Have you ever had the misfortune of dropping your cell phone into a water source, (we won't mentioned which one). Or better yet, knocked over a drink, (hot or cold) onto your keyboard? This weekend, I knocked over a glass of water right into my braille display. Fortunately, it wasn't on and I was quick enough to salvage my baby. Everything works on it thankfully. I figured I'd write a quick entry on
safety precautions and a few, "saving my device from a liquid demise", tips.
Rule number 1, never ever ever ever, (did I mention ever?) have a drink around your computer devices. Liquids and computerized equipment don't mix. Take it from me, Braille displays get really unhappy when you spill a large coffee, (one cream 1 sugar) into its workings. I learned that the hard way after receiving the technician's invoice. Yep, I'm hard on my braille displays. One of my friends spilt a DR. Pepper right into his turned on laptop. It fried the keyboard and motherboard in one accidental gesture. Now, if you wanted to spill a liquid with the least damage capability, I would go with good old water. Although potentially still damaging, there still can be life after a quick water spill and/or dunk. Any liquids with sugar, spells danger. Carbonated pops have varying levels of acidity which wreak havoc on computer innards.
Okay, so you ignored rule number one, went ahead and spilled liquid onto your favourite device? What now? Let's go by severity.
Water spill and/or dunk:
First, was there any power going to this device? If so, quickly unplug it, remove the battery etc. Don't try to turn it off with a power switch or by using menu options. Even worse, don't try to see if it still works. You'll have a chance to do that once it dries.
If your device didn't have a full emersion, then just flip it over and let it drain and dry out for 2 or 3 days.
If it did have a full emersion, you'll need to make sure that the most obvious openings are pointing towards the floor in order to maximize release of the water. Try to have as many of the wet surfaces exposed to the air. You want this thing to dry completely. I hear that putting your device into a bag of rice will also help in the drying out process. Of course, I wouldn't suggest doing this with anything bigger than a cell phone, unless you're into buying 40 pounds of rice at a time.
Liquids other than water:
Beer, wine, pop, tea, coffee energy drinks, etc. These should all have a big capital X across their labels and the following tag line.
Not to be consumed close to any electronic devices.
But we all know how that goes. As I write this, I have a Coke close to my right hand. Rumored to remove rust off of nails when left in a glass of coke for a few days, you can just imagine what it would do to my keyboard, or better yet my braille display. There's really no cure for a sugar/acid infested spill. Once this liquid hits any electrically powered circuit within your device, the sugar will caramelize and the acid will reroute the delicate circuitry; not to mention short circuit the poor thing.
The most important step here is to remove any power to the device.
Next, is to try to flush out the villainous liquid with a bit of water, but it can be hit and miss depending on the type of device and how accessible the insides of the device actually is.
Sugar-based liquids turn into a sticky mess pretty fast. You'll certainly want a professional to help in the saving of the device. A visit to an electronics doctor is in order.
So, regardless what I say here, I know most of you will have a cup of coffee and/or other liquid sitting around while you're reading this. Here are a few tips on how to prevent spills:
- Have your liquid container on a separate piece of furniture; away from electronics. Maybe not as convenient as having it right by your keyboard, but it won't be right by your keyboard. Get the picture?
- Instead of drinking from the original can and/or paper cup, have one of those travel mugs or a bottle with a lid. If you're still intent at having your drink close to your devices, then you'll minimize, if not stop the spill when the container is knocked over. Barring that, you could always invest in a collection of stylish Sippy cups.
- Use drinking vessels that have heavy large bottoms. This will prevent them from being easily knocked over.
- Make sure your portable devices are securely attached to your person. These things are almost designed to fall out of your pockets precisely at the wrong time.
Well that's it for now. Until the next time, drink carefully and spill safely. You think I was kidding about the adult Sippy cups? Check out these travel mugs made by Brugo.
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May your devices survive yet another day.