back to article Burnt Samsung Galaxy S III singed by external source, probe reveals

Pictures showing a heat-damaged Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone were seemingly the result of a bonkers bid to dry out a wet handset by heating it in a microwave oven. The snaps appeared online last month. They showed an S III with burn damage down near the phone's Micro USB port. The battery was intact and undamaged. Samsung …


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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge


    Phone dunking rule 1. Upside down in the airing cupboard for a day or two with the back off and the battery out...

    Phone dunking rule 2. There is no rule 2.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: D'oh!

      Phone dunking rule 2. Put phone in bowl of dry uncooked long grain rice in the airing cupboard.

      The rice is hygroscopic and will attract the moisture from the phone.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Rule 2

        Some say that putting the phone in a bath of de-ionised water (ideally in an ultrasonic cleaner) before drying it out (over days) can help. Any comment?

        But yeah, remove battery ASAP in such situations. I'm impressed that a Sansa Clip mp3 player of mine cheerfully survived a trip through the washing machine- with its battery. Its micro SD card turned up a few months later in the washing machine's filter.

        1. frank ly

          'Dave 126 Re: Rule 2

          If your device gets internally contaminated by tea/coffee/beer/curry sauce/sewage/urine/etc, then drying it out will leave a probably conductive and possibly corrosive residue. In these cases, I can imagine that washing it by soaking in clean agitated water would be the only (faint) hope of making it work again after careful drying.

          I once ruined a laptop keyboard by spilling tea on it. I've saved a calculator (after spilling coffee on it) by washing it in soapy water, then rinsing in clean water, then drying it in the airing cupboard for a few days.

          1. NogginTheNog

            Re: 'Dave 126 Rule 2

            Funnily enough I once CLEANED a (standard PS/2) computer keyboard by showering it down thoroughly to clear all the gunk from underneath/between the keys, and then leaving it to dry upside-down on a shelf above a radiator for a couple of days.

            1. Zombie Womble

              @ NogginTheNog

              I do that regularly with my cordless keyboard, bit of washing up liquid in the bath and a good clean with a shaving brush cleans it up nicely. Plenty of running water to rinse then a day on end by the radiator and it comes up like new.

            2. Darryl

              Re: 'Dave 126 Rule 2

              The trade school that I attended used to load all of the labs' keyboards in the industrial dishwasher in the cafeteria for cleaning. I'll admit I was a little leery when I first saw that, but I've had 100% success doing the same. Just have to make sure they dry out completely before use. My favourite drying method is propping them upside-down over a forced-air heat vent.

          2. Maxson

            Re: 'Dave 126 Rule 2

            In my experience of this, you're more or less right. So long as you stop it running power through it ASAP.

            I've managed to save keyboards and whole laptops from coffee spills by yanking the power and the battery and actually cleaning the circuit board with clean water then drying throughly. Not always an option on newfangled tiny integrated devices that're held together by adhesives but laptops don't need to die due to coffee.

        2. Disco
          Thumb Up

          Re: Rule 2

          Spot on. I've had a PSP ruined by an Orange Juice fail returned to full health after (repeated) immersions in distilled/deioniser water to remove all of the crud inside and then left to dry for a number of days. Given pure water is an insulator (OK OK a very poor conductor) it may be possible to use it after this treatment before drying but better safe than sorry.

          As always BATTERY OUT when performing any of the above.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rule 2

            @ Disco

            Pure water is only an insulator under very special lab conditions, the moment you expose it to air it becomes ionised as it absorbs gases from the atmosphere. Are you ready to disprove me and join the Darwin Awards by standing in a bucket of "pure water" whilst holding a bare 240v cable ?

            PS you have won the bad science award by the way.

            1. Steve Evans

              Re: Rule 2 @ A/C 10:27

              Assuming the bucket is plastic, then I'll do it.

              </science pedant>

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Rule 2 @ A/C 10:27

                @Steve Evans

                Very well, as long as the bucket is thoroughly "pure water" wet. I'll bring my toasting fork and marsh mellows.

            2. Jim 59
              Thumb Down

              Re: Rule 2


              Standing anywhere, or even floating in mid air, while holding a bare 240 v cable would give you a bad shock because of the way AC works. Not recommended.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Jim 59

                > Standing anywhere, or even floating in mid air, while holding a bare 240 v cable would give you a bad shock because of the way AC works.

                You are wrong. You need to be earthed in order to get an electric shock.

                I have often handled live bare 240v AC cables without any problems. The important part is to ensure you are NOT earthed (rubber soled shoes) and that you do NOT touch the neutral wire. That way you will not get an electric shock.

              2. David Ward 1

                Re: Rule 2

                So as long as the breakdown resistance of you to earth is sufficiently large no current will flow as there will be no potential difference, therefore it is irrelevant if the current is AC or DC.

              3. Walter McCann

                Re: Rule 2

                Question for Jim,

                If floating in mid air while holding a 240v cable will give you an electric shock, how do birds get away when sitting on electrical pylons with thousands of volts????

                Should they not be fried?


                1. SYNTAX__ERROR

                  Re: Rule 2

                  I wash my keyboards in the dishwasher. They only need to dry near a radiator for a day, nothing high-tech.

                  Hasn't failed me yet.

        3. Steve Evans

          Re: Rule 2

          Cleaning off any residue left by your liquid bath of choice is essential. So yes, sometimes the best thing to do when your electronic device gets a bath in one liquid, is to pull the battery and clean it with the purest water you can find. Melted ice from the freezer is pretty good in that respect (just filter out the peas and sweetcorn).

          Then just dry with a cloth, place in a sealed bag with something to absorb the water (rice as mentioned or silica gel as used in packing) and put it somewhere warm for a day.

          I've saved a laptop from orange juice (complete with pulp bits - this required gentle scrubbing with a soft tooth brush), another from a pint of beer, and a mobile from coca cola using just this technique.

          I would hasten to add only the beer on the laptop was my fault. The orange was neither my fault, or my laptop. The mobile was mine, and 2 weeks old when my brother managed to spill an entire glass of cola on it.

          once the power is removed, the main risk is the LCD panel. You don't want liquids getting inside that, so if you can remove it, do. If not, be very very careful.

          1. Bassey

            Re: Rule 2

            "I've saved a laptop from orange juice....another from a pint of beer....a mobile from coca cola"

            Remind me never to lend you ANYTHING!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rule 2

          The other nice hack to know, if you want something that dries more fiercely than the rice, is to go to a camera shop and get some of those teabag-sized packs of silica gel (they are cheap, and even available in useless places like Jessops).

          Wash your device out thoroughly (deionised water if you have it), and pack it with silica gel, abusing a radiator/airing cupboard in the usual way. You'd be amazed what this can fix.

          (As everyone above said, take the feckin' battery out, kids)

          1. Tapeador

            Re: Rule 2

            You can also buy bigger bags of silica gel on eBay and the like.

            But battery out before anything, immediately!

            I took the screws off my submerged Nokia E61 6 years ago, took the casings off, put it in a bag with big silica gel bag, in airing cupboard, for 2 weeks, and it's now still alive and my main phone.

      2. g e


        Tip top Top Tip

    2. LarsG



    3. Nigel 11

      Rule Zero

      Rule Zero: get the battery out of the device as soon as possible after it gets wet.

      Water won't do much harm to an un-energised device even if it's wet for days. Electrolysis, on the other hand, can corrode it to death within minutes, sometimes less.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Should've bought an iPhone

    1. Andrew 63

      Re: He

      Wise use of the Anonymous Coward you trolling moron.

    2. squilookle

      Re: He

      Absolutely. I hear that Apple don't check iPhones for exposure to water and exchange them, no questions asked.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: He

        Apple replaces a water (or anything else) damaged iPhone for a £139 fixed replacement cost.

        How much does Samsung charge?

        1. Miek

          Re: He

          Sadly, the moron that put the phone in the microwave needs more than a replacement phone.

        2. CCCP

          Re: He

          @metavisor Where is this £139 replacement service documented? For which models? Presumably only inside warranty? (sorry, off topic, but I had to ask)

          1. Richard 116
            Thumb Up


            I was quoted £119 when I walked into the Meadowhall Apple Store last week with my wife's 3GS. She'd left it outside all night in the rain. A reconditioned unit with some new, some original parts but a short warranty and locked to Orange as per the original unit. I thought that was a pretty good deal so say it's nearly three years old, well out of warranty, a bit battered, my old one and originally supplied by Orange.

            In the end a bag of rice and a warm radiator got it going again less the Home button. But with the new 'virtual' Home button in Settings/General/Accessibilty/AssistiveTouch 'On' that's not too much of an issue now.

            1. Goldmember

              Re: @CCCP

              As much as I dislike th iPhone, I have to credit it for its ability to soldier on after being abused. I've fixed one that went through a wash cycle and one that had a bottle of water poured over it (they were corporate and the users had to come and explain their stories, cap in hand, so no reason to doubt them).

              The 'washed' one's camera never worked again (even after a replacement camera unit), but after being opened up and left in a drawer for a few weeks and a new battery and home button each, they both lived to tell the tale.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: He

            @CCCP: No, the whole point is it's for phones that are out of warranty either by age or damage. It's £139 for the iPhone 4S (any) or £119 for any of the older ones (plus £7.44 shipping+return of the old phone if you don't have a nearby store)

            Documented here:

            under "Warranty & Service Pricing" > "My iPhone is not eligible for warranty service. What are my service options?"

    3. Mike Judge
      Thumb Up

      Re: He

      ... if he wanted on that genuinely caught fire..

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    How would you like your smartphone?




    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How would you like your smartphone?


    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: How would you like your smartphone?

      Must have the next version of android, Baked Alaska

  4. Adam T

    Darwin nominee

    Both the owner and the person who nuked it (assuming of course that the owner wasn't telling porkies out of shame).

    1. Craig Chambers

      Re: Darwin nominee

      Exactly how did either of them remove themselves from the gene pool?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh Samsung users..

    Bless them.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Not the sharpest tool in the box

    Maybe he thought it was compatible with his Samsung microwave?

    1. Arctic fox

      Not the sharpest tool in the box? You are being far too kind. -:)

      Some person or persons put a wet mobile phone in a microwave to dry it out? Thus making sure that (apart from any direct effects of the radiation on the kit) the water would boil inside the phone - I am speechless. Then after having done this and wrecked said phone they go and inform World+Wife+Dog via the internet as if they were somehow proud of what they had done. How is it possible to be that brain-dead? The only way that they could have made bigger fools of themselves would have been to film themselves doing it and posting the result on YouTube.

  7. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    A variation

    Of 'will it blend'?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terry Fuckwit Extrordinare

    Probably the same sort of moron that would put the cat in the microwave to dry it.

  9. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    Dropped in pond

    Many years ago, my father in law dropped his Nokia into his garden pond (that's why you don't keep a phone in your shirt pocket). He just turned the phone on to see if it still worked. When it didn't, he just plugged the still damp phone in to charge.

    He couldn't understand my amazement that he had done this! Strangely, after following my advice to remove battery and place in airing cupboard for 2 days, the phone worked again. Did need a new SIM card a year later though as the contacts on the old one looked rusty.

  10. auburnman

    Back in my student days

    My flatmate burst into my room in the morning complaining that his socks weren't dry yet; he needed them for work that day and sought my advice. Me still being in my pit and trying to catch some Z's (typical student) I resented the intrusion, so I sarcastically told him to 'Microwave them dry', rolled over and went back to sleep. Only to be woken moments later by cries of 'Fire! Fire!'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back in my student days

      I find that a hair dryer is perfect for getting freshly washed socks dry. Not advisable to use the same technique on socks that are a bit sweaty after the gym (when you've forgotten to pack a spare pair) - the pong's awful.

    2. David Ward 1

      Re: Back in my student days

      were they metal socks? I have witnessed a couple of emergency drying's in the microwave with no apparent damage..

      1. auburnman

        Re: Back in my student days

        No idea. I could theorize the flame came from Nylon static sparks, frayed cotton, Or just having the Micro up at max, but end result was still the same - I still had to get up and check he wasn't going to burn the flat down.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A friend of mine uses filtered urine to clean PCB's - apparently it works.

    I prefer the PCB spray cleaner method.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Is their's usually lumpy?

  12. The answer is 42

    Wash & spin-

    I left a 16Gb USB memory stick in my jeans pocket once and my wife washed them on the 55 min cycle on our Bosch washer. 3 days in the airing cupboard for the byteStor memory stick fixed it fine. Have I got a got a good USB stick or a crap washer?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wash & spin-

      A crap washer, your wife really should know better!

      1. SYNTAX__ERROR

        Re: Wash & spin-

        As someone else said, I have numerous times washed memory sticks in the machine, no action taken other than checking no visible water on them, still worked fine straight away afterwards. Same for my car keys (two different manufacturers) even though they have a battery.

  13. h3

    I have never had any type of flash memory (micro sd / sd or usb stick) that has had a problem with going through the wash. (Used them as soon as they looked reasonably dry) always worked fine.

  14. Blubster

    Re: Not the sharpest tool in the box

    Noticed that he called himself `Dillo` in his apology post - shouldn't that be dildo?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    phone shop

    we would strip phone down pop it into a sonic bath with Isopropyl alcohol, then take it out leave to dry and more often then not they would come back to life. ( you could rinse it with de-ionized water after isopropyl if wanted then leave to dry)

    the sonic bath was from argos, all it was a plastic bath with what looked like the vibrator things off/out of mobile phones under it so they would vibrate the bath.

  16. paulc

    sadly in this day and age...

    the phones are not waterproof...

    it's NOT rocket science guys... or does it cost too much per unit when set against the bad will caused by customers having to fork out for water damage...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sadly in this day and age...

      From know techniques, waterproofing is done by vapour deposition of a thin film over the finished parts. However this is a slow process and uniformly doing it in quantity (e.g. for whole trays of phones) IS rocket science (or fluid dynamics, which may be worse). Not sure how well that particular nut has been cracked yet. When you have production lines churning out millions upon millions of devices they can't afford to have slow bottlenecks, especially at the very end of production.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another warning sticker

    I wonder if this incident will cause a "DO NOT PLACE IN MICROWAVE OVEN" warning sticker to appear on new cell phones.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Another warning sticker

      But where will that end? A 190g smartphone weighted down by 1kg worth of stickers?

  18. David Ward 1

    Charged for the investigative work?

    Seeing as this person was essentially trying to pull a fast one. Looking at the forum, he was trying to claim for a phone and damage to his car; shouldn't he have to pay for the investigation (which involved reproducing the fault by destroying other test units) and pay some compensation to Samsung for the damage done to their reputation? I feel he should be punished more than a bit of web ridicule.

  19. druck Silver badge


    If you want to boil off the water without microwaves or heat damage, how about putting the phone in the Rehab vacuum chamber and lowering the pressure a bit?

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Rehab

      Just as long as there isn't anywhere that water or air can get trapped until it's exerting nearly an atmosphere of pressure, followed by a tiny pop or crack that's nevertheless quite fatal.

      The best places to dry out wet electronics are an airing cupboard, or a machine room with air-con. In both cases, leave it for a good few days.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My phone is water proof, just this weekend I abandoned it during a heavy downpour and it was sitting under 2" of water when I went back to it.

    As for the earlier posts about electricity and buckets, Birds manage to sit on 500,000 volt power cables without a problem; and I have pulled 300amp fuses from a 660v gantry crane without feeling a thing.

    (by accident I should add - I isolated the fuse board, or so I thought - some dipstick had wired it back-to-front!!).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wash my keyboards and mice in the dish washer, using the bath is too much hassle.

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