I dropped my phone in water and now it won't charge

Hi everybody,

i dropped my FP3 in a sink full of dishwater. I got it out immediately and took out the battery as fast as I could. After drying it thoroughly for several hours I opened the phone to see if it was dry inside. I found no water inside and all seemed well. It turned on normally and everything worked as usual. The only thing that doesn’t seem to work is charging.

When I plug it in, the only thing that happens is that the notification LED turns yellow.
The battery status does not say it’s charging. It does actually charge the battery, but only very slowly. Like 2% per hour, which is unusable for long-term.

Can anyone tell what exactly the damage seems to be? Is it the charging port maybe? Or the battery? Is there any recommended software to check battery health?
I’m hoping it’s as easy as buying a spare part.

Thanks!

Welcome to the community forum.

You will need to specify this – did you only open the back cover or did you also disassemble the phone into all its modules (display, core, top, camera, battery, bottom modules)?

Apart from that, you should give (or have given) it much more time to dry (I would wait at least 48 hours before switching it on again).

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Take a look at the #waterwiki - the fact that your phone turns on is a good sign, but like Urs said, you really need to take it apart all the way and then let it dry for longer. There may still be water where you can’t see it and it can still break your phone, sometimes days or weeks after the fact.

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As suggested remove the battery again and dry the phone for a couple of days.

Will update this post with more …

If you have seen and followed the iFixIt guide you should not go beyond step 7 to keep the warranty. However if you find a red square as indicated the warranty will be void so you could dismantle more to better dry the insides of some modules.

Get water/dampness from the inside of the module take time ~ a cool to warm flow of air for a day or more.

Referring to this link you will see two white squares hopefully.

If charging is the only problem maybe the USB port picked up a bit of pizza from the dishwater.

For future ref and for others. I have dropped a phone in the tidal river for 12 hours and had to get it out by dragging a magnet through the mud ~ it couldn’t be seen.

Once I had retrieved it and removed the battery I thoroughly agitated the phone for ten minutes in clean water, left it submerged for another hour agitated it again in clean water all to remove and debris.

Once dry the phone worked fine for another three years. A Nokia 6300 from what I remember.

Clean water does not harm as long as there is no power to the phone but residue from dirty water that has dried is.

Clean and dry the best you can.

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I disassembled the display and bottom module. The rest stayed in place because everything seemed to be very dry.

All the squares are white. The one around the bottom module has a hint of pink-ness around the edges, I only saw this in good light.

I’ll follow the advice here and let it dry for some more. Hopefully that will resolve my charging issue. I’ll post again in a day or two.

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Good to know the squares are white, still check the USB port and you may want to dismantle to dry not dry whilst assembled and ensure the contacts seem fine…

Drying whilst assembled forces moisture deeper into the modules.

All the best

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Thanks for the advice, I dismantled it completely. It sits in a small room now, right next to an air dehumidifier.

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What also can be a good idea is to soak it in 99% IPA (isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol) the you can do this with every component except the screen. It is know by many repair men that getting alcohol in/under your screen is a really bad idea (i didn’t know that and had to resort to buying a new screen for my fp3+.) The reason why Alcohol is better is mostly to dilute the rest of the water that seeped into the components as well as it’s minerals that could cause problems down the line. The added bonus is that alcohol dries up much faster. Nevertheless it is a good idea to let it dry for at least 48 hours or two days at a warm place to make sure that all the rest liquid evaporated.

I’m glad you have tried this, something I haven’t yet and am slightly wary of.

Alcohol over 60% will attract water and dry things (proportionally).
If all the water is absorbed by the alcohol the minerals are left behind and can react with parts, usually not the gold contacts but copper conductors etc.

This issue here is the strength of attraction of some dissolved minerals and H2O versus the attraction of the alcohol and water.

Minerals may be separated from the water as the water has a greater affinity with the ‘free’ OH in the alcohol than any ‘lesser’ ionic mineral.

Water and IPA are azeotropic and cannot be separated by distillation, hence any minerals will remain once evaporation ensues.

Flooding may wash the water and mineral out, but distilled water is better for that.

[Clean] Distilled or de-ionised water leaves no minerals and causes no deterioration of parts, but does require drying.

So washing in [Clean] water and then alcohol would offer a slightly better cleaning regime.

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Thanks @amoun , i learned something new today. This definitely will help in the future

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Quick heads up: I reassembled everything and it still only charges very slowly.
I have ordered a new battery and bottom module and see if one of those will solve my problem.
I’ll report here once the parts have arrived.

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Hi. It seems that I’ve got the same issue. I put my FP3+ on my countertop, not seeing there was water all over it. Disassembled everything and I saw water inside eventhough the white square is still mostly white (also a slight pinky color on the border). After letting all modules dry and reassembled, battery does not charge but the phone looks to work normally otherwise. I tested yesterday with the FP3 of a friend. My battery did charge on his phone and his battery did not in mine. The problem comes form the charge itself, not the battery. I had no time to invert all modules one by one between the 2 phones to identify which one is broken, but it will be my next move. I will keep you updated.

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Hi and welcome to the forum and your story. Waiting to see your updates :slight_smile:

Drying is so critical. Just a little in the USB port along with previous dust can great a gunge. The core module holds the power charging chip, the problem being to dry that thoroughly the module itself could be dismantled but that will void the warranty.# ~ though with a little pink it may already be void.

Did you try the battery test via *#*#66#*#* as I assume that requires the core module to communicate with the battery ~ intimately.

So today the bottom module and battery arrived. I swapped out the bottom module and both the old and the new battery charge at 2 amperes again! So problem solved.

I blame corrosion on the outer contacts of the charging port, as the insides seemed to be really dry. You could clearly see the corrosion when comparing the old and the new module side by side.

I’m keeping the battery as a backup for trips and such.

I indeed tried that and also installed a battery app that lets me know at all times how much power is drawn or charged. Since it communicated normally, I was pretty sure the charging chip in the core module was unharmed.

Btw I love that you get a return label to send in your replaced parts, that’s outstanding service!

Thanks for everyone here giving me advice and good look to the other person with the same problem.

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Thanks for the update. Next time you drop the phone in deep water maybe you could post an image of the corrosion ref new module. :slight_smile:

I’ve just had the same experience, had to replace the bottom module. When I ordered the replacement, the FP shop said “1-2 weeks”, which seemed like an eternity… somehow I understand why replacement part availability is a factor in sustainability rankings. Fortunately, the part arrived after 6 days.

Now I’ve equipped my FP3 with rubber plugs in the USB-C and headphone ports. Those can be found e.g. on ebay. So far they look and work good, and I think they will protect the bottom module in case of a brief dump in water.

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