156: Resuscitating a drowned ipod

Here’s the particulars (should you find yourself in need):

1) Said ipod (and ear buds) were drowned in a front-loading washer, set to the longest cycle on hot.

[2) I did not do this step, because it terrified me, but many folks suggest a further rinse in distilled water if said drowning was in soapy/foul/or really hard water. Michael informs me that it probably would have been a good idea.]

3) Hit the ipod with a hairdryer for about 3 minutes. This did not seem like it was doing much good (didn’t feel like I was getting anything out . . . worried about heating the electronics too hot).

4) Placed the ipod in a plastic container of brown basmati rice.

5) Called several florists and finally Michael’s Crafts, to find silica gel (which is really a fine sand, not a “gel”).

6) Sewed ipod and earbuds into a piece of silk. I folded the seams over twice when I did this. Basically, I didn’t want to make the problem worse by introducing tiny grains of silica gel into the orifices of the ipod.

7) Filled a small plastic container 1/3 full of silica gel, set silk ipod/bud package in, and covered with more silica gel. Let it set from Wednesday night until Sunday evening. (All my “research” indicated that turning the ipod on too early would likely fry it the rest of the way, but I figured that the silica gel will dry a rose in that time period, and a rose has way more water than the ipod took onboard).

8 ) Removed the ipod and buds from the silica gel, vacuumed the package to remove silica dust, and cut it open.

9) I didn’t really expect to save the ear buds . . . and they have insurance on them, so I wasn’t deeply concerned. They just went along for the ride, since I figured they might benefit, and at that point, I really couldn’t hurt them further. The ipod is one of the early nanos (the little square ones), and therefore not replaceable (or, at least, not directly replaceable), so I can’t tell you how relieved I was that this worked.

If I’d known that I was likely to be this successful, I wouldn’t have spent most of Wed. afternoon/evening/night wanting to hurl.

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2 Responses to 156: Resuscitating a drowned ipod

  1. Jen says:

    Update: Today is 7 July 2011, and the aforementioned ipod is still working. It has always been a little quirky since its ride in the washer, but it is still working, 1.5 years later.

  2. Alan says:

    Something else that works as well as silica gel (and can be renewed too): uncooked baked rice.

    Place several cups of uncooked rice on a cookie sheet in the oven at ~350F for an hour or so. Whenever I’ve done it the rice gets a reddish tinge.

    Ideally you leave it in the oven to cool so that it doesn’t absorb moisture from the air before you can get it in a hermetic box (which, if its plastic, won’t appreciate 350F rice!). When it gets down to around 100F place it in said hermetically sealed box. If you leave it until the oven is room temperature it will start doing its work inside the oven instead of your target…

    This also works for rejuvenating silica gel, although if it doesn’t have the color indicator its a little more difficult to know when its done, or when it needs renewing.

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