STUDIO CITY (CBS) — Summertime is here and that means the sun can take a toll on your gadgets.
Whether you have a laptop, smartphone, tablet or eReader, changes in temperature and humidity –from an air conditioned office to your hot, sticky car – can damage screens and delicate circuits, while tiny sand particles can find their way into the darndest places.
Geek Squad Agent Jennifer Harris visited the KCAL 9 studios Tuesday to show viewers how to protect their gadgets this summer.
If your gadget took a swim…
· Remove the battery. You should immediately remove the battery from a wet gadget. If the battery remains in a wet gadget, you run the risk of it shorting out, which might render it unsalvageable.
· Dry the outside. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any surface water.
· Dry the inside. One simple and efficient way to get water out of your gadget is to tip the gadget in all directions.
· Use silica gel to dry out the gadget. Silica gel absorbs water from the air and you will find it in those little packets that say “do not eat” when you buy beef jerky or a new pair of shoes. You can also find it at your local craft store near the flower-and-leaf-drying section. Take your electronic device and put it on top of the silica gel packet and place in a small airtight container. Place another packet on the device, seal it, and leave the container in a cool, dry place overnight. This may help absorb more water vapor from within the device.
· Use uncooked rice. No silica packets lying around? No problem. Place your gadget into a pot or container and cover it with uncooked rice. Leave it there overnight in a cool, dry place.
· Turn it on until it’s completely dry. Sure it is tempting to turn on your wet gadget to “see if it works,” after drying it out after an hour or two, but don’t be so hasty. Turning your gadget on before it is completely dried out could cause more damage to it. So be strong and wait it out!
· Get electrocuted. If the gadget in question is still plugged in, don’t reach into the water to pull your gadget out. Unplug the gadget first, and then remove it from the water source.
· Use heat. Don’t use a hair dryer on “hot” or lay it in the sun to dry it out. Applying heat won’t necessarily dry out a gadget, only moving the air will. If you choose to use a hair dryer, use it on the “cool” setting. If you leave it out in the sun to dry, you run the risk of causing further damage to the gadget. (In which case please skip to our tips below on how to save your gadget from sun damage!)
· Eat the silica gel.
If your gadget took a spill in the sand…
· Plan accordingly. If you plan on bringing your cell phone or camera to the beach, place it in an air tight container or a zipper locked plastic bag.
· Use your gadget sparingly. Typically there are a lot of minerals whipping around in the wind on a sandy beach. So even if you don’t drop your gadget directly in the sand, minerals can accumulate in your gadget if you use it too much. Try to keep the use to a minimum to prevent damage.
· Use a bulb syringe. If your gadget is working but there just seems to be some sand particles in the crevices, use a bulb syringe to blow out the particles. They’re available at most drug stores.
· Use a can of compressed air. The pressure in a can of compressed air is too strong for the gadgets. You run the risk of sandblasting everything and making the problem worse.
· Disassemble the gadget. If your gadget is not working after a spill in the sand, the best thing to do is remove the battery and contact your local Geek Squad at 1-800-GEEK SQUAD, geeksquad.com or at any Best Buy store for diagnosis.
If your gadget is suffering from sun stroke…
· Bring it inside. With prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, the pixels in the screen will activate and the screen may appear very dark. If the screen is darker than usual, stop using your gadget and let it sit someplace cool and dark overnight – this will allow the pixels to reset back to normal.
· Let it cool off. If you accidentally leave a gadget in the sun and there is no external damage, bring it inside. Allow it to come to room temperature before powering it up.
· Use screen protection. While sun screen and bug spray are great summer protection for people, there’s a chance the oils can stain you gadget. To protect your gadget, you can purchase a product called “invisibleShield” from your local Best Buy. They are clear, custom cut to your gadget and prevent scratching.
· Leave a gadget in the car. Lithium ion batteries, found in many consumer gadgets, can explode if they get too hot. It’s a good idea to bring your gadget inside (don’t forget your GPS!) on hot days.
· Put it in the fridge. Placing a hot gadget in a fridge may create condensation inside your device. (If this happens you’ll need to refer to our tips above about how to save your device from water damage!)
Other sun, sand and surf tips for your gadgets…
· Cover It Up. If you feel like using your gadget outside consider purchasing a laptop tent. LapDome offers a carrying case that doubles as a small laptop tent when you open it. The Lastolite EZyView and ThinkTank Pixel Sunscreen are also good options. They’ll shield your laptop (and other gadgets) from the elements, especially the sun’s rays. Not to mention, they also eliminate glare and keep your screen private from wandering eyes on the beach!
· Watch Out For Ziploc Bags. Sure, placing your gadget into a sealable plastic bag will protect it from the elements at the beach, but be careful when you bring them back inside to cooler rooms. Moisture buildup within the bag due to the temperature change could damage your gadget. Make sure you take your gadget out of the bag and cool it until it reaches room temperature before powering up.
For more tips, visit the Geek Squad.