Dropped Fairphone in the toilet - now WiFi doesn't work

Hello friends. I seriously dropped my beloved Fairphone, one month old, in the toilet last saturday. I immediately picked it up and dried it with a cloth, but eager as I was for my baby to be alive I started it after just ten minutes. It was working - sort of, the widgets were disabled and in the bottom corner was a text saying “felsäkert läge”, i.e. “safe mode”. For some stupid reason I descided to try everything out, and when I raised the volume it sounded really weird and it shut down, restarted, shut down, restarted until I removed the battery.

My tech friend Andreas told me to put it in a boul of rice over the night, which I did. I researched the Internet for advice and let it stay in the rice for over 24 hours. Then I laid it on the radiator for a couple of hours, and prayed. By the grace of God, it works when I restarted it half an hour ago. I can call from it, raise the volume without problem, and all the information is intact.

The widgets are still disabled though, and when I want to put them on the start screen I get a warning message about allowing the start screen to do this and that, that I haven’t seen before. And the most irritating thing is that the WiFi doesn’t work. Most of the time the option to turn it to “on” is disabled, and when it is and I try to put it on it fails to connect.

Andreas says that maybe the WiFi antenna is damaged by the water. It should, in that case, be the only thing that has been permanently damaged - everything else seems to work. Any thoughts?

First of all: next time your phone gets wet: disassemble it completely. Take the battery out, take your sim and micro sd cards and then put it in rice, or let it dry manually. Secondly: putting it directly on a heat source (radiator etc.) is never a good idea. Let it dry ‘naturally’.

Further: yes it is possible that only your wifi antenna was damaged. You can look here for spare parts, or contact customer support to see if they can help you.

Good luck and kind regards :smiley:

Additionally to disassembling, another advice:
if you want to speed up the drying process, do not use rice. Instead, try to desiccating silica gel. A lot.
Put it in an air-tight container, and put your phone in (or the parts, if you disassembled it). Direct contact is not necessary, but the closer, the better.

Two pro tips:
a) If you have a university near you, and know someone working in a life sciences lab there, ask them if you could borrow some hundred grams. The stuff is rather inexpensive and can be dehydrated in an oven, which most labs do themselves. Otherwise you can order it online. A kilogram should be around 20€, depending on the vendor.
b) If you don’t know anyone in a lab, ask at your local electronics store. They often have quite a stack of the tiny sachets filled with silica desiccant which come with nearly every box of electronics.

Careful: never, ever use room desiccants you can buy in your local hobby market. Most of them involve a solution process, producing quite an amount of liquid (salts solution!), and some heat (the solution process is exothermic). Both is not suitable for drying electronics.


Hey! For anyone else who might be as easily startled as me and drop the phone in the toilet: I switched it off immediately, took out the battery, sim and SD card and kept it in a towel while I tried to find rice. I left the parts i a bowl over night and then in a sealed plastic bag, with the rice. I didn’t switch it on until I had to, and now it works perfectly again. Thanks for creating a strong phone!

I realise your solution did work for you, and it did work for a lot of people on “the internet” in general.

But everybody coming for advice after your Fairphone got wet, please, do not use rice as a desiccant.

Dry rice is not a good desiccant. It might even bring you more trouble. Rice dust (i.e., starch) might get into your phone, which might be detrimental to your circuit boards (not to speak of your camera). I know that “the internet” advises you to use rice, but please, trust me on this.

Or better, if you’ve got time on your hands, perform experiments with rice in a sealed box against silica in a sealed box against drying at ambient levels of humidity, using something soaked in a defined amount of water, and over a defined time. Don’t use your phone, though. :wink:

For the record, I have plenty of experience in drying things. With silica. Including electronics, like my old and trusted DLSR. And I also sometimes had to use rice, because I could not regenerate my silica at the time. I strongly advise against it. Seriously.