Is Tekdry a scam? The truth behind the water damage repair machine
If you've ever gotten your favorite mobile device wet, you've certainly tried the rice trick (which has been proven to be moot)
Surely there has to be a easy fix right? The short answer is no, but that's not what a new emerging tech company called "TekDry" wants you to think.
Tekdry has built and developed a machine that allows you to take a device that has been submerged in liquid (most commonly water)
The premise behind tekdrys machine is that by using a combination of heat, vacuum and liquid absorbing pellets it can dry out and remove the remaining liquid leftover in the device.
It's even gained popularity from shows such as "Shark Tank"
Investors have put lots and lots of money into trying to push this water damage repairing machine in retail outlets and have rolled it out into over 600 stores nationwide at select Staples.
So with all the popularity and "success" with retail outlets one must ask does it really work?
Why is tekdry a scam?
Truth be told the machine itself is not a "scam" in the traditional sense, matter of fact in the machine fails to save your device or restore full functionality then typically they will charge you little to nothing.
Reading the points made by the company, they make some bold claims:
"PROTECTS THE SURFACE
The water removal process causes no cosmetic damage whatsoever"
If the process is successful, your data will be exactly as it was"
"USES SAFE MATERIALS
You can feel good knowing the process does not use chemicals"
"KEEPS IT IN ONE PLACE
We will not have to take your device apart to save it"
While some of the claims are true, they are preying on the uneducated customers and overselling the machines capabilites. It's important to understand more about eletronics and what happends when they come in contact with liquid.
Let's start out by showing a typical liquid damaged motherboard
iphone 6 liquid damage
As you can see lots of coroison has formed around the connectors, specificlly the digitizer and rear camera fpc conn. (flexiable printed circuit).
This is typically what we see at wires computing when we are sent a device for liquid damage repair. The corrosion forms around high voltage areas such as the VCC_main power rail and the backlight rail which can run at 4 volts during a screen on event. This often results in burned pads the components are soldered to, which will cut off any connection to the circuit.
When we take in a device in a state such as this we will take pictures for reference and then match them up with schematics to check for burned pads and "dead circuits." This is critical for ensuring proper thorough repairs. We also note areas that are affected more than others so we can spend more time with the smd componets later.
What does tekdry do about corrosion? The short answer is nothing.
-Imagine going for a run, getting dirty and taking a shower with your clothes, shoes and hat on. Will you be cleaning yourself properly in all the important areas? No.
-Imagine driving your car through a mud pit and then going to the car wash, only for them to tell you that all they do is lightly blow air at it and throw a few towels on it to absorb some moisture. Would this be a proper thorough cleaning? No.
This is what tekdry does. They receive a device that's been wet, without disassembling it throw it into the machine, blow some air at it and expect it to be fixed in a matter of minutes.
What most don't understand about electronics and liquid is that the damage isn't caused by water, It's caused by the leftover [mineral] contaminants in the water and shorting out circuits and burning solder pads that are necessary for connection.
As part of our cleaning process we will disassemble the whole device to gain access to the motherboard (the brain) then we will use our ultrasonic machine to clean the motherboard and remove the residual corrosion. This process involves getting the motherboard wet again(!) Most would think this is foolish, but the secret is in the liquid we use, which has almost no contaminants and does not allow electrolysis to occur.
Cleaning the motherboard is only half the battle. Replacement and rebuilding of the circuits is typically needed for a device to function. Capacitors on the VCC_main power rail can be the first to short out and cause the phone not to boot. As a capacitor has one leg on ground and another on the the circuit, if a capacitor gets corroded and shorts out then effectively a whole circuit can be shorted to ground causing vital circuits to not connect. This can be as minimal as a camera LDO (A low-dropout regulator) or as important as a PP1V8 line sending power to the NAND or CPU.
In most cases we need to remove components to replace or repeal them. Luckily not every capacitor is needed on the VCC_main power rail given that they function to filter the noise and are not esstential. But in the event a capacitor is shorted on a circuit such as the camera ldo then you would never gain access to either of the cameras without micro-soldering and removing them.
TEKDRY™ (or Staples) does not remove any components, nor do they have the ability to micro solder anything and replace surface mounted parts on a motherboard. So how could they expect a postive outcome from this external "blow dry?" Truth is it would have [partially] worked and the machine simply sped that process up.
Without removing the power [battery] the phone is still getting power through the circuits even when its turned off, only exacerbating the corrosion, shortening the lifespan of the device.
The fact is if your device has gotten wet, then you need to get it inspected under a microsope so that proper repairs can be performed.
Not every device is fixable, this is highly dependant on the localization of the damage and the steps the user has done to mitigate any further damage. 75% of the time a device is fixable, but most do not realize this and simply throw it away or store it in a drawer for years, while the coroson sets in even more and then lessening the chances of a sucessful revival.
If you have gotten your device wet and would like a repair please use the link below: