Have you dropped your phone or other portable electronic device in water? "Put it in rice" is probably the most common solution you'll hear. But not everybody is fortunate enough to be given that advice before already jamming down on that power button. Well, this tutorial takes a little more effort than the infamous rice trick, but I can say that I've had a 9 out of 10 success rate with it (I know many accident-prone folks) even after it has been declared "dead." But enough with the introduction, let's get started!
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
Any self-respecting fixer-upper-er should have a large arsenal of handy tools. But, if that isn't you--have no fear! This job can be completed with just a few tools and supplies that I can guarantee you already have.
What You'll Need:
- Screwdrivers (the type depends on your device)
- Toothbrush (I have had better luck using a soft-bristled toothbrush)
- 90% (or higher concentration) Isopropyl Alcohol
- Some type of Magnifier (you could probably get away with not using one)
- Good Light Source
- Electric Fan
Like I said, these items should be readily available in your house already. And by all means, if you don't have something that's listed here, improvise!
Step 2: Remove the Power Source
The most important step in saving a soaked device is to remove the battery. A close second is to turn it off. But, just because it shows no signs of using power, doesn't mean that everything will be okay. If the battery terminals can short out, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will! And the corrosion produced by their nasty habit is never a pretty sight.
Step 3: Disassembly Time
I cannot be of much help here, as I do not know what kind of electronic device you are attempting to rescue. But here is a link for a very useful website!
If you are not already familiar with ifixit, their website holds a vast amount of disassembly and fix-it manuals. If you are ever curious as to what the guts of your favorite media device is, check out their site first! They have, most likely, already disassembled it and laid it out in an easy-to-view tutorial for you.
Some devices you will not have to fully disassemble. Just make sure you have adequate access to the motherboard or whichever section that is corroding.
Step 4: Scrub!
This is where it gets tricky (not really). Basically, pretend you are brushing your teeth--except you are not brushing teeth and are using alcohol instead of toothpaste. Dip the toothbrush in alcohol and brush away! Just be gentle. If the pins have corroded enough, they could very easily break off of the components, leaving you with frustration and a painfully expensive new paper weight.
Step 5: Dry
Put simply, let your device dry. I would suggest a fan or blowing on it. The alcohol will evaporate quickly, leading you to the next step!
Step 6: Inspect
This is where the magnifier comes in handy. Check over the area you just scrubbed, and make sure there isn't any corrosion left. Removing a majority of the debris is essential, as the most common points for shorts will be in between the smallest components, and that tiny speck of who-knows-what could actually be what is keeping your device from working. Remember how I told you to grab some patience? You will need it here. It may take a few tries to get it all off of there.
Step 7: Assemble
After you've cleaned off the board to where there isn't any visible corrosion, try putting it back together. If there are screws or other parts that aren't essential for operation, why not leave them off for testing? That way, if something is still wrong, you won't have to tear the thing apart again.
Step 8: Enjoy Your Repaired (and Clean) Device!
If you've made it this far, I can assume that it was a success! If you liked this tutorial or have any suggestions or criticism, please let me know. I am open to ideas for improvement or just for other tutorials. I hope this was a help to you and your drowned electronic device!