Thursday, May 16, 2013

Water Damage | Your first actions are Critical!

We are going to start putting out a blog here to help our customers in more ways than we previously offered. I want to keep these blog posts short and simple, for you sake as well as mine! Let's get started.

Water Damage...What can I do to save my device? What steps help defeat the dreaded water damage?

Let's set the stage. Your wonderfully beautiful iPhone 5 was just soaked. It is out of the water, and thoughts of desperation set in. What do I do?

First things first.
Power the device down
If you can access the battery directly, take it out. If inaccessible (in the case of Apple's iPhone, iPod, and iPad), shut the device down ASAP as normal. Avoid plugging your device into the computer or any source of power. The water is not the only instigator that is ruining the water damage iPhone. The electricity running through the water that bridges many of the different components is what ultimately kills many devices.  Water damage, if handled correctly, is fixable 90% of the time.

After shutting the device down.
Removing the Water
The widespread knowledge is to place the device in a bag of rice. This not the best option. Silica gel is a better alternative than using rice, however it is not as easily accessible as rice. Still silica gel will not get inside the device onto the logic board which is the most important part of a device. It is crucial in most cases to get the device powered down and brought in for a cleaning. Generally when either rice or silica gel is used a charger port, headphone jack, earpiece speaker, or loudspeaker can be damaged in the process.

Our water damage repair process has been highly researched and is currently the industry standard for best practices. Some of the equipment we use involves a Crest Ultrasonic CP-500 machine that has a specific chemical mixture in it for best results. The ultrasonic cleaner will perform wave frequency sweeps evenly throughout the ultrasonic chamber to clean the PCB in every small area. Even under chips that are BGA soldered on. This usually includes devices main processors. Apples A series chips or Samsung chips. A certain way of drying the PCB board is required as well. Having the cleanest air pass over the board to dry it is also essential for best results so a heavy duty air purifier is necessary to complete the best possible water damage repair.  Also, the liquid on the board from the initial damage to the ultrasonic bath may have weakened some solder joints. We have a solution for this too! Placing the device in a chamber that is heated just enough to make sure things are solid while doing no damage to any of the IC or transistors on the board.

All of this is very in depth for simply saving a phone. Sometimes our process can simply be the difference of yes your phone is alive and you can recover your photos and data, or a short circuiting processor because corrosion has formed causing a short and the phone is DEAD!

Really water damage has an easy solution.
1. Turn the device off.
2. Bring it in ASAP and do not plug the device in or try and turn it on. Do not let it dry and that is the stage corrosion begins to build on the internal circuitry. We have sophisticated equipment to clean the entire logic board and give your device the best chance it has at survival. 


  1. Thank you for your post. I am sure this will help many as I have used this method to save many phones. Also you mentioned silica gel is better than rice. Do you use silica gel at iDoctor? If so is there a good way for the consumer to purchase silica gel?

  2. Hey no problem! We buy silica gel from the local Hobby lobby. The BEST option is to take the phone apart and remove water if you are capable, and soak the logic board in isopropyl alcohol. That's where we come in!

  3. I updated the blog! We have found out since 2013 that silica gel and rice are definitely not the best route. An ultrasonic cleaner is the ultimate answer along with fundamental knowledge of the circuitry and using deductive reasoning to troubleshoot issues. Our in store process has given us a 60-90% success. It is all dependent upon what you do with it post liquid damage. Turn it off!!!!!!