Monday, May 3, 2010

iPhone Repair Island Style

It's alive. Well after a few weeks of watching videos and step by step tutorials, taking stuff apart, ordering stuff, then ordering more stuff the phone is alive.

So how this all started. Bottom line I pulled a Kirsten, those of you that know Kirsten will know what I am talking about, I put the phone in a glass of wine by accident. I won't go into the gory details suffice to say it was a Homer Simpson moment. When I got the phone home I put it in a bag of rice over night, turned off of course, then tried to use it the next day. All was well except for the home button that was not working. So I got on line watched a few videos and decided to tear it down and try to repair it. I had no warranty, you can't insure the phone, and  a new one without a new contract which I am not eligible for is $299 plus freight, so nothing ventured nothing gained at this point. I decided that the home button had wine in it and that was the root of all evil, in the process of trying to remove the home button to clean it, I broke the LCD, so now I need a new LCD and a home button. I got on ebay and started looking at parts, managed to find a complete front end assembly that includes the screen, the home button, the LCD etc all in one. Plug and play I am thinking is the way to go. That assembly cost me $77.98 delivered via priority mail to St Thomas.

So a week or so goes by and the new parts come in. I tear the phone back down, install the parts and we have no joy, at this point I can no longer hear phone calls, more about that later, and the home button is better but not quite right. So I tear it down again, it appears that the little contacts on the circuit board that actually runs the home button have turned green from their wine bath. Also the fiber in the board has basically turned soft and wont hold it's shape. That part also has the port for the docking cable. It has also developed a bit of a green patina that looks good on antique brass, not so good on computer cables. So it's back to ebay and another parts order. This time it's an iPhone 3G Ringer Port Assembly, $22.94 delivered priority mail to St Thomas.

Turns out that if I had ordered this part in the first place and not broken the LCD screen that's all that I would have needed to fix the phone. Things that I learned, 3.5mm in length screws are very small, ribbon cables are very small. I had a lot of trouble with the cable number 3, I actually managed to damage the new one and had to salvage the one from my original screen. That damage was why I could no longer hear phone calls when I installed the new screen. Now I know how to remove the LCD without breaking it. I also learned how to change the battery, this will come in handy soon as Deb's battery is getting very weak. So I still spent less money ($100.92), although more time, than I would have had I sent it back to Apple but now I know how to fix them and odds are good that it won't be the last time I turn a screw in an iPhone given my track record with cell phones. Plus I have all these cool parts, including a spare outer glass, and tools to add to the Junk drawer.

It also helped that I had a loaner phone from work through out this process. Just put my sim card in it and at least had text and voice.



Rob Frimmel said...


Repairing an Iphone is a great skill. Amazing how much info you can find online about repairing theses things. May I suggest you spend a few dollars and get an Otter Box case for your phone. Not 100% waterproof but helps protect it better than most cases. Still thinking about our recent charter on Flying Moose. Great Time!

Wreggie said...

Good job. You might want to invest in an Otterbox. I have dropped mine in the toilet and it came out fine.