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Friday, October 17, 2014

Cell Phone Soaked and Lost; "Battery Got Wet" Indicator

cell phone taken apart

Do you know how to tell if your cellphone has gotten wet and how to dry it ? Do you know how to tell if the battery has gotten wet? First off all, a phone sitting in water is a good indication. Last Monday,  exbf came here to help me. Because of both of our problems with walking, we use our cell phones to ask anything or summon the other. "When you need me, just call, and I will come." "When you are through, I will start serving dinner."
He just lays his anywhere,  anytime and we have to search for it by calling it with my cell while we both wander to the car, all over the yard and the house. It is frustrating. But, in all fairness, I do the same thing. No, I rarely put my phone down and totally lose it, needing help. Usually, it has slid somewhere. He will call me from outside and walk six feet to put it down instead of putting it in his pocket. He takes his cell and wallet from his pocket, and goes to the bathroom to change clothes. He comes out of the bathroom, puts his wallet in his pocket and leaves the phone here. ugh
Once, when I first had a cell phone, I was getting it from my purse as I drove. I managed to flip it out of my hand and heard it skittering away. It was dark and I could not find it. I stopped at a convenience store and asked a young woman working there to dial my number. However, it affects no one but me. Sometimes, I email Charlie to call my phone and keep calling until I answer. But, no one is on a prolonged search in the dark and rain.
Now that I have MagicJack, I just use it to call my phone.
When he left here on Monday, he called on his landline like he always does to say he is home. I worry, so he does this for me. He said he could not find his phone that day. I looked. I looked and listened with my phone ringing his. I would dial his number as I went all over the yard and the house. Nothing.
On Tuesday morning I fed the hens and went to the mailbox. I was going to put the bowl on the table outdoors before going for the mail. There was the cell. It had moisture under the screen. I was panicked. I dialed it and it worked. I called it from my cell and it worked. However, moisture will ruin a cell I figured, now or later.
When I took it apart, it was sooo wet that there were puddles. I shook it downwards to drive out all I could. A dry wash cloth got rid of more.
I removed the battery and SIM card and put it in a bowl of brown rice. The white rice was not to be seen, but it was right where I left it. Today, I found just lying right on the shelf!
cell phone battery
 On the cell phone battery above, the copper contacts are on the right. See the white rectangle? That is the indicator for moisture. If this has been exposed to water, the rectangle turns red. A cell phone tech said people bring back phones that have been exposed to water and swear the phone has been bone dry, but opening the phone tells the truth.
Supposedly, there is a second "the phone got wet" indicator. I am not sure if the phone has to be dismantled by a technician to see that or not. However, there is one little red square on the inside of the phone where the battery goes. At any rate, the phone does not have moisture behind the screen and it still works. I have heard that humid conditions can cause the indicator to turn the battery indicator to red. But, I don't know.
For several years I had heard rice works to dry a phone. I did put the rice in Tupperware and put the tight lid on. I did not  put the battery, back cover, and SIM card in the rice. However, all that needs to be removed.
The phone survived a four-hour thunderstorm with violent winds blowing rain, and an all-night drizzle. It sat for over 24 hours in a little skim water, not quite a puddle, of water. Thus far, it works. Patting myself on the back. Yeah, I know it was the rice that saved the battery and phone.

At any rate I saved the cost of a new cell phone.
Your turn
Have you heard about drying a cell phone with rice? Have you used it yourself? Did you know there were "I got wet" indicators?  Have you ever lost a cell phone to water damage, and how did you manage to get it wet?


  1. I spilled coffee on my cell phone. I was on the job, needed it, but I knew the sugar would gum up the keypad.

    With nothing else to lose, and out in the boonies, I took out the battery, and ran water on it from the water cooler on the job. After I was sure it was rinsed, I put it on the dash of my pickup, and left it there for a few hours in the dry winter air.

    I replaced the battery, turned it on, and used it for a few years after that.

    1. Jess,
      I can see how you had nothing to lose. I suppose that proves cells might not be so fragile after all. Mine is built to military specs and is water resistant, so I suppose it should hold up to a spill. However, sugar from Coke would surely gum it up.

      I will remember the car dash for drying.

      Thanks for that information. Interesting.

  2. One time I spilled a glass of wine on a cell phone. It killed it. I also spilled a glass of wine into my work computer. Fortunately it was the very same week we were handing the computers in for a new one.

    I have been using second hand iphones since the year after their introduction. My son in law has been kind enough to pass his old phone down to me. He is a super neat freak so the phones are next to perfect!

    About 2 months ago I had my first iphone accident. I had been using it in a thrift store and instead of zipping it into the pocket of my purse I had it tucked into my hip pocket. On my way home that afternoon I went into Fresh & Easy (a grocery store) to pick up a couple of items and went in to use the bathroom. You guessed it.... I pulled down my pants and heard a PLOP. I swear I turned and snatched it out of the water before it had sunk to the bottom. Like you, I shook it out. Then I checked out and when I got to the car I took the case off and went to town with the disinfectant wipes. I also turned it off overnight. It still works! !!! Well most features work. Now it doesn't always alert me when I receive a text and there is no volume on videos. Both are only minor irritations.

  3. You are lucky getting very nice hand-me-down phones. That was such a catastrophic thing to happen and in a public bathroom. Yuck. I would probably have done the same thing--snatching it out of the commode. Hopefully, it will last until he gives you another one.

    Thanks for that story.

  4. I've heard about using rice to dry cell phones and computers keyboards, but I've never needed to do it. I didn't know about the indicators that a phone has gotten wet. Good for you for resurrecting the cell phone.


  5. Janie,
    So, now you know how they can catch people lying. Plus, they don't have to try to fix a mechanical problem, just moisture. Thanks.


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