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Cell phone takes a swim

August 10, 2011 - Ron Deuter
It should go without saying, but try not to drop any sensitive electronic equipment in water.

I was coming in from some evening fishing a few weeks ago and had to walk through some shallow water on the way back to the truck after parking my boat. The walleye had been biting pretty good, so I was out a little later than I planned and it was pretty much dark as I was fumbling my way back.

The water I had to walk through was about knee deep, until, I stepped into a hole and went down about belly-button deep. I was only waist deep for a few seconds, but it was long enough to soak the contents of my pockets, which included my cell phone and radio faceplate for the boat.

The radio faceplate, which was in a hard plastic case, actually fell out of my pocket. Since it was dark out and I was without a flashlight, I didn’t see where it went.

Well, I went home and took the front and back covers off the phone and put it all in a sealed plastic bag with rice, as someone suggested. I went back to the lake the next day to see if I could find the radio faceplate, but no luck.

After letting the phone dry and sit in the rice for more than 24 hours, I tried to turn it on. Nothing. It was a goner. So I had to go the store for a new phone. I had insurance on the old one, but the deductible was half the price of what a newer model would cost. I ended up getting a new phone.

Now fast forward another week or so. I stopped at the bar where I fish, and the bartender handed me my radio faceplate. Someone had found it floating by their boat.

I opened the plastic case and saw the faceplate was soaked, water even inside the LCD display. I figured it was a lost cause too. But I took it home anyway and completely disassembled it. Once apart I ran a hair dryer on everything and then let it sit overnight, again in a bag of rice.

The next day I put the faceplate back together and took it out to the boat. Wouldn’t you know it, it worked. I couldn’t believe it. That thing sat half floating in water and the elements for a week, and it still worked.

The only thing I can figure between the ruined phone and the still-working radio faceplate is that the phone was on when it got dunked, whereas the radio had no power. The phone probably zapped right away. Waiting to connect power to the radio until everything was bone dry probably made all the difference.


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