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The Thirsty Bag is a simple, inexpensive, and effective response to electronic water damage. It uses top of the line Molecular Sieve to quickly and consistently pull all of the water out of any device you leave inside. The special beads are engineered to grab water molecules out of the air, and never release them. It can reduce the atmospheric humidity to 1% RH and remove all liquid water overnight.
Why it Works ¶
Modern, low voltage devices typically do not "burn out" immediately upon water contact. Instead, tiny microscopic beads of water in chip housings and on circuit boards are re-routing the power erratically to places it doesn't belong. This can cause a cellphone to malfunction, or not work at all.
This means, luckily for us, that if you can remove all the water from the phone it is likely to work again. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. Water will cling to the smallest spaces where towels and sponges can't reach. We can't heat the phone to get the water out, or we may cook the sensitive flash memory, or melt delicate components. So we must turn to science to get our phone dry.
Liquids, in an atmosphere, will reach what is called an equilibrium vapor pressure. Which means that liquids will evaporate into the atmosphere around them until the atmosphere reaches a saturation limit based on the temperature. We recognize this as air drying. It is why when you spill water on your linoleum kitchen floor and leave it till morning, it will be gone. Water will continue to evaporate into the atmosphere until the atmosphere reaches this equilibrium vapor pressure*. This means if we keep drying out the atmosphere, water will keep evaporating. This allows the Thirsty Bag to maintain an extremely low vapor pressure in the bag, and suck the water out from the tinniest cracks in the phone.
*About 2.5% RH at room temperature
"... A good deal that will offer peace of mind for those who have any worries at all about spills"
"iFixit's new "Thirsty Bag" can very effectively clear liquids from electronics."
"The iFixit Thirsty Bag can be a life-saver when it comes to salvaging water-damaged iPhones and iPads… if you happen to have one around when an accident happens."
Homebrew Tactics ¶
A common recommendation to those with wet phones is to use uncooked rice. Theoretically this would make sense, as it appears to do the same thing as Molecular Sieve while being readily available to anyone with a well-stocked kitchen.
Unfortunately, rice is not an effective desiccant for a couple of reasons. Rice has a low capacity for atmospheric absorption. It may absorb the liquid water on the case, but our real problem are the tiny drops inside. Also, as rice sits on your shelf, and the shelf at the store before you bought it, in unsealed boxes and bags it slowly sucks in water out of the atmosphere around it, reaching it's absorption capacity. Thirsty Bag Molecular Sieve pouches are sealed at the factory where they are made, and not exposed the the atmosphere for longer than 2 minutes during packaging where they are resealed and prepared for you.
Heating Methods ¶
A bad idea is to cook your phone to evaporate all the water. Like was said above, increasing the temperature will increase the equilibrium vapor pressure, causing more water to be evaporated. In reality, the temperatures necessary to properly dry a phone with heat will actually damage the memory in the phone, and melt some plastics. The sun won't come close.
April 12, 2014
Haha... there was no problem... or to be more accurate there is not only one specific problem. I fix everything needs fixing all the time. I also love DIY things for my needs. So I better have all available tools handy in my collection.
I am a communication designer and a design thinker. For me tools are much more than just a way to fix things. There are inspirational equipment that lead me to a solution. No matter if I have to fix an iPhone or to create a rotation device for my time lapses, or to find the best way to promote my clients business. There are tools to get your job done and to find a solution for every single problem. Using your tools correctly is a precious skill.
Repairs go always very well because every single time there is something new to learn. So it doesn't matter if you succeed or fail, you will always be a winner.
My advise is: "try to fix everything you can, because at some point of your life you may find that to repair is the only solution you have for some precious things, and then you will appreciate the lessons you have learned so far in your fixing things history".
There is a story behind every attempt to correct things and make them work, and this story is not only a technical one.
To fix a broken device is like to give life to something. It inspires you and increases your self confidence. It shows you that you are able to make things work and this may as well apply to other parts of your life.
Thanks for your time
March 24, 2014
In late January I was happily enjoying an OJ slushy, reading my iPad, when the bottom of the my favorite old plastic cup gave way -- dumping OJ and ice all over my iPad! I quickly wiped it off, seemingly no harm done -- the liquid sensors were not triggered -- phew -- and the thing still worked! But later that day, the audio speaker stopped. I could still get audio via bluetooth, and the alarm worked, but no other sounds thru the speaker. Drag.
After a reboot did no good, I ordered a ThirstyBag, and while waiting its arrival put the iPad in a ziplock bag with a few small dessicant packages left over from shipping containers. When the ThirstyBag desiccant arrived, I put it in there too, sealed it up, and waited. And waited. And waited. About once a week, I would turn the iPad on, and see if it clicked when the password was entered. No joy. Then, after about a month, it started to click with the password -- but only the 1st two characters! And still no audio. But over another 3 weeks in the bag, the other 2 characters clicked. And then, sporadically, the speaker began to work. Now, 8 weeks later after the OJ bath, the iPad consistently plays audio thru its speaker.
Be patient. The tincture of time (in the bag) seemed to be the key.
And beware of old plastic cups! (mine was from Stephen & Martin's oyster bar in NOLA, which closed 15 years ago!)
December 9, 2013
Funny that you mention a nuclear submarine. My husband is a nuclear engineer for the submarine force. I bought gifts for him. Everything arrived in a timely fashion. Review will come after the holiday when he gets to play with his toys.
Waiting for Christmas
June 5, 2013
Water was spilled onto the camera when sitting with the retracted lens pointing towards the ceiling.
I first removed the camera outer shells on front and back and removed the battery and attempted to air dry the camera. When the camera was operated the lens would not retract back to the camera body after shut off. I thus decided to speed up the "moisture absorbtion process" by putting the camera into a thirsty bag for 3 days.
The result of the time spent in the thirsty bag appears to have removed more mositure since there are more functions which properly operate on the camera after 3 days in the bag. The camera is still inoperative but I'm working on it. Maybe a week in the bag will change it's attitude!
February 6, 2013
I wanted to upgrade a spare 2010 Mac Mini with an SSD boot drive and 1 TB hard drive so it could use it as a server for 13 other computers.
As usual, it was very easy to follow the iFixit guide -- those things really are a godsend! I swapped the existing HDD for the 1 TB drive and put the SSD in the iFixit SATA optical bay enclosure. All done in two hours (apart from earlier cloning the existing drive to the SSD) without any problems at all.
When replacing the power supply in the Mac Mini you might need to take a little time to wiggle it it position -- it doesn't automatically slot back in.
Aside from that, take note when the guide tells you to be gentle -- the SATA connectors and the temperature sensor connectors can take a bit of patience to remove.
November 7, 2012
Student had smashed the LCD panels on 4 Macbook's.
Fantasticly smooth! I had no problems.
The worst part of the process was taking the tape off of the connector. Once it came off you have to try and put the new connector into place which isn't really possible without a pair of tweezers!
October 10, 2012
My wife broke her screen...
Its was pretty easy. The templates were great and the magnetic pad made sure noting got lost. The guide took me through the whole process in about an hour of my time.
Buy the mag pad and the print out the templates. Keep the parts organized
July 17, 2012
June 17, 2012
My daughter dropped her iPhone 4S face down, shattering the screen. It was a mess and unusable with all the sharp edges.
I followed the iPhone 4S Display replacement guide on the iFixit iPad app. Using the iPad app was pretty slick. I discovered that you could zoom into the images by double tapping the picture. This was pretty valuable given my eyes could use an upgrade for doing these type of microscopic repairs.
The guide was very useful and accurate. The disassembly and reassembly went as described. You need to be really patient with this repair since there are a lot of very small screws to deal with and an abundance of adhesive assembly.
There we a couple of areas that were very difficult. The biggest issue was the one screw securing the display in the corner near the headphone jack assembly. You can't get a #0 Phillips driver into the screw straight-on since there is a bunch of assemblies that are not removed during the process still in the way. I has to us a micro straight slot drive to get into the cross-recess and slowly back the screw out. Reassembly was about the same in this corner; very tight and lots of potential to cross thread the screw and strip the slot out of the screw.
Removing and replacing the Home button was also a surprise. It is secured to the back of the display assembly with adhesive tape. You have to gently try to scrape the Home button and the rubber spring off the old display without separating the adhesive from the rubber, which isn't easy. About half the adhesive stayed on the rubber, the other half on the display. This made for some time consuming work trying to reset the adhesive to the rubber. The Home Button eventually was attached to the back of the new display but the final click quality of the button is not what was before the repair and the button rattles a little more than it did.
I also had some trouble getting the old display to separate from the frame. I had to use a small straight blade screw driver to push at one of the lower corners from the inside of the frame to push the display out enough to get a plastic opening tool in between the display and frame from the outside. There is some adhesive used to hold the display to the frame, so you need to overcome that before the display will separate from the frame.
Otherwise, the repair was pretty straight forward. It took about 2 hours to do. I don't think iPhones were designed with repair in mind so you don't want to take it apart too many times since the screw and adhesive won't be in very good shape the second time.
I would recommend buying a new Hom Button assembly to use with your new display assembly. I think the quality of the repair would be better using new parts in this area.
I recommend buying a brand new #0 Phillips driver for the repair. It pays to have sharp, undamaged drivers so you don't wreck your tiny screws. I would also find the thinest #0 Phillips I could find for removing the corner display retaining screw in step 33 of the repair instructions.
I purchased a Pentalobe screwdriver for the bottom back case screw, which made that part easy. I also got a Magnetic Project Mat which helped keep everything organized, which could have been a major issue given the number of small parts you have to deal with.
I also brought the replacement Phillips Bottom Screws, but I think with a good "Pro quality" pentalobe driver, you wouldn't need them.
February 13, 2012
I accidentally washed my son's I-Touch. Before buying a new one, I wanted to at least try repairing it. I'd heard that if you put the device in rice there is a chance the water could be absorbed. So, I immediately put it in a bucket of rice. Knowing that may not work, I searched the internet to see if there was anything else that could be done. That's when I found the Thirsty Bag. I ordered it and it came within a couple of days.
I took the I-Touch out of the rice and put it in the bag. After 24 hours in the bag, I asked my son to give it a try. It appears to be working ok (except the camera). For now, I've avoided having to replace it. Thank you!
Always keep a Thirsty Bag on hand AND make your kids do their own laundry!