[NTLK] Blinking emate display?

Andrei Chichak newton at chichak.ca
Wed May 12 23:20:24 EDT 2010

These days, a lot of circuit boards are produced using water soluble flux. Flux is the stuff that removes oxidation on metals so that the solder can stick to them properly. In the past manufacturers used really nasty chemicals like isopropanol and fluorocarbons to clean off the residual flux after the soldering process. Due to the environmental laws in the EU, the use of lead in the solder, and nasty chemicals to clean the flux was stopped (yay). The board manufacturing industry came up with lead-free solder; and water soluble and no-clean flux.

What does this have to do with anything? Electronics are produced by soldering the components onto the board and cleaning off the goop with water. 

The difference between this water and firehose water is burnt house bits. The water to clean your circuit boards is CLEAN, like deionized, RO water. If you drop your iPhone into the toilet, the best thing to do is to wash it off with clean water and let it dry out WHILE BEING TURNED OFF! Pee has a bunch of salts in it that are conductive. Water is a pretty crappy conductor, junk on the board is a better conductor. Wash it in clean water. Next, dunk it in ethanol. Ethanol absorbs water and dries nicely. Then let it dry.

Problems: certain components don't like getting wet. Paper capacitors, speakers, microphones, optics. Washable speakers and microphones come with stickers over the holes so that the water doesn't get in. These are removed after washing. Paper capacitors are rare these days. Washing your iPhone is a problem since you have to wash the speakers, microphones, and camera, but they are wet with pee anyway.

As for your Newt. It could be that you have schmutz inside from getting wet with dirty water. The power supply could be collapsing since the backlight uses something like 300volts AC and high voltage loves low resistance paths like schmutz.

If it persists, I would take the  beast apart, see if there is crap on the board, and get some heavy duty flux remover from Active Components and clean the boards.

Your mileage will vary.


On 2010-May-12, at 8:44 PM, Ken Whitcomb wrote:

> Tomorrow marks two months since our house fire. Like any of us would  
> experience, there were many Newton devices lost and damaged (100,000  
> gallons of water put on and in the house).
> So tonight, one of our daughters found a couple of her message pads  
> and her eMate. They seemed to be pretty dried out, although in need of  
> a good cleaning. When she plugged in the eMate, it seems to power up,  
> but other than the charge light turning on, the only other symptom is  
> that the display backlight will flash twice, pause, and repeat.
> Does anyone else have any experience with water damaged Message Pads  
> or eMates?
> TIA,
> ken
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