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Water Damaged Phone - black screen

Hey Everyone,
Some weeks ago my Fairphone 3 got wet during a military march: I had it on my pocket while it was raining, and unfortunately I didn’t notice it was getting wet. At the end of the march I realized it was wet, so I decided to turn it off, remove the battery and let it dry (for more than a week).
Sadly the “water accident” wasn’t solved: although when I try to turn it on it vibrates and, if I try to charge it, that little light on top of the screen turns on, the screen stays black and gives no reaction.
Unfortunately, I am not able to understand what I should do, where exactly the problem could be, and consequently which Fairphone’s piece I could and should change. Could somebody please help me? Thank you.

Welcome to our community forum :slight_smile:

Have you taken apart your Fairphone 3? If yes, have you made sure that the plastic clips can be heard clicking back into place when you press the display module and the rest of the phone together again? It’s not enough to fasten the screws again, the plastic clips are equally important.

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In addition to the correct advice to disassemble the phone (if you didn’t do so already).
Once again, I do link to the “Electronics Water Damage” Wiki on iFixIT.
That’s a to do list, you could check to find out, if you omitted something.
E.g. cleaning the phone with isopropyl alcohol (>90%).

The contacts should have dried and be cleaned thoroughly before giving it another try.

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If the tips mentioned don’t work, if you know someone owning a FP3, or if you have a local #fairphoneangel owning FP3 spare parts, you could try exchanging the screen, as the problem seems to come from it.

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Thank you for all your tips! Sadly, even if I cleaned everything with the alcohol and I controlled that the screen module is correctly back into hs place, the problem hasn’t solved, and the screen stays black. In addition there isn’t any fairphoneangel next to my city or in my region, so that would be quite difficult right now. Do you have maybe some other tip or suggestion about what could I do? Thank you in advance for your disponibility!

Seeing the symptoms, I believe it’s the display module. The phone still works as it vibrates when switching it on, and charging seems to work as well. I’d give this problem a 90% chance to be the display (though something else could have been damaged by the water as well and you can’t see it). So if you don’t have one handy or don’t know anyone owning one, I’d just buy a new display module. If it’s not the problem, you can still sell it on the forum #market.

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Thank you! That was exactely what I was thinking to do, but I wasn’t sure and I didn’t want to buy another one, if not needed, to limit the waste.

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You could - of course - always try to locate som FP3 user in this forum, that might be willing to help. I don’t know about the chance for success, but I guess it would be worth a try.
This category “Help -> FP3” would be the right one as well.
Just make it catching / telling thread title.
:slight_smile:

Tja Federico,

I just received the quote from Fairphone for repair: more than 300 Euro.

The screen also went black and the mobile was vibrating. But, i was not on a military march and it was not raining. They say that liquid has entered the phone, motherboatd dead, bum
out of warranty (bought it last July). I had a glass shield and the safety case on my Fairphone
So, use the Faitphone only inside, but not too hot, before use wash your hands (rest of food) but dry them carefully (moisture).
If you cannot guarrantee inside-only use under clean room conditions, buy a real mobile (I have to improve the conversation and being constructive)
I thought the Fairphone concept is cool …
By the way at the beginning the mobile had problems with dead microphone- obviously also
a kind of illness of Fairphone.
Hans

Not to poke the nest but the phone comes with 2 year warranty so you have until July 2021. Of course if the phone got wet and damaged ~ it’s outside of warranty even after an hour.

Damp from sweat or near the sea will contain many contaminates that will react with the metals in the modules causing shorts, resistance and other degradations. Clean water will just dry and if the battery is removed after dropping down a clean toilet and the phone dried in flowing air for a couple of days there may be negligible effect.

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Hi Fede29, the exact same thing happened to me with a phone I bought not even 3 months ago, I went for a long walk, had the phone in my pocket and it was raining, then once home I let it dry in rice for two days but even if from the sound it seems to turn on the screen remains black.
Have you managed to solve the problem? If so, how did you solve it?

Hi and welcome to the forum.
Putting the phone in rice is only reasonbale if the rice is in a breathable bag as otherwise rice dust may eneter the phone and create a more difficult situation to resolve.

So have you dismantled the phone and enabled it to dry for a couple of days in an airflow, not too warm?

I have the same problem as OP, got water inside the Fairphone 3 and now screen stays black although I get haptic feedback when pressing the power button. I also tried cleaning contacts but to no effect. LED is shining when charging.

I am just curious if someone can verify that this is a problem with the screen model, or if this could also be due to damage on the main board.

Thank you for your help!

Hi

Unless you can swap the modules you will not know. Try and find a #fairphoneangel

You don’t say how you got water inside
What type or water
How long before you discovered it
What you did, in detail, to mitigate any likely damaged.

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Hi amoun, thank you for your reply.

It rained on my phone over night. It seemed the rain water trickled into the phone at the edges where the screen meets the phone frame.
It was visibly wet at multiple places inside the phone, so I removed all parts and let them dry for 3 days.

After that, I assembled the phone again, and turned on the phone again. Since then I have the described behavior where:

I see the LED on when charging.
I get haptic feedback when turning on the phone (by pressing the power button), but the screen remains black

After that, I cleaned the contacts between the main board and screen with ethyl alcohol. This did not have any effect.

I will check for a fairphoneangel. I just found this post here, and the symptoms of OPs phone seem to be quite similar.

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Hi lasaramandra.
Sadly I didn’t really managed to fix the problem. I suggest you, still, to try to open the phone and to clean it: I hadn’t immediately realised that inside it was really dirty because of the water, and probably the fact that I didn’t clean it earlier damaged even more the components of the fairphone (if you need it, as someone else suggested me here, in “Electronics Water Damage ” you can find the steps to do it optimally).
To answer to fkemeth too, I actually even tried to buy a new screen, but it didn’t work, so I assume that the problem didn’t concern the screen model. Probably the problem it’s related to the main board, but unfortunately, as far as I know, you can’t buy it individually.
I am so sorry to not be able to help you further, probably…

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Thank you very much Fede29 for your reply and the information!

Mine looks very clean inside, with just rain water entering it.

I agree that damage of the main board seems to be the most likely explanation.

Letting rain fall on the phone is of course stupid.
But I think having gaps between the screen and the phone case where water can enter the phone is a poor design choice, in particular when they face upwards.

Well… It’s a modular phone, it’s hard to make it waterproof at the same time (and the FP3 was never marketed as waterproof either).

Edit: Typo

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I drowned my phone in chlorinated water :woman_facepalming:. Anyway, only after 20 minutes underwater i realised this, rescued the phone, disassembled it, and let it dry, only to see small marks of corrosion and salt deposits. After drying it did not work. So, i rinsed the phone with demineralised water and immediatly after with 99.5 % C3H5OH to remove the water.
Now the phone works again, yet the screen backlight does not. The phone is only, and badly so, usable if a bright flashlight is pointed at the screen.
after some research this might have to do with a non-functional backlight of the screen
Question: as i dont understand the exact technology of screens in general: where might the origin of this backlight problem lie?
I would love to be able to locate the problem as i very much wish to not need to buy a new display module resulting in a) not solving the problem because it has to do with the core or b) buying one, solving the problem but having spent 90 € which i could have saved by somehow repairing the issue differently

I neither have any technical insights but as this is currently a known issue. Do you use adaptive brightness, would it not help to manually increase screen Brightness?

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