Electronics Glitchy? Give em’ a rinse!

27 Dec
What the heck is that?

Well, I’m still sailing around happily in the Bahamas. At least I hope I am. Hope I will be? This is getting confusing… Actually, I haven’t left yet but as I won’t have a computer or internet for two weeks I’m setting this tidbit up to post while I’m gone.
Anyway, a few weeks back I went with some friends for a little sail on Lake Pontchartrain. It was a calm day so I didn’t pay much mind to the state of the cabin and then when the breeze kicked up I was far too busy enjoying it to pay any more mind than I had and when we got back to the dock I discovered that my cell phone had spent each port tack swimming in a pool of salty water which was coming up the sink drain. Fortunately it was off.
Now anyone can tell you that water is an enemy of electronics but not everyone realizes that salt is far, far worse than water. Because salt is very conductive all it takes is a tiny crystal and a bit of moisture to really wreak havoc on sensitive circuits. So If you’re dropped some bit of electronic kit in saltwater the first step of course is to get the batteries out but the second is to wash it with freshwater. It’s important to get that salt off. So right away I gave my phone a quick rinse.

But that’s not the point of this story, or not quite. While I thought I was maybe throwing caution to the wind running my cell phone under the tap it turns out I hadn’t washed it enough. It worked ok when it dried out but about a month later, for no apparent reason, it started glithcing on me, constantly scrolling and acting as if I was pressing buttons. Must be the salt, I thought. So I decided to go all out.
I found a tiny screwdriver, took out every screw I could easily get at and took the phone to pieces. I held it under the tap, washing it well with fresh water and then I dried it off. That is what you see in the picture – my phone in pieces in a bed of rice just before I put it in the oven. The rice helps to suck moisture out (think of the rice they put in saltshakers at some restaurants) and the oven, allowed to heat on low and then turned off, accelerates the process.
So did it work?


Frankly, I was amazed. But now I know what I’m doing if this happens again.

This article was syndicated from Safe At Harbour But Meant For The Sea: DIY Sailing with Paul Calder


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