helium kills Apple electronics?

Discussion in 'Physics' started by Wendy, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Wendy

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  2. bertus

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    Hello,

    I never had problems with my iphone.
    I am working with NMR magnets, that will need a regular refills of helium.

    Bertus
     
  3. nsaspook

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  4. Wendy

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    Like most articles like this I take it with a grain of salt, but it was too interesting not to share.
     
  5. nsaspook

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    This one at least has a valid scientific basis for the cause of the problem.
     
  6. wayneh

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    And also may be consistent with Bertus' observation, since his phone may not have the new MEMS clock.

    "Apple has recently started using MEMS timing oscillators from a specialized company called SiTime"​

    I've been looking for details on what "recently" means but so far no luck. An iPhone 5 in that building that should have otherwise been damaged apparently was not.

    It's fascinating that the damaged devices recover when they air out.
     
  7. nsaspook

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    The raised MEMS device internal pressure damps the mechanical oscillations so most are not permanently damaged if the He passes back through the vacuum seal by the same diffusion process as time passes when the He concentration is close to zero on the atmospheric side.

    Vacuum seals are never perfect when you need to maintain static levels vacuum level near UHV.

    http://www.palomartechnologies.com/blog/high-vacuum-mems-sealing-technology
    https://cas.web.cern.ch/sites/cas.web.cern.ch/files/lectures/platjadaro-2006/sonderegger.pdf
     
  8. KeepItSimpleStupid

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    Sounds totally reasonable.

    Take another example of something unusual that I'm familiar with.
    In two cases I have what did it.

    1) Jumping a car - disabled the car clock (the one that tells time - cost $325.00)
    2) Dragging a bicycle across the cargo mat disabled the "bicycle computer"

    In both cases removing the battery and shorting the battery terminals (the side connected to the device) restored functionality.

    Somehow it probably dumped some charge into a CMOS structure that would not come out without help.

    An HP calculator had a comma as a decimal point. The method fixed it.

    #1 was hard to undo. You have always on power and partly on power. I think I used the fuse block.
     
  9. crutschow

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    I would think that, when the iphone is exposed to normal, helium free air, the helium in the MEMS assembly would eventually diffuse out, just like it does in a helium balloon.
     
  10. Reloadron

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    Thanks for sharing that story. I did quite a bit of work involving helium leak detection. We used helium because next to hydrogen it is the smallest atoms and obviously hydrogen is not as friendly as helium. There is a good reason helium filled balloons are popular at parties and not hydrogen filled balloons. They both float. :)

    Everything would have been fine but the leaking vent allowed those helium atoms to escape and the Apple devices became helium leak detectors. Pretty interesting when you think about how things happened.

    Ron
     
  11. bertus

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    Hello,

    Our company did send this in an email, as we regulary use helium:

    The iPhone Is Apparently Allergic to HeliumExtremTech By Joel Hruska on November 1, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Helium. It’s not a gas you probably pay much attention to, unless you work in a handful of very specific industries, enjoy playing with insane overclocking rigs, or have a job filling party balloons. But helium is critical in the cryogenics industry, which means it’s used in hospital MRI scanners to keep the superconducting magnets operating at the necessary temperature. That fact has led to the discovery of a rather odd issue with Apple iPhones — they can shut down when exposed to helium, sometimes for days at a time.

    Apparently, the official Apple fix is as follows:
    If your device has been affected and shows signs of not powering on, the device can typically be recovered. Leave the unit unconnected from a charging cable and let it air out for approximately one week. The helium must fully dissipate from the device, and the device battery should fully discharge in the process. After a week, plug your device directly into a power adapter and let it charge for up to one hour. Then the device can be turned on again.


    Bertus
     
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