Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Managing wet gadgets

This Macintouch reader report is the best summary I've come across on how to manage a wet gadget. Above all, remove the batteries ...
Macintouch - iPod: Washed iPods - Mark Hosking

Moisture and humidity are the enemy of any electronic device that has been "drowned" or dropped in liquid, because it causes oxidation of the metal components inside, especially if the unit is powered up as the electricity also "galvanises" the oxidation process.

If a pet urinates on any gadget or it gets dropped or carried into the ocean, or falls in an undesirable liquid, the first action should be to remove the power source and all batteries. Also DO NOT press the power up button to see if the device still functions in the event that it got wet when powered off.

Instead the procedure is to immediately clean any salt water, dirty liquids or pet pee out of the device, with distilled, purified or soda water. Do not use tap water as the chlorine in it is an oxidiser and this will cause more possible damage down the track.

Next carefully shake as much excess liquid (which should only be clean water now) out of the device and dry it with a soft cloth so that the exterior is also dry.

Finally to rapidly, and more effectively than any other method, remove all the remaining moisture and humidity that would otherwise cause oxidation and damage to the internal components of your iPod, phone, video or still camera, or any other expensive, delicate electronic device, grab a vacuum cleaner that has a hose attachment and patiently suck out the remaining dampness from the previously wet device using the vacuum cleaner.

Using common sense, pay particular attention to all the slots, sockets, battery storage areas and openings in the device as these areas will allow the suction of the vacuum cleaner to draw air and moisture from deeper inside the wet device.

The amount of humidity and dampness involved in this procedure should not represent a hazard to the vacuum cleaner.

Be patient and spend at least 20 - 30 minutes using this technique to dry the device thoroughly, changing the placement of the hose nozzle every minute or so to ensure that you get at the location of all the internal cavities. Do not rush this procedure, there are no shortcuts.

Never choose to dry any water damaged electronic device using heat such as with a hair dryer or placement of the device in hot sun or in a warm oven. This process will cause the internal moisture to turn to humidity that will lodge itself deeper into the internal components and this will ultimately cause more harm and ongoing oxidation. Therefore what may seem like a successful repair can often develop faults weeks or months later, related to the oxidation that you will have encouraged.

Next, clean and dry any previously removed batteries and reinstall them into the now dried device and power the device up, if it powers up and all the functions are OK then you have just saved your product's life and all it cost you was some patience and electricity to run the vacuum cleaner for 30 minutes.

Remember that time is also your enemy when needing to dry the moisture from the wet device, leaving it in a bag of any "drying" agent for several days will not arrest the oxidation the begins immediately the unit got wet, a vacuum cleaner will arrest the oxidation immediately when you use it to very effectively dry out the internal aspect of the device ASAP. As we all know "rust never sleeps".

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