand that the longer the mobile phone or the iPod has been in contact with water or even moisture, the more difficult it will be to restore it. Much like in human medical emergencies where the first few minutes are usually the most crucial, so is in the case of these sensitive devices with regards to water damage. It thus becomes important to immediately remove the unit from the water if any hope of salvaging the unit from water damage is to be effected.
Although there are essentially no indications as to the upper limits of water exposure to merit irreversible mobile phone or iPod damage, by convention the unit must be removed within the first twenty seconds of water contact. This is to minimize complete immersion of device circuitry which can predispose to the accumulation of water sediments. Such phenomenon will render the whole circuitry inoperable and as such the unit as totally useless. Here are a few reminders for you to take during that crucial first step of rescuing your mobile phone or iPod.
1. While still in the water, immediately remove the device’s battery or power source in order to prevent any accidental injuries or more serious damage to the unit. There have been clear indications that show more extensive damage to electronic devices when the power source was left on that led to shorting of the circuitry.
2. Disassemble the unit and pat dry each component with a clean piece of cloth or chamois. Remove all other essential components like the subscriber identity module, external memory storage devices, casings and other items. Individually dry these items and store them in a dry and safe place.
3. Do not dry these mobile phone or iPod components under direct sunlight because the sensitive circuitry can get literally ‘fried’ in the process. Using hair dryers set even in the lowest settings is also not recommended because of the generally outward flow of warm air currents from the dryer nozzle. This process will be pushing on the water molecules and embedding them further deeply into the circuitry of these devices.
4. Do not attempt to put these devices in the oven and ‘toasting’ them up in the lowest heat settings. There is no way you can adequately control the evenness of drying of individual components this way. The risk of a totally burnt mobile phone or iPod circuitry is a lot greater in these instances than the usual, albeit odd, way of drying.
5. One not-so-conventional way of drying these electronic devices is to use ordinary rice grains and other desiccants which can literally ‘draw out’ water and moisture from the unit. You can try to immerse the unit in a bowl of rice grains overnight or some commercially prepared desiccant. Calcium oxide (quicklime) and calcium sulfate (gypsum), which are generally available in your neighborhood grocery and or hardware store, can also be used as desiccants. Oven drying a piece of wood until they are bone-dry can also be used as a desiccant although the general effectiveness is yet to be established.
6. One very unusual method of reviving mobile phones and iPods from water damage is the use of ordinary rubbing alcohol. Alcohol is a substance that dissolves non-polar solutions and has been greatly used in disinfection and other antiseptic uses. Alcohol allegedly dissolves sediments that may have accumulated in the components of electrical devices rendering them operationally functional. The rate of drying is also hastened by the presence of alcohol and this is thought to be one of the major indications for the use of rubbing alcohol in drying devices with water damage. It is suggested that the unit be immersed in rubbing alcohol for not more than 20 seconds and just lay it down to dry naturally.
Performing the Lazarus Act
The success of the Lazarus act on your mobile phone and or iPod will be greatly dependent on how fast you have recognized the need to initiate the resuscitation efforts, the timing of your actions, and the decisiveness of the drying methods you employ in arresting the ill effects of water damage. It takes no magic or a miracle to revive your precious device, just plain old understanding and strong will to do the correct thing.