Apr 2, 2006

Saga of a Soaked Cell Phone


(Toledo, OH) While cleaning my bathroom yesterday, I suffered a dual twist of fate. As I stood to empty the wastebasket I smacked my skull on the corner of a cabinet; my agony was amplified by the sudden ctapulting of my cell phone into the toilet.

If there can be any good news, it was that the toilet had been in a flushed state, but I digress from the story.

Upon retrieving my cell phone from the toilet, to my displeasure it no longer functioned. To anyone who has been trying to call me in the past 24 hours, you now know the reason for my failure to return calls.

I began to search the Internet for solutions to my waterlogged communications device, and I was gladdened to discover that many people have posted similar tales of woe.

The following actions resulted in the successful dehydration of my Nokia model 3588i, and I am glad to share them with the world in hopes that other beleaguered indivduals may benefit from this dramatic digital deluge.

1. I removed all of the plastic casing components and the battery, I hand dried each with paper towels.

2. I used a blow-dryer to thoroughly dry the areas in between the two layers of the phone's motherboard.

3. I allowed the pieces to sit overnight. This afternoon I reassembled the phone, plugged it in, and Voila! Good as new.

Left: Most cellphones contain a dead giveaway when they have been immersed in liquid

One thing that I learned along the way, and it was a piece of information that prompted me to engage in undertaking this repair myself. In the last two years, cell phone manufacturers have introduced a piece of simple technology hidden behind the phone battery: a paper dot that turns red on contact with liquid.

On my cell phone the dot was a very bright red, and I knew that I would have no chance to take the phone back to the dealer for a free exchange.

So far this tale has a happy ending, save for the small hole in my head. That red dot was considerably larger than the one inside my phone.


Lisa Renee said...

It depends on what type of warranty you purchased, my ex-husband swam with his once and Emily washed one once. They were both replaced free of charge. (Well not really free of charge since they both pay extra monthy fees. Emily did that because she has a previous habit of losing phones and the extra insurance for her has worked out to her benefit.)

However, the red dot discovery was an interesting one. I always wondered how they would know if a phone died for a reason other than regular warranty type issues.


historymike said...

I usually avoid the warranties that require additional payment, Lisa.

My thinking is that I am a person who takes care of his possessions, and that the extended warranties are notoriously profitable items for companies.

However, there have been occasions in which I regretted not picking up the extended warranty.

My wife, thankfully, ignored my thinking and purchased an extended warranty on our washer. We have had two major repairs covered by this, and we have spent a total of $58 on the original warranty and renewal.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Once, I forgot my cell phone in my pocket and those pair of pants were eventually washed.

My cell phone, however, still worked even after being subjected to water and detergent.

historymike said...

I've read simialr tales, Stefan.

I have also heard of people whose phones died after a slight splashing.

Stephanie said...

Hmm. Maybe this is just me, but using a phone that's been soaked in the toilet doesn't seem like an ideal situation, even if involves not having to purchase a new phone.

historymike said...

Heh. My running joke is that now I can legally make "dirty" phone calls.

Stephanie said...

LOL Yeah, but is having a potty mouth really worth it?

historymike said...

Oh, you are the queen of puns tonight!

Calico Jack said...

What have you been doing lately? This is something right out of the Three Stooges, and I'm still laughing over the mental image. Clearly, you have done something to irritate the Lord, and I'm not sitting next to you on the bus to work for a whole week.

Valbee said...

I hope you learned your lesson, Mike. Cleaning the bathroom is a dangerous idea. It's best to get someone else to do it for you. :)

Michael said...

Thanks for the tips -- hopefully I'll never have to use them. But, will remember your post just in case.

One thing I know will work: keep your cell 'phone on the DR or other table when at home. Unless, that is, you have a huge house?

historymike said...

Yeah, I have to work on that, Mike.

I am also prone to putting my cell phone in the pockets of my pants, making it impossible to answer if I am driving.

Of course, given the fact that cell phone-using drivers are among the worst on the road, maybe this is a good thing.

Stephanie said...

...I needed that laugh!

Hooda Thunkit said...


You are one very lucky dude Mike.

Modern cell phones are known to eat the exposed circuitry in the presence of water and battery power, often in mere minutes.

But, you did the exact right thing instinctively. It WAS instinct and not experience wasn't it?