Water Damaged Phone - black screen


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.


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.


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…


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


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?

1 Like

tried, but no success. screen brightness is at max. still black screen, but generally responsive

1 Like

Did you contact a #fairphoneangel? They might have a spare screen they could lend you for a test, or other spare parts.
Otherwise you might want to check for a topic in #participate:local to ckeck if there aren’t #localcommunities in your region. Or you could ask if someone couldn’t help you test a display.
At least you’d be fixed if the issue is with the display module.
Otherwise you might want to check if the aren’t any display offers in #market:offer that are cheaper.

And if not already done I’d advise you to backup your data as much as possible, your phone might die for good in a few days/weeks/months.


A post was merged into an existing topic: HELP Water damage


I have had an incident today where my phone got wet while I tried to save my dog who jumped in a frozen river and couldn’t come back ashore (true story).
Basically I did not think about my phone right away, and after coming back home and putting everything to dry, I realized that it had gotten wet and wouldn’t turn on anymore.
After drying it for some time, I tried to turn it on again but it still wouldn’t.
The behavior is odd and I’ve read some of it up here in this discussion: it’s vibrating as soon as the battery is put in, the charging light goes blue and the flashlight either flashes or stays constantly on if put on a charger.
I opened it up completely, there was still some water inside. I removed every module, made sure that every bit was dry and replace each module by a spare one. Same result unfortunately.
I will leave it overnight to dry longer, all major parts removed, but I am afraid that the motherboard is dead.

My big question is: if it’s completely dead, can I return it to retrieve the data at least? Some of it is on an SD card but some of it is in the phone memory.

Thank you,

PS: the morality is “Save your dog or save the planet, you can’t save both” :upside_down_face: (JK of course)

There is always a tendency to turn the phone on to see if it is working, but the battery can discharge through avenues it was not designed to and burn out some components.

  • Phone’s should never be turned on once wet, they must be dismantled and dried it a good flow of air
  • If the water was salty or dirty then the parts need flapping around in ideally distilled water to remove any salt or particles.
  • Once ‘cleaned’ , if you think it necessary, and shaken dry and left in an air flow you can use isopropyl alcohol to draw out some water from accessible areas, like around the contacts
  • As you will have voided any warranty you can also dismantle the modules somewhat for better cleaning
  • It can take well over 24 hours to dry the innards of the modules

So before you buy any replacement parts you really have to dry it thoroughly.

There are many topics on the details:

Here’s some detail on the case where my daughter dropped it in the toilet, but a) it was for a brief moment and b) she took ages drying it before turning on.

The red square indicates water ingress

You can dismantle the modules, once you see a red square as the warranty is void.

Generally fo dismantling see

and some detail on the top and bottom modules

Cleaning all the contacts once wet and separated is a bit tedious see this about the contacts between the core module shield and the display

It can take a while to get any moisture from between the actual screen, glass etc.

Try and read up in the topics mentioned and search for more to give yourself an idea of what is possible.

If you still can’t get the phone to display see if you have a #fairphoneangel near you that may assist.


Hi Amoun,

Thanks for your reply.
I did make the mistake of trying to turn it on before opening it thoroughly and drying it completely. I was in a “stress” situation as I am leaving to the countryside and I do need my phone to work for professional reasons (I have a second-hand phone just in case, but it’s old + the Android version is outdated + some modules are defective => so it’s important for me to have a functional Fairphone).

I am going to try everyhting but I can’t contact a Fairphone Angel, as I live in Iceland. Maybe I could become one over here someday, if a community grows :innocent:

However, I am afraid that the motherboard (or microprocessor - whichever name fits better) is defective. So my main question is: is it possible to retrieve the data if the phone firmware/operating system itself is dead?
I would just like to be one step ahead and know my options in this potential case… Should I start looking into buying a new phone, send this one for repair, etc.
I have all the spare parts here. It’s no problem in that regard.


1 Like

No easy and cheap way to retrieve data, let’s hope once dried and cleaned etc. after a couple of days it works. Hopefully you had an SD card formatted as Portable that you stored things like images, unless you use a ‘cloud’

1 Like

OK thank you Amoun.

So if I understand correctly, Fairphone would not be able to retrieve the data if I sent the phone back?
Could I still send it back to recycle some of the parts?

Thank you

1 Like


Fairphone will not retrieve data or recycle parts.

The best in terms of recycling is to offer/send it to a #fairphoneangel

All the best

There are always professional services for recovering data.
But - according to what I have heard/read - they are quite expensive.
In Iceland I have found by a brief search Data Recovery Reykjavík, Iceland Service (Really no thorough search; so there might be more.)

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, but if drying the phone for a few days as described by @anon9989719 does not work, you could give this a try, if the data is really valuable for you. At least you might ask for an estimate regarding the possible costs.


Thank you guys :slight_smile: Fingers crossed, I have no touched it for about a week as I was travelling and it is all disassembled. We’ll see this week if it helped.

By the way, if it is dead, I would like to buy a secondhand FP3+ from a FPangel in BE. Would that be possible?
Which is the best forum/topic to ask for that?

Use the following category to place an add, and also direct it to an FPangel in BE if you think that may help, but there’s not much chance of an angel having one, but then you could be lucky.




1 Like