Back in 2014, we helped start a hacker conference in Dharamsala in the Himalayas of …
One of the most useful repairs I do is fixing phone screens. I break my phone screens all the time due to stupid things like dropping my phone, stepping on it, or having it bang around with something in my pocket. Fixing phones isn’t a trivial task since you have to deal with really small things like near-microscopic screws, tons of small parts, and really strong glue. Sometimes you have to pry parts off because the glue is so strong and you risk damaging the phone. However if you’re able to do it, it’s completely worth it to learn how to repair your phone of choice. You no longer need to be worried about dropping the phone or damaging the phone. A standard LCD+digitizer (front glass) assembly is around $20 which is the main cost of the repair. The rest is just fiddling around with the innards of your phone to move all the parts over to the new screen.
In this repair, I show how to replace the LCD + digitizer assembly for my Nexus 5 phone which just stopped working today. Luckily I had an extra screen lying around so I could do the repair the same day. Here is today’s patient. It’s an LG Nexus 5 with a bad crack and broken LCD. It was actually limping along for a few months but finally gave out today. I think I must have bumped it in a crucial area which rendered the LCD unusable.
Here you can see that the LCD just outputs a bunch of gibberish. It’s completely unusable.
I start by taking off the back cover of the phone. For the Nexus 5, its quite easy and I can just pry it off with my fingernail. Once you have the back cover off, you can see that its possible to access the battery and other parts. I also change my battery on the Nexus 5 every year or so. New batteries cost about $10 and it breathes fresh life into the phone. You don’t have to run around with a mobile battery all the time. It’s surprising how quickly batteries get run down and lose their charging capacity.
Now I’ve removed the top plate protecting the main circuit board. All the parts are exposed like the cameras, speaker, microphone, and antennas. Also, the screws are super tiny so you have to take extra precautions so that you don’t lose them. If you do repairs like this, I recommend getting a magnetic workpad specifically for mobile repairs. I also keep strong neodymium magnets on the workpad and put my screws on it. That way, I won’t lose a bunch of screws if I accidentally knock the pad since they’ll be stuck to the neodymium magnet.
Took out the main logic board and most of the other parts. The front camera is still in there and the bottom logic board as well.
Now the complete assembly has been removed from the LCD. We’re ready to start transferring the parts over to the new screen.
Here’s the new screen (left) with the old screen (right). The new screen also comes with new double sided tape to hold down all the parts. You have to peel off the blue areas to expose the tape.
Added in the main logic board and cameras. Also had to add in the button switches on the side for main power and volume up/down. Those don’t come with the new screen.
Bottom logic board has also been added, connected up the antennas, and put on all the protective plates. We’re pretty much ready to go now.
Finally closed up the whole phone and it’s ready to be powered up. You can see the old screen on the right is looking pretty sad.
Success! Can finally check the internet, read my ebooks, and post stupid facebook messages again. Yay!
Like I said, phone repair, especially screen repair, is one of the best repair skills you can have. I never worry about dropping my phone and always keep a spare screen around in case something happens. Also, if something bad does happen, you can just throw on another screen and be up and running in an hour or two. This is especially important if you have a lot of contacts on your phone as well as crucial messages and information.
Hope you like this post and let me know if you have any requests for specific repairs to blog about 🙂