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How do I clean salt crystals/rust from cell phone parts? Answered

My friend fell into the oacean while at work with his OnePlus One in his pocket. His phone didn't come on after that and he tried the rice trick with the phone intacted (not taken apart). After about 3 days I time apart the phone to find that its covered in salt crystals, I put I back together and it not only vibrated but showed signs if life by flickering the LCD screen. 
I would like to clean it to see if I would get an even better response from it, so I want to know how best to clean the salt or rust or whatever you want to call it from the components. 

And if that not possible, will the screen still work if I place it onto my OnePlus One? 

Discussions

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Downunder35m

2 years ago

Here is what I do if I suspect a water damage might not be permanent:
1. remove all batteries.
2. drown for at least 20min in destilled water - no tap water, no de-mineralised water, only destilled! Reason is that everything else might cause more work and problems.
If in doubt read up on the differences ;)
3. dry for 2 hours in a rotating airstream with freshly activated silica gel.
By rotating I mean the device is submerged in the silica gel and the air is being pumped continously through it.
Unlike using fresh air, rotaing the same air give a much better indication on the silica gel and it will last longer unless you have a very dry climate anyway.
4. Submerge in pure alcohol.
Ethanol or Isopropanol are prefered, no methanol and no methylated spirit unless the later shows absolutely no residue when drying off on a mirror surface.
Make sure the alcohol volume is enough to not just cover the phone but also to be able to move it around in the alcohol.
With all the tiny spaces in a phone I usually do this for 5 hours with a decent stir once per hour.
5. Dry off the alcohol, best in a warm (not hot!) airstream.
If you think it is dry put it a sealed back and place into the freezer for a few minutes.
The warm phone will evaporate any remaining alcohol and it condenses on the inside of the bag.
Condensation means not fully dry, so take it out and keep drying it.

For salt water accident I flush at least times with water, but only the last one with destilled water.
The first run is for at least one hour to allow all salty water to mix with the fresh water and to remove all dried crystals.
Second run in warm water after rinsing the device under the tap for a while.
This run for about 3 hours, again because all the tiny spaces in a phone.

From my experience there is a light chance to get a normal water damage working again if the person acted fast, especially if the batter was taken out before the phone started plaing up or going dark.
Long exposure or salt water are usually a bin case except for certain parts like frame, display, connectors and such.
Once the processor got shorts over the pins it is all over due to the low operating voltage and the good conductivity of salt water.
Keep in mind the battery is quite powerful and electrolytic reactions happen fast.
After any sucessful revival of a saltwater drown a phone should be sealed in all possible electronic parts with suitable paint or varnish - the green stuff for circuit board is usually a good choice.
If you don't do this you risk bad corrosion on everything that can corrode as in most cases the salt wate already damaged any protective layer on metal parts.

Special case of trapped water between display layers.
An undamgaed phone should only be able to get very little water in here where a button goes through the display, like now on most rotten fruit and Android phones.
After a screen repair there is a good chance that the seal between front glass and display is no longer intact.
In this case water can get trapped here and will be next to impossible to get out.
This only happens on phones where the pfront glass is not the integrated touchscreen but in fact a seperate layer over the actual display.
The only way I found to get saltwater out here is with time and a hair dryer.
Heat the screen and once evenly warm there should already moisture coming out or through the seal somewhere.
Now submerge in cold water, only cold water cause remaining air to create a slight vacuum so it can be sucked in.
If enough water is forced out by the warm air to get at least a small drop you can dry this drop on a mirror.
White residue means keep going, no residue means start drying.

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icengDownunder35m

Answer 2 years ago

+1

What an excellent discussion. And that bag in the fridge is a marvelous removal idea.

Always happy to learn new things on ibles.

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Downunder35msteveastrouk

Answer 2 years ago

I could make Ibles for a lot of things but time is one problem, my unwillingness to drown my phone another LOL
So instead I hope there are enough keywords so someone in needwill find this topic - or make the Ible for everyone else to use.

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iceng

2 years ago

Remove or disconnect batteries.

Rinse & Soak in warm water dissolve salt, 4 times and shake dry.

Wash with alcohol to dissolve water and shake dry.

Wash with either to dissolve alcohol and wait over night.

Power it up.

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Jetron3000iceng

Answer 2 years ago

should the LCD screen come in contact with the achol or any other liquid?

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icengJetron3000

Answer 2 years ago

I guess salt water does not worry you..

LCD is Glass (Gorilla glass on iPhone) !

LCD = Liquid Crystal Display that has shape isolated liquid between two very thin glass plates and nearly invisible deposited metal traces to each pixel. which are activated by a alternating DC voltage equal pule width to electro avoid plating eating the molecular cell conductors.

The king of Acids, Aqua regia dissolves gold, Acquaragia is kept in a glass bottle ! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua_regia

The glass edge glue may be susceptible to something but my experience distilled clean water, isopropyl alcohol or either are not it...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropyl_alcohol

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Jetron3000iceng

Answer 2 years ago

so can I soak the screen in alcohol or not? ?

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icengJetron3000

Answer 2 years ago

After securing the data per Toga_Dan's suggestion...

What can you loose.... I feel your fear.... Disconnect your screen if it helps allay your concern... I did say the three liquids do not harm LCD screens.

BTW if there is a beeper on the unit, put a sticker over the hole...

Do not start if you you plan to skip using the either which is necessary to remove hidden pockets of alcohol

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Toga_Daniceng

Answer 2 years ago

+1 on this method.

But I'll add one more step: back up any data you don't want to lose, you may only get another week out of it.

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steveastrouk

2 years ago

Probably rinsing with distilled water, and more drying in rice or silica gel will remove the salt, but the problem is likely to be corrosion which you won't be able to remove.