The biggest risk to your electronics? Accidents. Here are pointers on how to be prepared for accidents and what to do when they happen.
As we carry more electronics, whether at home or while traveling, we need to take special precautions to protect them. The reality is that electronics have one nemesis: water. There are a few other ememies such as heat, sand, and falls, but water is the ever present, catastrophic enemy of electronics. While we want to assume our devices won’t take a bath, a small slip on a dock, a clear day that turned rainy fast, or the somewhat funny “falling-out-of-pocket” into the toilet accidents happen. Here are tips on how to avoid aquatic catastrophe and what to do when it happens.
Water, beer, wine and other liquids are somewhat conductive. Luckily for us they are not that conductive, but still, electronics are filled with tiny circuits and paths for electricity to travel, if the electricity jumps its track to another one (thereby bridging circuits) you get a short circuit. While you may remember Short Circuit as a funny movie, you won’t be laughing if your laptop, phone or camera short circuits.
As with most things in life, prevention is the best medicine. Preventing your electronics from getting wet can be as cheap and easy as putting them in Ziploc/Glad bags. The key to this method of prevention is maximizing the time your electronics can be near liquid danger, but not get wet. The longer you can protect them, the longer you have to remove them from a dangerous situation. Prevention is buying time, not necessarily the solution in itself.
Keeping your electronics in a backpack versus a pocket will buy substantial time as even a driving rain will take a while to soak through. Having your device in a waterproof bag inside the backpack will substantially decrease your risk of anything going wrong. For smaller devices, pocket cameras and phones, Glad Freezer Zipper bags are perfect. I’ve tested Target store brand and ZipLoc freezer bags, but the Glad Freezer Zippers seem to be most air tight. Let me know if your testing proves otherwise.
LOCAVORista and I, simply due to having way too much camping gear, carry SeaLine Electronics Cases and Outdoor Research Sacks. These are supposed to be completely waterproof when used properly and were recommended by kayakers.
The last method of prevention is knowing where your electronics are at all times. This means knowing where, exactly, in your bag is your phone, camera(s), and laptop. Knowing this will allow you to immediately remove them from a soggy bag that may have fallen into a river with your significant other.
OH SHIT! It happened… my _______ fell into the !@&*@% water
Accidents happen, so what to do if you get your electronics wet? Memorize this and you can save your electronics life:
- DO NOT TURN IT ON FOR 2 DAYS! Water kills electronics by creating a short circuit, which isn’t possible if there is no power going through the circuits in the first place.
- Remove the battery (if possible).
- Remove any media devices such as memory card and/or SIM card. While your device may not work again, saving your photos, music, and addresses can still be accomplished.
- Let the device and removed components dry separately. There are several ways to do this: hair dryer on low for several minutes, followed by either putting it in a ZipLoc bag with dry rice or those silica packets that say “do not eat” and come with many purchases such as shoes. (here is some detailed instructions for an iPhone, but all electronics can be treated the same).
- Wait, wait, don’t fret, and wait. The longer you can wait before using the device, the better off you will be.
These steps probably seem too simple, but it works, sometimes. There is no guarantee that your wet electronics will work again due to differing circumstances, the only thing you can do is try to prevent it and take these steps if it does happen.
This article is one in a series on protecting your digital ass(ets). Here are the other articles:
JUST READ: OH SHIT! When accidents happen to your electronics
After all the articles have been posted they will integrated into the Preparation Section.