Rain water inside - what could be wrong?

I think some rain water might have gotten into my Fairphone. It continued to work for a bit, then stopped. I opened it and left it for a while. I then tried again, but it wouldn’t switch on. So I plugged it into the mains power and the Fairphone logo came up on the screen, then it went, and then the logo came up again, then it went, and that just looped.

So I left it some more. Then I plugged it in again, the red “Low battery” light blinked and the phone physically buzzed, then the light blinked, and it buzzed again, and that looped.

I left it some more and I got the logo thing again. Now I am getting the red light and buzz loop.

I’m not sure what exactly is wrong, and if I can replace something to fix it. Any ideas?

Thanks!

Hi Matthew and welcome to the community Forum!

Did you read the “water wiki”?
There’s a lot of good advice about rain and other water damage, have a look round. For instance, this longish read with a happy ending (solution : patience, mostly - we’re talking days).

You might want to open up the phone to improve ambient air circulation and to check whether the liquid contact indicators have turned red (if not, white dots). You can use a fan or hairdryer but NO HEAT, just ambient temperature.

NO RICE! Rice is for puddings or curries.

See also general advice such as Electronics Water Damage - iFixit

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Hi and welcome.

Further to what @OldRoutard has said it can take days to dry well in a flow of air and ensure you dismantle the phone to get air around the modules and help dry the contacts.

For the dampness indicators you will have to dismantle the phone to the point where you remove the screen and then see this post and two above it.
hopefully you don’t see a red square. The top left in the top image is the red square in the bottom one.

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Thanks both. I do see a red square :confused:

I have read the water wiki and my description is what I get after having followed those instructions. I’m now trying to work out what’s wrong. The fact that the logo comes on momentarily tells me the screen is probably ok, and the motherboard is possibly still functional, maybe it’s just the battery or something. But I’m not sure how to diagnose based on this behaviour. Any ideas?

Thanks again!

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Sounds to me there’s still hope!

Erratic behaviour can typically be caused by corrosion of internal contacts or connectors between the modules. Your description “It continued to work for a bit, then stopped” is particularly suggestive. After disassembling the phone and thorough drying did you clean all contacts with isopropyl alcohol? They should be “shiny” rather than dull.

Contacts are the Achilles heel of modular design so need special attention especially after water damage or humid conditions.

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At some point you may want to do a factory reset, but you will loose any personal data/media that you haven’t backup etc.

Before that
a) You may find a #fairphoneangel near you that can help by trying alternate modules

b) more drying and

c) using the iFixIt process go beyond step 8 ( which is the limit within warranty)

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Very helpful.

Could it potentially be the battery that needs replacing? The red light suggests the battery is dead. If it’s plugged in and the battery is perma-dead/broken, would the main unit still be able to draw power?

Thanks!

Well if the connectors are not connecting you can’t expect the phone to give a reliable estimate of the battery condition. That’s why I suggested cleaning the connectors first.

You might take the battery to a repair shop for measurement I suppose, or try a swap if you know someone else with a FP3.

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I don’t that is the case. The phone draws power only from the battery.

The battery can be tested using a voltmeter, (friend or shop) The voltage needs to be about 3.8 to get the phone up and running for a while 4.2+ is well charged.

I would doubt it’s the battery, they are fairly simple.

I’m afraid it’s more of what has been said. Much more thorough cleaning would be the first option.

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My voltmeter says battery is at about 3.39. I can’t seem to charge it currently.

So maybe it is the battery that wants replacing?

It is likely that either the battery shorted with the rain or when you replaced it after drying as the phone wasn’t dry enough.

  1. Once you are sure the phone is dry replace the battery
  2. do not turn on the phone
  3. Leave to charge for 24 hours before attempting to start the phone
  4. keep an eye on the LED notification light

Alternatively you could find a shop that may charge the phone for you.

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When I charge, I get the following behaviour:

“plug it in, get red “Low battery” light blink once and the phone physically buzzes, then the light blinks again, and it buzzes again, and that loops.”

What does it mean? Should I leave it like this for 24 hours?

It may be that the power switch has shorted and so as soon as you try and charge it.

I would try and clean around the switch, but ??? how long have you left it in this looping situation?

It loops for minutes and then I unplug because it feels wrong.

As long as it’s not getting hot try leaving it a bit longer. But I’m still thinking you’d better dismantle and try cleaning/drying more thoroughly before you try :frowning:

What charger and cable are you using? It could be that the two are not providing enough power to get the phone started.

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I have dismantled fully, dried, also took it to a shop where they did the same and said that there was no visible water damage.

However, I’m still unable to get this charged or work out where the issue is exactly?

What is my next step? Can I troubleshoot further, or do I consign this to junk :confused:

Thanks again for all input.

It is definitely not junk. Where do you reside? Is there a #fairphoneangel near you that could help?

Failing that you can send it to Fairphone for a repair.

If none of the above work out I may be able to look at it but I’m in the UK and you would have to post it ??

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@amoun I live in London. I only saw one #fairphoneangel in the UK, that may be you, up north?

Interesting that you might be able to fix it if Fairphone can’t. You must be a real wizard! Perhaps I should just send it to you first? I still haven’t heard back from their support, you’re much more receptive!

Sent you a private message.

UPDATE
Noting @AnotherElk

I’m sure Fairphone can fix it, more likely that I :slight_smile:

“Able to look at it” is not necessarily the same as “able to fix it”, although desirable, and a very commendable effort independent of the outcome :wink: .

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