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My FP3 took an unfortunate dive in the toilet

Hello! 2-3 weeks back my FP3 had an accident and got submerged in shallow water for ~1 hour. To make matters worse the phone was probably on when taking the dive. I was not around and a friend of mine (hero) took the phone out of the water and put it in rice overnight (I only later found out rice is a no go, dont do this)

It was the next morning when I found out and started to take the phone apart. I put all components to dry and submerged them in 96% isopropyl alcohol overnight. I also ordered a new battery because I read the old one was most likely dead. I like the FP idea of being able to replace individual parts/modules, so I searched the #waterwiki for ways to salvage this phone. However I have not found a post with my exact issue, so I am here to ask for advice.

State of phone
Definitely water damaged phone, submerged in IPA for +8 hours and thoroughly dried (1+ week) and cleaned.
Reassembled with a new battery and charged fully (green LED shows)

Problem
When charging LED indicators seem fine, however, when trying to turn on the device screen stays black. After holding and releasing the power button for a while the LED indicator flashes blue.

What can I try to salvage this phone? Are there individual modules I could replace or is this probably beyond repair and should I cut my losses?

Thanks for your help!

Max

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Hello and welcome to the forum; though it’s a pity, that you come here for that reason.

Apart from the rice-thing, it seems, that you did it all right, though I don’t know, how long it really takes to get the water/moisture out of the least corner of the phone.

Unfortunately I am not really a tech guy.
Maybe you could try another display; if you know someone else with a FP3, that would be willing to assist. (Or - the other way around - you could try the display in another phone.)
That’s the first thing, I would do. If you don’t know someone with a FP3, the fairphoneangels might be an option. You will find a map with angels’ heavens, when you follow the link.

If it’s the core-module, this might be a total loss, as a new core-module has to be changed by support. The price for this repair, that they give on their homepage, is € 209.90.
That would be - of course - worth a repair in itself. But as the phone was submerged for a while, you might as well run into trouble with other modules as well; now or later on, that is.

You can contact support anyway to let the check the phone.
This will at least cost you shipping, handling and diagnostics costs; though it’s unclear, how much that would be. Or you get a repair. See Return Policy, point 4

I keep my fingers crossed, that you can solve your problem and revive your phone. :+1:

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Hi Max my daughter had a similar problem, toilet, but only briefly and even then drying was an issue, the phone had to be dismantled a second time before all was OK.

On the alcohol: Clean water shouldn’t be much of an issue as when it dries it leaves little or no residue. The alcohol can help but I’ve never heard of the module being soaked for hours.
I note you have a new battery, did you try the old one and did it appear to charge you can check the voltage on the battery independently. 100% charge on the phone is 4.4v 90% around 4.2V and anything over 3.6 should be enough for the phone to work.

With battery active whilst submerged it may have shorted out some critical components although I’m not sure the screen would be one of those, but as @BertG has said ideally you could find someone to help and test out the modules, like a #fairphoneangel

There is also the option of downloading ADB to a computer and connecting to the phone via USB to see if you can access the core module and memory.

Android Development/Debug Bridge, if your not familiar, is a software tool for all major OS including Raspberry Pi. (Linux)

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Hello Max,

If you happened to have or find a torx 5 screwdriver, you could also try to carefully dismantle the modules and the core themselves, in order to clean them with isopropyl alcohol, knowing water sometimes leaves some residues like limestone, or won’t just dry if it went to deep inside the modules.
It could help, but of course you’d need to be extra careful. Knowing your warranty is now gone, it’d be worth a shot.

Best of luck!

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Hi Alex and welcome to the forum, what problem did you have, how did you resolve i and was it a toilet dive? :diving_mask:

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Hello Max,

If you happened to have or find a torx 5 screwdriver, you could also try to carefully dismantle the modules and the core themselves, in order to clean them with isopropyl alcohol, knowing water sometimes leaves some residues like limestone, or won’t just dry if it went to deep inside the modules.
It could help, but of course you’d need to be extra careful. Knowing your warranty is now gone, it’d be worth a shot.

Best of luck!

Thanks for the tip Antoine! I have been carefully opening up the modules and trying to remove the oxidation and corrosion, unfortunately it seems quite bad. You are right though I have no reason not to try, if I dont the phone is scrap metal anway.

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Thanks for the ADB tip amoun! Ive tried this and while the LED indicator seems to give some reaction, I cannot get the pc to connect with it. I have read this might be because I need to give permission through the phone to establish the connection, something I cannot do right now as the screen is most likely dead. Any tips on what I could try?

I actually tried testing the other battery but couldnt reach the connectors with my budget multimeter, I quickly gave up last time because I was pretty sure it would be dead after spending such a long time being submerged. I will try again with smaller leads.

Unfortunately there seems to be no #fairphoneangel near me, I would be interested to see if a different screen works but I fear the motherboard has some shorted components.

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Sorry this is not an answer to the connection problem nor to add insult to injury, but to avoid making matters worse if it happens again.

https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/433993/Dropped+phone+in+isopropyl+alcohol+now+it+wont+turn+on.

I have dropped a phone overboard and had to wait for the tide to go out, the river was tidal but not very salty. I recovered the phone from soft mud by searching with a magnet the next morning. I took the battery out, it was an old Nokia, and thrashed it about in ‘clean’ water for 20 min and dried it in the wind for the rest of the day in moderate sun. The next day it was fine and lasted 3 years without further problems.

The problem isn’t the water, it’s the drying. The damage is two part a) there is the contamination of minerals etc, hence the washing with clean water or alcohol, but the greater problem is the drying as b) there will be reaction between the metals and the air molecules where there is water. Although most contacts are made of gold the same cannot be said for other components, copper, lead, tin etc.

So whilst drying slowly there is electrochemical reaction/reduction of some metals, hence the drying has to be quick and thorough. I would always recommend a strong flow of cool air to dry, warm air carries more moisture though a little warmth won’t go amiss.

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You must have massive terminal on your metre, have you thought of modifying the lead ends, filing or just winding a piece of wire around them that would stick out at the end.

Here’s topic/post you may relate too

Thanks. I just hope the new screen helps.

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One fortunate thing tough: my wifi seems more stable now…

Not sure exactly where you are on this as there was no previous indication you had a problem in this topic ??

And on the wifi, I hope you don’t mean it’s stable as it’s totally unavailable :no_mouth:

UPDATED:
AH! found you

And again

But even on that post you don’t detail what you did to recover and get the phone working . . . Is that on another post? If so please provide a link or be so kind as to provide the detail on the previous post.

Sorry about that. The context about this is a bit more detailed in this here: Seperating display Glas and lcd

I know it originally talked about alcohol seeping in between the LCD and the digitizer of the screen assembly, but I explained what happened in the last message if the thread given that there is no additional answer entered.

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Thanks I could have linked it all together ~ slowly obviously :blush:

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Small update: I have thus far not been able to repair the phone :frowning: I will keep trying to fix it as a project but ti seems the next step would be to try an ultrasonic cleaner or use a microscope to scope out and replace individual broken componenents. I dont have these items, but maybe in the future
Thanks for all the help guys!

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