Cellphone Battery Designed To Fail At First Drop Of Water?

Does one of the LG cellphone batteries have a sensor on it to cause cellphone failure after the first touch of water? Even though no significant amount of water has penetrated the actual battery or cellphone itself. That’s what Tim wonders after conducting a little experiment and paper hack following dropping his cell phone into a tiny bit of coffee.

dropthecell2.jpg

I recently dropped my cell phone into the last sip of coffee I had in my cup, so I know the liquid didn’t penetrate to any meaningful hardware, especially considering I plucked it out immediately. Stickers, on both the inside of the battery casing (on the phone) and the battery itself, were pink/red when I opened the battery cover, however, very little moisture was present. 5 minutes later my phone turned itself off and I wasn’t able to turn it back on until I plugged it into my charger at the end of the day. The phone blinked the ‘Charge Complete’ signal to me almost immediately, but when I unplugged it from the charger it immediately turned off again and I wasn’t able to turn it on without it being plugged into the charger.

Here’s where the super-sketchiness comes into play. I noticed that the pink sticker on the battery was covering an indented rectangular area, so I pulled off the sticker which revealed two small brass sensors. When I cut out and installed a plain piece of white paper to replace the color changed sticker, the phone miraculously began taking a charge again and when I unplugged it from the charger, it didn’t turn off.

This seems like something that would create a lot of unnecessary consumer battery purchases and therefore sales for LG (the manufacturer of the phone and the battery) while at the same time serving to void warranties for few, if any, legitimate, consumer caused issues. These phone companies take advantage of water exposure by attributing future glitches to water damage whether water is the cause or not. It is also my opinion that they have gone so far as to implement ‘water activated failure mechanisms’ into phones and batteries in an effort to create replacement sales for products that aren’t really damaged. As my example illustrates, the removal of the failure mechanism (the pink sticker on the battery) restored the phone and battery to its pre-coffee state . . . What a scam!

That’s very interesting, can you supply photos of the paper and sensors?

Ben,

Your reply prompted the attached pictures and an additional test. Upon insertion of the white paper rectangle, the phone recognized the battery as not being fully charged and began charging when plugged in. After a full charge was again realized I tried two more things with the same result:

1. I removed the white paper rectangle so that no barrier existed between the ‘sensors’ and the phone.
2. I replaced the pink/red rectangle between the sensors and the phone.

Both resulted in full functionality when I disconnected the phone from the charger. I’m sure you can hypothesize as well as I can as to the possible scenarios here. What I can tell you for sure is that I removed the phone from the charger after seeing the ‘Charge Complete’ message at least four times with the same result . . . immediate shut off. I then removed the pink/red rectangle, replaced it with the white paper rectangle, plugged it back in, started receiving a charge, waited 5 minutes, unplugged it, and it did not shut off.

I have ordered another battery and will check the original color of the pink/red rectangle when I receive it.

Is this a safety feature, a product designed to fail, or something else entirely?

Comments

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  1. AbstractConcept says:

    My mother actually has this battery. She got some coffee on it and the battery died.

  2. Vilgrom says:

    I wouldn’t put it past them to do something like this.

  3. losifer says:

    I just looked at the same model battery from my phone. My “pink/red rectangle” is navy blue.

  4. cabedrgn says:

    Its not to surprising and probably was pushed more from the carrier side then actual vendor. Its pretty obvious this creates more sales under the ‘warranty void’ category. Could also be some CYA from liability measures, say to prevent the battery from explosion (or at least that’s how they would push it).

  5. Mojosan says:

    Verizon places a mositure sensor dot on their batteries as well.

    My Razr needed a software update and I went into a Verizon store to have it done. The tech opened the back of the phone, looked at the red dot, and said “This phone has water damage, there is nothing we can do” and handed the phone back to me.

    I swear the phone has never, ever gotten wet. I’m posting anonymously on a web forum…I have nothng to hide. If the phone had gotten wet I’d admit it.

    Verizon would not update the software and would do nothing other than allow me to buy another phone at retail.

    I declined their offer. Went to the AT&T store, bought 5 new phones (and an iPhone) for myself and my business and moved my $450.00/cell bill to AT&T.

    And lived happily ever after…

  6. LastLine says:

    I would consider this to be a feature. Drop your phone into a pool of water and it cuts the power to the phone preventing damage.

  7. ColoradoShark says:

    Electrical Engineer here. Do you have or know someone with a multimeter? If so, check the resistance of the piece of pink/red paper. Then check the resistance of the same piece of paper on the new battery.
    Most likely, the addition of water changes the material so it becomes conductive and shorts the two contacts shown in the first picture. It may not be completely nefarious, it may actually be a safety feature. You can see how a battery that has been wet might start internally corroding yielding what we call a “rapid disassembly event”.
    In a related note, I’d like to get one of these and take it apart in my lab to see what is going on inside. Fun!

  8. robotprom says:

    I always either remove or put clear tape over the little water dots when I get a new phone. I’ve been able to get phones replaced when the water dot was removed.

  9. d0x says:

    This is so very true, not only do they do it to increase battery sales but its also a way out of fixing the phone if its under warranty or if you pay for the extra warranty.

    If there water indicator has been tripped they will always tell you that they cant fix it and you have to buy a new one at full price whether the water is the reason the phone died or not.

  10. azntg says:

    My dad has an LG phone (Cingular branded). Taking the phone apart and looking at the battery, it’s not exactly identical to the battery pictured.

    But I do notice a yellow sticker (which I get the feeling could be the moisture sticker, as it’s placed in a slight indent). Though it does feel a bit too glossy to be an indicator paper, if there’s one thing I learned in Chem Lab (the hard way), it’s not to overlook things. Sorry, but I don’t have the guts (nor the sharp fingernails) to peel the sticker off, verify that it is the moisture sticker and I certainly don’t want to risk breaking my dad’s phone.

    Side note #1: My old Samsung phone (from the V205/E310-era, when color phones beginning to be introduced in mass… to the US market anyway :-D), they had a white moisture dot on the batteries too.

    Side note #2: Now that’s clever of LG to do what they did! Adding a water indicating and permeable sticker over two brass contacts, causing the sticker to change colors and the battery to short if a hint of moisture gets on the battery!

  11. TampaShooters says:

    The problem I have seen is that water does NOT need to get on or in the phone to make that sticker red/pink. All it needs is a little Humid weather, or even to get hot in your sweaty pocket. It is the newest Joke warranty out right now and everyone knows it. We know it, They know it, We know they know it, they know we know it, but yet, only one side wins.

  12. Mike_ says:

    My phone slipped out of my shirt pocket and fell into my cats’ water dish when I was feeding them a few months back. It was completely submerged for about 2 seconds. I took out the battery, blew as much watter as I could out of it, and let it sit on the kitchen table overnight. It works fine. It’s a Sanyo.

    Just about everything LG makes is crap.

  13. Rubyredgirl says:

    I have an LG phone and this same exact battery. I just checked it and have no pink sticker, or any other stick on it for that matter. I’m in Canada though not sure if that makes a difference.

  14. Televiper says:

    It’s a safety feature. The phone manufacturers are ultimately liable if your cell phone battery explodes. Would you rather replace your battery or your house? Does having a fuse also indicate a massive scam to get consumers to buy more?

    “Lithium Can Explode – Carriers and suppliers need a battery-safety design program to ensure that the internal construction of Lithium batteries does not expose the lithium to moisture or fire. Lithium is very reactive and will react violently if in the presence of moisture or fire. Carriers should ensure that battery designs and construction maintain the environment needed to limit moisture and prevent fire.”

    [www.telcordia.com]

  15. Anonymous says:

    What sticker color/pattern is supposed to indicate water exposure? I just opened a similar model LG phone, less than three months old and never near water, and the stickers are white with red marks. From a little distance, the sticker on my battery looks kind of pink, and not much different from Tim’s photo.
    If I read Tim’s description correctly, replacing the original battery sticker some time later (presumably after it had dried completely) gave him a fully functional battery. That makes the battery sticker look like a reasonable safety mechanism, cutting off battery power until the phone is dried out.
    What the wireless customer service people do with whatever they think the stickers are telling them is another matter.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    I’ve set off every water indicator that I’ve owned, and have never gotten my phones wet. However, I DO go clubbing, wearing my phone (as their slick ads suggest we do, preferably with über-hot, leggy, (possibly) skanky women barely clothed). And I’m not a “moist” person. Since normal use like this triggers the alarm so consistently, I call it as being a rip-off.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oddly enough, I own a different LG phone that has the pink sticker as well. However I dropped my phone twice in water, once in a field that had the sprinklers on and it fell into a puddle, and the other in san luis obispo while i was kayaking.

    after leaving the phone out to airdry for about 3-4 days, it started working perfectly. it was amazing.

  18. humphrmi says:

    @Televiper: It’s an overly sensitive safety feature. It’s there for our safety; it’s overly sensitive so that the battery / cell phone mfr’s and carriers can make more money.

  19. Sudonum says:

    @poison7fl:
    I’ve often wondered about humidity and moisture affecting these “indicators” I live in the deep south and sweat like a pig. If I’m working outside and sweating and answer my phone can I set off one of these things? What if you have it sitting nearby while showering? I mean I’m all for personal responsibility, if you drop it in water it’s not AT&T’s or LG’s fault. But how far have these companies pushed the pendulum back the other way with crap like this?

  20. Anonymous says:

    What is the first thing you are supposed to do when you accidentally drop an electronic gadget into water? Remove the power source so that the power won’t cause shorts to damage the electronics. I think it’s actually a good safety feature for the battery to automatically disconnect when the phone gets wet. Better to have to buy a new battery than a new phone.

  21. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    If it’s a safety feature, wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the extra cent and make those batteries water tight over putting in self-gimping moisture tabs?

    I can confirm my Sony Z520’s better has one, too.

  22. Scazza says:

    Those little papers are pretty much the excuse any repair center/carrier needs to hand you back the phone and tell you the warranty is void. I know, I do it 3-4 times a day to customers. Now, before i get killed her, let me tell you that carriers don’t really seem to play too big a part in this “scam”. As we just send it off to an authorized repair center who as soon as seeing the dots (there are usually at least 8-14 different moisture detectors inside each phone), will ship it back to the store and CHARGE the store a “quote fee”. Thats why most carrier stores wont even send them out, and also charge fees to do so at your request.

    Personally I have seen that this can affect way too many people. Most times the person swears its never been near water, and I believe them. All it takes is a tiny boost in moister (think a humid day) and bam, the paper turns pink.

    As for this LG battery, I would say that it might be JUST the LGs that do it. I have seen samsung and sanyo phones that have been fully submerged in water still able to place a call and work fine, even if the screen dosnt work… So they don’t have this battery cop-out feature…

  23. Televiper says:

    “If it’s a safety feature, wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the extra cent and make those batteries water tight over putting in self-gimping moisture tabs?”

    Because A) it’s not a cent, B) waterproofing takes up extraordinary amounts of space, C) they would have create a seal around the contacts. I’ve seen my fair share of water proof connectors.

  24. Distahs says:

    I have a LG VX8300 with the same feature this is great to know because i can revive an old battery.

  25. SimonSwegles says:

    Looks to me like there is an untapped market for replacement water-sensing dot replacement.
    Need to take your phone in for service? Just swap out all the dots prior to taking it in to ensure warranty service will not be lightly denied.

  26. mikecolione says:

    The sensor could serve two functions other than replacement sales..

    1. Prevent the battery from shorting out (when plugging it in) by not letting it charge when the liquid indicator is activated.

    2. Keep the phone from being damaged further by not letting it accept any further charge.

    I seriously doubt this is a scam by the manufacturers as phone sales are brisk enough without creating more sales.

    A question for the poster… how much was a “sip” of coffee? One persons sip may not be another persons. for the indicators to be activated, the phone had to be submerged in liquid, the liquid doesn’t “seep” up the battery and phone as if it was a paper towel.

    Also, if it’s the same battery that got wet, the liquid indicator doesn’t look red or pink. The little red dots are supposed to be there, on a while background. When it gets wet, those spots “bleed” onto the white background making it a solid pink/red color. Is this a replacement battery in the pictures???

  27. WTRickman says:

    @SimonSwegles

    There’s your widget!!! Get some money for capital and start your business!

  28. ffemt300 says:

    I have this same battery with said sticker on it. It appears that mine has little red x’s all over it. I removed the battery from the phone and found out that the rectangular sticker matched up to a space on the phone that had a similar red x’ed sticker but it was round. My phone is operating normally.

  29. CoffeeAddict says:

    Although LG used to be my favorite company I can see they are becoming like every other company and gouging their customers just because they can. I think it’s pretty low to have some over sensitive water sensors to cause your customer to buy a new battery.

  30. chili_dog says:

    @ColoradoShark: THIS IS CORRECT. I own a used cell phone business and I have lots of these LG batteries. After doing “real submersion” testing, the batteries they DO NOT work, but upon removing the liquid damage sticker, the current is restored to normal. These create some sort of short in the battery to make it appear as though the handset is damaged.

    I was able to reproduce the result in brand new handsets with these “water damaged” batteries.

    This is an obvious trick by someone to force the user to go back to the carrier and buy a new handset. Lets just say I do quite well selling used handsets.

  31. 4ster says:

    Every single phone battery problem I have ever had with a phone (and there have been several) have been with an LG phone.

  32. wesrubix says:

    This is a Verizon phone guaranteed. They’re sticklers about those stickers. You think their “qualification process” is only about signal quality? Oh no it takes a long time to get the manufacturers to allow Verizon to bastardize their UI. And do this.

    My baby sister went camping and her bag got damp, and that sticker? You know it–speckled pink. The Verizon store said she didn’t qualify for her replacement plan because of it. Thanks Verizon.

    I’ll get my family off the red checkmark idiots someday.

  33. BobbyMike says:

    Here’s a simple explanation (without any conspiracies) that may delineate what’s going on.

    [www.edn.com]

  34. Buran says:

    Under the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, it’s actually illegal by federal law for warranty repair to be denied on a cell phone for a problem not caused by an accidental drop in water. You can’t deny warranty repair on something sold for more than $25 (or was it $20?) for a problem not relating to something a customer does to the item. This MAY be customer “modification” only, but it may also prevent warranty denials for, say, “you dropped this in water” for (insert problem here) that couldn’t possibly have been caused by that.

    That said, the battery failed on my Motorola Razr and I had to replace the battery with a new one, yet I never dropped the phone in water. Strange. The phone was only about 7 months old at the time and I take good care of it. Fortunately, it only cost me $26 for the new battery because I get a good employer discount on phones and parts (not quite as big a discount on the service, but I get one).

  35. Buran says:

    @wesrubix: Replace the sticker and send her back to another store.

  36. lonelymaytagguy says:

    You can buy replacement dots on eBay.

  37. alhypo says:

    I have to say, this is sort of a stupid discussion. The thing with electronics is that they can often get wet, while they are shut off, and then work fine once they have been dried out. However, any exposure to moisture while the device is on will often cause irreversible damage. I suspect that the battery was designed to turn off at the slightest hint of moisture, not to force people to buy new batteries, but to protect the entire apparatus. Not everything is a conspiracy against the consumer.

    I will acknowledge that their service is probably misguided in that they fail to provide the cheapest solution, but I do not believe that the phone battery was designed for the purpose of tricking people into replacing it. I think it was designed to prevent people from having to buy an entirely new phone! This is actually a good thing.

  38. Parting says:

    If the guy didn’t pull out the battery and let the phone to dry for couple of hours, it’s his own fault.

    Sorry, but humidity + electricity is NOT a good mix. Probably a contact or two short-circuited and died.

    Maybe let the sticker DRY first before screaming for conspiracy, wet sticker on the battery will prevent the phone from turning on = they don’t want a battery to explode on you. Duh!

    I dropped my LG in the swimming pool, and a year after the accident it still works just fine. The trick : you have to turn your phone IMMEDIATELY and let it dry (for couple of days in my case).

    And ”water damage” can be a lot of things :
    you let a baby play with your cell and babies put everything in their mouth (drool is as good as water),
    talking under the rain may let some water in; leaving your cell on a counter while you take a shower (condensation will form inside, like on your mirror),
    leaving your cell in the car on the floor while it rained or snowed (same thing for your car charger, couple of mini water drops on it could seriously screw your cell’s connection contacts).

  39. Major-General says:

    My mother killed my last phone (replaced with accidental damage) when it fell in a glass of water. Popped the battery out, dried it, and it works flawlessly today. Gotta love Motorola.

  40. Snakeophelia says:

    The battery in my T-mobile Dash has one of those little white stickers. I discovered this when the phone died completely – it was on, but would not “boot up” – and I called T-mobile to ask what to do. One of the first things the phone tech asked was the color of the little sticker on the battery. Didn’t say what color it should be, or why she was asking that. Obviously, “white” (which it was) was the correct answer that got me an entirely new replacement phone for free.

  41. txinfo says:

    I had this exact same issue with my LG VX-6100 about 10 months after I got it. But I never dropped it in anything. It never touched a single drop of liquid. But I guess it became damp and activated the strip on the end of the battery. After about a month, I started having major problems with the phone. It refused to turn on. Sometimes it took about 2 minutes to turn on.

    Even replacing the batter with a new one did not fix it. Whatever caused the strip to turn also messed up the phone.

    But I just took it to a local VerizonWireless store and they swapped the entire phone with a brand new one. They didn’t give me the runaround or anything. Just game me a new phone. I haven’t had any problems since then and that was about 2 years ago.

  42. vincedotcom says:

    My LG battery has pink dots – NEVER been in water but lives in my fat assed sweaty pocket.

  43. floofy says:

    Here’s a thought-Why don’t we treat cell phones like every other expensive electronic device? You wouldn’t expose your laptop, wii, digital camera etc. (you get the point) to the types of conditions that you do your cell phone. I know you will say that “it’s a cell phone, I need to be in contact every minute of my life”, but people really can take more responsibility by not having it on your belt when you’re in the rain, putting them in the bathroom when you’re in the shower, or letting your baby put it in it’s mouth.
    rant off/

  44. Eilonwynn says:

    On the LG phones myself and my partner have, there are red Xs for no water damage, which then bleed and turn the paper pink when it has some.

    Will any regular sticker paper work to restore the circuit, or is it only their special magical paper?

  45. Jean Naimard says:

    Let’s not jump too fast on the conspiracy train. Those are lithium-ion batteries.

    Lithium is double-plus ***NASTY*** stuff ( [en.wikipedia.org] – I like very much the “Lithium should be stored in a non-reactive compound such as naphtha […]“… Naphta. That’s what they use to power jet-planes).

    Having the battery “die” when exposed to moisture can very well be a safeguard against an explosion. (Remember those exploding laptop videos? How would you like to have one of those go off near you ding-a-ling whenever you drop soup on your fly???)

  46. Buran says:

    @Jean Naimard: Actually, jets are powered by a fuel that is more or less kerosene. Naptha is the stuff used in mothballs.

    Besides, cell companies are notorious for trying to get every last cent out of us. Take Verizon for example — the company some people here are willing to bend over backwards to get internet access from has a cell division that has admitted to crippling phones so that it can bilk more money out of people. (I don’t get it. You do realize that giving them money anywhere only causes them to continue their unfriendly behavior … right?)

    C’mon, this has every hallmark of being an example of how they’ll rig things in their favor. People are accusing them of scamming us for good reason.

  47. courtarro says:

    Guys, I’m all for keeping a close eye on companies for milking us of our cash, but this is a safety feature, end of story. Several reasons this is not a big conspiracy:

    a) Batteries need to stay dry to stay safe. Water in a battery can cause shorts.
    b) Worse, current through water is electrolysis, which produces separated hydrogen and oxygen – a situation friendly to combustion.
    c) How often are you going to drop just the tip of your battery into liquid? If you really dropped your battery into water, it’s in your best interest for it not to charge for the two reasons above.

    Granted, the poster suffered in the rare instance that the tip of battery got wet but the battery would still have functioned safely, but in most cases a wet battery that still charges is a potential “Yet Another Cell Phone Battery Explodes” story here on Consumerist.

  48. snwbrder0721 says:

    I ran my old Siemens phone (old as in bought new 4-5 years ago) that was old AT&T branded (as in before the Cingular merge / unmerge / buyout) through my washing machine once (it was turned on, left in my jeans pocket). It was soaked and would not power on. I took out the battery (which had no markings, just plain white plastic) and sim card, set everything in front of a fan for a few hours and reassembled it. The phone powered on fine, nothing exploded nor did chaos break out in the streets.

    So what I’m getting at here is if we could get along OK in the past without these water indicators, what’s the need for them now? I have a hard time believing they’re really a safety feature considering how little amperage is supplied by your average cell phone battery. You’re not going to kill anyone dropping a phone in a pool. I’ve gotta side with the “this is a way for cell companies to rip you off by denying your warranty claim” arguement.

  49. wesa says:

    I just tried this trick on an old Nokia phone that we had. My husband spilled an entire bottle of water on it about 4 months ago. There was no way this trick should have worked. I located the pink stickers behind the battery and on the bottom of the battery, peeled them off with my fingernails, replaced them with pieces from an address label, and Voila! It works perfectly. I’m impressed. Thank you for sharing this trick.

  50. Qender says:

    I used to work at a radioshack, we would advise our customers that if they had activated the water damage indicator and tehy needed to return their phone to verizon that they should buy a new battery first. that way there was no indicator the rest of the phone was damaged.

  51. Woofer00 says:

    What so many commenters immediately call a rip-off, the corporate folk, and any number engineers, will call a safety feature. Better to replace a relatively cheap battery than pass current through to the phone from an unreliable battery. Removing the moisture dot may make it work properly, but it’s an “at your own risk” choice.

  52. rickhamilton620 says:

    hey I just opened my phone (Sony Ericsson Z525 on AT&T) There is a dot on the battery. But the other dot just happens to be at the imprint where one would put their thumb to remove/insert the SIM card.

    Sneaky…

  53. humphrmi says:

    I, for one, welcome our moisture-averse overlords!

  54. tcm22 says:

    I’ve had the same LG phone for 4 years.

  55. BensAngel says:

    @SNWBRDER0721

    At four or five years old it possibly didn’t have a Lithium battery, removing the need for super-sensitive safety features.

    Boy, this place really assumes a mob mentality sometimes! Totally entertaining, if not completely uninformed. :)

  56. Red_Eye says:

    @Applekid: Of course youre brilliant. Why all they have to do is make it entirely water proof making sure +Vcc and Ground can never be compromised from outside the phone. A fully waterproof and vapor/ humidity proof device.

    Why didn’t they think of it. Oh yeah cost, because it would cost s small fortune for such a device. I guess not everyone would have a cell phone then.

    Ok well lets protect Joe average from shorting out their battery and causing an explosion. Provide an extra set of terminals on the battery and circuitry much like a GFI circuit to i9nterrupt power at the slightest sign of a short since a lithium explosion can be quite nasty and a lithium fire needs special chemicals to put out or has to burn itself out. ( ref: [en.wikipedia.org] ) this is why the FAA limits lithium battery cell size to 25 grams or less on passenger planes. ( ref: [hazmat.dot.gov] ).

    Basically you are paying for safety and much like an airbag that goes off at 5mph, your cell phone battery will go off when wet. Can you bypass this, sure, there are ways to waterproof terminals, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to hurt yourself.

  57. Sockatume says:

    I’d like to echo the electrical engineer’s concerns. If fairly conductive liquid (soup, say) caused a short between the two main terminals on the battery, it could esplode, so having a moisture sensor that killed it would be good.

    I’m not sure what sticking a new bit of paper on would do that removing the original wet bit of paper didn’t, mind you. Dry paper and air are about as conductive.

  58. suburbancowboy says:

    How much more could it really cost to make all cell phones and remote controls waterproof? Of course they won’t do it though. Would I pay a little extra for a waterproof product? Yes. Do they care? No. They would rather force you to buy a whole new product. It’s the same reason CDs and DVDs don’t come in cases like floppy discs.

  59. grrrarrrg says:

    i just did a science experiment.

    i pulled out my phone, which lives in my sweaty pocket, right next to my sweaty crotch… and the “magic” sticker is pink. i guess this means the warranty is void…

    so i figured, what the hell. let’s pull off the sticker, look at the battery, etc. and discovered a few things…

    1. the sticker is not conductive.
    2. licking the sticker to see if it turns even “pinker” does nothing
    3. the design of the sticker and the hole above the contacts seems to act as an absorbant/holder/attractant using something akin to capillary action, (I’m not a licensed engineer… and my last physics class was years ago, please excuse my terminology here) that keeps a bit of water suspended above the contacts.. thus shorting out your battery

    And then i pulled out the wife’s phone (which lives in her purse, never near water, etc) and her indicator is also pink. did i mention that the phone is less than a month old?

    i guess her warranty is null and void too.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I’m happy to find that the battery in my AT&T Sony phone has such a sticker.

    Liquids with minerals (e.g. saltwater) can shortcircuit batteries and cause them to explode or catch fire if current flows. The dot stops dat.

    Applying power to a wet phone can damage that phone by causing oxidation and/or component overloads. The dot stops dat.

    Replacing the battery is so much cheaper than replacing the phone. And the workaround of removing the dot is even easier dan dat.

  61. tcp100 says:

    @suburbancowboy: Aaaand fat fingered clumsy folks like yourself are why we have these “stickers” in the first place.

    I’m always shocked at how so many of my friends manhandle their cell phones, CDs, and DVDs. Seriously, you’re complaining about the durability of DVDs and CDs? Yeah, I know laser rot happens in some brands, but come on. I have CDs from 1986 that play just fine. What are you doing with your CDs that would require them to be encased in an annoying caddy, a la a 3.5 floppy or the old DVD-RAM?

    Anyways, as much as people love to yell conspiracy theory on here, it’s not. Consumerist has had articles about exploding batteries, right? Well, what do you want? A safe battery, or a cheap battery that will survive a dunk?

    Lithium Ion cells EXPLODE VIOLENTLY when shorted. If anything, the LG battery is a GOOD design because it apparently reactivated after it dried (I don’t think it had much to do with the paper – other than the fact that you took the moist indicator off, thereby exposing the contacts to air, and opening the short.)

    Plenty of cells use one-time fuses that simply open when shorted, never to close again.

    And to all of you saying “how much can it cost” to make something “waterproof”.. The answer is, a lot. Take a look at the price differences between Garmin’s GPS handhelds, which are IPX7 certified, compared to those that are not. Rubber seals, if the very least required to obtain waterproofing, bulk up devices and require tension to keep a tight seal – tension that will make your RAZR’s battery door pop right off.

    Here’s a tip. Don’t drop your cell phones, keep them dry. They’re electronic devices, and you can’t change the fact that electricity and water never should mix. Lithium Ion batteries, while currently the most efficient consumer-available battery tech as far as wh/gm goes – are very volatile. These fuses, which the OP is alleging are “consumer unfriendly conspiratorial sensors”, are the difference between the safe OEM batteries and the chinese pocket-bombs we’ve all grown to know so well through Dell and Sony’s travails.

  62. tcp100 says:

    @grrrarrrg: Several of these stickers begin pink, due to the pattern on them or the backnig beneath them – and will turn a deep red when submersed. Sometimes, they don’t trip instantly.

    Licking the sticker, and getting your tongue near the battery – is necessarily a bad idea all around.

    This material can be freely bought, BTW. I believe you can get it at Digi-Key. They all react in different ways, so just because yours is pink, doesn’t mean it’s triggered. Generally, dark red or bright red = triggered.

  63. Andrew Becker says:

    My phone got wet, it’s an LG v5400, and after replacing the indicator with a peice of plain, white paper, it works fine. Crazy, eh?

  64. Anonymous says:

    My LG battery (same as one pictured above) for my Verizon phone started to have a shortened life, and I guessed it was because I had recently dropped it (not in or near water), and the battery fell out. The white strip was a little pink, so my son, who has the same phone, and whose battery strip is still white, said I probably got it damp. I went to purchase a new battery at the Verizon store, and the guy told me it looked like it got damp as I suspected. While I was in the parking lot of another store about an hour later, I looked at the battery (still in the plastic see-thru box) and saw that that damp indicator strip was equally pink. I then noticed that the box it came in was not sealed –and easily openable, and therefore could be exposed to air. (Or worse–could allow Verizon to put someone’s old battery in it, without anyone knowing it.) I brought it back, and they tried to tell me that all their batteries had a pink strip, when new, but got darker pink when damp. Sounded fishy–since the same guy told me something different earlier that same day! So look carefully at the batteries before you buy them, and ask the Verizon store why the LG battery packages are not sealed. I took it back–my old one still charges up for a day. I’ll look elsewhere for a new one.

    Anyone else with this experience? JW

  65. gifforc says:

    I think you’re all overreacting. It looks to me like the two points on the battery are connected BY water. So when the thing dries out or when you dry it out it should be fine. This seems like a pretty darn smart safety feature (though I’d hope they would notify or even ADVERTISE such a good feature, that part is a bit shady.)

    here’s the scenario i see this being great for:

    a phone falls into water, the ocean, a lake, a pool, whathaveyou.

    the owner, having their nifty lg phone with “watersafe” battery simply disassembles the casing and sits all the parts out (or even puts them in rice for quicker dry time). 3 days later all of the parts are dry and voila, the phone works.

    had the phone been your average phone and a current had continued running through it from the battery after it falling into water, things would have short circuited all over. the phone would have been useless.

    in my opinion the worst this thing does is makes a moron buy a battery. a moron being someone who didn’t google it or check their manual before buying a new battery. if you don’t have any evidence of LG voiding warranties over this, I wouldn’t accuse them. I’m certainly not an LG fanboy by any means, i just think this doesn’t add up.

  66. gillzilla85 says:

    there could be a reason for this. computer components are fine when submerged in water. some can withstand being completely drenched and retain their ability to function as long as the submerged board does not have a current running through it at the time. a current would result in short circuiting the board or other damage. as long as the device is thoroughly dried before power is returned to it there should be no problem with the functionality of the phone.

    this goes to show that the idea of a battery that powers off instantly at the sign of water would be an excellent idea in deed. it can then protect the device from even more costly repairs or damage that would total the cost of the phone completely.