Monday 25 February 2013

Technology: My First Galaxy S2 Surgery -- Sea Water Damage S2 Fixed!!

Getting ready for surgery
Image from Locky's English Playground
Today, I'm taking a break from the Phuket - Bangkok talk.

Most of you know that I am particularly interested in mobile technology and medicine, but I have never expected that one day I would carry out a mobile phone surgery.

I took my Galaxy S2 to Phuket instead of my Note 2 as planned, thinking that if I lose my S2 for whatever reason I would not feel as painful as losing a Note 2.
7D Underwater Gear
Image from reefphoto

Why the thought of losing a phone? Well, you see, I have always wanted to try underwater photography, so supposedly, taking my Canon 7D underwater will be an achievement! The problem is, the gear costs at least US$3000, that is HK$23340, with my current financial situation, I don't think I will spend this amount. Sitting around the home is a lonely Galaxy S2, so naturally, it becomes the best candidate to take the dive. 

Phone in Ziplock Bag
Image from
I did my research before my S2 went for the swim, of course. Ziplock bag seems like a choice, but I didn't have one and I couldn't get one in Phuket.

Condom could work! But I don't read Thai so it is hard to find one without lubricant, colourless and transparent enough to take great videos.

Plastic wrap(per)
So at the hotel restaurant, the easiest thing to ask for is plastic wrapper, and that's what I did. I placed two small pieces of tissue top and bottom of the phone to absorb some moisture and then wrapped the S2 with 2 layers of plastic wrap, tied two knots on both ends and then fit the phone back into the phone case.

For the first 5 minutes or so underwater it was great, and I took photos and a few videos, then the phone went unresponsive and wouldn't come back on. Immediately, I removed the wrap from the battery cover, The tissues were wet and some seawater had gone inside, so I dried it with a towel and rebooted it once, it came back to life without problem, so I switched it off, but I forgot to remove the battery from it.

After 20 minutes or so, I realised the phone was burning hot and knew it it must have been short-circuited, the heat did dry up even more moisture but at the same time, the S2 wouldn't boot up again, so for the next two snorkelling islands, I couldn't take any more photos.

Luckily, just before I bid the islands goodbye, S2 came back to live once more indicating just 2% of battery left from almost 90% before getting wet. The screen was covered with greenish lines hence something must have been damaged during the short-circuit, still the camera was working and I managed to take a few more photos before the battery went dead.

Koh Khai Islands (Egg Islands), last photo of S2 in Phuket
Image by Locky's English Playground
When I returned to the resort, the phone wasn't charging battery at all, so I was sure that the USB socket at the bottom of the phone was fried and a surgery was needed, quick!

Still, I had to wait for 3 more days before I could find the right screwdrivers back in Hong Kong to open the phone up. Since the phone wasn't charging battery, I had to resort to using my Note 2 charger for the S2 batteries. Although a S2 battery only has 3 contact points instead of 4 in the Note 2, I could still charge up the phone to about 80-90%! Interesting finding!

Phone's USB not charging, so I use Note 2 charger and
a piece of wooden chopstick to fix the battery in position
Image from Locky's English Playground
When I opened it up, it was a horrible sight! There were multiple corrosion sites, mainly at the bottom and where the connectors are. a really bad side of the phone to get sea water in.
Corrosions mainly on the right and bottom sides
Image from Locky's English Playground
The volume buttons, near the screen's connector, were badly corroded, which explained why the screen went green and blue.

Backside of mainboard (left), obvious sea water damage
Image from Locky's English Playground
Some other parts are so mouldy and damaged too, so I had to find a way to solve this fast. Fortunately, I found the video for that. It says that the phone can be revived by giving the damaged parts a good scrub using a toothbrush and thinner, and so I did the same, and miraculously, the screen came back perfectly! Some buttons were still not working too well at first, maybe the alcohol I used hadn't completely dried off yet, but after awhile, the buttons were back too!

I have yet to test the bluetooth, the 3G and the phone's reception, but as long as the screen, the buttons, and the Wi-Fi is working, I have a phone enough to do its job!

I suspect it can still be used for another year until the mainboard continues to decay (if it really does), but till then, S4 should be out and it would be time for me to upgrade my data plan.

Although it was kind of a silly thing for me to do to take the phone into the sea with just plastic wrapper, had I not done that, I wouldn't have learnt so much about the condom water protection method and definitely would not have learnt about phone fixing.

The success has got me to make YouTube's first ever Galaxy S2 Seawater Damage Fix video below. This is the first time I make a video with my voice in it. Hope you will like it.

candidate -- (n) [C] a person or thing considered likely to receive or experience something
lubricant -- (n) [C or U] (US informal lubea liquid such as oil which is used to make the parts of an engine move easily together, or a substance put on any surface to help it move more easily against another one
resort to sth -- (phrasal verb) to do something that you do not want to do because you cannot find any other way of achieving something
corrode --(vb) [I or TIf metal corrodes, or if something corrodes it, it is slowly damaged by something such as rain or water
miraculously -- (adv) very effective or surprising or difficult to believe 

Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 Water Damaged Repair - Sankey @ YouTube

Galaxy S2 Seawater Damage Fix [First Ever On YouTube] @ YouTube

Condom Underwater Waterproof Phone preservativo cellulare subacqueo @ YouTube

Koh Khai Islands - Half Day Tour by Speedboat

Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 Water Damaged Repair - Sankey @ YouTube

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