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Backlight not working after water exposure

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by elobdell, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. elobdell

    elobdell Newbie
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    My Droid got a little wet yesterday, not submerged, just some water on it after touching it with wet hands (dumb, I know.) A short while later I saw the screen flickering and thought, "uh oh." I removed the back and battery and stuck all into a bag of rice for 24 hours.

    Turning it on today I saw the M logo flicker a bit and then...no backlight. It only worked momentarily. Holding the phone in the light reveals that it is drawing the screen, just not lit.

    It's now back in the rice for another 24 in the hope that will cure it. In the meantime, does anyone here have any experience with this same set of circumstances? Am I crazy to hope that it's just water that will dry up, or is there something worse/permanent possible with the backlight?

    I'm hoping to keep the phone!

    Thanks.
     

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  2. shadowdude777

    shadowdude777 Android Expert
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    Standard wet-phone procedure is to keep it in the bag of rice for quite a long time. Usually on the order of half a week or even more. Turning it back on during that time could damage it further, so you probably want to leave it there for a little while and then try again. I know, it's gut-wrenching to not be able to touch it.

    Another, slightly more batsh*t method I've heard is to re-submerge the phone, this time in isopropyl alcohol. It's supposed to displace most of the water that's in the phone and replace it with the alcohol, which then evaporates very quickly (within a few hours). I don't know how eager I'd be to dunk my phone in a bowl of rubbing alcohol though.
     
  3. elobdell

    elobdell Newbie
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    I had heard about the alcohol trick. Seems dodgy, but if the Droid doesn't work I suppose I'm not really risking much. I'll leave it in the rice longer and resist the urge to check it. Having thought 24 or 48 hours were enough, have tried to turn it on a couple times, hopefully not causing damage in the process.

    If the issue IS water somewhere, it stands to reason that it will eventually dry up. Meanwhile I'm having phone withdrawal and researching candidates for replacement.
     
  4. shadowdude777

    shadowdude777 Android Expert
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    Right, but the issue with turning it back on is that if the issue is indeed water in the phone, you're basically making a bunch of short circuits by letting the water conduct between two points that aren't supposed to be connected.

    Did you buy this phone less than a year ago? If so, you're still under Verizon warranty. I had my first Droid's backlight go out as well (mine was for some unknown reason though, just took it out of my pocket one time and the image was totally dark). I was within 4 days of my warranty expiring, so I called up Verizon and they replaced my phone.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.
     
  5. elobdell

    elobdell Newbie
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    I'm past the year warranty, so it's all up to the rice at this point...
     
  6. G.Armour

    G.Armour You know you want to.
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    Same thing happened to me a couple of years back and I am sad to say that the back light never started working again.
     
  7. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert
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    Then why not use WD-40 (Water Displacement-40)?
    And why not a hair dryer?
     
  8. elobdell

    elobdell Newbie
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    WD-40 is indeed helpful for displacing water in certain applications, but I would not fill a phone with it since it won't evaporate like isopropyl alcohol will. Even if it worked, there would always be oily residue. That's scary on several levels.

    Here's an update:
    After day 4 in rice, still no backlight.
    With nothing to lose at this point, I dipped the whole thing in rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl).
    I then used a hair dryer to blow as much air through and around it, keeping low or no heat. I did this until it seemed totally dry. At first it wouldn't even turn on. But later it returned to the same behavior, boot up OK but no backlight.

    My suspicion is that there was a short somewhere in the first part of this sad saga that ruined the backlight. I think I just got very unlucky with wherever the water ended up.

    I sure would have liked to report something different, but it looks like I'm out of luck. Now I have to decide what to get as replacement between now and December when I have my last "new every two" deal. Ugh. (Either used Droid via swappa.com, Droid 2, or maybe just a free Ally to get me through...)
     
  9. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    No

    ...but powering a device that isn't fully dry will reduce the odds of successful recovery.

    Nothing crazy about it -- especially if the phone was exposed to a fluid with conductive contaminants that need to be flushed out.
     

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