Help me to save my fairphone 3+

Hello Fairphone community :slight_smile:

I am calling on collective intelligence to try the impossible and repair my fairphone 3+ which fell into the salt water of a beach in June 2023. :pray: I removed it from the water very quickly, after a few seconds, but the phone turned off very quickly after the fall. Over the next week the phone would not turn back on. Then it finally recovered its basic functions (I was able to turn it on) but some bugs appeared and persisted even now
1/ the front camera is unusable. When I use the camera app I can’t switch from the main camera to the front camera, I press the button and nothing happens. I did the service test described in the website procedure and it then displays: "error, camera not available"
2/ the microphone no longer works in certain situations:

  • when I have a call, the other person can’t hear me unless I turn on the speakerphone. In this case, the microphone seems to be working because the other person can hear me
  • I cannot send any voice messages because no audio is recorded or sent

3/ the fingerprint detector no longer works. It seems like it’s not even recognized by the various apps that used it before.

I contacted the Fairphone support service who do not want to intervene for free given the context of the fall (I understand). It will cost me at least 40 euros for the diagnosis, without insurance that they can really repair it. So, I am considering ordering the appropriate parts and repairing it myself, but I admit that I am a poor electronics and I therefore have no idea what is most likely damaged. When I open the shell I see mini grains of sand scattered everywhere.

Should I order a new mic? and a front camera? Or a motherboard? Or do you think that this is wasted effort and that it is better to resign myself to abandoning the lost functions (it is especially the microphone problem which is very handicapping on a daily basis…).

Thank you for your constructive feedback :slight_smile:


Just to be sure, did you have a look at the waterwiki ? I would definitely advise to clean all the parts and contacts as a good as possible and make sure there is no water left in the phone.


Hello and welcome to the forum.

This is certainly an unfortunate situation, but I’m afraid I’ll have to tune down your optimism about saving much of that phone. With water damage, time is key and this is simply too long ago. :frowning:

This happened over half a year ago, apparently. From the rest of your post I gather that you did not actively try to open, clean and dry it at all. Especially given that it was salty water and that it had tons of time, it likely corroded almost every part of your phone. This means that apart from individual replaceable modules, also the core module was likely damaged significantly. Buying any new parts for it is thus likely just a waste of money, unfortunately :frowning:
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try to find a Fairphone Angel near you who is willing to disassemble the phone to have an idea of the real damage. But it will likely only confirm how bad it is. I’d not even consider any of it for spare parts (with the exception of the case/bumper) given what it went through.

I hope you managed to get all your important data off of it at least.


Ok, thanks for the answer and all your advices. I was backpacking in the nature when it arrived, so it was difficult to manage it properly at the moment but i opened the backside to dry it a bit. And because it resolved partly later on the trip, i didn’t open it later when i came back home.

What do you think about changing only the microphone ? Probably useless you think? Because it is the bug that is the most annoying…

I would rather start with a “cleaning” and see what changes before I buy new modules

And reg FP repair center: thats waste of money in my eyes, as they would if at all swap modules, however with red water indicators at least in the past they were fast in diagnosing a faulty core module.


I don’t have a FP3 but let me just add a few cents.
I find the part about (still) finding sand in the phone most worrying.
If you want it to continue working at all, I guess opening and cleaning is a must. As adviced above.

I would definitely consider purchasing parts that are not working but not before cleaning and assessing the damage. You may get them on the forum, there have been some offers.


The FP3 is imho sensitive to water. If you have more often contact to water think of buying the FP4 or FP5.

the other person can’t hear me unless I turn on the speakerphone.

That is imho no problem any more with replacing the mic/USB bottom module.

If you want to stick with the FP3 you can have a look at used parts and phones in this forum.

Hey Benjamin,

If you want to assess, clean and try to repair your phone I can propose you to send me your phone with a prepaid return envelope. I have a testing FP3 so I could check which parts of your phone still work after a thorough cleaning that I could do : I have an ultrasonic cleaning device in which I can bath your modules (core included) with isopropyl alcohol, to try a deep cleaning which would stop the corroding process.

I’m based in Paris.

Unless you find a more local Angel, that’s my offer to you. Feel free to contact me in PM if you’re interested.


Do you remove all shieldings from the mainboard before the ultrasonic cleaning ?

I remove the main one held with the 2 black screws then the main board itself out of the case, but not the ones sealing the parts inside.

I haven’t seen many smartphones under the microscope, but this FP3 motherboard have much dirt on the surface and many tracks seemed to be isolated against each other manually.

Next I try a ultrasonic cleaning.

I’ve tried ultrasonic cleaning with two ‘dead’ mainboards: After cleaning they are still ‘dead’.

It can’t do miracles with mainboards that are too damaged, but in my case I’ve managed to save one, which was starting to oxidate in some peripheral part after a splash into water, then a burn because of the short circuit induced by its charge after the splash (not having been properly dried).