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Microsoldering 101: Water Damage and Corrosion



hi there I'm Kyle with iFixit I'm Jessa with iPad rehab so we took the iPhone board that I just repaired and we dunked it in water Kyle had to step outside I left she put away and what did you add to the water so we wanted to you know kind of really give a sort of a real-life example of what happens to your phone when you drop it in water and it does depend on what the solution is which is ninety percent of the time you're in come on and urine or cat pee or yeah I mean the toilet phones are really like most of water damage but you know now that it's sort of becoming summer we have swimming pools and especially salt water I jumped into a lake once with my phone in my pocket it survived I mean I shut it off immediately I waited a day or so you know I think I took it apart just to dry it out put it back together and it was fine right so you know sometimes you get lucky you do and you know it's kind of like you know there what should you do when you drop your phone in whatever kind of liquid and you know the the internet tells you to put it in rice and that is a myth and that's what we're trying to kind of dispel and the reason why is because putting your phone in rice is pretty much the same thing as doing nothing you're allowing whatever the liquid is to really dry on the board so any electrolytes any minerals or impurities that are in the liquid are just going to dry on your board and what you want to do instead is to displace them so if you you know no matter who you are if you take a phone and you get it wet then you can you know follow an iFixit guide open it up absolutely as you take it apart get everything out and drop it into some kind of like isopropyl alcohol something like that and you know honestly like there was a guy that is in the repair community was on a cruise you know and and it's sort of like you know you you would have been better off after his phone like fell in a pool you know to just drop the entire phone in alcohol if it's an important phone you know that you'll probably have to replace the screen and the camera but you know you'll be you can even use distilled water if you if yeah you could use distilled water you know and it's it's not the water that's necessarily the problem it's the impurity water doesn't actually conduct electricity and itself while there isn't corrosive end of itself it's all the elements that are in there either it's the chlorine and the rule of the ammonia in the pool or if you jump into the ocean and why the ocean do then you've got the salt that's curling it so you have to get those impurities off exactly so you know I like this example that we did so we we dropped this uh this iPhone in water intact so the board was optional and looked fine yep an hour ago yes okay yep and you know we we we've looked over this you know it's kind of like hey let's do a cool time-lapse thing let's see what's going on and you know I was surprised looking over the video that within 30 seconds you could see Frank corrosion on the board itself so in there we missing we put it in the water wall was on and the ocean is going to happen much faster if Brett's electricity is moving through it yes so why is that what does that happen how does electricity accelerate it well you know electricity is you know moving charge and what you're kind of doing is like this like electroplating kind of operation really you know so if you're combining electricity plus like charged components you know little ions you know charged particles then that is a recipe for shorting out electrical circuits you know so that's that's kind of what happens so let's take a look at that exact board this is the same word that you just weren't terrified to see what this looks like I haven't looked at this board yet you attacked my phone this looks awful yeah looks like I can't see the board through all the corrosion and everything it's between every single component it's probably shorting one component to the next look at those pins like there's no way you could possibly connect something and get a solid connection there right and you're going to be really sad because of course you know where the phone is going to be really hit is on the power line so the battery connector because you have the most current flowing through there is going to get the most corrosion and you can see that leftmost pin is the is the power pin yeah and that's what I saw the most and it's acting as electromagnet long all the particles to the pens it's really sad okay so you know so this this is you know you know really this is about as bad as this is bad yeah this is bad and you know so what do you do in this situation I think the point to kind of take home with this is that this phone was fine an hour ago we put it in you know some water that had like a tablespoon of salt in it for some electrolytes in there to kind of mimic you know you know kind of a standard solution and this is what it looks like we didn't do anything else to it and that's you know like like if we then if you just imagine what would happen if I had this phone you know sort of intact and I hadn't looked at the board and I just said let's just put it in some rice and cross her fingers it's done it's already happened you know so you're it's just gonna continue to get worse and corrode over time well so the most critical thing is to turn it off right so the first thing you want to do you drop your iPhone or any other phone if you have a traditional phone just take the battery out yank the power immediately with with an iPhone you got to get in and this is the battery connector just pop off that battery connector right and now at least there's no current going through it and then you can work on on cleaning it water damage as far as the jet you know like if your general repair and your going to do what our damage this is difficult you know it's sort of difficult just for the entire industry how do we make water damage you know profitable for a repair shop to do and I think that they're in at least in my I have a strong opinion that you know professional water damage cleaning means that you take the board out and that you expose the board by desoldering the shields okay and that then you address the corrosion with a quality ultrasonic cleaner so I want to look here at some other boards that I brought to do this with because I brought a few because it tends to be pretty open-ended some of them come back some of them don't so we want to kind of look at a few here so you can see some of these shields I've got this board you've got all these shields so you can see the corrosion on the outside you can't see the corrosion underneath the shield you got to get those shields off right and this is where we start to say well maybe we're moving beyond the realm of a DIY repair you can try the create the best you can clean with alcohol brush it do anything yeah if you can fix it great if you can't then it's time for the next level which is right desolder the shields which require microscope and and some fine soldering equipment and then an ultrasonic cleaner and we're going to talk about what that is in a minute right so here's a lot of times you'll find customers that don't realize that their board has been water damaged so let's look at this board do you see that there's a capacitor here right there yeah and how it's nice and shiny on one end and dark on the other right same for this one it's nice and shiny but then dark it should look like this one nice and shiny on both sides so there's been some kind of material this is water damage okay this component right here it should be you know shiny solder on both sides it should look just like this one here but it doesn't that is water damaged and that's incredibly hard to see with your naked eye it is you know then look here there's corrosion here this stuff on the phone is actually sort of a protective coating so that sort of protects some of those components from from water damage all along here looks fine that's normal normal normal but then when we get to this this is sort of a kind of a classic spot that tends to get a lot of water damage there's a bluetooth Wi-Fi pieces here that's component is so water damage that it may be non-functional so when you're doing repair one of the first things you know when you're doing board level troubleshooting one of the first things that you want to do is a visual examination of the board after you get that history you know to sort of guide your thinking because water damage really changes everything you know it changes what you're going to be thinking about in terms of like you know possible causes and problems right you could be diagnosing something else and realize oh this was caused by water damage it's not just a routine failure right yeah and that that happens to me all the time I don't know how many like YouTube videos that I started that were this is going to be about a charging system we talk to you about the charging system and then I open up the phone it's water damage you know that just people but it's incredibly common you go running in the rain and sure okay so let's talk about how to fix water damage okay so this um so this phone then when I see that the board has evidence of water damage I really can't feel comfortable doing any repair until I address the water damage okay and that always to me means the same thing taking the board out desoldering the shields putting it through ultrasonic cleaner so we've got a board with water damage how do we fix it okay that's a that's a really good question we're going to desolder the shield's to expose the board but then after that we're going to treat it with ultrasonic frequency vibrations so we need an ultrasonic cleaner so what I know about ultrasonic waves is you need some kind of medium to transmit the waves to the object so what kind of medium are we going to use so we are going to use a specially formulated for electronic cleaning solution that's called Branson EC or Branson electronic cleaner and this is a very expensive specially formulated it's not super expensive you know it and you only use it at 3% okay with distilled water so it's kind of like a electronics detergent you know it just sort of helps to create the right pH in order to help kind of address the specific type of corrosion that you would get on an electronics board we could use distilled water though right it would probably work to some extent distilled water with distilled water wouldn't be taro yeah it wouldn't be terrible but we couldn't control the pH it would be sort of all over the place and you know you you really sort of want to you know kind of control the the pH because you're trying to kind of break chemical bonds okay what's what's special about this ultrasonic cleaner so this is an expensive ultrasonic cleaner and it's an investment for a repair shop that I think repair shops should make because it very easily and quickly pays for itself because it's very good and the reason it's very good is because you know sound waves have to prynt frequencies and so ultrasonic ultrasonic waves in this machine are generated by sweeping through all of those different frequencies because the different components on an iPhone board are going to oscillate at different frequencies so as we enter the frequency then you'll be able to kind of shake the shake the corrosion off a little bit every object has its resonance frequency yeah I've seen that bridge in Washington that yeah okay so you find the resonant frequency of the object you vibrate a little bit you really at maximum vibration it's gonna shake writing out the detergent will be in there right it's really the best you can do and you know honestly I you know this this thing's expensive and I bought it because I did not believe in it and I wanted to sort of I intended to make a video that was kind of like why spend all this money you know like it's gonna be fine to use the the the inexpensive jewelry style cleaner and I was wrong you know it was totally wrong I gave it a shot with some boards and these are boards that you'd try the cheaper cleaning right like boards that I had had that I not just cleaned with ultrasonic but really worked on like I had you know been under the microscope replaced components and I had given up and said not repairable and then you know this this one board in particular I remember as soon as I got that thing I just put it in there with Branson EC fired it up five minutes and it turned on no problems Wow alright so you're knocking the competition a little bit yes let me show you what the competition is so this is a back ooh 903 oh that we got off alibaba this is it's like 15 bucks you have to read you have to get the self and the labels on here it has microcomputer intellect control yeah that is hmm it also has intellectualized time hypothesis that's my favorite intellectualized time I don't even know what that means I feel like it's something that I do every day okay so as I figure out how to use my intellectualize time hypothesis machine yes see I can just I can put the board in here right and fill it with liquid and push it on and it's going to do some kind of ultrasonic thing it's gonna make bubbles and it's gonna it's gonna you know seem like you're doing ultrasonic cleaning and that very well might be better than nothing it might be better than nothing yeah so if you're a consumer and you have while the damage born you just want to try you know you can you can try this it's pretty inexpensive and it's probably going to be better than what I tried when I had that massager with except of alcohol on top of it so yeah you know obviously there's a spectrum from the $15 ultrasonic cleaner all the way up to the $100 professional-grade ultrasonic cleaner and we're hoping to be doing some more testing and see if we can find a sweet spot somewhere in between here there might be more accessible you know there probably a wire well there probably is this is big and it's big because I can put a Macbook board in there you know mostly Macbook boards you know a lot of general repair shops you know if you're kind of like uh I'm not I'm not sure about board repair and I'm definitely not sure about Macbook board repair you know if you take a wet Macbook board and you throw it in there a lot of times it'll it'll come back Emily worth a shot okay so let's let's do a repair on I mean we're gonna take my incredibly encrusted board and we're gonna try to fix this one we're gonna give yep well we can put that one through and you know there's no reason to not do a few of them at a time okay look how it's still wet under the shield yeah and this is I was looking at I was like oh this board is dry it's safe to power back on nope you get under the shield and right sure there's still moisture under there the corrosion on the iPhone 4s and the for these shields are detachable so there's no reason to not take off the shields of course you're going to take off the shields alright you can just drop that in there now okay so so we've got this yep we'll be able to recognize visits the for us not throw it in okay so here's one here now this has come to me and this is I think the future of you know maybe you don't want to do water damage because it is um you know it's a rabbit hole you know no rabbit hole so no you know so let's um this is an iPhone 6 this shield is just a sticker so I just took that off okay this shield we will have to disorder okay this shield we will disorder okay and then when I look at this phone under the microscope I have I can kind of make a decision here and when I look at this phone this is the top of the board that looks good oops this power/power flex area looks good Bluetooth Wi-Fi area looks good I don't see any franc corrosion or oxidation this all looks really untouched by water at this side of the phone okay so I am going to leave this shield which covers just the processor well it has like a kind of a thermal paste I'm going to leave that alone because I don't think it's necessary or worth it all right so now how do we actually do solder the shields so they are connected on here by these joints and for most of the phones Apple did use a relatively low melts odder so they're probably specifically to make rework easier yeah because we're not the only ones this assembly needs an example we'll run it through the factory they'll find a defect they'll actually do board repair in the factory right so I'm gonna stick it in the Omni vise okay and then this particular shield tends to be a little bit more difficult than some of the other ones that are out there so let's go ahead and give me some hot air so I'm just going to kind of heat and I'm really just listening for like the shields of hot you hear that pop pop pop yeah and you're using the rework station hot-air gun instead of a soldering iron because why I could use a soldering iron um you know I could kind of go through and I used to do that this tent for me actually tends to be faster and you know if you only have a soldering iron if you only had a soldering iron you could even run the low melt around the edge of this thing with some flux okay and that would be that would come right up and if you're wondering why are there these shields on here it's because as these phones run at very high frequencies they have a lot of electromagnetic frequencies going on between the various components and so these shields are there to isolate certain parts of the board from other types of the board okay so we just took off the logic board shields and now before I drop it in the cleaner I just want to kind of do an inspection because if I do see corrosion in a specific spot then when it comes back out of the cleaner I want to like look at that spot because that is kind of a clue for for damage I also want to make sure that my my removal of the shield didn't like you know like flex some some solder around somewhere or you know short something out and that does happen sometimes a little ball will fly up and in short something up this looks pretty normal we're going to add this board to the ultrasonic cleaning mix this is an iPhone 5c and I want you to tell me Kyle as you've kind of looked at a little bit of water damage now if you see anything that looks like water damage oh yeah if you look like at that capacitor on the left yes like it's got some damage we've got lots of curvature yeah I don't know it'll definitely benefit from ultrasonic cleaner cleaning but you know right there that that is going to be a burned burned filter all right so the last board we're going to do we took out of the phone and we're seeing some visible damage even the component that was knocked off in the process of repair so this is going to be a bit of a bit of a project so we just dishonored the shields on here there's a little bit more focal damage on the back of the board and let's go ahead and just get them all cleaned up so I'm going to throw this in and this is board number three in the ultrasonic cleaning bath okay I've got this on maximum strength we're going to run it at about 42 degrees Celsius so there's a heater in here it's gonna heat the water up and we're going to run it for four minutes let's see what happens all right it's done okay I feel like I'm on a cooking show or something you stuck it in the oven we're gonna take it back out so let's see what's inside alright so after it comes out we're going to need to actually brush off the loosened up corrosion and we also you know this is water so we kind of want to displace the water with this is just isopropyl alcohol and this is just a brush so this one was the for us this is the bad one now you you know they the corrosion comes off but there's really a difference between corrosion and oxidation I think like if a capacitor is is internally damaged so that current goes through it instead of being separated there's no magical amount of cleaning and should I clean it again should take the shields Oh should use a different cleaner no it's you can't like bring things back from the dead in unless you replace it so you know replace it and then it'll be fine but you'll you'll see when we look under the microscope that Wiles are like fuzzy green stuff the corrosion is is removed that you'll still be able to see the like evidence so we are squirting alcohol onto here to dry it off what the alcohol is doing is displacing the water and then the alcohol has a much higher of after the point than the water does so we can set it here without all on it and alcohol will evaporate I usually use compressed air after this to really get it so that it just doesn't smell like alcohol anymore then it's ready to go and the old iPhone 6 now this one didn't so I can see that you are accustomed to having an assembly line here these comes in batches all right now we're gonna let those one sort of hang out for a second but we'll go ahead and look under the microscope this is this is the one you fix the for us okay so let's see how bad is it see how bad it is so you can see that there are you know it's definitely off the oxidation right like this capacitor you know this is going to be the negative side this is where the you know sort of current was flowing through it same for this one same for this one same for that one okay so this would be something I would consider you know it still shows you that even though the corrosion is gone and it has really been cleaned it has clearly been damaged are we missing a component there yep so this this whatever was on this component is totally totally totally gone corroded on both sides so it would have been like one of these where it wasn't sort of anchored by this so what happened there that the salt got under attacked the solder joint corroded it and then in the process of handling look yeah like this one this this this elodea shorted out capacitor see how it's not you know this one's anchored down because the the ground side is relatively okay probably same for this one it's just held in there by underfill Wow the underfill is like tar black looking stuff yeah sure this connector used to look really horrible and so that looks good you know so there's this pin here is missing that we would and will the pin is still here so so the movement on this joint look at that okay so it's not going to be electrically sufficient right now but you know we could take a soldering iron we could turn that up we could make that joint again so with this joint the solder itself to spread so much this all the solder is gone right and that's what's happened underneath a lot of these components is the solder has been eaten away right could this board be saved um maybe yeah you know right now it would need a significant amount of work so we could kind of like tally through it here's your what you just did so this connector is now insufficient again so you know we could go through here and address these things now one of the most common failures that you might have if you said let's just dry it out and see what happens you know what would probably happen is that you would have a short on the board so a short circuit this capacitor if you know it's it's native job is to sort of separate ground from the positive line right if it itself becomes internally damaged that it kind of becomes like a hole in the middle like a channel you know then it then you show you the vigor bouncing it turns that into a wire so that entire line and anything else that's on that line is now directly connected to ground so if you try to power on the phone the electricity won't be pushed through the entire circuit board it'll go straight through the little like you know hole in the fence you know the bad cap that's short you know so how do you find the short if there is a short on the board you can figure out what component is it a lot of them look bad but probably all of them aren't actually shorted through and turned into a wire so how do we find that so what do you think we could do ah so if we know that's the capacitor that's bad I would look at the schematic and see what else is on that line and the schematic what you can do is you can you can attach it to either a known good battery and then you'll feel it getting hot somewhere okay you know or you can use a IR okay yeah you can use one of those like fluorescent infrared cameras you can do this is this is a poor man's way you know where you eat oh it's that you know and I've done that you know that's a good way to what I do now is I'll I'll coat it with freeze spray okay and then I'll watch where and then and then at the moment that I connect the I'll usually use a DC power supply in the moment I connect it something will just turn turn dark immediately and that that's and it shows you the way yep so let's put this one aside okay and let's take a look at no the other ones work so now we're going to just kind of like look around here to see are there any water damage components that we need to address or anything else that we need to dress so we've got a phone beforehand we could see it was really bad around this filter in the connector and now it's looking better but we still clearly are you know have some additional is it a gunk in there that's preventing electrical connectivity or well this it may be great but I wish you know because you know because this phone has very focal damage so it's very minor then it makes sense for us to go ahead and just spend a few minutes with the soldering iron to just kind of beef up these connections and also to spend a minute with a multimeter to sort of you know to do a quick test we want to find out if a capacitor is shorting out the board so capacitors normally should not have continuity across them right because one side is ground and the other side is the line so if we put probes on either end of a capacitor we should not hear a beep got it so let's alright waiting with us over the continuity mode and we're going to watch okay so here's a good-looking capacitor here and I don't hear a beep if I put the tips together I hear a beep got it and if I measure just the both sides I don't hear a beep if I measure put one tip on ground on this shield here one side is ground and the other side is not ok so that's a healthy capacitor now let's take a look at one of these components here so right here this component is not a capacitor it's not tan and that's something you know you might need to work with a schematic look up a few things until you kind of develop that just sort of by recognition feel but it's not a capacitor this is a filter so a filter kind of acts like a resistor and it should have it's sort of like a bridge in a roadway so you have to have connection to both sides of the roads on either Shore so should we have continuity through a cross a filter yes yes so let's see you know do we we do ok so that's good so that means that is working what would it sound like if filter itself was corroded and bad I either wouldn't get you would not get it right so that would be the thing a lack of continuity when it's a filter so it's like we're kind of like fishing for opposites here we're looking to see do capacitors not beep which is good and if filters do beep then that's good so let me ask you what do you think this component is right here that sort of the component in question it looks like a filter to me it looks like a filter to me as well I don't know that it is but I think that it looks like a filter and we can kind of get a clue as well by just looking at the line it looks like it goes from this LCD pin across through the filter and then continuing on it doesn't look like it connects to ground you can really kind of read it as a map you know this is the ground look how it's a big plane of ground the and the you know component in question right here it has a little roadway it's not connected to ground there and it's not connected to ground connected to this little roadway there so it is going to be a filter so it should if it's good have continuity across it so let's test that and it does and it does so that's good and we should have continuity all the way from here to the LCD pad and we do in the LCD pin all right so it passes your visual inspection yeah and a little electrical inspection so now we're ready to give this board a try I think so yeah this one's definitely ready to give it a shot because there's no you know obvious thing that would that would churn it up so we're gonna dry it off okay I have probably a good idea any remaining alcohol so I'm gonna just you know use that and then it doesn't still smell like alcohol it feels pretty dry I could you know kind of leave it under a lamp or something you know that would probably be a be a good idea for today we're gonna give it a try so I'm just going to stick it back into the housing and throw a screen on it this is just sort of a you know kind of loose test alright so we've got this thing back together we put the board and we're using a test battery on here let's go ahead and fire it up and see what happens okay Hey look at that okay an Apple logo so it doesn't mean anything until it comes to food we've also got what looks like a test pattern or something on this yeah that's typical of like sort of you know the digitizer not making good connection that can be a screen problem like a test screen will typically be like that so this has been an introduction to water damage repair rain a more intensive fashion than you normally would and the key lessons to learn out of this is the first thing you have to do is disconnect it from power you gotta stop electrons flowing through the device and then pull it completely apart use displace the water displace the water some houses raise the weather with alcohol yep and then you remove the board from the device you can solder the shields these oh no yeah you really have just no and me just from this example if you can't decide or the shields or if you choose not to desolder the shields then you're really not addressing 80% of the board and that's really if you're running a repair shop so if you're thinking about taking your phone to a repair shop you really need to be asking questions are they going to be taking the shield's off what kind of ultrasonic cleaner do they have that they're using is it a sweep frequency ultrasonic cleaner are the shield's coming off Branson EC or what are you using to actually do the cleaning fantastic well it has been so much fun to have you here I check out Jess's channel yes I've got a YouTube channel where you know I I you know just sort of address repairs that are interesting or like a little bit something unusual you know and we're just gonna have fun I'm going to be making a YouTube kind of a parody video of my time here fantastic and your channel is it's the iPad rehab channel on YouTube okay so check out iPad Rehab on YouTube subscribe I fix it we'll have lots more in-depth repairs coming down the pike all right thanks Kyle thank you

Cesar Sullivan

25 thoughts on “Microsoldering 101: Water Damage and Corrosion

  1. The omni vice? This video keeps getting more and more rediculous. Why cant they just call it a plate vice? That's what it is. A vice with two little plates. It's more like a clamp if you ask me, a vice belongs in a garage or a gunsmith cabinet. This may be the dorkiest video of all time

  2. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the nerd. In it's natural habitat. See how lame they are?
    Why did YouTube recommend this to me. Literally if I drop my phone in water, I have a warranty. No need for all of this

  3. Distilled water NO!! The salts comes from the corroding metal in the pins. So it will be conducting after a short while! Isopropyl alcohol is a winner, Secondly, disassemble it as much as possible put it in an oven at 45C (if you cant remove the battery) otherwise 60C for 4-5 hours. This works very well.

  4. Вот бы весь этот ролик да на русском языке – ему бы не было цены.

  5. Should all ribbon cables be removed from the boards prior to immersing in a cleaner bath. I have a drone and the ribbon pin connectors have been exposed to the water . It would be pointless cleaning the board if I have to replace the ribbons (8 in all)

  6. Rice works fine if the phone is a little bit of time in water. Also how do take apart phones that have no lids.

  7. You explained totally wrong how ultrasonic bath works, it doesn't matter the resonance with components. The different sound waves reacting different in fluid at different
    frequencies , so the liquid can make pressure to liquid for small components.It is like tiny points of pressure in liquid that allow it to find the smallest places on components to wash them. It create sort of high pressure waves. sort of jets with pressure. They have nothing to do with the resonance of the board components.

  8. I'm wondering if ther is any reason the manufacturer couldn't dip the board in a lacquer or polly to protect them or do they need to like breath or something ? Obviously I'd need to a non conductive material

  9. Need a great place to recover my texts from a salt water damaged ZTE ZMAX Vero Beach FL Ty in advance

  10. Hello Jessa,
    Thank you for these great tutorials!
    Having some trouble pinning down the problem and would like to trouble you, if it's okay, for help and some insight.
    WHAT: LGMP260
    THE PROBLEM: Washing machine then in the dryer. No reaction to a battery or to being plugged in to the all.
    WHAT I HAVE DONE: Allowed to dry. Took a part down to the board and cleaned out with alcohol. All board components look just fine.
    TROUBLE SHOOTING:
    Multimeter – the leads in the battery bay produce 0.01 volts (between + and -). The continuity between between the usb charging port and the battery bay leads are 6 – 36 and there resistance was @3 to @23 ohms.

    Thank you for your time!

  11. "de-soderring" 😀 😀 😀
    Always makes me laugh how the Americans insist on a silent L in S O L D E R 😀 😀 😀

  12. Hi, great video
    Please advise i swan with my iphone 7 plus at the beach and it had a very bad corrosion.
    Iv taken it to two techs and they said it cant be fixed.
    Is there so other way i could at least get my information on the phone?
    Please help

  13. You are not fixing nothing at all you are just talking …. it boring
    People need to see how to fix things not just pla pla pla . Thanx

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