FP2 water damage

Dear Fairphone-Community!

Last weekend a very bad thing happened to my three-week-old Fairphone 2: it dropped down in water.
I took it out immediately, removed the battery and tried to dry it in Tupperware filled with rice. After 24h I tried to start it again, but the screen only showed colorfull sprinkles and after a few times of removing the battery and trying to start it again it stayed black at all.
When I connect it to the computer, I can see it and click on it, but there is no data showed (I haven’t connect it to the computer before this accident and removed the SD Card, so I don’t know if there’s even the possibility wether to see data or not).
Do you have any idea what was damaged in my phone? I hope that only the screen is broken and I can replace it, when it’s available again in the store.
Or is there a possibility to send it to professionals for finding the damage and repairing it?

Many thanks in advance for your help!

For future reference, this isn’t recommended (e.g. here). Silica works well though.
I’d personally disassemble the phone into the separate modules and leave them to dry for a bit longer.

You could send it to Fairphone for repair. Probably won’t be cheap, and probably you’d lose data. Local shops sometimes offer repair services as well, but I’m never sure how good these are, and what they actually do.


Wow ! Thanks for having done that experiment so quickly ! :slight_smile:
I thought we’d have to wait months to have feedback on what happens in that case :slight_smile:
You deserve an extreme-tester badge :slight_smile:

Bud what you are reporting is bad news… I thought the tough case would be more resistant…
An IThing from a colleague did the same recently, and resurrected after 3 full days in the rice… You could unscrew every module apart and let them dry a bit longer.


it depends how long the phone has been in the water, here is a post were a FP2 survived a “toilet dip”:

I would suggest to disassemble all parts a put them in a box with rice or even better silica.

It seems to me that the phone has been switched on a bit too early. On a vacation my old Nokia phone got totally wet due heavy rain. After several days of drying in a rice bag it worked again.

Good luck!

EDIT: rice is very dusty, so Silica is definitly the better choice!

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Further to my earlier comments about the rice - I’m looking for a good explanation about why rice isn’t a good idea. So far I’ve mainly found studies commissioned by phone repair companies. so this comes some disclaimers about source impartiality.

There’s results from one study:

  • Leaving the device in an open room removed more moisture than putting in it a bag of uncooked rice.
  • After 48 hrs surprisingly little of the moisture was removed.

From a different study (has some flaws, though!), using sponges to determine how effective desiccants are:

  • Sponge in air lost more water than sponges sealed in with desiccant.
  • Of desiccants tested, uncooked rice was least effective.

Finally a BSc project:

  • Silica outperforms all rice variants tested
  • 500g of basmati rice removed all moisture, but needs 48 hrs to do so.

What I took away from reading these and other sources is:

  • disassembly of the device really helps
  • desiccants can help remove the last traces of moisture (but don’t do better than air if there is a lot of moisture)
  • for the above, leave electronics in the desiccant for at least 72 hrs
  • don’t use any desiccants that produce dust, as this can enter the device and, coupled with residual moisture, make things worse. I’d avoid shaking or mixing rice with electronics inside for this reason. I’d even avoid rice altogether for that reason.
  • silica gel beads (like the ones in those little bags that you sometimes find packaged with various goods) work best. No dust, good absorbency. Make sure they’re dry first - they can be re-used by drying in an oven at 60 C.
  • heating the device is generally not recommended.

The real difficulty is what happens when the moisture is salty (sea water, soup, …), as then you’ll need to remove the traces of salt - which is sometimes done by rinsing in water - which obviously can introduce more moisture damage! As always: if unsure, contact a repair professional as soon as possible.


I guess silica could be actually more effective, but in emergency cases it’s easier to find rice in your household or a nearby supermarket, so you gain precious minutes to save your phone from corrosion.

But if air is more effective in every cases, then disassembling as fast as possible and putting the phone on a paper towel is the best way to rescue your phone.

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I did drown the FP2 too (half of it but obviously enough). Drying (silicon, many days in tupper and so fourth) did not help. Just does not switch on. Any news here? Only solution asking FP to get substitute motherboard (if they have any at all yet)? Any good ideas?

@cgjanna managed to revive the FP2 by disassambling it and cleaning it with contact cleaner spray:


Thank you, it eas a good try, however it did not work, unfortunately. No reaction even after quite a few days of waiting. Corrodate parts seem clean now, however. I just can’t see which part is really affected, so I don’t know what to try next. Thanks for the help anyway. Any more hints would be highly appreciated. BTW interesting experience trying to learn to live without mobile again, as old substitute is dying, too. Could be Fairphone 3: not having any :slight_smile:


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So, I dropped my fairphone into a catfish tank at the aquarium (small child involved!). It was fished out within about 30 seconds, had switched itself off, I took it apart, dried out the pieces, and put it into a box of rice for 48 hours when I got home. It looks dry now and I have charged it but the phone is completely dead. What next?

Rice is a bad idea. Take it apart again and get a gas duster to clean the rice particles off of all the modules. Then just let it dry some more days just laying around.

Once you done that report back and we’ll find out which modules are destroyed and which ones still work.


I have only realised you could seperate the inner module from the screen…which I have just done. Inside there is lots of white sediment, do you think this is salt from the aquarium water? Should I clean it off?

You should really sepparate the individual modules to let them dry and clan any salt or rice off of them.


By best guess would be, that that’s rice, but could be salt
Yes, take it apart - https://de.ifixit.com/Teardown/Fairphone+2+Teardown/52523

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Hi folks,

with the help of a dried fruit automat, it may take only one day and the phone is dry again. This item works with a max. temprature 55-60°C. Not too much for the Phone. DO NOT TRY TO DRY THE Li-Ion-Akku with this machine. :frowning:




To my knowledge it is not only for drying any electronic device. BUT the cleaning from the remaining conductive particles. It is not the “fluid” itself causing the damage, but the “conductivity” if its ingredients.
Therefore rinsing is prior to the following drying step.

Anything “cleaner” than usual fresh water would do. If nothing cleaner is available destilled water would do a better job than fresh water (as it is generally clean enough for being used in conventional lead batteries), medical alcohol (70% +) from the pharmacy even works best.

Rinsing the mainboard at least twice and drying it properly at an moderate temperatur of less than 50°C may recover the mainboard if it did not experience any short circuit within the first minutes taking an unvoluntary bath. Using silica may support the drying process. Actually time is the vital point here.
Having a try inserting the battery or furthermore powering up the device within short time due to impatience may simply bring further damage setting the final state to any electronic device, which mostly is irreparable damage (finally a candiate for the repair service which maybe could have been avoided).

There is also a good step-by-step guide how to do at “http://praxistipps.chip.de/anleitung-smartphone-mit-wasserschaden-reparieren_27179” (unfortunately in German language).

Having only conventional options will expect users to have at least 1-2 days of patience for the first test.


Hey there,

maybe here’s hope for all the sad people that dropped their phone in water, like me one year ago.

Directly after the accident nothing worked to dry the phone. I seperated all the parts, put them in rice, on the heater, tried to remove the white spots… After about 2 weeks I had given up my nearly brand new phone and “buried” it in his shipping pack.

Circa one month later I coincidentally picked it up again - and it is working perfectly since this day till now! All the data ist still there, even the screen is (except one little spot) not damaged.

So don’t loose hope and stay patient!

Good luck, Anna

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