iPhone 6s, water damage, intermittent cell signal

Discussion in 'iPhone Help' started by MikeFloutier, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Hi, we recently lost an iPhone 6s down a toilet at a National Trust property. It was handed in fortunately.

    I've fixed my water damaged 5c and it's still going strong 3 batteries later so I have some experience.

    This is the story:

    1. Got it home, opened it up and dried it with kitchen towel.
    2. Put it in a sealed container, with rice, for 4 days - swapping for fresh rice halfway.
    3. Fitted new battery and it started up ok.
    4. Screen however was looking like Mt Everest, complete with crevasses.
    5. Was happy to wait for improvement; as with the 5c - but ordered a (quality) replacement screen.
    6. Whilst waiting, my wife suggested checking that it would still make calls ok. I had innocently assumed it would.

    This is where my question to you guys begins.

    1. I put the sim in and switched on; all looking good.
    2. I phoned it from my 5c and it responds fine the first time, and the second.
    3. Third time however it doesn't answer and fairly soon it's "no service"
    4. I turn it off and on and it does the same thing again. I find that if I call again quickly it lasts a bit longer before losing the signal BUT only around 30 seconds max.
    5. I followed some advice to "reset network settings". This seemed a bit better but I think that was wishful thinking and I'm soon back to the 3 or 4 successful calls in 30 seconds before it loses signal.
    6. As well as regaining signal by switching the phone on and off I find I can "reboot" a signal by toggling the "airplane mode" but still the same result.
    7. Next advice was to update the iOS from 12 to 13. Again, no change.
    8. I checked with Vodafone that all was well their end, which it was. They suggested I swap SIMs between my 5c and this 6s - sensible idea - this ruled out a SIM issue as the problem behaviour remained with the 6s.
    9. Finally, just before this cry for help, I decided to just try one single solitary call from my 5c to the 6s (whereas before I would always hang up and ring again straight away)
    10. This time the signal held firm (not giving up after the usual 30 seconds) and held firm. I finally terminated the call after 15 minutes of strong signal.


    Hopefully there's enough info here to give some clues as to what my problem is. I've no idea how the cell transmit/receive system works or where its components are located so I'm really in the dark.

    Many thanks for bearing with this longish post and for any suggestions.

    Kind regards,

    Mike
     
  2. HunnieBunnie

    HunnieBunnie Well-Known Member

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    Hello Mike. I do not know what to tell you except I would be very careful in the loo from now on. If you do not mind me asking, how did you drop it down there? Did it slip out of a top pocked in your shirt or jacket? Maybe you should start carrying a "man purse." :D Good luck with it, and I hope there are no more such mishaps in 2020. Happy New Year! :)
     
  3. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There could be corrosion of the traces on the logic board that are causing the problems. Do you live close enough to an Apple Store to visit the Genius Bar for a free diagnostic?
     
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  4. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Thanks SciFan57, unfortunately we're in the back of beyond so no Apple Store nearby.

    Where is this logic board and how can I easily clean it?
     
  5. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Haha, it slipped out of my wife's back pocket
     
  6. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The logic board is the equivalent of a computer motherboard. If there is enough corrosion to affect the operation of the iPhone the only practical repair is a new logic board, which would cost more than the iPhone is currently worth. Hopefully some of the other suggestions will work.
     
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  7. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Ok, well the screen is clearing up nicely but still can't make/receive calls.

    1. I reopened it and reseated the cell antenna connectors and also re-tightened all the visible screws. To be honest it all looks pretty clean; it was fresh tap water and it's really soft down here.

    2. I then re-set the network settings again and noticed, now, that it wasn't going to "no service" any more BUT still no ability to call.

    3. Out of interest I went outdoors, where the signal is better and noticed that the signal indicator bars behaved as normal, ie. Went up from 2 to 3 (out of 4). But still not ability to call/receive.

    4. Then I decided to swap Sims with my "working" 5c, again (not sure why, but...). No change BUT what it did provoke was a little flurry of text messages ((SMSs) from my carrier.

    5. This made me think, "I wonder if it can receive texts" ie via the cellular carrier NOT iMessage via wi-fi. And sure enough it did.

    6. So, in summary, I have plenty of "signal" and I can send text messages via the cellular service BUT I can't make/receive calls.

    Any ideas would be very welcome.

    Many thanks

    Mike
     
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  8. HunnieBunnie

    HunnieBunnie Well-Known Member

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    Bravo for doing all that you have done so far! I never could have figured out this much. At this point, though, I would consider selling it for parts and buying a new phone or a used phone. I doubt you are going to be able to restore it. Good luck!
     
  9. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Another diagnostic item I noticed today was that:

    1. When calling the offending phone with it switched off, it goes straight to voicemail (as normal), however,

    2. When calling with it switched ON, there is a SILENT delay, corresponding in length to the usual time (say around 10 rings) after which it goes to voicemail.

    3. Not sure if I mentioned but it ALWAYS has a "4g signal" now, although interestingly, (and I only just noticed this)

    4. When switching from 4G, VoLTE Off > 3G it goes from 3 bars > No Service


    By the way HunnieBunnie, I appreciated your suggestion because it reminds me that iPhones can be restored to good working order by using parts that came from other iPhones that folk gave up on. All you need is a market for said parts (ie Internet) and a keen hobbyist with time on their hands :)
     
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  10. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Haha, ok, having got excited about trying to fix it myself I followed my wife's advice and phoned our house insurance company. I told them the whole story and was advised that they would get the phone assessed by their tame phone fixers and they would either fix it or get us a replacement 6s. All subject to the £50 excess; can't say fairer than that I suppose.
     
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  11. HunnieBunnie

    HunnieBunnie Well-Known Member

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    That is very fair, Mike. Good for you! Glad it is going to work out without having to break the bank. :)
     
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  12. MikeFloutier

    MikeFloutier New Member

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    Even more haha, I was browsing all the threads I could find last night about this and saw one that mentioned that our fingers contain oils that, if smeared on metal bits inside the phone, can cause these problems.

    So, this morning, I borrowed my wife's bottle of Acetone, opened the phone and gave it a good wipe around with an Acetone soaked glasses cloth.

    Turned it on and it works like new!

    Thanks so much for being there for me, it's such an encouragement to press on.
     
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  13. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I’m glad you finally found out what was really causing the problem.
     
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  14. HunnieBunnie

    HunnieBunnie Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That is incredible Mike! I never would have had the nerve to open the phone much less to use acetone on it! Good for you. I am glad this worked out after all your efforts. :)
     

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