Repairing a smartphone is less difficult than one might think. Economically and ecologically, the repair extends life at short cost and avoids having to get a new model, with all the carbon footprint it means.
Far from being black boxes sealed for eternity, our smartphones can be easily operated to change parts. Anyone who has climbed or put his nose in the belly of a computer can attest to this: computer components are large Legos that are fragile, but whose operation and assembly are not as complicated.
So, if your mobile is showing signs of vulnerability and you feel like a do-it-yourselfer, why don’t you fix it? The task is not very difficult, as long as you have the right tools, time and patience. Here is a (incomplete) list of useful tools to start repairing a mobile phone.
A heat gun (or a hair dryer)
For aesthetic reasons, most of our smartphones are now glued together. Whether it’s the screen attached to the frame or the back glass being tightly gripped with glue, you’ll need to first melt this glue to start your repair.
For this, nothing is more effective than a heat gun. Able to release a stream of hot air around 500 ° C, this machine quickly melts the glue on the back of your smartphone glass. Once the adhesive has softened, it is easier to lift the phone cover to begin repairing. A word of advice, don’t hesitate to constantly heat the adhesive that holds the parts of your smartphone together, otherwise it will cool down and harden quickly.
If you don’t have a heat gun or don’t want to buy one, you can try it with a hair dryer. The exhaled air is not very hot, but with a little perseverance you can manage.
A suction cup
The softening of the glue that holds your smartphone glass is nice and comfortable, but once it’s done, how do you remove the glass from its housing? Just use a suction cup!
Most specialist electronics stores carry this item. Well glued to the back or screen of your smartphone, it makes it easy to lift the glass of the mobile and access the internal components. It takes some energy and agility to successfully make an opening, but handling suction cups makes the task easier. One piece of advice, don’t hesitate to use a heat gun if you feel the glass won’t lift.
If the glass you wish to single is broken (repaired after a fall), the suction cup may not be attached to the mobile. In this case, you can try covering the screen with tape to smooth the surface. But don’t pull too hard or too hard; it is possible that weak cables will connect the motherboard to the screen or the back glass of the phone (if the fingerprint reader is on the back, for example).
To easily remove the screen or the protective glass from your phone, you need to slide a pick or a plastic card in the middle of this sandwich on the phone.
If you have a guitar pick available, you can use it for this step. Any plastic card is also applicable. This is just to prevent the adhesive from cooling and the two parts to separate without joining. However, be careful, these devices can become hot or deform during operation. If you value your accessories, use the appropriate picks and cards. These tools only cost a few euros.
Once your card or your pick is installed between the two layers of your phone, slide it all over the frame to remove the glass from the chassis. If necessary, use multiple cards or picks to keep some of the strategic areas on the chassis, so that no parts stick. Be careful not to place the corners of the cards or choose too carefully the casing of the phone, you may damage the components.
A precision screwdriver set
This is probably the center of disassembling any electronic gadget: the precision screwdriver. The inside and outside of our smartphones are wrapped with small screws. And of course, the same screws are rarely found at each stage of disassembly. That’s why a screwdriver kit is so important.
Usually consisting of a screwdriver with a magnetic head, a screw extension and several screw bits, these kits offer you almost all the accessories to remove every component of your phone. Sometimes you have to wander around to find the right head, but these kits will allow you to get the job done without having to worry about damaging your phone.
Screwdriver kits usually offer about forty pieces. This type of package is usually sold for almost thirty euros. You can also buy a fixed-head screwdriver if you know what kind of bits you need. This is usually less than a complete kit.
Be careful to arrange your screws during disassembly, each one should return to its exact place. Replacing a screw with a taller one can crush some components during assembly.
Most maniacs can purchase a magnetic repair mat that makes it easy to arrange and mark different screws. If not, you can always place each type of screw in a specific small bowl.
Precise spatulas and compasses
The final step before replacing a damaged part with a new one is likely to disconnect each small cable (the flat cables that connect the screen and the battery, etc.) and each part. in the casing of your mobile. For this, there is no secret, you need spatulas and compasses.
Plastic spatulas (with square, sharp or hanging tips) will allow you to use leverage to disconnect some connectors. The choice of rigid plastic makes it possible to avoid electrical conduction and to operate the printed circuits without taking the risk of slipping and damaging components.
As for pliers, straight or curved, they make it possible to get some hard screws or some components out of their house. The most complete tool kits always offer crossed pliers that allow you to hold a component without having to force (useful for the weakest parts) and types of “scalpels” for electronic devices that allow, thanks to their semi-rigid metal head, to cut or pry some adhesives or some hard parts.
Uses: adhesive, solvent, etc.
If the defective part has already been replaced, you still need to assemble your mobile according to the trade rules. After replacing all the parts and screws in the correct places, you will need to replace the screen or the glass that protects the components. For this you need nail polish remover and tape.
The first allows you to remove the old adhesive that stuck to the chassis. To restore the adhesive to the edge of the phone, you can use ultra-thin rollers (preferably 3 or 4 mm). You can gently attach the glass to your mobile and finish your repair.
If you replace the battery in your mobile, there is a high possibility that it will be stuck to the chassis using adhesive strips. Some can be removed by pulling them, for others it is necessary to absorb a point of solvent under the battery immediately on the lever. To replace the new battery, you can purchase dedicated adhesive strips (above the pink in the photo).