3 On Your Side: Protect Gadgets From Sun & Sand

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Sand, sun and surf. The things we love about the beach can wreak havoc on our electronic devices. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some advice to keep your gadgets safe.

Beachgoers slather on sunscreen to stay safe, but what about protecting your favorite gadget?

Paul Reynolds, Electronics Editor at Consumer Reports, says, “The beach is not a very friendly place to technology. Water is obviously an enemy of it, but also, sand can get into the ports of your devices, it can get into the seams between things and make them grind as they move.”

There are a variety of cases on the market for Smartphones, e-readers, and tablets. But Consumer Reports found that a simple plastic bag with a zipper or seal can also provide protection. Just keep a few things in mind: Bag that gadget before you leave home so you’re not fumbling with it on the beach. Don’t remove it until returning home to avoid contact with sand and sunscreen. Also, replace bags regularly so sand doesn’t accumulate.

Sand and water aren’t the only concerns though; sun and hot temperatures can also damage a device. Reynolds says, “It’s a good idea to keep the device out of the sun, keep it somewhere cool, like in a bag — a little bit insulated even would be good. Don’t leave it in the car. Pay attention to that. Ninety-five degrees to 100 degrees is sort of the max you should be looking at.”

If an unprotected device takes a dip in the water, act fast. Remove the battery and SIM card, and resist the urge to dry it with a heat source like a hair dryer, which can warp what’s inside. Instead, try leaving the phone (and its disconnected battery) submerged in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice grains overnight. It does a surprisingly good job of absorbing moisture.

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