Coffee Time Challenge
Back from the dead
Electronics and water are never a good mix. But how can water be quickly removed if it does happen, to help save the device?
Mobile phones and particularly smartphones are embedded within our lives. They managed our calendars, tell us where to go when we are lost, access social media sites, listen to music, and what the latest with the news and weather is. They can also make phone calls as well. So it is no wonder that people feel lost and out the loop if they have to have to go more than just a few hours without their mobiles.
However, with their continuous use they obviously are subject to damage from outside elements and the environment. One of the most common forms of damage comes from water. Whether it is dropping your phone in a puddle, accidently leaving it in a pocket when putting trousers in a washer, using it in particularly heavy rain, leaving it in your pocket when you go for a swim or dropping it in the toilet (this happens far more frequently than you might think), then it can be goodnight for your phone followed by an overwhelming feeling of just how much of your life was contained in (and is now lost from) that tiny little black box.
The challenge this month is therefore to come up with a way of drying out a mobile phone or other similar electronic devices once they have been saturated within water. Many people have tried using a packet of rice to soak out the water inside the devices, while others have turned to using a hair dryer.
The problem is the solution should not serve to cause any more damage than is already present. Crushed rice present in most packets is quite fine and dust-like and could find its way in to the phone's inner workings and congeal with water to make an even bigger mess. Similarly, using a hair dryer can cause as many problems as the direct heat could actually do more harm to the circuit board than good. Silica Gel is not a bad idea, but needs a bit of further thought to make it really effective.
Ideally, the solution will act like a magnet to water attracting all water, moisture and water vapour from deep inside the embedded electronics. Furthermore, it would be beneficial if users could see how much water is still inside so they can gauge how long until recovery is possible.
The solution we have in mind is a product that has recently been released. It has devised an intelligent solution to dry mobile phones and other electronic devices that have suffered from water damage.
The solution is quite simple and rather elegant. When you see it you may consider it obvious. In the meantime, see if you can come up with a solution.
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Coffee Time Challenge Entries
Many water absorbing agents are available which would work very well, but removing water is the easy part of the challenge! Unless you have dropped your phone in a pudlle of distilled water, dissolved salts in the water will form deposits as the water is removed. Removal of the water may temporariily bring your device back to life, but it is usually doomed to failure as the salts will cause shorts and rapid corrosion of any bare metal contacts.
While I agree salt water is definitely a more significant problem than fresh water, most problems/ happen when phones come in to contact with fresh water such as washing machines, dropping it in a tolilet, hard rain etc... I think the ideal solution would be to put it in an oven at low temperature.
Vacuum seems the best solution. It avoids damaging the phone by heat and does not require contact with any material. The pressure will gradually decrease as the phone dries. As soon as the pressure reaches a certain treshold, e.g. 0.01 bar and remains at that pressure with the vacuum source disconnected, one can be sure that the phone is dry.
Vacuum is best non-contact method possibly combined with low-level heat.
Easiest method is to use something like a vacuum storage baghung over/against radiator.
Moisture will form on inside of bag which be opened and wiped away then process repeated.
Finish off by placing silica gel pack in vacuum bag for last repeated process.
Note: too high a vacuum may cause component/display damage.
Bury the affected (water-logged) device in a barrel of dry rice (Basmati works best) for 24 hours. You will be amazed at how good rice is at absorbing moisture.