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As you can probably tell by the title of our next topic, water and electronic equipment simply don't mix!
The need to carry around portable devices like iPads, iPods, mobile phones and GPS units these days is increasing, so much so that we are now taking them into the bathroom whilst we shower, out on the town when we have a big night, not to mention dropping them and potentially ruining your device.
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So were are we going with this topic? It comes down to two fatal words.... LIQUID DAMAGE!!!
So why is water bad for electrical devices?
It's all simple science. Electricity moves through matter- be it solid, liquid or gas. Some things conduct electricity better than others, and water is a very good conductor. The way modern electronics are made, electricity travels around the device through tiny wires that connect all the different parts. When water gets introduced to device, the electricity can spread and go to parts that aren't supposed to get electricity, and give more electricity to parts than they're designed to handle. This essentially electrocutes the device. This is the point where the most potential damage happens.
Now, if your device is turned off when it gets wet it's less likely to suffer major damage, but since few portable devices ever turn off completely there's usually at least a small current of electricity going through them. As far as other problems with getting your electronics wet, you also need to account for material other than water in the liquid. For example, if you spill a soft drink, the acid can corrode parts as well as make it sticky. Pools have plenty of chemicals, as do washing machines!
So, what can you do to prevent or minimize the damage of liquid to your electronics? The easiest thing is to keep them away if possible. Don't take your iPod to the beach, or drink your wine next to your laptop. Secondly, if your device does get wet, turn it off right away if it's on, this will turn off the electrical current going through those wires and hopefully minimize further damage. Lastly, once it's off, keep it off for at least 24-48 hours, preferably in a room with low humidity. Another great trick is to put the device into a container of rice or salt, both of these are super absorbent and should help remove alot of the moisture. There are other suggestions on the Internet, but none that have been proven to work.
Practical Tip of the Day:
If you need to take your electronics to a place with potential moisture, there are lots of things you can do to protect it. If you're going to the beach, put your electronics in a zip lock bag or backpack. This will help protect against both water and sand. If you canoe, kayak or even scuba dive, they make water-proof cases for most cell phones and MP3 players. They even make water-proof headphones! For your laptop, a simple plastic cover over the keyboard helps cover the easiest point of access for spills of all kinds. This also helps keep crumbs, dust and other matter out of your keyboard as well.
On the flip side if you do encounter a water damaged device, don't write it off as a lost cause or dispose of it, there is a chance it can be repaired.