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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.
January 10, 2015
Replace dual drive and battery on my MBP (Mid 2010)
9 to 10
Be patient and don't be hard on anything.
December 20, 2014
My daughter dropped her iPod, denting the corner and shattering the screen.
Used the iFixit guide for this repair and ordered the replacement front panel assembly. I took my time and reviewed the guide steps multiple times. Once I got the broken panel off, I took a break and basked in my success thus far. Installing the new assembly went smoothly.
The only two downsides were 1) the home button did not work post-repair (or maybe it was already a problem?). Luckily the iPod "assistant" function was on, so the Home functionality still lives. 2) The drop dented the metal corner of the case. The new glass didn't want to easly fit within the case. But some additional adhesive and overnight gentle pressure fit things together.
1. Take your time.
2. Read, re-read, and review the guide as you go along.
3. Be gentle. The ribbon cables and micro connectors are delicate.
4. The wifi antenna in the upper left corner is held by a screw and a foam adhesive pad. The adhesive pad became unstuck or torn. But after reassembly, wifi works fine.
5. The doublesided tape strips provided by the kit were a bit lacking. I carefully used a very small bit of silicon adhesive glue along the outer edge.
September 24, 2014
My IPhone fell out of my pocket and into a shallow stream while I was camping. I picked it up right away. A friend of mine, who is always prepared, had a Thirsty Bag handy.
We followed the directions on the bag, dried it off, turned the phone off, took it out of the case and put it in the Thirsty Bag.
We sealed the bag and waited 24 hours.
My phone works!!
My best advice is to buy several Thirsty Bags and keep them handy! I bought 5. 1 to replace my friend's, 1 is in my camping gear, 1 is in my car, 1 is in my house and 1 is in my husband's car.
Also, keep your phone in a zippered pocket or in a waterproof case or bag.
September 5, 2014
I splashed the tiniest splash of hard cider from a bottle I almost knocked over but grabbed at the last moment. The laptop seemed fine... until about 12 hours later, when it ran out of battery. Dead, dead.
I got the clue it might be the MagSafe board from a few blog posts here and there, I took the whole thing apart using ifixit.com's excellent slideshow how-tos; I gave every bit of the circuit boards a toothbrush bath in rubbing alcohol; I swapped out the MagSafe board... it's alive! Probably saved me $600. And while I was swapping the drives between this and my older laptop, I accidentally fixed that one's overheating problem! (I'll be ordering a new internal AirPort card soon). Thanks, IFIXIT! I fixed it!
Always use a sippy cup. Always.
August 27, 2014
This is not one problem - it is a past problem, a current problem, and likely a future problem. Last Fall I got a call from my 20 yr. old son at college "I dropped my iPhone in the toilet!" I did not want to know how or why - too much info. He had no magic bag of rice, so used Easymac instead. While at camp in the Adirondacks, the same son's friend dropped her iPhone in the lake - rice bag. Then three day later my son, who had bought a waterproof speaker system to protect his iPhone while sailing - Yup - his unprotected phone went in the lake - and then into the rice bag of shame. Then, late August, I get a call from my older son - Travel Manager for a world bus tour company - his phone went into salt water near Cape Canaveral - no bag of rice or Easymac available. My phone was on a bench while I played softball and the heavens descended - by the time I got to the phone, it was sitting in a puddle on the old bench. Straight into the Thirsty bag in my softball bag.
Well, the toilet phone was restarted one day after its life in EasyMac. Temporary success for two days - replacement phone bought at Apple Store. The big lake phones went into rice bags of shame. Both stayed in bag for three days and both were working 98% when turned on. (strange, random, USB connector messages). iPhone at Cape Canaveral - may it rest in peace! Replacement phone bought. My phone - turned off for three days in thirsty bag - no problems - not even one pink water indicator.
I have no images. But, I now have given the camp and my two sons multiple thirsty bags from ifixit! A penny in time saves nine. I have used these bags many times in the past and my first wish for my sons was that they had one in their backpacks. So, it is done! Do the same for a phone you love.
July 10, 2014
The phone get wet. I turn off my device and I put it in rice. I order a pack of 5 thirsty bags. The service is incredibly fast. When i got them i put my device into the bag and seal it for 24 hours.
When I ck my iphone 24 hours later start working again!!!!! Right now I don't have problems with my device.
These thirsty bags are wonderful. I recommended 100%
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!