Monday, January 14, 2008

Cell Phone Water Damage Indicator

While I did not pay over $100 for my cell phone, a lot of other people have paid hundreds for theirs and have ended up dropping them in the toilet, the bath tub, the kitchen sink, or even the river or a number of other bodies of water large enough for a phone to be submerged in. There are a lot of places you can get your cell phone wet, but what you probably might not realize is that your cell phone’s warranty does not cover water damage. Manufacturers are even beginning to install these stickers on the insides of the phone in not one, but at least two different places so that if your phone gets wet, you cannot tell the repair technician that it did not. The technician will know if your phone is water damaged simply by the fact that the sticker on the inside of your phone has changed color.

This might be a great thing for manufacturers having to deal with a lot of returns by consumers dropping their phones in the pool and claiming the phone was never wet, but unfortunately for honest consumers, these stickers are so sensitive that they often trip when the humidity is just too high wherever you might be. There is a powdered dye underneath the sticker and when moisture builds up inside the phone, the sticker and dye both get wet and the dye disperses on the sticker, changing it. One of these is typically located on the battery compartment, but another (usually more difficult to access) is located on the circuit board of the phone.

So, how do you get around this? Well, if you want to make both stickers ineffective, you will have to break into your phone quite skillfully, but it can be done. The first sticker is not difficult to reach. Take a piece of scotch tape with a satin finish and cover the sticker with it. If your phone suddenly stops working for no apparent reason, remove the tape and take it back to the manufacturer.

I doubt this will help you much if you drop your phone in the bath tub, because it is not likely that a piece of scotch tape will keep the sticker from getting wet, but it will help protect it from moisture due to high humidity. As for the location of the other sticker, you will probably have a hard time getting to it because it is located on your circuit board.

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