Water Damage - Road To Recovery

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mdkrebs11, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. mdkrebs11 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #1
    I always wondered what the heck was wrong with people that would post that they accidentally dropped their phone in the toilet or a bucket of water or something. Well now I can add my name to that unenviable list. Dropped my 2 week old iPhone in the toilet today. Accidentally knocked it off the bathroom counter and after a few acrobatic bounces and failed catches, it managed to land right in the drink. It was in the water for all of about 2 seconds before I grabbed it (no, there was nothing in the toilet thank goodness) and started furiously trying to dry it out. Quickly dried off all the exterior water. Grabbed a can of compressed air and started to try and blow the remaining water out of the various openings in the unit. Probably not a smart idea as I could very well have blown water or dust particles under the LCD but thankfully that did not occur.

    Considering how short a time it was in the water and how quickly (or so I thought) I tried to dry out the internals, I still saw the erratic behavior that other posts describe. I never had the problem of the unit not turning on at all. But the screen did seem to flicker a bit for a while, it wouldn't size properly (i.e. the screen would not take up the full LCD) and applications would crash that had never crashed previously - SMS, Phone, etc. Probably the strangest thing I noticed is that it started to register as if it was plugged into a non-approved iPhone accessory because I kept getting that message. Unfortunately, because it believed it was plugged in, when I tried to shut the unit down and leave it alone to dry for a few hours, it would turn right back on. I was kind of surprised that such a short exposure to water would reek this much havoc. But I guess it is a pretty sophisticated device and it's generally not good to give it a swim.

    This happened around 11am this morning. By around 6pm this evening and after several more air can blasts, pretty much everything is back to normal. I can actually shut the unit down completely and it stays off. All applications seem to be acting normal. Unfortunately it still thinks it is plugged into an non iphone accessory because I keep getting the message. As a result, the speaker will not play when either receiving a call or trying to play music. I know the speaker works fine because I can force it to work when listening to a voicemail. And from time to time I can get music to play through it from the iPod function but only for a short period of time before it thinks its plugged in to an accessory again and the error message pops up.

    In reading through the various "water" posts, I see that several people suggested putting the phone in a sealed plastic bag with some uncooked rice to try and absorb the moisture. As everything is back to normal and even the "unauthorized accessory warning" seems to not be as prevalent as before, I have placed my phone in a bag with rice to hopefully absorb the remaining moisture and get it back to normal. Just thought I would share my harrowing experience and hopefully be able to post a follow up tomorrow morning that everything is back to normal. Sure would be nice to use my speaker again!

    Sorry to all the goofs that I thought were crazy for dropping a phone in water. I am now one of those lucky souls.
     
  2. Dizle macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    The Beach
    #2
    Sucks about your phone but this is good news, the iphone may be able to take short baths with minimal damage!
     
  3. marksman macrumors 603

    marksman

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2007
    #3
    Here is a different road: Road to Nowhere

    Anyways, I would recommend anyone who does this be more cautious than even the OP was. I would not even try to turn on the phone for several days. Others have gone into the techniques of rice and drying gel packs and the rest. Suffice it to say I would not take any chances, and this is not a time when you should get impatient.

    I am glad it worked out for you OP, but you could have probably given it a bit more time to be safe.
     
  4. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #4
    well, the problem with the iPhone is that you can't remove the battery. With any other device dropped into water, removing the battery is always the first step. No matter if you turn off the iPhone or not - while the battery is attached there's current flowing through the device which might cause shorts - and then it's game over.
     
  5. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #5
    Did you look down the headphone port/jack to see if it had turned pink? Normally it's white and untainted. That's the indicator that the Apple Store people look at, then they hook it up to their MBP at the desk and they check the internal water damage detector "thing-a-maggiger" and that internal one is hard to fool. :eek:
     
  6. thor79 macrumors 6502

    thor79

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #6
    Still it's better to leave it off and let it dry out even if you can't remove the batteries...that'll work a lot of the time for a lot of electronics.

    I had a camera (non-digital...but electronic) with me on my first and (so far) only white water rafting trip (though I'd like to do it again). I thought I had sealed it away well enough...but it turns out it got completely soaked (as in holding it up and a stream of water drained from it). Of course I took out the batteries and let it dry for about 5 days. The film was of course ruined but after letting the camera dry and putting fresh batteries into it, the camera worked fine. It is still working to this day...more than 10 years later.

    Honestly I don't know of any items in the iPhone that would draw power while the phone is off...so would the battery really have current flowing? I do believe any memory or BIOS is non-volatile memory...thus any permanent settings that need to be saved would be safe without power..unlike the CMOS in most computers today. Unless there is a need for power in the phone the circuit would be broken upon turning off the power...which means the phone would not draw power from the battery...even if it is still hooked up to the circuit. Unless the water creates a short circuit across the two sides of the circuit (across the broken circuit connection) there would be no current flowing. There needs to be a path for the current to flow for there to be a draw on the battery. (I have no idea about the iPhone power specifics...so it's completely possible that power is still needed when the phone is off, I'm just guessing on that part)

    Either way leaving it off and letting it dry...even if you can't remove the battery...is a best practice to perform in just such an event.

    Not trying to criticize...just adding my 2 cents.
     
  7. kis macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #7

    I don't think the power-button is mechanic - so there's got to be some current flowing even when phone's turned off. But anyway - I do agree with you: turning it off immediately is definitely the best choice you have.
     
  8. thor79 macrumors 6502

    thor79

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #8
    Like I said...no idea how it truly works...pretty sure there are ways to electronically switch a circuit off and on without having current flowing through all the time though. A momentary switch could act as a trigger...when pressed the electronic switch is tripped, the circuit lights up and the phone state is read. If off then the phone turns on and stay on even if the switch is no longer pressed.

    Any power left running after the phone is off would be minimal and only used to maintain the state of memory or something...so it's likely the amperage wouldn't even be enough to overcome the resistance of water. If the majority of the phone were left on even in the off state then how could you leave it in the off state without the battery draining completely over time?

    I know some electrical engineering...but I'm no expert (it's been almost 10 years since I took those classes). I switched majors after a couple years in the program. I simply didn't like the hardware side and went software.
     
  9. Ferris23 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #9
    you don't have to be an engineer to read he tried to turn the phone off and it turned itself back on. Rtfp :rolleyes:
     
  10. senorFunkyPants macrumors 6502

    senorFunkyPants

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #10
    I used to buy a lot of water damaged mobiles and repair them with a success rate of about 1 in 3. The chances of a successfull repair are unsuprisingly proportional to the amount of time spend "wet". Phones that have been through a washing machine cycle being the most likely to remain dead.
    Once the mobile is completely dry (couple of days in a very warm environment) then the best proceedure is to completely dismantle it and thoroughly clean the PCB boards (avoiding the LCD, mic and speaker) with electrical contact cleaner or similar then rebuild and reflash the firmware.
     
  11. ashjamben macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    Shanghai, China
    #11
    just thinkin about the rice technique, in my old house we had a fair abit of moisture in my room, so i bought this tub that had water crystals in, and they soaked up all the moisture, and it actually worked pretty well.

    obviously you probably don't have water crystals on you straight away, but probably a better idea than rice
     
  12. pugnut macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    #12
    iPhone Meets the Toilet

    I got the 3g and gave my firend my old one and within 1 day it made it's way to the toilet. SHe did exactly what she was not to do, she plugged it in to see if it would power.

    I got to the unit about 5 hours later and put it in a bag rice and put in a dry closet for a few days.

    Plugged it in, gave it a full charge and it is back fully, no issues. Amazing. Oddly enough I put my nano through the waser machine a week later and did the same thing and while the music is back the screen is not.
     
  13. mdkrebs11 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #13
    Update

    Thanks for all the advice and I agree, best course of action with any electronic that gets wet is to just let it dry out and don't use. I did try to shut 'er down but a short in the power plug at the bottom kept turning it back on. The other issue with shutting down a phone and not using it for a few days while it drys out is......it's a phone. As is the case with most people I would assume, this is my primary form of communication. I happened to be in the office yesterday so could use that phone most of the day while my mobile dried out. But I'm back out on the road today and have to use my phone. Switched from T-Mo to buy this iPhone so can't swap the sim card out to another cheapo phone while this one continues to dry.

    As an update to my original post, I tried the rice thing over night. It did not solve the last remaining issue which is the phone thinks it is plugged into a non iphone accessory. So the external speaker still will not work for music or video. It does work now for all incoming calls as the ringer now goes off - so that's an improvement. I did not put it under any heat as some suggested as I didn't think that was such a great idea. I guess I will continue to try and let dry out and hope it eventually gets back to normal.

    For those that asked about the water indicator turning pink, I do not see any type of indicator in the headphone jack. I see the metal connecting piece at the very bottom and a tiny silver nub protruding from one of the sides in the cylinder but no other item in the headphone jack. If you are talking about the power connector at the bottom, I do see a recessed circle area in the middle directly underneath the horizontal power connector. It is very hard to see but I can catch a glimpse and it does appear to have a pink/red hue to it so I assume that is what everyone is talking about. So I have an official water logged iPhone.
     
  14. stevin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    #14

    That "silver" nub is actually the water indicator. Take a good look at it... Its a lot harder to see on the 3G than it was on the 2.5G.

    try shining a light down there to get a good look at er.
     
  15. DiamondMac macrumors 68040

    DiamondMac

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    #15
    I can't tell you how much of a heartattack I had a few months ago when I was taking a "leak" and was texting someone when it slipped out of my hand and if not for me swatting it away (trying to catch it but ended up hitting it) it would have gone straight in and probably destroyed it

    Wheh, it hit the ground but luckily was fine thank goodness

    Never again
     
  16. gcmexico macrumors 6502a

    gcmexico

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Location:
    New York City
    #16
    that's it...I'm never taking my iphone into the bathroom!!..it's just not safe:cool:
     
  17. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #17
    Yep.... thats where the indicator should be! And you better hope its white...
     
  18. thor79 macrumors 6502

    thor79

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #18
    yeah well it was 2am here when I read it first...I skimmed the post and didn't read the full details in the middle...so sue me.

    Never said I was an engineer...how about you rtfp...I took some classes in it nearly 10 years ago before deciding it was not for me.
     
  19. mdkrebs11 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2008
    #19
    pink strip

    you guys were absolutely right. Shined a flashlight in the headphone jack and there's definitely a white tab at the bottom. Unfortunately for me, half of that strip is a distinct pink. No returns for me down the road. Thankfully it is almost back to normal. Still get the iPhone accessory error from time to time even though it's not plugged in. But it seems to be improving slowly but surely. It seems strange that it would take this long. It is obviously dry by now. Wonder why it is slowly still improving back to normal? but I'm definitely not complaining.
     
  20. Ferris23 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #20
    chillax. I read his post at 6 a.m when I first got up to check my email and I'm the laziest reader I know.

    I was just being a sarcastic ass, you have to jump on that opportunity on these here forums.

    ;)
     
  21. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #21
    Keep your chin up, I've seen others get replacement iPhone's despite the water damage. Who knows, you might get your iPhone back to normal, over the next few days. Good Luck. :cool:
     

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