Water Damaged Phones causing grief

Ben Nash from Erina based iFix Electronics warns of increasing water damage.Ben Nash from Erina based iFix Electronics warns of increasing water damage.

Water damage in mobile phones is on the rise on the Central Coast, causing significant grief in lost photos, messages, contacts and apps as well as big repair or replacement costs, according to a local repairer.

Local repairer & data recovery specialist Ben Nash from iFix Electronics in Erina has seen an increasing trend in unnecessary damage and data loss due to water damage. “A water damaged phone results in a lot of tears. When people realise that they’ve lost photos, apps, messages and documents many experience real emotion loss” said Ben.

Typical water damage inside a mobile phone under the microscope.

Typical water damage inside a mobile phone under the microscope.

“I’m appealing to all phone owners to back up their phones regularly and take precautions to keep their phones away from wet environments.”

With people being increasingly reliant on their phones for work, banking, socialising and family memories it is important to not only look after the phone itself but to backup the data.

When it comes to protecting phones from water there are a few obvious tips to follow. First and foremost is to protect your phone by keeping it away from the beach, waterways and wet rooms. If you must use your phone in wet environments, buy a good cover or a newer water resistant phone. However keep in mind that cases and phone marketed as water resistant, aren’t always perfect, and shockingly some of these manufacturers will take no responsibility if their product fails to provide the advertised water resistance they promise on the packaging.

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If your phone does become damaged by water there are a few steps Ben recommends to increase the chance of saving the data on your phone. However once a device has been water damaged, unfortunately that device will no longer be reliable and you are likely looking at a new device. Many places may promote they can ‘fix water damage’ but its not a long term solution and the device will more then likely, in most circumstances continue to have random issues down the line.

SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?

– Turn the device off immediately & leave it off. Regardless of whether it is still working or not – this does not determine if the phone has been water damaged or not.
– You need to have it treated within hours or preferably within days if you want the best chance of data recovery.
– Don’t try to charge it. – No good can come from charging a water damaged device.
– Do not dry the phone out, do not put it in rice, do not heat it up, do not put it in the sun. These are all silly internet myths and do not do anything but speed up the corrosion process. As well as the fact that your not even putting the rice inside the device so it’s not going to do anything.

He states” We must realise that salt water, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, bath water, pool water, and toilet water are all conductive. These liquids are conductive due to the minerals they contain, such as; Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and Phosphorus. Tap water alone can carry traces of Copper, Iron, Selenium, Chromium & zinc. Water in its most pure state (distilled or demineralised) doesn’t have all these minerals in it, and is actually NOT conductive. Some liquids even corrode a lot faster than others depending on the minerals they contain. Eg: Salt water being one of the worst.”

“When you put the phone in rice to attempt to fix it, rice does not replace damaged components and over the space of a few days, the liquid dries out (not because of the rice) and it begins to corrode, and eat at the circuit board, so when a specialist finally gets the phone in 2-3 weeks time, after you’ve dried it out, charged it, and tried to power it on. It’s only more difficult and potentially more expensive to perform data recovery on a phone that’s corroded.”

SHOCKING FACTS

– It’s important to focus on cleaning, not drying out water damage. The device drying out is actually what you want to avoid occuring.
– It’s always better to turn a device off while its working, then it is to wait for the water damage to cause issues and the device turn itself off.
– Rice does not absorb cold water or magically make water hover towards it.
– By adding rice to a water damaged device, you’ve only potentially added more impurities to the mix which only increases the corrosion.
– Rice or Silica gel will not ‘suck’ the water out the phone as the water is not evaporating at room temperature; and even if it did, this is not what you want to do!

He says “Rice is not an electronic repair tool. Rice is food”

“Coasties will be hitting the beaches and waterways this summer and I expect a good deal of heartache from water damaged phones.” “It really breaks my heart to see people so distraught, particularly when it’s preventable”.

The Erina based repairer has more than enough work and does not fear a downturn by advising people to protect their phones and data.

Ben Nash’s business is booming, he has now commenced training of new repairers from all over the world. Repairers come to Erina on the Central Coast and work alongside Ben in his workshop for a week or can even attend his online webinar courses. They are trained in how to use hightech equipment and customer service.
Ben’s also become a go-to commentator on device repairs on various radio stations around the country including Macquarie Radio’s 2GB & 2UE. iFix has also become the preferred repairer for numerous local business and govt organisations including NSW Health (CCLHD).

Ben Nash, who founded iFix Electronics in 2012, has produced a series of free ‘how-to guides’ and videos across his website and social media platforms to assist the general public & other repairers when their phones, tablets and computers are damaged.

iFix Electronics Ph: 1300 113 522 — 3/221 The Entrance Rd, Erina NSW 2250 — Facebook: www.facebook.com/ifixelec
Website: www.ifixelectronics.com.au

Media release iFix Electronics November 6, 2018. David Abrahams, Business & technology correspondent

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