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My Acer Liquid got wet with sea water. I didn't notice that right the moment, but after an hour it made a couple of vibrations and the screen doesn't turn on. Connected to power and nothing happens, no led lights and it does just nothing. Trying to turn it on doesn't give any result. Is it gone forever? Can I try anything? Can I make it repair?

  • Just for the record I tryed adviced methods, which had a mildly benefic effect. But the device definetly died a few days after the accident... – Paolo Apr 9 '14 at 15:16
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Even though this may not be the place to ask this question, you deserve some help with this one. The information below will help, but there is now additional information on rice baths and using water vs. alcohol to clean electronics. Please read more from iFixit for more detailed information.

DON'T ATTEMPT TO APPLY ANY POWER

  • Separate the phone into as many parts as you can (i.e. take the battery out, back cover off) without taking screws out.

  • Cover the device fully with dry rice. Try three days, this gives the water time to evaporate, hopefully aided by the rice.

  • Reassemble and try the device again.

If this doesn't work, there's a few more things to try, but chances are you're out of luck :/

IF YOU WISH TO BE EXTREME, or have spilled corrosive material (soda, juice, etc.)

Note, I have a friend that has done this successfully several times, and even though it sounds scary, it has worked for many people:

  • first, take out the battery

  • second, check to make sure you took out the battery

  • next, submerge the phone (without the battery) completely in deionized water (distilled should be fine). Leave it there for 24 hours.

  • ALTERNATIVELY: washing the internals with 90% or higher isopropyl alcohol will clean the device just as well, and evaporate much quicker, without the need for a rice soak.

  • after waiting such a time, remove the phone, scrub the board with alcohol to remove any corrosion, still, do not replace the battery and cover it completely in dry rice for three times (or a week, to be safe) the amount of time you had it in the water

This process should clean the inside of your phone and hopefully remove any salinity, and should not harm the phone as long as there is no power applied to the device, i.e. the battery

  • 4
    I would not leave the phone in water for a day or two. This sounds like it'll create more problems than it'll solve. I would do the same thing except leave it in there for 30 minutes max. – user606723 Jun 19 '12 at 16:35
  • I edited it down to 24 hours. I know it sounds psycho, but I've seen it work wonders, and have a friend that has done it to several devices, and has never been unsuccessful. I did title the section appropriately ;) – jlehenbauer Jun 19 '12 at 17:38
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    I dropped my MP3 player in the ocean once. Afterwards, I took it apart, washed it in the sink, and let the pieces dry on a bit of paper towel. It worked fine, and I used it for another year (until I upgraded). – Fake Name Jun 19 '12 at 22:10
  • 1
    how long did you dry it? – jlehenbauer Jun 26 '12 at 12:08
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    This answer is a myth. It's pseudoscience. ifixit.com/Wiki/…) – LateralTerminal Nov 15 '17 at 18:51
10

It sounds like you're screwed at this point.

However, this is what you should do if you happen to drop an electronic device in salt-water:

  1. Immediately remove all battery and power sources and do not reconnect them for several days and after following the steps below.
  2. If the exposure is quite high. (ie submerged in salt water for several seconds), then you will want to flush the device with distilled water. OR if possible, disassemble and clean all electric surfaces with alcohol.
  3. Dry the device by surrounding it in dry rice for 2-3 days. (And maybe put it near something with ambient heat)
  4. Only when confident the device is dry, should you reapply power.

    • The hope here is that when it shorted out the first time, it didn't damage anything.
    • Attempting to apply the power while device is still wet will certainly cause damage.
    • Salt water is known to cause damage, and therefore it might be best to try to flush the salt out with distilled water Or disassembly if possible. (Water itself will not cause much damage unless electricity is applied during the process.)
  • This is the correct answer. The saltwater needs to be flushed out completely with distilled water and then the distilled water needs to be flushed out with technical grade 99.9% anhydrous alcohol. A desiccant is going to work faster than the rice, so use a desiccant and dry the phone completely. – andDevW Aug 15 '17 at 5:28
6

Rice does not solve water damage.

(Source: iFixit)

When we put a phone in rice, it is the same thing as doing nothing. It just FEELS like we're actively trying something. Corrosion is instant when a phone hits water. Sometimes the corrosion hits important components, sometimes not. If we resist turning the phone on until it dries on the counter, in the rice bag, or anywhere else, sometimes we get lucky. If we had the phone in the rice bag, we think the rice saved the phone. But it didn't! Even if the phone seems to be working, it will have oxidized solder joints that are weakened and brittle. Corrosion will continue to spread inside the phone. We have done nothing but experienced temporary luck.

You have to take it to a repair shop that has an ultrasonic cleaner or follow the advice from iFixit.

What you want to do is first displace the water—or more specifically, all the conductive stuff in the water. You can do this best by using 90%+ isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and a toothbrush. Open your device as soon as you can, take out the battery, and get scrubbing. Submerge the whole motherboard in alcohol, and scrub away. Only then, dry it and see where you stand. This is your best strategy for liquid damage.

-

You'd be hard pressed to find any experienced professional in the repair industry that doesn't roll their eyes when they hear the word "rice." We see the sad result of phones/devices that have been carefully placed in the Mahatma bag with fingers crossed.

How is rice supposed to remove this damage? Imagine even rubbing the rice on the circuit board. Would that do anything? NO. So that's why putting your phone in a bag of rice would NOT help.

corroded chip
Chip after rice cure (click to enlarge)

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