Phone got wet - time to give up?

Discussion in 'Droid RAZR MAXX' started by Lifo, Dec 10, 2012.

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  1. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    My Droid Razr Maxx got soaked...and not the "ok" kind of soaked in the pool or toilet...it got soaked in SEA WATER.

    It was submerged for probably 3 seconds but then took me 2+ hours to get it partially disassembled (I'm on vacation in a small island and had to find and buy a T-5 to get the back cover off).

    I rinsed it in the sink with freshwater to try to remove the salt before it caused corrosion (not sure if this was smart or not but it seemed like a good idea at the time)

    It was late and I wasn't able to get a T-3 for the battery connection until the following day.

    I removed the battery and blew everything out as best as I could with a can of compressed air and put it in a bag of rice for 3 days.

    Now I reassembled it and it basically only does one thing: I plug it into the charger (stock moto charger+cable) and it shows the M "dual core" splash, then shows battery at 0%, jumps to 5% after a few seconds and then to 100% after another 10 seconds or so. (I have to wake it up with the lock/unlock button to see this).

    Other than that, it does nothing. I've tried the 3-button fastboot and got nowhere. Power+VolDown for a few seconds and it just goes black. At this point if I press Lock btn, it does same thing as above - %0, 5%, 100%. 3-button fastboot also doesn't work at this point.

    Also, it is completely dead without the charger plugged in.

    It's been rooted and has Safestrap, but I can't seem to even get that far into the boot sequence. It actually never seems to "boot", just goes into the dead battery charging thing.

    Should I give up? Anything else I should try? I don't have insurance so I don't have much to lose by trying other things if they might recover it... I also have access to another (working) Droid Razr Maxx and thought of trying to swap batteries...? Bad idea? Could the battery itself be fried from the saltwater?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. justin82
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    justin82 DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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  3. androidlearner
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    androidlearner Member

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    It may be a bad battery but trying the swap may kill your good battery. Your phone may be fried if you can't get to fastboot menu although i an by no means an expert. Hopefully someone can help you out

    Sent from Razr Maxx running Full Throttle Killer Bean
  4. jpcalhoun
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    jpcalhoun Senior Member

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    :bump: Good luck...you've got a challenge.
  5. xeene
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    xeene Silver Member

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    I would have tried swapping batteries before even posting.
  6. FoxKat
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    FoxKat Resident Novelist...LOL! Staff Member Premium Member

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    I respectfully disagree with trying the known GOOD battery in the Salty phone, but there's virtually no risk in trying the Salty battery in the known GOOD PHONE. If the phone boots and shows the battery levels good, then you are dealing with a phone that either is fried or there is still some water (whether salty or not) perhaps sandwiched underneath a surface-mount component. The incredibly small contacts on the processor and other VLSI surface-mount components (as well as the chips themselves) can trap water underneath and it can take quite a while for all that water to make its way out. Rice is good, Silica Gel Desiccant is best. You can buy Silica Gel Desiccant at electronics supply stores and also online at Amazon.com among other places. All it takes is two pins, less than 1mm apart or two traces on the Motherboard (such as underneath a chip), to be shorted with water for the phone to fail normal POST (Power Up Self-Test). POST is what is happening during the showing of the Red "M" logo.

    Washing it with plain (non-salty) water (after a bath in the ocean), makes good sense, but only if the battery is disconnected. ANY water coming in contact with the internals WHILE there is a viable power source connected can cause catastrophic failure of the microscopic connections inside any one of the VLSI chips.

    I would follow the above suggestion of checking the viability of the Salty battery in the GOOD phone, but even before doing that, I would do as Justin said. Get (or make) a Factory Programming Cable, and see if the phone will boot to the bootloader. You can get them from several places;

    You can fashion one as shown in the following YouTube video;

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwwI_6doBWk[/video]

    Or you can buy them at any of the following links (eBay's pricing is best);

    Here (150cm 5 ft USB Factory Cable Unbrick for Moto Xoom RAZR XT910 XT912 Kindle Fire | eBay) or
    Here (2 5 ft Micro USB Factory Cable Fastboot Mode for Motorola Xoom Droid RAZR Atrix | eBay) or
    Here (2 5 ft Micro USB Factory Cable Fastboot Mode for Motorola Xoom Droid RAZR Atri | eBay) or
    A Team Black Hat version here (Factory style programming cable (for Motorola))

    Black Hat also has a converter that takes a STOCK Motorola cable and makes it into a Programming cable (thanks jpcalhoun);

    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-razr-hacks/232094-must-have-recovery-tool-team-black-hat.html
  7. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    Thanks for the link! Yeah, I'm very handy...have a nice soldering station at home...I'm heading home from vacation tomorrow and will try that when I get there.

    So...should the phone power-up as normal without a battery if connected with a "factory cable"? It seems like that's what they're saying -- that by putting +5 on pin 4, it supplies the operating power for the phone.

    I guess it'll have to wait until I get home tomorrow evening and have an actual workbench to try this out...

    Frankly, the fact that it can even show me the M logo gives me some measure of hope...I saw some videos of people dropping these phones in a bathtub and them still working...after having disassembled this one, I don't see any kind of waterproofing...must just be dumb luck. :)
  8. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    Good point. That's exactly why I hadn't tried it yet -- wasn't sure which direction had lower risk. I wasn't sure if a "wet" battery in a good phone could cause damage to the good phone or not.

    Yes, I have a few reusable silica gels in my big camera box at home. (Pelican 40g tins, very powerful) I might try too...

    Yeah...probably 0.5mm even :) ...about the POST....any way to find out what it's complaining about? (like the beeps on a PC mobo?)

    Unfortunately I didn't have the tools to remove the battery yet and I thought it was probably most important to remove the salt before too much corrosion occurred...so the battery was in, but the whole thing was already very wet inside (and with saltwater!)...frankly I'm just amazed how quickly and deeply the water got into it. It got dunked for around 2-3 seconds...no more than a few inches of depth...

    Amazingly -- the same bag had a digital camera (Canon SD4000is) and my wife's Droid Razr Maxx that all went thru exactly the same ordeal and are currently working just fine. (They were also disassembled, rinsed in fresh water, and put in rice for a few days)

    We have bags for everything too...weren't planning on getting wet...a walk on the beach turned into my wife getting dragged into the surf by our dog...oops.

    So if I get into the bootloader, what would the next step be?

    That's sexy...I need one of those in my toolbox...

    Thanks!
  9. Bribri79
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    Bribri79 New Member

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    This is no help to you now, but I had a mesmerized that took a swim in a lake. I tried all the tricks to dry it out. All to no avail. But fast forward about 2 months and I decide for kicks and giggles to plug it in and try and fire it up. To my surprise it booted! So my guess was that there was a tiny amount of water sandwiched somewhere inside that just took awhile to dissipate. Not that you want that much time to go by, but it could come back to life too.
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  10. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    Build a factory cable out of an old USB Mini cable...wow, what a pain that was!

    Plugged it in, nothing different.

    Double checked my soldering, etc...

    I'm using a little USB-Mini-to-Micro adapter:
    Micro USB to Mini USB 2.0 Adapter M/F | StarTech.com

    Checked the adapter with DVM....... Would you believe they were so cheap they didn't connect pin 4?!

    One thing I did figure out is that I am able to get into the fastboot menu, I just have to time it right. Have to Power+VolDown until it dies and *immediately* do the 3 buttons. If I wait even 1 second it won't do anything.

    Once in the fastboot I was able to try "Bypass HW + AP Boot"...it got me to the Safe Strap splash, but I hit menu (to enter SafeStrap recovery) and it died...

    Going to order a cable off ebay I guess. Using my old Droid 2 in the mean time...
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  11. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    Got fastboot cable today.

    Plugged it into computer, and the phone boots all the way...connects to WiFi...GPS works...

    ...then I try to access the camera it crashed and rebooted and now it won't get past the boot animation...

    I went into the Safestrap menu and restored "safe mode" (stock ICS ROM)...now it gets to the boot animation (now the stock Verizon one) and still gets stuck...left it hooked up for 20 minutes and it never got past that.

    I can't figure out how to troubleshoot this... Some page I found said to use "adb logcat" but all I get is "waiting for device" (contrary to what that page says, it doesn't seem that the USB connection is ready during the boot animation)

    Any way to find out what's gunking it up during the boot?
  12. xSKUDx
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    xSKUDx New Member

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    I cant believe nobody has mentioned this before. Looks to me like you are working with safestrap still. Obviously the thing has taken a swim too long to function correctly. Any number of issues could ensue from water damage....more issues than there are individual parts in your phone. Meaning that nobody here could possibly walk you through everything to fix, also meaning there could be a problem that you couldn't possibly fix. I know your not low on intelligence like the majority of the world, but the following is stated like so for anyone else with water damaged electronics. I would like to try inputting some things to try.

    For starters though we need to narrow down a few things. Sometimes it comes down to grabbing a magnifying glass and SCOURING everything that can be unscrewed and set aside for any possible defects. Burnt channels, popped resister, slightly raised chips that may indicate unseen burns etc. Second, rice isnt exactly an instant fix, might want to sift out the rice to remove smaller pieces...then set everything inside separately and give it a day or two to weed out any leftover water that hasnt properly dissipated quite yet. Seeing how its salt water, small salt deposits may still be on your phone...go over the parts CAREFULLY with a "soft" bristle crest toothbrush just in case(I dont mean scrub, just allow the bristles to breakup anything that may still be clinging before corrosion sets in). Follow up with an aircan...(Ya know what happens when you spray something with airduster can upside down? Yea? Well avoid doing that)


    Now obviously youve had your phone permeated with electricity recently and it hasnt sparked up yet...but all thats for precautionary reasons and to fix any hardware problems caused by possible residual water or salt. I had a 80gb video Ipod my ex threw in the toilet and left there before telling all her friends to seem "cooler", I followed those steps and in two days made her look like a lying B***h(which she was btw) as i walk past blasting my headphones with the same custom ipod. Long story short the backlight was the only thing that refused to operate at all afterwards. You may have to deal with the fact that you might have some permanent hardware failure somewhere, either essential or nonessential.

    You mentioned everything was ok(as far as you knew) till you opened the camera, that could be anything from a camera failure to a simple software issue and anything in between. Which could mean you have corrupted the filesystem by abrupt disruption of the original circuitry. I had my laptop bios wiped by a dust bunny like that once. Now if that IS the case, holding on to any files, including safestrap, on the phone is a losing battle(hopefully if there WAS important files on there that you would have backed them up asap when it loaded that first time just in case)so its suggested to try reflashing a completely stock original firmware for your phone.


    If that does allow you to boot then commence testing software(that loads hardware i.e. camera app, gps, wifi etc.) any problems reboot(if needed reflash) then follow the same exact procedure to ensure that none of those problems are random(random might point to memory issues or storage corruption etc.) and occur with the same actions. That will be a good start on narrowing down on what causes the issues and/or what exactly the issues are. Now I understand you probably dont want to have to do that, but if you cant flash a stock the same stock img you have back on the phone then its already apparent that you werent going to be able to properly utilize your phone with whatever issue wont allow it to flash or boot in the first place. Thats when I personally would start looking into buying a new phone.

    Sorry for the run on sentence/book its ironic that im gonna press the "quick reply" button, hope Ive helped. Worst case scenario you know what to ask the lady for christmas ;D

    EDIT: Even more ironic is shortly after posting this my roomates cat jumped on a box fan knocking it over and scaring the other cat into running across the couch and tripping over the charger attached to my Droid 3 Global, subsequently dragging it attached to the outlet and everything over the side of the couch arm and directly into the dog bowl. Obviously im not that lucky of a guy, and this is one of those self filling water bowls, so it was FULL. So here I am sitting on the couch letting it sink in(Literally) atleast a minute before I dare look over the side to stare at it through an inch of liguid. Not just water or salt water, this is dog saliva, cat hair, dog hair, and dogfood particle cocktail. So I let it sit in there extremely pissed off yet calm. I searched the house and found a box of rice a roni(yes the only rice we had). Sifted out the small bits. Then unplugged the adapter from the wall and pulled it out of the bowl by the cord. Took everything out and covered it in rice a roni and sat that bowl in a very warm room of the house for 8 hours while i went to bed to get it off my mind(house heaters ran all day reduce the humidity quite a bit in small rooms...that helps) Now dont actually leave it in water for 10-15 mins like i did if at all possible, ESPECIALLY if its charge adapter is still plugged in! In my defense I had to do what I could to ignore looking at the submerged droid temporarily to prevent myself from killing a poor defenseless feline, which didnt know any better. All in all it booted up fine, and so far everything seems to be in order.
  13. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    LOL, man, what an entertaining rant :) Thank you for that... :) A crest toothbrush even...I guess the sonicare is out then huh? :)

    I wasn't asking anyone to walk me through it, I just want to know what it's doing when it's booting...like when you run Windows in Safe Mode and it shows you what kernel drivers etc are being loaded.

    I did most of the same stuff people suggest -- I took it apart, rinsed it in freshwater, blew it out really well with an air can, put it in rice (2 days) then sealed in a plastic bag with a very powerful dessicant canister for three days (a freshly renewed 40g dessicant tin used in Pelican hard flightcases). The problem is that all of this was done over a 24-hour period. I couldn't get the battery out until the next day when I found a T3 driver locally...I was on a small tropical island...that kind of stuff can be hard to find!

    So....

    Today I flashed the stock verizon ICS 4.0.4 image (full image: boot loader, preloader, cdrom, etc)...

    It booted all the way in... I connected to my WiFi, opened the browser, opened the Maps app (w/ GPS), all of that worked fine. Camera app would crash instantly and come back to the home screen, no big deal.

    Then I shut it down (nicely) and now it hangs in the first part of the boot animation with the word "DROID" on the screen.

    I thought I might be able to flash GB but everything I've read says that's a one way brick road to brickville... Tried reflashing ICS 4.0.4 again, did factory reset, clear cache, etc, but no matter what I do it still won't boot past the first part of the animation. Heck, it may have been a fluke that it even did it the first time. Or it might even be heat related.......

    Ooh....that's a thought....it's been sitting for a few minutes while I wrote this email...plugged it in and now it seems to be booting again.......nope, hung at "Updating applications"...

    So even though it seems to "mostly" work for sporatic burts of time, I noticed some pretty nasty corrosion on the SD card. Stupid me, with everything else I did, I forgot to take the SD and SIM cards out. With all the metal shields and stuff it seems like this is just a waste of time to keep screwing with it. Something, probably somewhere inaccessible, is fubar.

    Since my screen and digitizer seem to be working, I'm thinking about buying one with a cracked screen and a clean ESN on eBay. I pulled the screen connectors and somehow they look perfect, no visible corrosion at all...so hopefully I can use it and be back in business. (I really don't have the cash for a whole new phone and using my old 1st gen Droid for the past few days has been painful!!)

    Thanks for the help.
  14. xSKUDx
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    xSKUDx New Member

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    I see...

    I did the whole walkthrough for the benefit of anyone else who are less technologically inclined who may end up in this thread after dunking phones instead of doughnuts. I figured you'd have just skimmed lol. And I havent had a sonicare toothbrush since i got divorced. If you didnt get that SD out before corrosion it would explain the whole hanging on the app loading part. Check your Camera connections too it might not be lost, just kinda corroded. My second question is....loading the phone up without the SD and SIM(use a different sim if you NEED one in to boot) how far do you get before it futs up again.
  15. Lifo
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    Lifo New Member

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    Update -- It's alive!

    Took a little bit of work but I managed to get my phone up and working again.

    I disconnected the cameras and speaker (at top of the mobo), cleaned the contacts and reinstalled them. Doing that restored the camera functionality. (It used to lock up or reboot whenever I opened the camera app)

    I disassembled the battery and discovered that the controller board was completely fried: There was a nice combination of green corrosion and black soot on one end of it. I'm guessing that the salt water conducted enough current for something in the charge controller to fry itself.

    I got a new battery off eBay and hooked it up to a charger and it showed charging.

    Reassembled it and reactivated it to my account... Everything is working again! A few hours in and it's all good!

    THANK YOU to everyone who helped me!
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