A Story of Survival

Last week, my BlackBerry Bold 9700 took a dip in a swimming pool with me. I was tipsy and I was nudged to the water with my clothes, car key remote, phone and wallet (please, no further details on the how and why). Intoxicated, it took me half a minute to realize that my electronics have been submerged. Worse still, when I got the phone out of the water, I turned it on in panic to see if it still works. The LCD backlight flickered then died. I took the battery out. It’s amazing how worrying and cold water can instantly sober up a person…

The drying process

I was out of town, and it happened early morning and I was too wasted to fuss over it, so I just wiped the phone with a towel, put it in front of a fan, and went to sleep. As soon as I woke up, I searched for a hair dryer and used it on the phone for several minutes. I could see condensation on the lens of the camera. The water damage indicator strips on the battery and phone are both red. Telltale signs that some water did get inside the phone.

Back home, 18 hours after the incident, I googled for ways to save a wet phone. There were a lot of suggestions on using silica gel and rice (uncooked dumbass!) to absorb the moisture, so I did both:

Step 1: phone, battery, MicroSD, and car key remote innards zip locked with a bag of silica gel for 24 hours.

Step 2: Phone and all its components buried in a tub of rice (cover and store for another 24 hours)

After doing the steps above and keeping the phone off for more than 60 hours, I finally decided to turn on the phone. Voila! It works perfectly. This is amazing, considering there’s so many components that can be damaged: the camera, keyboard, lcd, radios (i.e. wi-fi, bluetooth, 3G), chips and motherboard, speakers and mic, USB and headphone jacks, so on.

The things I did to save a wet phone is not guaranteed, your mileage may vary. But if your phone does get wet the following will increase its chances of survival:

– take the battery off immediately and don’t turn on the phone (ie. press any button)

– hair dryer (some disagree because of the risk of frying your phone, but I say just be careful and gentle)

– silica gel and rice (yes, it seems to work, no urban legend)

– most importantly: patience! let the phone dry for at least 3 days


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