Nerds On Call Computer Repair - Summer Survival
Nerds On Call Computer Repair – Summer Survival

Summer can be a real beast when it comes to your electronics.  Whether you and your Smartphone get pushed into the pool, you drop your tablet in the sand, or your iPod overheats in the car, here are some tips to cure your gadget’s summertime blues.

Summer and water go together, but electronics and water?  That’s a no-win combination.  Assuming that you haven’t yet dropped your phone in the lake, prevention is unquestionably more effective than repair.  Consider investing in a waterproof case that can keep your mobile device safe from splashes and spills.  There are a bunch of great options to suite your personal color and design preferences.  My favorites include Lifeproof’s nuud and fre cases, Griffin’s Survivor Case series, and Otterbox’s Armor Series.

If you don’t have the time or resources to get a more robust case, dropping your gadgets into a freezer-style ziplock bag before you head to the pool or beach can save you from a world of hurt.

If it’s already too late for prevention, the first thing everyone wants to do when their device gets wet is to power it on and see if it’s still working.  Resist the urge, people!  When a device has turned itself off (which it often does when the mechanics detect moisture), powering it back on while it’s still wet can fry your logic board.

For those devices that remain on after water exposure, power them off ASAP.  Remove the battery and SIM card (if you can), gently draining as much liquid as possible from the inside.  As tempting as it may be to pull out the hair dryer, or place your phone in a low temp oven, intense heat can burn and further damage your phone’s mechanics.

Place any parts that encountered water in a Ziploc baggie full of uncooked instant rice for at least 48 hours to pull moisture from it.  Then, reinstall the SIM card and battery and attempt to power it back on.
In anticipation of potential water exposure, you may want to pick up a Kensington EVAP Wet Electronics Rescue Pouch.  Available online or at many local electronics stores for about $20, the kit includes a drying agent that manufacturers claim will draw the moisture out in a fraction of the time you’ll need to leave your phone in a bag of rice.  The instructions recommend that you leave your device in the EVAP bag for 6 to 24 hours.

The use of rice or evaporation kits are limited in their effectiveness.  If your device was submerged for an extended period of time, or if you have a brand new expensive phone or tablet, you may want to check out some YouTube videos detailing the process of taking apart your device and using Isopropyl Alcohol to remove all the moisture from the logic board.  While this may motivate you to contact a cell phone repair professional, it will show you a more effective water damage repair process.

Another common summer ailment that can wreak havoc on mobile devices is overheating.  This one has happened to me – I forgot my phone in the car and returned an hour later to find that it had powered itself off.  Electronics aren’t made to withstand high temperatures and may shut down when they get too hot, only to restart once they have cooled. When left in high heat for a period of time, these devices can fail completely.

I was really tempted to try to power it back on, but it’s important to resist the urge.  Instead, remove the device from its protective case and hold it in front of the A/C vent in your car for 4-5 minutes.  If you aren’t in your car, a fan or home A/C vent is a good alternative.  Don’t place the device in your fridge or freezer – the moisture in there is worse than the heat.

Finally, whether it’s hiking or beach-going, dirt and sand are everywhere in the summer and we all want to have our phones or cameras handy to snap shots of the fun.  Unfortunately, tiny particles can become embedded in crevices and scratch glass, lenses and hard surfaces.

If you have sand or dirt on your actual device (not just the case), don’t try to rub it clean with a towel or sanitizing wipe – you could scratch the glass. Instead, opt for a canister of compressed air to blow away debris.  If you can safely remove the case prior to blowing off the sand or dirt, do what you can to expose the surface for cleaning.  Just make sure you blow air at an angle when blowing around air intake vents so that you don’t push debris further up into your device.  Once dirt and sand particles have been blown away, you can use a wipe designed for electronics to restore your mobile device to its formerly clean and shiny condition.