Second generation of iPhone. Model A1241 / 8 or 16 GB capacity / black or white plastic back. Repair is more straightforward than the first iPhone. requires screwdrivers, prying, and suction tools.

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Backlight flashes and strange liquid on camera lens

Hi,

This is very strange, today my iPhone3G began to have a flashing behaviour with its backlight. Even it power shutdowns automatically itself after some time.

The battery works OK because it was working perfectly until yesterday, and the backlight also works if I touch its control Settings menu.

The point is that I discovered some tiny drops of some kind of liquid (not water) in the top right corner of the screen, close to the edge of the screen, and also in the lens of the camera.

I though that I could be water, but it is impossible, because I didn't drop on water and it doesn't dry after passing some time. Even I smell it inside throught the simcard gap hole and it smells "strange". The camera lens drops doesn't dry either.

As this device doesn't use any kind of electrolitical capacitors, is it possible that the battery package could be leaking its liquid in that corner? If this is true, could be very dangerous, isnt?

Thanks by your support and ideas!

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Hi Ivan,

If there is anything that is leaking inside, the only possible item I can think of is (also) the battery. Maybe something happened to it...

I would definitely open the iPhone and check it out as soon as possible. By removing just two screws you can open up the display/digitizer unit. You also might have to remove the logic board to see if there is something wrong under it, maybe in the area of the sim card holder.

Just use the guide for the 3G "Logic Board" here on iFixit (iPhone 3G Logic Board Replacement) and click through the different steps. It is really not difficult to follow them.

Steffen

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Thanks a lot, I finally was brave enough to open it, and I discovered that was not the battery. I was a bit afraid about it because I though it could burn it or explode.

Well, it was... water! I don't know how &&#% enter inside. Maybe the moisture has been slowly condensating inside my iphone?

Anyhow, I think that it is damaged in some points because it seems that the water did some shotcircuits in some internal connectors, so I will see if I can repair it buying some extra spare parts.

Thanks a lot by your reply!

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Ivan,

Thanks for your reply. Great that you figured out what the issue was.

I would go from here and recommend 3 steps:

1. I would want to make sure that the logic board is really ok or bad (we don't know that yet). I would remove the logic board (which, too, is not really difficult; just follow the guide here in iFixit) and let it swim in a small bowl/container filled with isopropyl alcohol (90%; you get it at a dollar store for about $2.50) for about 15 minutes (this is not a joke!). By doing this, all of the water will be "drawn out" from everywhere on the logic board where you don't have access, particularly in "dark" corners, under metal covers where the microprocessors are located, in between pins, etc.

2. In a next step I would let the logic board dry for a couple of days, possibly next to a warm source like an air conditioning.

3. Now I would build it back in, connect all of the connectors and close the iPhone. Then I would push the power button to see what happens.

Following these three steps would give you a pretty good idea if the logic board is really bad or still ok.

The water that is still in your iPhone might indeed create short circuits on the logic board, particularly in areas you are not able to see. Just give it a try and see how the iPhone will react! Then you can go from there.

Steffen

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Thanks a lot to you by your advice Steffen! I cannot still understand how is possible that anykind of water could enter inside the iPhone. It is true that I have it close to me when I was cooking and above a table in the toilet when I was taking showers. Is it possible that those moisture entered inside the device as water vapor? It seems so.

I will give a try with your suggestions to see. How it goes. ;-)

Anyhow, I recommend everyone to keep your smartphones far away from anykind of water vapor.

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Hi Ivan,

I am glad you will give it a try. Like I said, this is what I would do before I would think of buying any replacement part(s).

In regard to the moisture, this makes sense to me. I think it is possible for steam to find a way into your phone this way. It is so fine powdered. Think of all the small openings (or even micro gaps) that an iPhone offers, e.g. the headphone jack, the hole of the sim card slot tray holder, the tray holder itself.

I am looking forward to hearing from you how things worked out.

Steffen

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Hi Steffen, It is true, there are some smalls holes where the steam could enter inside, but I never could imagine it. Anyhow, I will take it into account for the future. I cleaned the logic board, but after reassembly it, the iphone doesn't work properly. I saw some "black" spots between some pins of one of the connectors of the screen asembly (black ribbon cable labeled "1"). I think that there where some small shorcircuits and it was somehow a bit burned on that corner of the connector. And the mate connector in the logic board has the same issue. I think that was the reason why the backlight flashed sometimes (it was being sometimes shortcircuiting itself by the steam condensed water!) So, I am not sure if the screen is damaged, or the logic board or maybe both. Doesn't matter. I will not invest more money in spare parts without knowing which of both could be damaged. Maybe is time to jump for a new iPhone. ;-) Thanks a lot by your help and daily answers and support!

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