As the summertime is warming up, many people are looking forward to their summer vacation. Though some will leave their gadgets at home, many now travel equipped with enough electronics to keep themselves thoroughly entertained, and yet being on vacation leaves their expensive gadgets a little more vulnerable than normal.
Two of the biggest risks when it comes to battery powered items are overheating and being dropped in liquid. Batteries have a particular range of temperatures in which they will work well. Outside of these are temperatures that are not optimal but that won’t hurt the device, and then there are those that are dangerous. High heat is the biggest cause of damage.
Exposure to high temperatures can happen if the gadget is left in direct sunlight, but also if it is left in a car. A car that is parked in the sun can reach significantly high temperatures inside, certainly enough to damage the batteries in your devices.
Lithium ion batteries are particularly prone to heat damage. When exposed to high temperatures, especially for prolonged periods of time, there is a risk of damage or even or causing the cells in the battery to burst. This causes a catastrophic leak in the battery that might spread enough acid into the circuitry of your device that the device itself may be ruined.
When it comes to being dropped in liquid, the risks to your phone include being dropped in a drink, or even in the sea. Whether you drop your phone in a corrosive drink such as cola, or in salt water, the risks are the same. Many liquids can cause corrosion, and salt water can lead to the formation of small salt crystals inside, further disrupting the phone’s function.
In both cases speed is of the essence. You need to remove the battery as quickly as possible so that the energy that it still contains cannot be discharged through the liquid and into the circuit, where it could burn out delicate components. With salt water and corrosive liquids, even if the device is thoroughly dried out the damage will continue. Generally it will lead to the circuits breaking down very rapidly.
Because of this it is important that you get the corrosive liquid out. Once the battery is removed you should rinse the phone in plain water, to displace the more damaging liquid. It is them possible to start drying the gadget.
Anything that can be removed should be, such as changeable fascias and skins. A lint-free cloth should be used to dry any visible water, before the gadget is packed in rice or silica gel and left in a warm-but not hot-place. It should be undisturbed for at least 48 hours.
After this time, if a visual inspection makes it appear dry, you can try putting the battery back in and turning it off. The battery may have discharged, so charging may help. If after 48 hours it doesn’t seem dry it should be left for another day before checking again. After all of this you may still find that the gadget is simply dead, but there is nothing to be lost by trying. The best course of action of course though is to just protect your devices from heat, and liquid.