Protect Gadgets from Heat this Hot Summer

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Are you enjoying the 100+ degree summer temperatures? I am pretty sure your gadgets are not. Summer heat and activities can be brutal on electronic devices, but no one wants to leave them behind when taking the kids to the beach or the lake. There are ways to protect your phone, camera and portable media player from summer mayhem. DriveSavers (www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com), an expert in the data recovery industry since 1985, has some advice to share on the subject.

Summer sunburn. The baking sun will exact its toll on your skin, and it can be equally brutal to your electronic devices. DriveSavers advises, “Avoid leaving your devices out in direct sunlight. Electronics are not made to withstand high temperatures and may shut down when they get too hot, only to restart once they have cooled. When left in high heat for a period of time, these devices can fail and lose all data stored on them. To steer clear of these circumstances, place them in a beach bag or wrapped in a dry towel to keep them cool.”

If you find your device has overheated, don’t panic. Move it to a cool place (not the fridge or freezer – moisture is worse than the heat). Try holding it in front of the A/C vent in your car. Let it become cool to the touch, then attempt to power it back on.

Use caution when you’re poolside. Again, from DriveSavers: “The splash of your child’s big dive into the pool or the practical prank of pouring water on Mommy while she sunbathes can be casual occurrences that could cause water damage to your device. It is important to monitor where your device is in location to water and to secure your device with an appropriate protective case, whether it’s a fancy waterproof case or a Ziploc bag.”

If your device is dropped in the pool, power it down and dry it off – resist the urge to immediately try to turn it on as you can cause more damage. Remove the battery and SIM card, draining as much liquid as possible from the inside. Place any parts that encountered water in a Ziploc baggie full of uncooked rice for at least 48 hours to pull moisture from it. Then, reinstall the SIM card and battery and attempt to power it back on. If it doesn’t back power on, consult your mobile phone company or an electronics repair professional.

Protect your photos and memory cards. According to DriveSavers, there are three major ways to avoid and prevent data loss.

1. “Never trust your camera as the single source to safeguard all of your photos. It is always best to transfer the images from the camera’s flash memory to a computer hard drive as soon as possible. We recommend not deleting images or reformatting the memory card while it is still in the camera. Wait until all photos are transferred and verified before you clear your camera’s memory card.”

2. “Keep in mind that flash memory cards can be used about 1,000 times before they start to wear out. The best way to protect yourself and your irreplaceable images is by backing up your data. This will help guard against data loss when (not if) your hard drive fails. It’s also recommended that you make additional copies of your backup media and keep a duplicate of it off site in a secure location. You can never be too safe with your memories.”

3. “Carrying (memory) cards in your pocket can cause static buildup that can zap the card, making it unreadable.” DriveSavers recommends that you use the plastic case that came with the memory card. Better yet, store filled cards in your camera case so you can keep them out of the sun, sand and heat.

Blast away sand and dirt. Outdoor activities expose handheld devices to sand, dust and grime. Tiny particles can become embedded in crevices and scratch glass, lenses and hard surfaces. Don’t rub with a towel or sanitizing wipe – use a canister of compressed air to blow away debris.

If, despite all your best efforts, you discover a possible data loss, don’t panic. Professionals have lots of tricks to help you recover your data. I once thought I’d lost all our photos from Hawaii due to an unreadable camera memory card, but the data was still there and I got our pictures back. Don’t hesitate to consult an expert should you fall “victim” to summer mayhem.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.