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Salvage That Water Damaged Phone

2

I’m very excited today because an experiment worked.  A coworker of mine brought me a Galaxy Nexus 4G phone with a horrible story to go along with it.  He was fishing in the Atlantic and dropped his phone in the salt water.  I KNOW….I’d be freaking out too.

He fished it out and of course it wouldn’t power up.   He even took it apart and tried to dry it out…no luck.  So he went to Verizon and purchased another to replace his water damaged phone.  He dropped by my off and asked if I wanted the old Galaxy Nexus …I said sure I might could use the parts.

So it sat in my house for over a month before I actually looked at it.  I plugged it in hoping for the best and………………………….no luck.  Nothing happened at all.  I did a little research and found an interesting option.  Below is how I resurrected the water damaged phone (Galaxy Nexus 4G) from a watery grave.

1. Disassemble (as much as you can)

At the very least, remove the battery, sim card, and sd card.  I actually removed the screws that held the front and back plastics together and used a pry tool to separate the two pieces.  This exposed the water damaged phone’s circuit boards.

2. Get Some Alcohol

No, I’m not telling you to start drinking heavily.  Get some 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.  You can usually get this at Walgreens, CVS, or other stores of that type.  It has to be 99% not 70%.

3. A Good Soaking

Now, place your water damaged phone in a container that is deeper than the phone.  Then pour enough isopropyl alcohol to completely submerge the phone.  Don’t Panic…It’s all good.

4. Take a Walk

This part is easy…just wait.  I let mine soak for one hour.

5. Dry and Try

Remove the water damaged phone from the alcohol and place it on a paper towel to dry.  It shouldn’t take long to dry.  I waited 20 minutes.  Reassemble the phone and insert the battery.  Plug it into a charger and see if anything happens.

In my case, when I plugged it in the battery charge light came on and I was able to power it up.  This was great news for my wife who is going to be the recipient of the “new” phone.  She is currently using my old Droid X (with a damaged scree) because she dropped her Samsung Stratosphere and broke the screen.  Needless to say the Galaxy Nexus will be in an Otterbox when I present it to her.

Why Did This Work

Well, the alcohol actually gets into the nooks and crannies of the circuit board and removes all traces of water, condensation, and moisture still left.  Of course if your phone is too far gone this method may not work.  However this phone actually has corrosion on the board from the salt water and it still works so it’s worth a try.

One note, you need 99% isopropyl because the 70% is diluted with….water.  And removing water is the entire purpose of this.

There is no guarantee that this will work…but this very nice Galaxy Nexus sits in front of me where a nasty water damaged phone once sat….so it was worth the try.

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About Author

Ben is a follower of Christ, a rabid computer geek, small business owner, and breaker of things. He is married way above his station in life and has three wonderful children who have made driving him insane their mission in life.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Ben,
    My nexus 4 has been exposed to water as well (drop into the toilet for about 10 seconds) and I put inside zip lock with lots of silica gel inside the bag after I remove the screen, sd card and the battery from the phone. I left it for 3 days and It is on again but after a week part of the touch screen did not response and I sent to LG for repair and they told me that it is unrepairable becuse the board was damaged by the water.
    I was thinking once I get it back from LG, I would disassemble it and take out the board from the phone and dip it into 99% alcohol as you did. Would you think it will make my [hone back to normal?
    Thank for your advice.

  2. Hi Ben,
    My nexus 4 has been exposed to water as well (drop into the toilet for about 10 seconds) and I put inside zip lock with lots of silica gel inside the bag after I remove the screen, sd card and the battery from the phone. I left it for 3 days and It is on again but after a week part of the touch screen did not response and I sent to LG for repair and they told me that it is unrepairable becuse the board was damaged by the water.
    I was thinking once I get it back from LG, I would disassemble it and take out the board from the phone and dip it into 99% alcohol as you did. Would you think it will make my [hone back to normal?
    Thank for your advice.

  3. Hi Loky,

    There’s always a possibility that the board has been damaged by water. If it wasn’t completely dry when you powered it back on it could have damaged a portion of the board. But, since it’s already damaged, you won’t do any harm by trying the 99% alcohol. It’s worth a shot.

    Good Luck.

    Ben

  4. Hi Loky,

    There’s always a possibility that the board has been damaged by water. If it wasn’t completely dry when you powered it back on it could have damaged a portion of the board. But, since it’s already damaged, you won’t do any harm by trying the 99% alcohol. It’s worth a shot.

    Good Luck.

    Ben

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