Posted on January 17, 2014
Here at RepairLabs, we deal with water damaged smart phones and tablets on a daily basis, and get asked quite often by the poor victims of water damage what they can do to help protect their phone. Besides the obvious advice to not get your phone wet, there really isn't much we can offer them in the way of protecting it after we've gone in and fixed it.
With that in mind, we were approached by Liquipel not too long ago after doing our Guide to Dealing with a Water Damaged Phone. Liquipel was interested in showcasing their product to us, so that we could do some unbiased testing on the effectiveness of their coating, and to be able to effectively tell if it is indeed a good investment for those of you who are prone to soaking your favorite portable device. To help keep the testing relevant to most readers, we sent Liquipel one of the most common devices on the market, the iPhone 4.
First off, to talk about the process as a whole, we'd just like to state that the folks at Liquipel have been great to work with, always being prompt in response to any questions we've had about the process, and having a quick turnaround rate for a primarily mail-in based company. (which we know a little something about!)
Upon getting the iPhone 4 back from Liquipel, we were greeted by this awesome Liquipel tin case. From there the experience only got better, with there being a large foam cover directly below the top of the case.
Underneath that, the phone was stored in a little shipping bag and encased in foam, making sure that your precious device doesn't get damaged during the return shipping. Nice touch, Liquipel!
As for the iPhone 4 itself, you can see that it came back a bit dirty, but other than that, in perfect working condition!
A little bit of information on the Liquipel process: Liquipel is a nano coating that surrounds all the tiny little electrical parts in and around your device. It’s completely invisible to the human eye and will not void your warranty. While we can’t say your device is waterproof, we can proudly stand by our hydrophobic technology and say it’s great for accidental occurrences.
Both us here at RepairLabs and Liquipel agreed that we should keep the testing simple to help avoid any confusions on what the Liquipel coating actually protects you from, so with that in mind, we agreed upon a test that involved three inches of pool water, which is a combination of chlorine and typical tap water, with the Liquipel-coated iPhone 4 and the uncoated iPhone 4 going in horizontally for 60 seconds, then removed and sat out to dry for a full 24 hours before opening the phones up.
As you'd expect from testing as simple as this, the testing went perfectly, with both iPhones getting a nice soak in the pool water for an entire minute before being removed. After we removed them from the water, we sat them aside on a microfiber cloth to air dry without being touched for the next 24 hours.
After sitting out for the next 24 hours, we carefully removed the back covers from both iPhones, and were greeted with not-so-surprising results. Liquipel claims that their coating will protect you from your average accident involving liquids, not a coating that would survive a couple days in the Ocean, and the results show just that, with the Liquipel-coated phone being completely dry.
Both phones side-by-side show very different results, with the uncoated phone still having expected water residue on the battery, even though the outside of the phone has almost completely dried-up, whereas the Liquipel phone looked as if it hadn't even been in the water at all.
What does all this mean for you, the consumer? It means that if you're accident prone around water, Liquipel is not just a worthy investment, but an investment that we here at RepairLabs absolutely recommend!
You're not paying for a super-fancy coating, (well you are) you're paying for the peace-of-mind in knowing that your phone can withstand just a little bit more punishment from you before it croaks. And if you have a device that has already taken a spill, call the experts here at RepairLabs, we'll get you fixed up and running like new in no time.
Note that both RepairLabs and Liquipel do not recommend getting your device wet on purpose, and that the Liquipel Watersafe Treatment is only meant for accidental exposure.
Posted on August 5, 2013
We here at RepairLabs spend a lot of time fixing water damaged devices. Now, most of the time, these devices require our specially-designed RepairLabs' Cleaning Process to get back into working order, still we decided it was time to answer the question we get asked all the time: “I got my phone wet, what can I do to fix it?”
To do this test properly, we had to document each step of the process so that you guys can see exactly why one option is better than another. The most common thing people do when they get their device wet, is stick it in rice... That’s the worst thing you can do. Yes, rice will eventually absorb the water, what it will also do is cause massive corrosion build-up inside your device, which is the reason it isn’t working in the first place.
Rice has always been considered by many to be the top option for drying out a water damaged device, but the truth is that rice doesn’t absorb liquid out of your device very well, increasing the risk of a part shorting out inside the phone due to water, and an increased build-up of corrosion from the chlorine in the water.
Though the general idea behind corrosion is that it makes your phone go from working to not working, which is true, but there is more to it than that. It’s time for a RepairLabs’ Super Awesome Scientific Moment!!
Corrosion is the result of an undisturbed chlorinated-liquid sitting inside your device for an extended period of time. What this chlorine does is cause corrosion, which eats away lead-free solder, causing your device to have cold joints which is a bad connection between two connectors where the solder use to be. Another issue with corrosion is that it’s conductive, which can cause parts inside your device to short out, such as the battery and LCD, etc...
Any website or person that has told you to stick your phone in rice after suffering water damage is setting you up for failure. Luckily your friends at RepairLabs are here to help you get things back in working order.
We used the five most common drying methods, which are; rice, an alcohol bath, desiccant crystals, a blow dryer, and running a device through RepairLabs' own Cleaning Process. For the sake of consistency, we used five iPhones that have been submerged in a bucket full of pool water, which consists of water and chlorine, since the water will be more corrosive than tap water, but not quite as bad as salt water.
Each device was submerged for five minutes, removed from the water and shaken out, then put into whatever water drying method it was selected for. After their allotted time, they were all removed and disassembled to get pictures of the rust accumulation inside and the corrosion build up on the LCD connection.
Desiccant Crystals (48hrs) – The trusty 48 hour emergency water kit. All these are is a little bag full of desiccant crystals, which are used to absorb moisture. We followed the directions on the packaging to the letter, getting the phone into the bag as quickly as possible and then sealing it for 48 hours before re-opening it.
Results – The rust build-up was pretty severe on the screws inside the phone, along with most of the back housing and metal internal components. There was also a bit of moisture still on the battery, leaving it moist in areas.
The LCD connection was surprisingly relatively clean of any corrosion, raising the chances that we would be able to fix this particular phone.
Alcohol (24hrs) – Considered by some our Certified Technicians to be the best way to save your phone after a dip in some liquid. The alcohol will help break down the water while working as a non-conductive liquid to keep your device from shorting out. Note that five to ten minutes is all that is needed in the alcohol. We let it sit in the alcohol for five minutes before removing the phone and letting it air dry for another 24 hours.
Interesting to see that the phone worked the moment we put it in the alcohol, even after sitting in the pool water for five whole minutes.
Results – Not nearly as much rust inside the phone as the crystal phone. The screws are rusted and of course the water sensor has been tripped on the phone, which is a given. There is no standing water on the battery or within the device itself, being completely dry, but you can clearly see the water damage to the battery.
Underneath the cables is the LCD connection, which is almost spotless except for the bit of corrosion on the connector itself, you can tell the corrosion by its teal color.
Blow Dryer (48hrs) – This is probably your second best bet when it comes to getting your phone working again after dropping it in water. Using a blow dryer on low heat and low speed will gently push the water molecules out of the phone from the open areas. Do this for roughly five minutes, and you’ve raised the chances of getting your phone back in working condition exponentially. After blow drying it, we let it sit for an additional 48 hours to let it completely dry out.
We used the blow dryer for five minutes on the phone, constantly turning and flipping the phone to help evaporate as much water as we could.
Results – Similar results to that of the alcohol bath phone. There is minor rust damage inside the phone besides the screws. Again the battery is pretty thrashed, which is why we call it water damage.
Not surprising, since the rest of the internals look similar, the LCD connection is roughly the same as well (in comparison to the alcohol phone), with there only being minor corrosion damage on the connector cable itself.
RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process (24hrs) – The idea here is to let the phone sit powered down for 24 hours, the average amount of time a water damaged phone sits before it is normally taken/shipped to a repair center for water damage repairs. After 24 hours, we ran the phone through our RepairLabs’ Cleaning Process to break away the corrosion.
Results – After getting the 24 hour treatment, this phone was torn apart and cleaned of all corrosion, and the results are pretty amazing, with the phone showing next to no signs of water damage after having been submerged in pool water for five minutes.
The LCD connection is spotless, with not an ounce of corrosion to be found.
Rice (72hrs) – The most misleading myth when it comes to phone repair probably ever. Putting your phone in rice is a terrible idea. The moisture absorbed is minimal at best compared to the amount of corrosion you will build in return. We let the iPhone sit inside a full bag of rice for 72 hours before opening it to check for corrosion.
Results – Wow... There really is not a better word to explain the phone after sitting in the rice for three whole days. The rust build-up is intense and there is still water on the battery itself, leading me to conclusion that the rice did an absolutely porous job of absorbing the water. In the battle between rice and water damage, water damage won hands down!
Gross, that corrosion means this phone is basically shot. Yes, it could be put through our water damage cleaning process, but there is no guarantee this phone could be saved with this much damage to the internals.
For reference, this is what an iPhone looks like after getting wet in pool water and sitting for eight whole days. The corrosion inside is so bad that this phone has probably seen its last days. Though we clean all phones that come through, not every phone can be saved.
The results speak for themselves. If there is no way for you to get your phone to us right away, either put your phone in a quick alcohol bath or run a blow dryer over it on low for a bit. The 48 hour emergency kits aren’t a bad idea if you’re out and about when this happens, but the two previously stated methods are cheaper and you normally have both in-house.
Putting your phone in rice doesn’t help, so don’t bother. The standing water on the battery and corrosion build-up makes it pretty clear that you’re much better off doing something else with your phone if you get it wet.
Posted on June 14, 2013
Those quotes above are from some of the most well-respected technical news sites around today. What they were saying was true, but it’s not anymore. With costs for iPhone 5 glass replacements ranging anywhere from $199 for a cheap repair to over $300 for a repair by a quality, trusted repair shop – the idea of fixing a broken iPhone 5 was ludicrous.
What does MarketWatch, BGR and Geek all have in common? They all agree that the cost of parts is why the iPhone 5 costs so much to get it fixed. It’s quite simple really; the OEM screens are sold at a premium, with the number available being low, which causes the repair shops to drive the price up to actually make any profit.
Almost one out of every three iPhone users will damage their phone this year... You read that right, think of how many people you know that have an iPhone. It’s an epidemic, and Repair Shops are beginning to refuse iPhone 5’s for repair because they’re not profitable for them.
What is the point of dropping that much money, when you could go out and practically buy a replacement phone for that? In the ideal world, you could have your cake, and eat it too, but that’s not the case, until now.
Look around the web; you’ll still see prices varying wildly, with a lot of the cheaper options being from repair shops that don’t have a solid, credible reputation. The cheapest option available to the public right now is through Apple themselves, who recently announced that they will be repairing iPhone 5 glass for $150 per unit, which is substantially less than the 3rd party shops.
The problem with going through Apple is the hassle of finding an Apple Store, scheduling an appointment to get the phone in, and then having to wait even longer while they do a full system quality check before fixing the screen. Is the price great? Sure, but it doesn’t make it any more convenient.
Seeing how the Industry was taking such a large hit from the cost of parts with this new generation of phones, the Research and Development Department here at RepairLabs began work on a new, revolutionary process that would completely change the repair business as we know it. To this point, they’ve put over 100 hours into this new process.
Most companies are willing to stand idly by and only replace a handful of iPhone 5 screens each month because of the cost of the parts alone, but we weren’t satisfied with just replacing the part at a huge premium to the customer. Instead, we took the time to learn the ins and outs of the iPhone 5, what makes it such an expensive device to repair, what the common issues were, and how we could work to bring the best service available to you at a more manageable price.
It’s with great joy that I bring to you today the news that not only has our R&D Department figured out what is needed to fix the iPhone 5 instead of replace the broken screen, but also a way to do it at a price that our competitors just cannot match.
With our new specially designed RepairLabs process, we’re able to fix your iPhone 5 glass for a fraction of the cost of our competitors, while bringing you the highest quality repair possible, which is what RepairLabs has always been known for.
This post was posted in Geek, What We Do, iPhone and was tagged with marketwatch, geek, bgr, iphone 5 glass repair, glass, 139 glass repair, ecto-dynamic system, replace, iphone 5 screen replace, iphone 5 screen repair, what we do, repairlabs, screen, repair, iPhone 5