Wet Electronics

Photo taken about 30 seconds after the camera had been under water for ~5 seconds.

An unremarkable, though rather pleasant, picture of the creek near my parent’s house in Missouri.

What is remarkable or, at least, exceptional about this photo is that it was taken about 30 seconds after I fell in the creek (slick rock) and dunked both my iPhone and my Canon DSLR (t1i) underwater for a good 5 to 10 seconds. While bummed that it happened, I wasn’t really angry — it was inevitable and, given how much joy the various photos have brought the family and how much educational value they have had for Roger, the risk has been worth it.

This was the last photo the camera took for quite some time and, at the time, the last photo I expected it to ever take. My iPhone was in similar dire straits. Upon removal from my pocket, it had flipped out; cycling between screens, waking sleeping, etc.. Water drained out of the headphone port.


Same with the camera; had to dump water out through the lens mount, through the battery compartment and out the SD card slot.

Leaving them in a sunny spot in an air conditioned, and thus relatively dry, house, the iPhone started working just fine, though the camera lens had a bunch of moisture on the inside. That dissipated within a few days and, save for the occasional mysterious “GPS on all the time” mode, the iPhone seems completely normal now.

The camera took longer to return to normalcy. For the first few days, it would power on to a “set the time” screen and I would then turn it off, remove the battery, open every door/compartment/etc, and let it dry some more. After the first week, it mostly just worked, but the flash stopped popping up for a while. Now even that seems to work.

It seems I got lucky. This time.

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4 Responses to “Wet Electronics”

  1. Diana says:

    I washed my CF card and iPod in the laundry (at separate times, you’d think I’d learn). I think they both even went through the dryer. The battery on the iPod is definitely a lot worse for the wear, but it’s still working well as long as it’s charged up frequently. Now that I think about it, I think the CF card wash must be related to a “Err 99” I get on my Canon XT from time to time.
    I’d recommend sticking your stuff in a plastic bag with a few desicant packets stolen from pill bottles or other packages – I have some extras that I can drop by if you want. The nice thing about a simple dunk is that it doesn’t involve soap, mostly water and the minerals in it… So you may fare better than I have.

  2. annbb says:

    That kind of luck has never ever happened to me. Ever.

  3. reimer says:

    putting the camera/iphone into zip lock bags with rice also helps to get moisture out

  4. dangr says:

    The real problem is mineral and other dissolved content in the water that will be left behind after the water evaporates. A good solution is to throughly rinse the device in distilled water and then dry. The sooner the better because once the water evaporates the dissolved content will have voted the parts and that is going to be hard to re-deslove. There is really nothing that water will really damage, and pure water is non-conductive.

    This is similar to swimming in the ocean. Just letting the sun dry you off will leave an uncomfortable salt coating while rinsing with fresh water will remove the salt..

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