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Miraculous or Mundane? A Remote’s Survival Story

Remote Controls

Wanda is an Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline radio listener from Clarksville, Delaware and she asked us:

I want to know if you wash a TV remote control in the washer, will it still work if you dry it out for a few days. That’s what happened to me… I washed it and it worked. Is this normal, or was that some sort of miracle?

That’s sort of a case by case thing, Wanda. You got lucky, but it wasn’t a miracle.

Remotes are lower powered devices, so whatever juice is in the batteries may not fry the electronics even if the water shorts them out.

Think of it this way: touching the insides of a CRT TV can kill you, touching the charged power source of a desktop computer can give you a pretty nasty shock, licking a 9V battery just makes your tongue feel funny, not all electronics are created equal, and not all power sources are created equal either.

The miraculous part

Being immersed in water –potentially hot water– and bouncing around for a good hour is still not the greatest way to treat your electronics, so they can still definitely break. Just dropping your remote can dislodge some pieces on the inside of it, having it bounce inside a metal tube spinning at high speeds can’t be great for it.

Why did it make it?

Moisture itself doesn’t kill electronics. What moisture does it make it possible for current to flow between points that aren’t designed to pass current to each other, and that is what kills electronics. In your case, we’d say it’s good that nothing pressed one of the buttons on your remote during the spin cycle.

So that’s a top tip to anyone who spills a glass of water on their computer or drops a smartphone in the toilet, pool, or sink. Power it off immediately and do not try to turn it back on for at least 72 hours and after you’ve followed steps to extract the moisture.

Fight the instinct to turn it on and “see if it’s okay.” If you start up the power running through it, that’s a virtual guarantee that it won’t be okay.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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