Consumer Watch - Low Tech Fixes

December 22, 2008 2:12:03 PM PST
What do rice, toothpaste, and quarters have in common?They can all come in handy when your high-tech gadgets need a quick fix.

Technology is great, when it works.

But a scratched CD or wet cell phone can make your day go haywire.

Before you toss your tech toys in the trash, some simple household items can help.

We called in Agent Jeff Schingten with the Geek Squad to test out some low tech fixes to high tech problems.

Why is it that sometimes when I use my flash on my digital camera everything looks white and ghostly? Is there something I can do for that?

Any type of paper will do, a tissue, a coffee filter, a plain piece of white paper.

Take that piece, place it over here and then tape it over, being careful not to cover any of the sensors or viewfinder window.

The picture on the left is with full flash, on the right, covered with a coffee filter.

Think this scratched DVD is destined to become a coaster? Think again.

One of our favorite standbys is just good old-fashioned white toothpaste. So the first thing we'll do is get the disc nice and wet now this only works with the paste style, not with the gel, pledge furniture spray works too.

This is smoothing any superficial scratches on the disc itself, now we let that sit for about five minutes or so and let it dry. Then when it's done, rinse it off, wipe it clean.

And what do you know, it did!

Sometimes you need for example, a size D battery, all you have are C's, is there a quick fix for that? So we'll use a stack of quarters, maybe about five of em to make up the difference. So about a dollar and quarter later and we've got a good fix.

This is a very temporary fix. Yeah, but it's kind of McGuyver. I like it. There you go, let's see, ah it works!

Then there's the dreaded cell phone in water. But don't despair!

What can you do? My first instinct is to, take the blow dryer, or stick in the oven to dry it out?

"That's not the best thing for electronic components. Most of the components in the cell phone or other electronics are not designed to handle the heat."

What about this whole concept of putting it in a bowl of rice to soak out some of the moisture? Well the rice acts as a moisture absorption agent.

First, turn it off, then you'll want to remove all the extra components, like the battery cover, battery and sim card put it in to your bowl of rice and cover it securely. Then wait for a couple of days, I would recommend 48 hours just to be sure.


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