Getting a salt-water-logged digital camera to work again?
October 29, 2006 3:54 PM   Subscribe

A friend has a DSC-H1 Sony Cybershot camera. It got some salt water in it yesterday (probably not completely soaked, but definitely in the camera).

She's already removed the batteries and the memory stick and tried to leave it out to dry. Currently, when the power is turned on the LCD turns on briefly and then the camera turns off. Ideas? Thanks.
posted by shivohum to Technology (7 answers total)
Salt is bad, very bad. It will corrode metal within the camera very quickly. I am not sure if this is the best solution, as it could make things worse, but the only way I know to get the salt out is to rinse out the camera with water. Yes, water is bad. Rinse out the water with alcohol (95% or higher). If you want you can rinse out the alcohol with ether, but that is overkill and dangerous due to its flammability.
posted by caddis at 4:05 PM on October 29, 2006

yup, you're SOL, man.
posted by trinarian at 4:16 PM on October 29, 2006

I'm guessing its over for the camera. But I'd at least try washing it in distilled (not tap, not deionized, not RO) water and letting it dry.

Seriously, what do you have to lose?
posted by chairface at 4:50 PM on October 29, 2006

You might have already fried it since you've turned it on at least once. Salt water is a pretty good conductor and shorting across it could have damaged the electronics.

The first rule of getting portable electronics wet is turn them off immediately and don't turn them on again until days later.

Then do what caddis or chairface said, and then let it dry in a warm dry place for at least 3 days before trying to turn it on again.
posted by Ookseer at 7:35 PM on October 29, 2006

Water does amazingly little damage to turned-off electronics, if it is allowed to dry out slowly and completely. Salt water is another matter, which is why the recommendations above are right.

Currently, the camera is toast and repair will (my guess) be uneconomic. So you have nothing to lose.

First remove the battery and memory card and keep the compartment doors open if possible.

Then do repeated flushes (I mean soaking) with distilled (anionic) water, using fresh water each time. Then, if you want, do the alcohol flush. Then place the camera in a warm but not hot place with dry air for several days until you are absolutely certain it is completely, utterly dry.

You can do the same thing to the battery and memory card. The card will probably be fine... I don't know about the battery.

Finally reinstall a charged battery and the memory card and try turning it on.

But salt water is a baddy and I wouldn't get your hopes up.
posted by unSane at 8:28 PM on October 29, 2006

I second the bath in distilled water, then alcohol bath. After that, dry with paper towels and shake out excess.

Then place it in your fridge for 3 days. The fridge will suck the moisture out, just don't go extreme and put it in the oven or freezer, the water will cause serious problems.

Don't try to turn it on any more or you risk shorting.

The fridge has worked for me on 7 cell phones and counting (they weren't all mine...)
posted by eleongonzales at 9:22 AM on October 30, 2006

If you are still reading this, here is some graphic evidence of what happens when salt water and cameras mix.
posted by TedW at 5:28 PM on November 5, 2006

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