I was an Electronics Technician in the U.S. Navy, so I'll
speak from experience here.
If the unit was turned on and in use and was then submerged
and stopped working, it's likely there is some damage which
will require repair.
It's possible that any piece of electronics will continue
to work following exposure to water, as long as it wasn't
turned on when it was exposed to liquid. Also, the sooner
it dries out, the better your chances, as the enemy is
rust or oxidation which will alter the nature of the
circuitry. Newer electronic components use materials that
are less likely to rust, as such, but oxidation can still
Obviously, submersion for an extended period would be
worse than dropping it in a sink for a very short time,
or just getting it wet in the rain. You didn't give
specifics, so I'll try to cover all the bases.
The iPod is less likely to be seriously affected as it
is built to very close tolerances, and there is little
space within it to hold any serious amount of water.
If it were easy to open, I would recommend accelerating
the drying-out process by using a hair dryer at low heat,
but iPods are not easy to disassemble.
Given that you can't open it, I would recommend letting
it sit in a warm, but not hot, place. Excessive heat is
another enemy of electronic circuitry. I would let it
sit for as long as possible before using it again - up
to a week or more. If the water dries completely, it
may leave deposits, such as calcium or mineral deposits,
especially if you're in an area where the water is 'hard'.
Such deposits -may- be enough to create variations in
circuit parameters that could create problems with the
electronic functioning of the unit. These deposits may
also cause some 'grittiness' in the function of moving
parts, but that's more likely to be temporary.
Before you leave it to sit, I'd recommend shaking it
at various angles to remove any major deposits of water.
Shaking it is not really the right phrase, as I don't
mean to suggest shaking it like a can of spray paint.
Rather, you should hold it at arm's length and move
your arm rapidly in an arc or a circle, using centripetal
force to cause any standing water to be expelled.
Holding it in different positions in your hand will
allow the water to 'try' different routes to exit the
unit. Depending on how much water this technique
produces, you can also get a good idea of how wet it
was and is inside, and how long you should let it sit
before attempting to use it. Using this method will
not 'jolt' the unit, as actually shaking it would.
If the unit hasn't dried out in a week's time, any
residual water is capable of causing shorts and some
kind of permanent damage. On the other hand, the
voltage used by the unit is not very high, and might
not produce problems, even if some moisture remains.
Given the option, I would test it first with a battery
before using an AC adapter, which would provide higher
levels of potentially harmful current in the case that
there is a short of some kind.
If you wait it out and let it dry, it may function with
no problems. If it fails to function after that time, or
if you'd just prefer to have it disassembled, checked
out and professionally dried, there are companies that
specialize in this.
A repair site that specializes in iPods and touts itself
as being the best-priced out there is iPodMods.com. I didn't
come across anyplace that looked less expensive:
Their page on diagnostics explains how they waive the
diagnostics fee and only charge you for return shipping
if you decide not to have it repaired subsequent to
receiving their quote for parts and service:
"...once received, a Certified Technician will determine
the problem with your iPod. You will be sent a detailed
and affordable repair quote 24-48hrs after your iPod is
received. If you approve the quote, we can re-bill your
credit card for the repair(s). If you do not approve we
will offer to buy your iPod for salvage value or send
your iPod back and just charge return shipping."
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