Liquid and water damage is the second most common repair at the iFixed Repair Centre. In fact, our research indicates that 1 in 5 people in the UK have reported a problem with their device as a result of liquid damage. Damage is not just caused by water, it can also be a result of exposing a mobile phone or device to fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, perfume, moisturiser, oils and sea water. In simple terms when liquid gets into a smartphone or tablet it causes corrosion & oxidation, resistance begins to drop, components break down and the solder joints will suffer as the corrosion spreads. The corrosion causes cracks and pits where the current of electricity used to flow freely. Once these form it can then cause the device to short out and effectively destroy the motherboard. The smallest amount of liquid can reap havoc as just one drop can seep into the most difficult places and begin to cause serious damage.
It’s a fact that liquid damage caused by fizzy drinks and salt water are amongst the worst because the salt/carbonation in the liquid causes the corrosion process in your device to accelerate at a rate of knots.
According to our Senior Technicians there is only one option to ensure your liquid damaged phone stands a chance of working in the long term; a professional chemical clean down. Leaving your phone is not an option as water may take a few months to take full effect. So even if the device appears dry and is working, the silent but deadly corrosion process that occurs behind the scenes may mean your phone might stop working further down the line.
Our customers are constantly asking us; What is a professional liquid damage repair? What is involved in a water damage repair? We have decided to let you see, “warts and all” our detailed process step by step so you understand the importance of getting your phone cleaned out and the exhaustive effort put into getting your mobile device back to working order.
Liquid Damaged Phone – Immediate First Steps
If you have just got your phone wet, before you send it to our repair centre for a liquid damage repair there are a few immediate important steps we recommend you take with a water damaged phone to ensure your device has the best chance of being successfully repaired:
- MOST IMPORTANT – Turn the phone off and do not turn it back on or charge it. If the device is on it is more likely to short-circuit the main board which could mean your device is irreparable
- Get rid of all excess water by holding the device upside down and making sure water runs out of charging ports and jacks.
- Remove any cases as water can hide behind these.
- Towel the device dry with a soft cloth.
- If possible we also recommend that you put your device in a shoebox with silica gel. Silica gel sachets can be found in old shoe boxes. This isn’t essential, but if you do happen to have any of these Silica gel sachets to hand it just helps the drying process. The gel is a desiccant, which absorbs moisture.
For more information check out our other blog post on some of the immediate actions to take with a water damaged phone: Water Damaged iPhone – What Do I Do?
NB.Our advice would be not to put you device into rice as this will not have any effect in drying the phone out internally and the small pieces can actually get trapped in the ports of your phone. Drying your device with a hairdryer is also a ‘no no’ as this can cause the device to overheat and blow the circuits. Also trying to clean the device internally yourself could damage the tiny components inside your device and should only be attempted by a water damage specialist. The next step is to send the phone into our repair centre to be assessed by a trained Water Damage specialist.
Take a look at our step by step guide to a professional liquid damage repair….
Step 1… Book your device in
Go to www.iMend.com to book your phone or tablet in for a liquid damage repair. You will receive an email order confirmation with instructions of how to send your device to us and how to protectively package it up.
Step 2… Visual Inspection
When the device arrives at iMend.com HQ a Technician will book your device onto the iMend system to ensure it is securely tracked through the process. The phone is then passed to a Liquid Damage specialist.
NB: the following steps and images show an iPhone water damage repair being carried out but here at iMend as well as iPhone water damage repairs we also do liquid damage repairs for all makes and models of phones and tablets including Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, etc.
Step 3… Preparing the device for the chemical clean
To prepare the device for a chemical clean key components have to be removed to gain access to all areas of the phone.
a. Remove screws
The device will be opened by removing the bottom screws with a magnetic screwdriver.
b. Remove screen
The screen is removed with a specialist Suction Cup. Attaching the suction cup to the front screen prevents any of the glass off the screen from fragmenting.
c. Remove the internal connectors
Our tech now carefully removes the “Connector covering plate” with a screwdriver to expose the main connectors. He then carefully removes the LCD, digitizer, proximity, rear camera and power flex connectors. These have to be removed with a plastic tool to ensure that no damage is done to these delicate connectors.
d. Remove battery and charging port connector
The technician carefully removes the battery and charging port covering plate. The battery and charging port connector is then also carefully removed with a plastic tool to make sure that you do not destroy any connectors on the motherboard. You should always use a plastic rather than a metal tool.
e. Remove motherboard
The motherboard can only be extracted by removing the 4 riser screws. Here our technician is removing the first of these four screws.
The technician then carefully lifts the motherboard out making sure that the wifi antenna is prised away using a plastic tool. The wifi antenna is located behind the motherboard.
Step 4… Chemical clean
In order to remove any oxidation buildup on the surface of the motherboard, a deep chemical clean is required. The motherboard will be thoroughly cleaned by a specialist machine, the UltraSonic Cleaner. This essentially operates as a chemical bath.
The Ultrasonic cleaner is turned up to a notch of 30 watts for the first deep chemical cleanse, this takes 10 minutes. The purpose of this clean is to remove the initial corrosion that has occurred. The liquid damage technician carefully removes the motherboard from the machine and examines the motherboard. The process is then repeated. The motherboard is placed inside the Ultrasonic Cleaner for the second time at a slightly higher heat. On the second occasion the clean takes 20 minutes and the Ultrasonic cleaner reaches a level of 50 watts.
Step 5…Final manual clean
So your motherboard has been through a pretty intense cleaning regime. The next step involves cleaning not only the motherboard, but also the phone itself. Our highly trained technicians can locate the smallest of bits of corrosion that get lodged in crevices of the phone with a soft brush.
Step 6… Drying the devices components.
After the cleaning process, the motherboard needs to dry thoroughly after being immersed in the liquid. This process only takes 2 minutes at a temperature of 75 – 85 watts. Not to worry though, the Electronic Hot Plate will not damage the motherboard in any shape or form, it is completely safe.
Step 7… Re-assembling the device
Now our highly trained technicians will have the task of re-assembling the water damaged iPhone. This is not a short process and involves putting the replacement screws in the exact location that they were taken from.
If the screws are not inserted in the correct location, this could then lead to a vast array of issues. For instance, if the LCD connectors are not reassembled correctly, then you could write your phone off completely. The device will them be turned back on to check that all parts are functioning.
Step 8… Testing the device
Your device has been stripped down, cleaned, dried and put back together again, the technician needs to test if all areas of the phone are now functioning effectively through a combination of manual and specialist computer analyst checks. The tests involve testing all of these areas of the phone.
- Wi-Fi connection
- Network Connection
- Sim Card Reader
- Functionality of the LCD
- Digitiser sensitivity
- Proximity Sensor
- Front & Rear camera
- Charging Port
The device is then graded on each of the criteria contrasting from A to D and an analyst report is printed off and will be sent out with each device.
So there you have it, a step by step guide to a Professional Water Damage Repair. Our specialist process really does give your water damaged phone the best chance of functioning again. Liquid Damage is a very difficult process and the success rate often depends on various factors including; how much liquid the device has been exposed to, how long the device was exposed to liquid, how long it has been left before sending it to us, and the type of liquid.
As hopefully you can see from above we go to great lengths and do absolutely everything possible to try to restore every liquid damaged phone back to working order. But the simple fact is that due to the nature of the damage not every device can be repaired. We pride ourselves on having one of the highest success rates in the industry for water damaged phones so if anyone can fix it then we can.