When the Lights Go Out

Posted: July 14, 2011 in Equipment
Tags: , ,

It’s going to happen sooner or later; you’re either going to drop your precious iPod into the pool, tub, sink, or worse (think toilet), or maybe you get caught out in a sudden Hellish rain storm such as I was last week while visiting and running in Louisiana.  Whatever the situation, it sure sucks when your primarily source of entertainment while working out suddenly craps out on you.  Not good.

But iPods get wet – it’s just a fact of life – shit happens.  And even though water damage is not typically covered in the manufacturers warranty, a wet iPod doesn’t also immediately mean a dead iPod either – or so I learned – Saints be praised!  Of course, there is no sure-fire guarantee to bring your beloved gadget back to life, but there are some tips on what you can do to minimize the damage, and hopefully, resurrect it.

First: don’t panic!  Breathe…it’ll all turn out okay.

The first indication that something dire was wrong (apart from the music shutting off) was that my LCD screen would refuse to light up afterwards.  You already know how electronics mix with water, so whatever you do, if this is the case – shut it off!  If it’s already on, then switch it off and use the ‘Hold’ button to keep it from accidentally turning on again.  It’s not so much the water that damages electronics, but the short that can happen if you power them on when they are still wet.  Keep it off until you know it’s totally dry.  Don’t get over anxious and keep checking it every 15 minutes for improvement – just switch it off and leave it off, numb nut – you’re only potentially making the situation worse.


You will know that the iPod has been compromised by water, by checking to see if the ‘Liquid Contact Indicator’ has been triggered by looking directly down into the headphone jack. Use a lighted magnifying glass or angle the iPod so light shines down into the headphone jack. At the base of the headphone jack, you should see what is, normally, a white or silver-colored dot. The dot will become full or half red or pink when the dot has come in contact with water (or other liquid containing water). To view the dock-connector indicator, use a lighted magnifying glass and hold the device so that you can view the center bottom of the dock-connector housing. A full or partial red dot will appear if the indicator has been triggered.

Here is a helpful diagram for reference:

Easy peasy, lemon-squeezy…

Next, your main priority is to get as much water out of the unit as possible.  Remove the cover, headphones or whatever might prevent moisture from escaping.  Shake it out, use a blow-dryer on a low setting, hand held wet-vac, leave it in a sealed container with dried rice (beats me, exactly, but I figure the Chinese are clever enough), or just leave it in a warm place that will still allow air to get at it.  Personally, I left the device on top of the television set in my hotel room while I watched ‘Master Chef’, but whatever, just leave it alone for a few days until the water has had a chance to evaporate; and I’m talking days here, not hours or minutes.

After about 4-5 days you can cross your fingers and attempt to reboot your iPod, hopefully, with some good fortune.

Of course, you can always try to open it up and see if there is anything else you can do to wipe up the excess moisture, but, not being a techie kind of person, I’m not going there.  But should you wish to giv‘er the ‘ol college effort, I suggest using an X-acto knife or other fine instrument to carefully pry apart the seal around your iPod.  If you really want to go there, here are some pretty easy to follow directions (click to access) to demonstrate how.

Fortunately in my case, my iPod was restored inside 3 days with no lingering difficulties or effects.  And thank God too, since without my sweet, sweet iTunes and/or Audiobooks the actual will to get out and run would have been minimal at best.  For me, running without music or some sort of audio stimulation, is just another long exercise in self-inflicted torture and pain.

Good luck!

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