Sony Official Reveals the Waterproof Cellphone Repair Process

Since Sony Mobile was established in 2012, it has launched several waterproof and dustproof smartphones, such as Sony Xperia Z, Xperia ZR and Xperia Z Ultra. These Sony handsets adopt high-standard water-resistant certification, especially for the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which has passed IP58 certified with water resistant over 1 meter under water. These high-end devices feature strong waterproof function. If they are water-damaged and need to be repaired, how to check if the waterproof function is invalid or how to get it repaired well without voiding the waterproof performance?

Thanks to the detailed demonstration from Sony Mobile repair headquarters in Taiwan, the secret of water-resistant smartphone repair process is unveiled. When the Sony Mobile repair departments receive water-damaged waterproof phones needed to repair, they will distinguish the damage elements to see if the problems are caused by people’s improper usage. They will go through three inspection processes: "check damp sticker", "test water tightness" and "disassemble phone to inspect oxidation traces".

1. Check the damp sticker

check the damp sticker

This is the basic step to check if the smartphone gets wet. Sony waterproof cellphones are designed with pieces of damp stickers. When you open the cover of the waterproof hole, you will see the damp paper. If the damp paper color has changed, your smartphone is wet.

2. Test air tightness pressure view

Test air tightness pressure
The airtightness test is helpful to detect whether the smartphone waterproof function is intact. The phone is connected to the test equipment with a clip.

Test airtightness
The air tightness test situation displays on the computer. It shows the condition of pumping out the air.

gastightness test
If the airtightness is sound, it means the water tightness of the cellphone performs well. The test is passed.

failure of tightness
If the phone does not pass the airtightness test, the computer will show the red surface.

Sony waterproof smartphone is designed with a water-resistant test hole, which is used to test the water tightness by instrument. In the condition of the waterproof hole closed, if the wet cellphones have passed the air tightness test, but the damp sticker is in discoloration, or the phone board is wet, the wet phone problem may be caused by human factor.

3. Disassemble the phone to view

The maintenance personnel would disassemble the phone with the help of sophisticated instruments to inspect the flow path and water oxidation trace on the phone board.

The whole repair process should proceed in the environment of a static state in order to prevent from dust contamination. Therefore, the repair workers should wear anti-static clothing as well as anti-static wrist strap to make sure the repair process in a normal waterproof state without any dust.

wrist static
All relevant operators should be in a static condition during the inspecting and maintenance process.

All Sony headquarter, factory or Taiwanese maintenance center provide professional cellphone maintenance workbench, which can make technicians carry on disassembly without destroying the waterproof performance. Through the above waterproof inspecting process, if the professional workers confirm the Sony mobile phone are damaged by water, they will disassemble the wet phone to repair it. The entire process will be recorded by camera. And the relevant data, reports, pictures or videos will keep in archives.

These waterproof phones are dedicated devices and the LCD screen and digitizer touch screen are tightly assembled to achieve ultra-thin outlook. To repair the phone, maintenance technicians should carry on the disassembly and assembly by using precise dismantling equipment.

LCD dismantling equipment
This is the Sophisticated dismantling equipment in Taiwanese workbench. The instrument can soften the double-sided adhesive between the LCD screen and the housing with hot temperature.

LCD screen machine
When separating the LCD screen, the professional dismantling instrument will not damage the screen and the waterproof performance.

disassembly screen equipment
In short time, the Sony cellphone screen is successfully disassembled.

cellphone repair screen
The repair technicians should remove the flex cable ribbon carefully, for the ribbon cable is frangible.

 screens are tear down

Taking out the LCD screens and housing parts from the instrument. Both the Sony mobile phone LCD screen and the board are separated.

After the dismantling is completed, maintenance operators should reassemble the cellphone with the brand-new waterproof tape.

waterproof tape
The tap should be carefully attached to the board with specific pressure.

Under normal circumstance, the technicians will test the cellphone's airtightness before disassembling and assembling, following the factory production procedure. All these operations aim at ensuring the 100% waterproof performance. At the final seal assembly stage, Sony waterproof Xperia series need to go through different pressures test in order to provide the most excellent waterproof state. This test process is the same as the factory's, and kept track by specific workers to guarantee the normal waterproof capability.

connect cellphone screen
Connecting the screen flex cable ribbon.

screen phone mold

Do the encapsulation with special mold tool

lcd screen mold tool
The sophisticated instrument is used to assemble the cellphone screen.

smartphone screen equipment
Place the smartphone parts in the metal plates, and then put it in the lamination device, the phone is compressed to ultra-slim appearance with waterproof performance.

According to Sony customer service department, the most common reasons for the failures of waterproof performance lie in the unclosed waterproof hole. In this condition, cellphone gets wet, but it can pass the airtight test by instrument. As for the discoloration damp paper, it does not mean the cellphone gets wet. It may be caused by the moisture in the air or suffer water from the hole cover. Therefore, when users intend to use waterproof cellphone under water, please check if the waterproof airtightness hole is closed completely.

  1. BY Mel
    |

    I also have the same problem with my Xperia Z, i tried to put it underwater and then after i saw the camera moisting. I turned it off for about 4 hours and then i turned it on, the unit was functioning so i off it again and then leaved it in an uncooked rice for about 4 hours and i also put it under my laptop For the whole nigth. After i waked up in the morning i tried to turned it on but it does not worked. It is vibrating 3 times continuesly and does not turning on! I also tried to charged it, it was charging. The only problem is that it does not turning on, what should i do? Help me please, anyone?

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi Mel, it is water damage, you’d better send your phone to a shop for a repair.

  2. BY waterproof tape
    |

    are there any way to buy the brand new waterproof tape on the internet?

    My Z5c lost waterproof after replacing battery, so I need a new waterproof tape for back cover. I bought one from Ali express, but it was very bad adhesive… So I need one like a Sony original one.

  3. BY Aniket
    |

    I just submerged my phone in water for a few seconds and now it’s not turning on . What should I do now.

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi, put it dry for a long time, if it can turns on,everything may be good otherwise you should ask a repair shop for help.

  4. BY Ezekiel
    |

    my sony xperia z5 is dead

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi Exekiel,
      I’m very sorry to hear that,and now you can buy a new cellphone which you like ..
      Have a good day.

  5. BY Monique
    |

    My sony xperia z5 premium got cracked. If i’m going to replace or repair the crack part it woukd going to affect the water resistant of my phone or not?.

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi, the phone can be waterproof again when repaired by very professional person with original spare parts and machine, it’s hard to assure its waterproofness by DIY repair work.

  6. BY Alessio
    |

    I etradesupply
    Is possible know the programm used by sony for test pressure?
    Best rgards

  7. BY ross
    |

    i bought my son an experia z6 in june 2016 after he had previously had a z1 – a month later there was a problem with the software which was updated / upgraded by a service centre. last week the phone just switched off and continued to vibrate – could not get it switched on. the phone has not been near water, but when he took it into the service centre, they said there was water damage. the service centre later advised that they had not looked at the phone further and tht it was irreparably damaged – their comment was that the phone should not be in a room where there is water and even be handled by hand as sweat can cause water damage – in the local advert you see the phone been dropped in cake flour and then rinsed off under running water. i am extremely disappointed in this sony product and will probably not buy a sony again if this is their attitude of the service centres towards their client regarding water damage. When my son got the z1he did put it in water to see if sony’s claims were real, but the novelty had worn off by the time he got the z5 and he has not had it anywhere near water since getting it in june.

  8. BY Jane
    |

    Hi. My phone suddenly shut down after I used it underwater. Until now it couldn’t open. As I tried to open it, the phone becomes so hot that it almost split from my hands because of its hottest at the back. I wanna know if my phone could be fix and how much will it cost? Thanks

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi, Jane,since water damage can be really complicated you’d better send it to repair shop to check if the motherboard has been damaged.

  9. BY Shem
    |

    I use my sony z3 compact under water for how may times but yesterday as we took a selfie under the pool. My xperia z3 compact was dead. And as I check the sd card and sim are moist. So I guess the water was inside, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where the wet indicator located, and how many are wet indicators of this phone. So pls help me how to retrieve my phone back to life. Because as I try to press the power button it keeps on vibrating for a long time. 🙁

    • BY kaye
      |

      you’d better not use or power on your phone before it getting dried inside, water damages are complicated, if you’re not familiar with teardown the phone yourself you’d better send it to the repair shop to check.

      • BY Shem
        |

        After 3 days from drowning my phone in a sack of rice. Still not working, it just keep on buzzing for so long time until now.. I don’t know why it keeps on buzzing and won’t turn on 🙁 pls give me some advice.

        • BY kaye
          |

          have you ever fixed a cellphone before? if you’re not familiar with fixing a phone then you’d better send it to repair shop cause water damages are complicated.

      • BY Shem
        |

        I already put in a sack of rice for 3 days, but still not working. I try to charge it it doesn’t turn on, I only saw the red light. And still it keeps on buzzing for so long (non stop). I don’t know when my phone gonna be awake. Or is it totally water damage?

  10. BY shiin
    |

    hello sony, i have cracked my phone, sony xperia z3 d6603 screen and had it replaced. soon after the replacement the adhesive did not work, i have tried many double sided tapes but cannot get a good fix to hold the digitizer onto the board. can you tell me what waterpoof tape you have used to seal in the phone to the board?

    t

  11. BY Snooky
    |

    My z Xperia fell into the water n the charging port opened I tried to blow dry it but nothing the red light comes on wen I try n charge it,it switched on for a brief second but went of again wat can I do?

  12. BY sagar
    |

    hi my sony experia z mobile water damage , please i want to repaire that cell anyone repaire my cell plz contact my no 7204803100 thank you

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi, we are cellphone replacement distributor, we don’t repair phones,you can try to contact sony service center and send your phone to the local repair shop.

  13. BY nadey
    |

    Hi sony,

    My cover waterproof rubber been damage and yesterday accidentally dropped in water. Now the function is okay except the camera has unfortunately stop repeatedly. I’d tried to reinstall camera a few time and reboot but still camera got problem. What should I do?.

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi, sorry to hear that, when you dropped your phone into water, you’d better stop using the phone and turn off the phone, and you mentioned you reinstalled the camera several times, have you checked whether the camera flex cable is in good condition? water damage can be complicated to the phone, if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with the phone you’d better send it to the repair shop to have a check.

  14. BY Hari
    |

    I give my mobile in our city local Sony service center. He Send my mobile on coimbatore service center. He change my mother board but I give my mobile problem of memory card slot. That the board has problems….. Like hanging, restaring automatically lot of problems issue please help me I’m using m4 aqua

    • BY kaye
      |

      Hi,Hari,you mean your phone has problems with hanging up the phone or it just restart automatically after replacing the motherboard. Since the situation is complicated, we recommend you to ask help for the service center you used to turn to and tell them about your problems to see if there’s something wrong with the new motherboard.

  15. BY Raey
    |

    i jst droped ma Sony xperia c2005 in water…..when i turn on the device the screen display works normally but the touche stop workin…..hlp pls

    • BY ganesh
      |

      My mobile also same problem please anyone tell me solution

  16. BY Martin
    |

    This machines, is it something we can get our hands on?

    We would like to buy that…

    • BY May
      |

      Hi Martin, thanks for reading, our professional sales manager will contact you soon for the details 🙂

      • BY Tabrizi
        |

        Im also would like to know if i can buy those machines?

        • BY kaye
          |

          maybe there is a way to get those machines,lol

  17. BY sundar
    |

    am using sony xperia z1 water proof, its mobile display was cracked,. can i replace it with same water proof glass

    • BY May
      |

      Hi Sundar, I’m afraid not as you’ll damage the waterproof gaskets and adhesive when replacing the screen.

  18. BY samsom
    |

    i just got z5 i took only one pic in swimming pool now my new hp went crazy cant hear a thing and touchscreen problem Samsung way honest and better galaxy s5 better underwater

  19. BY msi.a
    |

    my z3 is dead i closed all the seals
    sony kan kiss my ass
    its not waterproof stop lying sony!!!!!!

  20. BY Kai
    |

    mine was a z3, it wasn’t my intention to submerged it in the pool but I was feeling safe knowing that its “waterproof” I attached it in a mono pod unfortunately, it fell into the water but was able to take it out immediately and it went blank. tried to press the power button and it vibrated 3 times. put it inside a bag of rice to dry and check on the next day and didn’t respond at all..

  21. BY Saqib
    |

    I’ve had the same issue with a Sony z3 Compact, it was in water for a few minutes, took it out and left it to dry, when I came back it was off and wouldn’t turn on. Sony’s warranty doesn’t cover it! Why advertise a phone as waterproof when it’s not really, also for all of the phones they have said are waterproof, they should have a warranty for that covers water damage. I mean whats the point? People are losing hundreds of pounds due to this. I was a huge fan of Sony, now i’ll never purchase a Sony product ever again! Let alone a mobile phone. 🙁

    • BY Galeth
      |

      I have had the same problem – specifically purchased this phone for waterproof feature, then used it in >1m fresh water and it worked fine and then got out after 5mins and it won’t turn on. I’m so angry to read Sony won’t take responsibility when their phones don’t live up to their claims and are water damaged even after using within recommended limits and being exceptionally careful to have all caps in place. I have visited their website and can see the marketing videos have changed now to just advertising that it will be safe to use in the rain! Trading standards should examine this.

  22. BY Tanveer
    |

    sony xperia z3 compact is dead. it is big loss of sony user. Its not death of z3 but also it is death of sony mobile. Good By Sony and welcome to Samsung A3 and A5 super mobile

  23. BY Brian
    |

    is there any tool that allow me to separate sony screen from frame?

  24. BY Brian
    |

    is there any good tool that able to separate crack sony xperia z1 z2 z3 screen from frame without damaging lcd?

  25. BY James
    |

    same situation here, bought the phone because it was supposed to be waterproof and the first pic I took underwater killed the phone. someone needs to sue Sony!

    • BY jillian
      |

      Same here xperia z2 dropped in sink of water and the side button fell off now the screen won’t work. Its going back to Sony today but have a feeling they will say its misuse. Crap phone.

      • BY Ignacio
        |

        Same here… First underwater pic and my 800$ Z5 Premium died… I can’t belive there isn’t any class action against Sony Mobile for fraud advertising.

  26. BY Agus
    |

    This is such a lie. my xperia z ultra’s screen is damaged when i bring it to the beach was dipping it to try the waterproof feature but as soon as the phone hit the water the recording stop. so i stopped using it coz i thought the video won’t work.
    fast forward to couple of hours after i’m out of the water to check on my phone, the screen is damaged, there is water mark on the screen.

    what a phony advertisement. waterproof my ass

  27. BY Touko Akimoto
    |

    I gotta say to some people here about water:

    1) Running Water – easily more pressure on the phone than submerging it to 1 meter. Don’t wash your phone under running water! You’re not even supposed to shower with diving watches. Please pay attention to physics and the fine print of the waterproof rating.

    2) Hot tub – what are you thinking? There’s nothing in the spec of HOT WATER. And that’s not even considering the pressure from hot tub water jets.
    Please pay attention to physics and the fine print of the waterproof rating.

    No, I’m not a Sony shill, see my other comment, I won’t buy another Sony phone till they change the glue, the video cam overheating the processor and the NFC chip causing outward pressure to the back panel.

    Also, their “metal and glass” marketing is a lie, its a plastic case with little slivers of metal applied around the edges.

    • BY Jordan Lewis
      |

      Good points.

      I have a 10 month old Xperia z1s that I have submitted to Sony Care. I used it in a pool, never putting the phone under water more than a foot or so, to take video of my son swimming for the first time. It worked wonderfully, but I noticed that the lens fogged over after a while, internally. The water was neither hot or cold, and it was a standard pool in every way, just like you see in Sony’s ads.

      I used the phone normally for a while. I had a case but no screen protector. The phone’s glass seems especially easy to scratch or nick. A day in my pocket with some change was enough, or sliding it across a table. When I took off the case, I noticed that I put a nice sized nick in it by merely dropping it a few inches on the table with my wallet.

      Recently it fell in my sink while I was shaving (I was listening to a program). It stopped charging after that, despite the fact that all of the flaps were firmly in place. I have submitted it to Sony to see if they will repair or replace it. Considering everything I have seen online, I’m almost certain they are going to tell me it failed the waterproof test.

      But I’m not sure that it wasn’t indeed the waterproof aspect that was the manufacturer’s defect. How can they replace phones for defective waterproofing when their policy is to reject phones that are not waterproof? Are we simply supposed to “believe” it is waterproof without ever engaging in the normal activities for which one uses waterproof items? I paid a lot of money and purchased that phone over other phones because of that feature. I will feel greatly cheated if Sony does not replace or repair my phone. I am expecting to feel cheated.

      But if I am not, I will absolutely tell you all about it. I want to believe in the phone company. I like Sony, and would love to trust their product line again.

      • BY Gareth
        |

        Did you have any luck? I’m going through the EXACT same thing right now.

  28. BY Touko Akimoto
    |

    Just like their repair equipment softens the waterproof glue for disassembly, so does the enormous heating of the camera in the phone.
    The poorly placed NFC chip provides constant outward pressure on the backplate and so, sooner or later it pops off. Presumably its already not waterproof anymore for a time before the back actually comes off.

    I have a 6 month old Z2 that’s never been dropped, that’s never seen any water, but the back is off and the local sony service center can’t repair it cause they’re not allowed to work on the waterproof phones.

    I’m traveling and hence I don’t have warranty either while here, and yet, I need to be able to rely on my phone.

    This has been a reported problem for Z, Z1, Z2 and now even Z3 owners. Not fixing such a grave engineering mistake in 4 generations of “flagship” phones is either gross negligence or intentional

    I have no use for phones that can’t stay together without the slightest external cause.

    I guess it’ll be Samsung again next time, or maybe Huawei.

  29. BY Champs
    |

    I’m also sailing in the same boat as many of you are.
    Bought my Sony Xperia Z3 recently and within a months time it got damaged due to water “ingress”. Service centre infomred me that water ingress happened either from ear phone port (or) through the top portion of the mobile. This assumption was based on the pattern of damage to the motherboard due to short circuit (as per service centre report). The time when my mobile screen started flicerking i was talking with my friend with wet hands after face wash. But now i have decided that I’ll take up the matter to the highest level until my mobile is repaired or replaced!!!!

    • BY Khali
      |

      @ Champs

      i experienced the same problem, phone is barely a months old, went swimming, next thing it doesn’t switch on.

      • BY champs
        |

        @khali- Did u take any action against SONY?

  30. BY Kabelo Pule
    |

    Hi I’m from South Africa and I’d like to get my Z3 compact repaired from water damage. How do I go on about doing that, please? I think the bottom right (touch sensors) may have affected somehow. The rest of the phone seems to respond to touch quite normally. Can you offer any sort of help, please? Thank you

  31. BY solomon
    |

    I had a similar problem. Took my phone to the pool, all flaps closed. It stopped working. I sent twice to see Sony and both times they said it was not repairable. Water damage they said, probably from misuse they said. So I put it on the shelf, got a new phone and got on with my life, extremely disappointed with Sony. Two months later I pick up the phone and guess what? It works! Sony technicians obviously don’t know what they are doing. Don’t throw away you old water damaged z series Xperia!!!

  32. BY John england
    |

    My Xperia ultra z got wet in my pocket on my motorbike got home would not work sent Sony October2014 they say my fault water damage
    The phone is not as promotion video shows water resistant, 3 have offered cheap Nokia replacement I have contacted BBC watchdog, and will put on you tube Sony need to be made to replace these rubbish phones spread the word via Twitter face book etc, I think thousands
    Of people are being robbed by Sony.

  33. BY Vincent
    |

    It’s true. my Z ultra also did the same… I used it under the rain. now there is water on the camera lense… It’s ear phone isn’t working… bullshit… and now that I removed the stupid screen protector m
    y warranty was voided…

  34. BY anthony gan
    |

    Mine z3. Screen die off when i wash with running tap. No pressure no underwater abpve 1.5m or more then 30 min. Non at all. And the screen just die off coz i wash it w running tap water! Now what sony? Now what? I want a full refund on a missleading product.

    • BY Heng
      |

      I have to agree with Anthony. The Z3 really does not live upto it’s standard. My phone barely survive 30cm of water and a minute under water and I am having hell of a time with the service people now, accusing me that I did not use the phone properly,e.g. cap not close properly To be very honest, I took all precautionary measure before going into water. Caps was definitely close. Disappointed with such a product, I can see now why they are losing billions of dollars.

      • BY Gareth Hong Kong
        |

        Exactly the same problem. Z3, all port caps shut and phone got wet in a rainstorm (was in my pocket).

        Sony say that the warranty is void because it is water damage….. on a waterproof phone!!! A $5000 phone, advertised as waterproof, lasted 7 months. PATHETIC

  35. BY Roel
    |

    I’ve got a Z2 and i’ve got some very nice videos in the pool with my girlfriend,
    Sony has never let me down in any way!
    However my phone has been crushed now and i need it repaired it is near impossible to find a repair station where they insure waterproof repairs…

  36. BY DDD
    |

    I’ve had a sony xperia ZR. Waterproofing failed in a hot tub then died. I thought I would have better luck with the xperia Z2 because it had a higher IP rating. The Z2 only lasted a month, and died after the first swim in a swimming pool. So far I’ve spent over $1200 on Sony phones, and none have lived up to their features. Very disappointed!

  37. BY Lora
    |

    Sony Z ultra waterproof gimmick

    The phone is not waterproof!!! Sony cheating!!!

    The water got into the phone through the headphone jack. The screen has a big water stain. The phone stayed in safe mode!!! Lost all my data!!! Even I tried every method they offered at home, it does not work.

    Sony refused to repair it! They said it is water damage.

    It is ridiculous. They marked the phone as waterproof. But it is not. Sony cheating!

    • BY juliana
      |

      Ya i had the same issue with my sony xperia z3 NOT WATER PROFF and its going to cost me 300 to replace.

    • BY ranjith
      |

      I suffered the same problem, I took the phone to the swimming pool to take the pic. all the slots were closed but still water went in and I took it to Sony service centre and they say that it will not come under warranty.
      these companies needs to be sued so that they don’t make us fool by saying that the phone is water proof when it is not.

    • BY Drew
      |

      Mine wasn’t even submerged. It was splashed with all the ports closed and still was destroyed… Waterproof my ass.

      • BY John
        |

        Yes same thing happened to mine it was submerged under water for only a few seconds and then wouldnt switch on anymore Sony refused to repair and returned phone without port covers missing and suggested the phone was submerged without the covers intact what a joke! these phones are not waterproof no way! I only bought one cos it says it is, what a con!!

    • BY Sumit
      |

      yes you are absolutely right the phone is not waterproof…they cheat us all and more over sony care refuses to repair it.

      • BY sally M
        |

        they are waterproof your just to dumb to close the caps and make sure its sealed

    • BY Ammadurrehman
      |

      I swear i had the same issue i placed my xperia z ultra in my swimming pool to record a video and suddenly it turned off. Sony must be sued!!

      • BY Aniket
        |

        I also had similar issue guys. I just submerged my z5 for a few seconds in water and now it’s not turning on. What should I do now

        • BY kaye
          |

          Hi, you’d better ask the repair shop for help..May this can help you.

  38. BY fari
    |

    I was listening the songs,suddenly my Sony ZR shot down and doesn’t turn on any more .I went to some repair mobile stores .they told me the hard is destroyed and if they want to change it ,they have to change C.P.U too. this is so expensive and it is better to change phone.do you agree ?

  39. BY rbreban
    |

    I have a z2 and km taking it toothed Beach today. Buahahahaha. Than you for your article.

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