Innovation preserves memories
New technology saves wet cellphones, tablets in Hartford

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

Oct. 25, 2017

Store manager Ed Mulford describes the Redux box used to help phones and tablets that have been damages by water Thursday afternoon at Victra Wireless in Hartford. The technology has been at the store for the past three months. The box removes moisture from liquid-damaged devices and can return the device to a working condition.
John Ehlke/Daily News

New technology now available in Hartford can salvage wet cellphones, tablets, wearables and more.

Redux, patented technology, removes moisture from liquid-damaged devices and returns them to working condition. It’s now available at more than 900 Victra Wireless stores, including at 1368 E. Sumner St., Hartford. Revive Electronics LLC owns the patent.

“The Redux machine is able to return most devices to working condition,” said Ed Mulford, Victra Wireless storage manager. Victra Wireless was formerly known as A Wireless; the company name was recently changed.

Precious photos, videos, contacts and emails can be retrieved thanks to this new device-drying technology.

“It’s a machine, and the easiest way to define it is, that it is a dehumidifier.” Mulford said. “It’s a machine that we put the cellphone or the smaller tablet inside of. Some things that could hinder the process include plugging it in and trying to recharge it.”

The revive process has been successful in recovering devices damaged by many perils, including toilet water, soapy washing machines, puddles, mud, tomato soup, beer, wine and more. Redux can also recover liquid-damaged smartwatches, fitness monitors, hearing aids, tablets, Bluetooth headsets and more.

“The biggest thing about Redux is that if you know you have water damage you want to power it down and if there is a removable battery you need to take the battery out,” Mulford said. “Just leave it be and bring it into us and we’ll handle it from there. Don’t put it into rice, don’t turn it on, just bring it directly to us. Once you plug it in you drop to about a 5 percent success rate.

“Then we put it into our machine, we go onto the Redux website and start the process. They haven’t lost their contacts or whatever, like personal photos. If I lost pictures of my daughter I’d lose my mind. We just started using the process here a couple of months ago.”

The Redux is seen Thursday afternoon at Victra Wireless in Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Mulford said the process has been successful at many other company locations.

“We are excited to partner with Revive Electronics and offer the Redux technology to our customers,” said John Stratton, CEO of Victra Wireless. “This partnership not only allows us to save our customers money by eliminating the cost to replace entire devices, but also enables them to recover their data, and save potentially irreplaceable information, such as contacts, photos, videos and more.”

Redux customers pay a nonrefundable diagnostic fee of $10 to attempt the revival process. The cost for a successful recovery of a basic phone or a data device is $50, while a smartphone, tablet or wearable is $90. A discount is provided to customers who have a monthly device insurance offered by the wireless service provider.

For customers who want a more proactive approach, Redux is available through a discounted membership program for $29.99. Each membership provides two dry attempts for up to 24 months at no additional cost and offers a limited money back guarantee on the recovery outcome.

“Most people think their phone is fried when it gets wet, and that’s not always the case,” said Reuben Zielinski, co-founder of Redux. “Redux removes 100 percent of the moisture from wet electronics, allowing many mobile device users to recover their hardware investment and precious data.”

The drying process typically takes less than one hour.

Redux was inspired when co-founder Joel Trusty’s wife subjected her cellphone to a full cycle in the washing machine and was devastated that not only was the phone ruined, but all the data, contact information, photos and videos were lost. With a background in manufacturing, Trusty had an idea for how to save his wife’s phone and knew his friend and neighbor, Zielinski, an ex-IBM employee, had the equipment to put his idea into practice. Together, they fixed the phone, and within one week created the first Redux model.