Posted on August 5, 2013
We here at RepairLabs spend a lot of time fixing water damaged devices. Now, most of the time, these devices require our specially-designed RepairLabs' Cleaning Process to get back into working order, still we decided it was time to answer the question we get asked all the time: “I got my phone wet, what can I do to fix it?”
To do this test properly, we had to document each step of the process so that you guys can see exactly why one option is better than another. The most common thing people do when they get their device wet, is stick it in rice... That’s the worst thing you can do. Yes, rice will eventually absorb the water, what it will also do is cause massive corrosion build-up inside your device, which is the reason it isn’t working in the first place.
Rice has always been considered by many to be the top option for drying out a water damaged device, but the truth is that rice doesn’t absorb liquid out of your device very well, increasing the risk of a part shorting out inside the phone due to water, and an increased build-up of corrosion from the chlorine in the water.
Though the general idea behind corrosion is that it makes your phone go from working to not working, which is true, but there is more to it than that. It’s time for a RepairLabs’ Super Awesome Scientific Moment!!
Corrosion is the result of an undisturbed chlorinated-liquid sitting inside your device for an extended period of time. What this chlorine does is cause corrosion, which eats away lead-free solder, causing your device to have cold joints which is a bad connection between two connectors where the solder use to be. Another issue with corrosion is that it’s conductive, which can cause parts inside your device to short out, such as the battery and LCD, etc...
Any website or person that has told you to stick your phone in rice after suffering water damage is setting you up for failure. Luckily your friends at RepairLabs are here to help you get things back in working order.
We used the five most common drying methods, which are; rice, an alcohol bath, desiccant crystals, a blow dryer, and running a device through RepairLabs' own Cleaning Process. For the sake of consistency, we used five iPhones that have been submerged in a bucket full of pool water, which consists of water and chlorine, since the water will be more corrosive than tap water, but not quite as bad as salt water.
Each device was submerged for five minutes, removed from the water and shaken out, then put into whatever water drying method it was selected for. After their allotted time, they were all removed and disassembled to get pictures of the rust accumulation inside and the corrosion build up on the LCD connection.
Desiccant Crystals (48hrs) – The trusty 48 hour emergency water kit. All these are is a little bag full of desiccant crystals, which are used to absorb moisture. We followed the directions on the packaging to the letter, getting the phone into the bag as quickly as possible and then sealing it for 48 hours before re-opening it.
Results – The rust build-up was pretty severe on the screws inside the phone, along with most of the back housing and metal internal components. There was also a bit of moisture still on the battery, leaving it moist in areas.
The LCD connection was surprisingly relatively clean of any corrosion, raising the chances that we would be able to fix this particular phone.
Alcohol (24hrs) – Considered by some our Certified Technicians to be the best way to save your phone after a dip in some liquid. The alcohol will help break down the water while working as a non-conductive liquid to keep your device from shorting out. Note that five to ten minutes is all that is needed in the alcohol. We let it sit in the alcohol for five minutes before removing the phone and letting it air dry for another 24 hours.
Interesting to see that the phone worked the moment we put it in the alcohol, even after sitting in the pool water for five whole minutes.
Results – Not nearly as much rust inside the phone as the crystal phone. The screws are rusted and of course the water sensor has been tripped on the phone, which is a given. There is no standing water on the battery or within the device itself, being completely dry, but you can clearly see the water damage to the battery.
Underneath the cables is the LCD connection, which is almost spotless except for the bit of corrosion on the connector itself, you can tell the corrosion by its teal color.
Blow Dryer (48hrs) – This is probably your second best bet when it comes to getting your phone working again after dropping it in water. Using a blow dryer on low heat and low speed will gently push the water molecules out of the phone from the open areas. Do this for roughly five minutes, and you’ve raised the chances of getting your phone back in working condition exponentially. After blow drying it, we let it sit for an additional 48 hours to let it completely dry out.
We used the blow dryer for five minutes on the phone, constantly turning and flipping the phone to help evaporate as much water as we could.
Results – Similar results to that of the alcohol bath phone. There is minor rust damage inside the phone besides the screws. Again the battery is pretty thrashed, which is why we call it water damage.
Not surprising, since the rest of the internals look similar, the LCD connection is roughly the same as well (in comparison to the alcohol phone), with there only being minor corrosion damage on the connector cable itself.
RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process (24hrs) – The idea here is to let the phone sit powered down for 24 hours, the average amount of time a water damaged phone sits before it is normally taken/shipped to a repair center for water damage repairs. After 24 hours, we ran the phone through our RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process to break away the corrosion.
Results – After getting the 24 hour treatment, this phone was torn apart and cleaned of all corrosion, and the results are pretty amazing, with the phone showing next to no signs of water damage after having been submerged in pool water for five minutes.
The LCD connection is spotless, with not an ounce of corrosion to be found.
Rice (72hrs) – The most misleading myth when it comes to phone repair probably ever. Putting your phone in rice is a terrible idea. The moisture absorbed is minimal at best compared to the amount of corrosion you will build in return. We let the iPhone sit inside a full bag of rice for 72 hours before opening it to check for corrosion.
Results – Wow... There really is not a better word to explain the phone after sitting in the rice for three whole days. The rust build-up is intense and there is still water on the battery itself, leading me to conclusion that the rice did an absolutely porous job of absorbing the water. In the battle between rice and water damage, water damage won hands down!
Gross, that corrosion means this phone is basically shot. Yes, it could be put through our water damage cleaning process, but there is no guarantee this phone could be saved with this much damage to the internals.
For reference, this is what an iPhone looks like after getting wet in pool water and sitting for eight whole days. The corrosion inside is so bad that this phone has probably seen its last days. Though we clean all phones that come through, not every phone can be saved.
The results speak for themselves. If there is no way for you to get your phone to us right away, either put your phone in a quick alcohol bath or run a blow dryer over it on low for a bit. The 48 hour emergency kits aren’t a bad idea if you’re out and about when this happens, but the two previously stated methods are cheaper and you normally have both in-house.
Putting your phone in rice doesn’t help, so don’t bother. The standing water on the battery and corrosion build-up makes it pretty clear that you’re much better off doing something else with your phone if you get it wet.
Posted on June 13, 2012
We’ve compiled a list of the Coolest Gifts for Dads this year. We asked all the dads at RepairLabs what’s on their wish list for this Father’s Day, and here are some of the ideas that they gave us.
DIY Gadget Card - Free
A fantastic tutorial and a really creative idea for a card for dad that you can make yourself, with the kids. Look inside each of the “apps” to find a cute personalized message. From Charlottes Fancy.com
A Gadget Grip Mat - $11
Grippy Pad holds all sorts of things in place with an advanced silicone material. (I.e., stolen from aliens.)
BioLite CampStove- $129
This little beauty also charges devices. If Dad’s a camper, this will be on his list. (It’s good to keep a phone around even when you’re unplugging-- in case of emergencies.)
Mouse Armrest -$30
This is an ergonomic attachment for Dad’s office chair or desk. It will help reduce the possibiltes of bad posture and repetitive stress injuries from using a mouse.
Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Kit - $52
Camping survival kit. Because Tech Dads can MacGyver anything.
iKoa Phone Case- $179
This beautiful case also holds Dad’s credit card and ID.
igrill thermometer and app $79
Just insert the probe thermometer of this device into the meat and use your iPhone or iPad to monitor the temp while you’re off relaxing with a beer.
LawnBott Robotic Lawn Mower $1199
It’s not cheap, but if Dad hates mowing, this gift may be worth it.
Laptop Desk - $25
A Lap desk designed to keep you cool with special insulation that blocks 95% of laptop heat.
Custom Housing Color for his iPhone 4S $249
Custom iPhone housing color change. Choose Dad’s favorite team’s colors.
We <3 Daddy DIV Photo –Free
We think it would be relatively simple to take some posterboard and an iPhone and shoot this picture on a sunny afternoon. If my calculations are correct, the kids need to hold the signs upside down. You stand facing them. Print it on photo stock pop it in a frame for his desk at work ~and best part, it’s Dad’s favorite gift of all. Laurie, the fantastic blogger at Tip Junkie , provided this great picture, but was unable to find the source of this beautiful image.
Hope these ideas get you going to show Dad how great he really is.
Sources and Links
*Note: prices are valid at the time of publication (6-13-12). Please check links to be sure.
This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Gifts, Tech, Geek, How To, What We Do, iPhone, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with Accessories, Housing, Color, Car, Grip Pad, Ergonomics, Photos, Camping, Mowing, Cards, Ideas, Techie, Father's Day, Dad, Gifts, Tech, How To, iPhone, iPad
Posted on May 23, 2012
Here at RepairLabs, we really pride ourselves on what we do. We try to make sure that every customer has a great experience and would recommend us without hesitation to their 90 year old grandma, or their coolest best friend. That got me to thinking about what customer service is really all about, and what the average Joe can do to get the best customer service in his every day dealings.
We’ve all been put on hold for ungodly amounts of time, been shuffled from one department to the next, and dealt with rude, unfeeling customer service representatives. (Banking industry and Cable providers, I’m looking at you.) We’ve all had to talk to those infuriating customer service recorded bots. I myself have waited in line at the Apple Genius Bar for over 2 hours, though I do realize it isn’t all Apple’s fault. Because of the (let’s face it) turbo-coolness of the Apple devices, overworked Geniuses are beset by swarming hordes of non-technical types. Meaning every teenage girl who stands in front of the bathroom mirror making duckface for her profile photo is in there, trying to get help. …Actually the real question there is why the Apple Genius Bar doesn’t serve alcohol.
Here’s the thing. Good customer service isn’t really that hard. We want a few, simple things. We want the company and its reps to be:
When things don’t go well, though, you do have recourse. You can have a fallback strategy to help get what you want out of the conversation you’re having. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Be positive, be a good customer, and don’t be afraid to remind the business that you are. If you are a returning customer, you’ve proven that you are an asset to them. They’ve already won your business, and all businesses know it’s cheaper and easier to keep a current customer than to win a new one.
2. Whenever you can, talk to a real person Press 0. Do whatever you need to in order to get out of those robotic calls. Sometimes email is the best way to interact with Service reps. If you can make a personal connection, you’re always likely to get better service. It’s all about creating a real human relationship. Here’s a hint. I always keep a pen and paper with me when I make these calls, and the first thing I do is write down the name of the person I’m speaking to. If I need to, I’ll ask them to repeat it, and then, without being condescending, I’ll always use his name in the conversation. If I can remember his name in a phone conversation, (A.) he knows that I’m willing to treat him like a real individual human being who deserves respect, and( B.) he knows I can remember it if I have to make a complaint to his manager.
3. Fix up a Complaint Sandwich. This is a bit of pop psychology here, but a spoonful of sugar does tend to make the medicine go down a little bit easier. Start with a positive comment, then your problem, then another positive comment. There is a detailed explanation of how to use this tactic in this great article on getting better Customer Service.
4. Be able to articulate what you want. Even if what you want is help in formulating a question, let the rep know that. If you want a refund, if you want technical support, or if you want a solution to a problem you’re having, be able to say that, and say it kindly. Know the terms of your agreement, and then you can make suggestions of possible solutions. This may take a little bit of homework on your part. But if you can give your representative action items, they can take action, or get you to the person who can.
5. Ask Nicely- communicate clearly. Don’t just go ‘amps to eleven’ on the Rage Scale. Yelling very rarely gets you the results you want. When something doesn’t go well, take a deep breath and think about what it is you need. Sometimes the problem can be as simple as a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Be positive and be kind; remember, “Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” (-Plato). Don’t forget, these guys have been tackling angry/annoyed/helpless customers all day. Know exactly what the problem is, and be able to explain what you need to fix it. (See #4 above)
6. Empower them to help you. Say, “Keith, [using his name, Tip #2!!] we have a customer service issue here. How can you help me to solve this?” The “how can you help me to solve this” part is really important. This opens the door for them to work with you and puts the power to address the situation in their hands.
7. Don’t give up. Ask to speak to a manager, and if your issue still isn’t resolved, politely ask to speak with that person’s supervisor. Bad companies are counting on you giving up. Keep going up the chain. If you have to, email the CEO. Corporate execs will not be happy to receive an email from you every hour. And, their email addresses are surprisingly easy to find. Check their websites, scour the Internet.
8. Remember that you can take your business elsewhere. And don’t be afraid to remind the offending business of that too. Nicely hint to Globo-Bank that Downhome Bank is running a great special right now on free checking. It’s a free market, baby, and companies, especially in this economy, are hungry for your business and your endorsement. Think about what happened when Netflix upped its prices and Bank of America imposed the $5 monthly debit card fees. Customers left in droves. This is a company’s worst nightmare. And unhappy customers are almost twice as likely to share rotten customer service experiences with their friends and family as they are a good experience, as this study from American Express explains in detail
9. If that fails, Go to social media, be the squeaky wheel, stir that pudding. Believe me, nobody wants a social media public relations crisis like the famous “United Breaks Guitars” song. That incident even garnered its own Wikipedia page. If you can be funny, clever or viral, you’ll get some attention. @Tag the company on Twitter, and comment on their Facebook page. They don’t want all of their fans and your friends seeing their bad press. The United customer hit a nerve about how our luggage gets handled, and managed to turn his frustration into a fun song, and get his issue addressed. And actually United managed to turn that incident into a PR win by addressing the bad service and fixing it.
10. Accept a sincere apology. Often the guy behind the counter is not empowered to help you out, and actually is doing the best he can. That’s when you have to decide whether to continue slogging it out or to give up, but see rule #7, in this case. Thank the guy in front of you for his help, and be vocally on his side. Saying, “I totally understand that you are doing your best to help me, and I know that this issue isn’t your fault” can go miles to get him on your side. (If you’ve been kind leading up to this part, he already will be on your side anyway.) He can advocate for you with his boss.
When the company that you’re dealing with does address your situation, gracefully accept their apology and their solution, and thank them. If somebody went the extra mile for you, call their manager and let them know. I once worked for a company that handed you CASH whenever a customer called you out for good service. Be willing to call out good service as well. That can only help your future Customer Service Karma. (In fact, in a future life my dream job would be to drive the Karma Bus—I know a few people it missed.)
But when I see our great people at RepairLabs working like crazy on diagnostic and repair to get you your devices back, I’m so proud and impressed. For example, Jessica, our Customer Service Manager personally responds to every email. Not only that, she does it immediately. When she doesn’t know the answer to a technical question, she heads over to the technical department to ask and to find it. She knows more about electronic devices than any Customer Service rep should ever have to. Our technicians have stayed late and worked overtime to get someone’s device done in time to make the next FedEx delivery. It’s a small thing to do, that they never even tell customers about, but it’s that little matter of going the extra mile, that makes all the difference. Customer service expert Shep Hyken, discusses that idea in detail here. When we take good care of you, we’re proud that we gave you our best.
Have you ever had really great service from someone? Or really abysmal? Tell me about it in the comments below.