Phone’s cracked screen, replaced.

Written by: Ranti Junus

Primary Source: blog.rantijunus.net, September 5, 2015

I usually am quite careful when it comes to my phone: use phone case, apply the screen protector, things like that. But I suppose accident happens regardless. So, during the first week of August, I accidentally dropped a big screwdriver on the phone (don’t ask why) and heard a “crack” sound. Uugghh… my heart dropped when I saw the crack. Really bad.

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The phone with the cracked screen. Looks scary.

Hoping the screen protector was strong enough to protect the touchscreen (after all, I used tempered glass screen protector), I turned it on and, bummer, the touch screen is completely borked. Fortunately, the hard drive was not affected so software worked fine. However, I could not interact with the apps, even when I tried to shutdown the phone. So, the only thing I could do was to let the phone run until it was running out of the battery and shutdown by default.

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The software works just fine, but since the touch display is damaged, I cannot interact with it at all.

I checked the company’s website and their user forum, and found out one could send the phone back to the company in China and get charged for $150 (apparently this kind of physical damage doesn’t get covered by the warranty) or spend about $50 for the screen/touch display and replace it oneself. Being a tinkerer I am and always want to see the guts of any electronic devices, I decided to risk it and do the screen replacement myself. The downside: opening up the phone means I will void the warranty. But, at this point, warranty means little to me if I have to spend big bucks anyway to have the phone fixed. Besides, I am going to learn something new here. Worst case scenario: I failed. But then I can always sell the phone as parts on eBay. So, nothing really to loose here. Besides, I still have my Moto X phone as a backup phone.

YouTube provides various instructions on DIY phone screen replacement. I found two videos that really helped me to understand the ins and outs of replacing the screen.

The first video below nicely showed how to remove the damaged screen and put the replacement back. He showed which areas we need to pay attention to so we won’t damage the component.

The second video was created by a professional technician, so his method is very structured. The tools he used helped me to figure out the tools I need.

I basically watched those two videos probably a dozen times or so to make sure I didn’t miss anything (and, yes, I donated to their Paypal account as my thanks.)

It took me a while to finally finished the screen replacement work. I removed the cracked screen first, and then had to wait for about 3 weeks to receive the screen replacement. I just used whatever online store they recommended to get the parts that I need.

Below is a set of thumbnails with captions explaining my work. Each thumbnail is clickable to its original image.

1.

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Phone with its cracked screen. Ready to be worked on for screen replacement.

2.

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The back of the phone. The SIM card is removed and the back cover is ready to be opened.

3.

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The phone with back cover removed. The battery occupies most of the section. There’s a white dot sticker on the top right corner covering one of the screws. Removing that screw will void the warranty.

4.

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The top part of the phone that covers the hard disk, camera lens, and SIM car reader is removed. There’s a white, square sticker on the top left corner. It will turn pink if the phone is exposed to moisture (dropped into a puddle of water, etc.)

5.

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Bottom part of the phone is removed. It houses the USB port, the touch capacity, and the antenna.

6.

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The battery is removed. It took me quite a while to work on this because the glue was so strong and I was so worried I might bend the battery too much and damage it.

7.

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All the components that would need to be removed had been removed. The hard disk, the main cable, the touch capacity/USB port/antenna part. Looking good.

8.

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The video instruction from ModzLink suggested to use a heat to loosen up the glue. Good thing I have a blow dryer with a nozzle that allows me to focus the hot air on certain section of the screen. The guitar pick was used to tease out the glass part once the surface is hot enough.

9.

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It took me about 20 minutes to finally get the screen hot enough and the glue loosen up. By the way, I vacuumed the screen first to remove glass debris so the blow drier won’t blow them all over the place.

10.

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I used the magnifying glass from my soldering station to make sure all glue and loose debris were gone.

11.

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The screen replacement, on the left, finally arrived. Even though they said it’s an original screen, I’m not really sure, considering the original one has extra copper lines on the sides.

12.

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The casing is clean so all I need to do is inserting the screen replacement in it.

13.

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Carefully putting the adhesive strips on the sides of the casing.

14.

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New screen in place. I had to redo it because I forgot to put the speaker grill on the top at the first time.

15.

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Added new adhesive strips so the battery will stick on it. Put the rest of the components back.

16.

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Added a new tempered glass screen protector, put the SIM card back in, and turned on the phone.

Finally:
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Success. I got my favorite phone back.

It was scary the first time I worked on the phone, mostly because I don’t want to break things. But I eventually felt comfortable dealing with the components and, should similar thing happened again (knocks on the wood it won’t), I at least know what to do now.

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Ranti Junus
Ranti Junus is Systems Librarian for Electronic Resources, supporting the design and access organization of library materials as well as support in technical and access issues related to electronic services and resources including purchased databases, the online catalog, and other digital resources. She is also responsible for assessing the library web presence and electronic resources for accessibility issues, serves as library liaison for MSU Museum Studies program, and a subject librarian for the Library & Information Science collections. She is interested in usability & accessibility (especially for persons with disabilities), issues in technology & society, open source system, digital assets management, linked data & semantic web, and digital humanities. In her spare time, she listens to prog-rock, blues, jazz, and classic.