Revamped version of the iPhone 3G with faster processing speeds. Repair of this device is similar to the 3G, and requires simple screwdrivers and prying tools. Model A1303 / 16 or 32 GB capacity / black or white plastic back.

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Interested in Learning Basic Water Damage Repair


I have fixed most hardware problems on the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and the next thing I wanted to get into is water damage repair of motherboards.

I don't have much background with motherboards, so I just wanted to learn some basic info before I get started on my own. And sorry ahead of time if any of the questions seem dumb.

1. Before even attempting to clean a board, is it possible to tell just by looking at it, whether it is repairable or not?

2. How do you properly clean a board? Do I target just the components that are oxidized? Or is it safer to just go ahead and scrub the whole board with Isopropyl Alcohol?

3. How long would I need to wait for the Isopropyl to dry out before putting everything back together?

4. I'm assuming that cleaning the board will not always get it up and running. Is this a lost cause at this point? On the iPhone 3G and 3GS, can any component be replaced/soldered on by hand if cleaning is not enough? Everything seems rather small for this to be possible. And is there any reference that actually maps out what each component on the board controls for people like me?

Thank you!

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A good, general, water damage guide would be great!


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3 Answers

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fluid damage repair isn't magic - it's first of all a simple cleaning job.

but you have to be careful

and yes - some devices are simply dead - the parts are corroded heavily, or the pcb has a "burn" damage through the most layers.

sometimes you can find a workaround - but sometimes not.

the bad part with apple devices is the missing flashing possibility - i mean real flashing - i've hade revived hundrets og cell phones in the past 10 years - sometimes with original hard- and software, sometimes with hacked "underground" stuff. but thats nothing for a hobby - thats hard work with investments most people don't want to know (original hardware has horrible prices - but if you have connections, you can have everything).

some devices not only have bad component damages, the also have software issues and in case of apple devices - "nobody" is able to fix them.

in my active times i desoldered memory chips (bga) from dead phones and soldered them into working phones, only to access the phonebook.

but that will only work if you have the right hardware to read a device.

i also repaired many ipod touch and iphones with fluid damages - sometimes it's pretty bad that the thing is simply dead - even if all components are looking good.

and to answer the last question - no, you cant simply replace the parts. some of them are "glued" and removing that stuff involves heat and pretty aggressive acids. there are a few "maps" of the iphones. but it won't help too much. there are pages for the cell phone geeks - they are mostly in the unlocking or repairing business - you can almost everything - if you have enough money ;-)

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you can go ahead and throw the board back in five minutes after your done scrubbing, just make sure you hit it real good with a hair dryer or heat gun first. never just let the board dry on itself, the remaining percentage left from the alcohol content and 100% is water, and it will corrode the board just the same if you dont dry it out. (dry it out twice as long as you think is necessary with the hair dryer, just to be safe).

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You can start by throwing the device in a bag of rice for a while (days) which can absorb a lot of the moisture.

When cleaning with Alcohol, it is recommended that you use a > 90% solution. (less contaminants)

Hand soldering is quite difficult without magnification and a slender sharp tipped soldering iron. Magnification can also show you if particular components look damaged.

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