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    Drying Methods for Electrical Devices

    Rice

     

    Rice is a commonly recommended absorber for use in drying wet electronics. The first thing to point out is that it is very important to use dried rice to absorb liquid from electronics. It’s probably common sense (or at least it should be) but there you go. It is also worth mentioning that dry rice can have some powdery residue on it which is best removed before placing your device within it. This dust-like material could form a bit of a sludge when it comes into contact with moisture which may worsen the problem. You will often read that it is important to cover the device with rice completely and whilst this may be optimal it may not be practical. If you only have half a cup of rice then put it in a smaller container to maximise the contact whilst you acquire more rice...

     

    ...or Silica gel

     

    These sachets are found in many products and generally have a label advising you not to ingest them. On that note if you decide to use a combination of rice and silica sachets then make sure to throw the rice away afterwards in case there has been contamination. Back to silica sachets though. It is unlikely that you will have a great deal of these to hand so it might be necessary to acquire some from a supplier. If you are good at planning for emergencies you probably already know that it’s a good idea to have a stash of these hidden away somewhere just in case your device gets wet. The chances are at some point you will require them and having them easily to hand will save precious time. If you do not have any silica gel to hand you can check out a large number of pre-packaged solutions here: http://www.wetphonefix.co.uk/

     

    Suck it out

     

    Using your mouth to suck the poison is neither advisable nor palatable (unless it was a REALLY tasty drink) so it is suggested that you use a vacuum cleaner to suck some of the moisture out of the device. Don’t be overly aggressive though as some vacuum cleaners may be strong enough to put excessive pressure on delicate components.

     

    Blow it out

     

    If you have a can of compressed air then this may be useful in forcing some of the liquid in the device out. Just think logically with your spraying angles so that the air travels in a direction that the liquid can escape from. This method may be particularly useful for getting moisture from keyboards. A word of warning: don’t allow any moisture from the solvent to enter the device by spraying it too close.

     

    Moderate heat treatment...

     

    ...means leaving it somewhere warm. It does not mean use the hair dryer at close range. A warm, but not hot airing cupboard is a good bet and ironically leaving it near another electronic device like a TV could also aid the drying process. Whatever you do make sure that the screen is not exposed to prolonged or excessive heat as this is one of the most vulnerable parts.

     

    Ventilation...

     

    ...is another key aspect that will aid the drying process and this is especially so if the device is not being held in some absorbent matter like rice or silica gel.

     

    Time

     

    You will hear it over and over again...which is probably a sign that most find that leaving the device alone for enough time the hardest thing to do. In general 24-48 hours is a good average time to leave the device but frankly there is no agreed ‘safe’ length of time. A camera may take longer than a smart phone and a laptop may take longer than either. It all depends on the particular nature of your device and your unfortunate spillage (or drop).

     

    Test

     

    You can test if the device is still moist by placing an absorbent towel on it and waiting for a while to see if it picks up moisture, If it does then this is a sign that you should continue the drying process and wait longer before attempting to turn the device on again.

     

    Power up

     

    Assuming you have followed some (or all) of the instructions and you are satisfied with your attempt then it may be time to reinsert the various chips and batteries before powering up again. Just remember that you can always wait longer but you don’t get a second chance of the device short circuits.   

     

     

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