Repair: Nexus 5 Phone

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 🙂

Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour 2017 – The Arrival

Sunday started off the 2nd Annual Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour, Day 0. This is the day when everybody is scheduled to arrive. The logistics were tough but we believed we had it worked out. Everyone was booked on the same flight on Vanilla Air from Tokyo to Hong Kong and had everything gone okay, it would have been a smooth transition to get everyone across the border and into Shenzhen to the hotel. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

Continue reading “Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour 2017 – The Arrival”

Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour, Vol 2 Prep – Scouting Markets 2

Day 2 of the wholesale market scouting for the Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour has come and we planned to hit up around four markets again. Our first stop was the outdoor products and camping gear market near the Peoples’ Stadium in Guangzhou. We heard that they do a lot of camping gear which makes it especially interesting to us and we wanted to know what wholesale costs they usually go for. We hopped a cab and went there but upon arrival were disappointed to find that they just had retail camping gear shops. We checked a couple of them out because the prices were still quite low and we had some outdoor trips coming up, but if they had retail shops, they must have wholesalers. We’re interested to find the wholesalers as a potential way for people around hackerfarm to import goods internationally. As a summary, the camping and outdoor market is a retail market with a lot of camping gear and packs as well as sporting goods shops.


The next stop was the housing decoration and construction market. The name of this area was intriguing so I wanted to check it out. The proper name would probably be the interior design market and they had wholesalers for interior curtains, flooring, and lighting. JC and I were hoping to see things like bathroom fixtures, kitchen organizational tools, and stuff that were more aftermarket. Carpets and lighting are mainly for people doing construction on their homes, although the curtains were really nice. We are also thinking to get some custom curtains done for hackerfarm, but that would have to wait for another post. This market is good for interior design if you are planning a renovation or your industry is renovating homes and interior design. This was only one of a few of these types of markets so there are possibly other markets that have a different focus. If you get to check out those markets, let us know how it goes.

Next up was the industrial printing market. This market has all things print-related as well as vendors that can help you handle any of your printing needs. On our way there, we passed by an eyeglass market which I’ve mentally made a note of. Our hotel for the tour will be near the area so I will walk over and check that place out. The print market starts out with a bunch of packaging vendors that will handle doing custom printed packaging for you. Those can range from custom printed foil bags for food to paper and cardboard shopping bags. As you go up the street, it becomes more industrial, getting into different types of inks for offset printing, gravure, lithography, etc. Going even further up the street takes you to the different paper shops that have various stocks of paper on display. These places are constantly loading pallets of A0 sized paper in and out of the street. And finally, you get to the printing equipment.

You can’t really buy things like offset printers there, mainly because the offset printer markets are still dominated by companies like German and Japanese companies. You can buy the smaller associated machines for printing though such as guillotines, wire binders, saddle stitchers (heavy duty staplers), and hot glue binders. These machines are priced extremely reasonably and Jacinta and I are discussing setting up an experimental print shop at hackerfarm. That would be very useful to experiment with print techniques which include precision cutting and various types of binding. Although we planned this as a scouting mission, we ended up spending over two hours in this market just looking around. We’ll definitely be coming back here. This market is good for people involved in printing, whether that’s for publishing, graphics design, or packaging. It’s also excellent for people interested in papercraft and there are various low cost machines to handle tasks like embossing and hot foil stamping.


The final market we went to was the wholesale tea market in Fangcun. It’s the largest tea market in China and had tea from all over the country. It was really interesting seeing all the different types of teas and also learning about where they come from and how they’re prepared. JC and I ended up purchasing a lot of tea and a small tea set to start learning more about it. We’re hoping to become more knowledgeable about tea and transitioning over to more tea from coffee. We also think it might be interesting to start importing tea, but I suspect there’s a long learning curve. Much like jewelry, if you don’t understand the industry, it is easy to get taken advantage of. Even while we were there, the people we purchased tea from took us to a place to buy the tea set and likely received a kickback from it. Just as a warning, it’s buyer beware and everyone there is a businessperson and out to make money. Otherwise, the wholesale tea market was wonderful and JC and I were very impressed with it. It’s very interesting both culturally and with the teas on display and we’re now considering entering one of the oldest trades in the world: importing and exporting teas.



That wraps up the wholesale market scouting in Guangzhou. Next up will be the Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour Volume 2 Itinerary 🙂

Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour, Vol 2 Prep – Scouting Markets 1

Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour Vol 2 Tools 3

It’s been six months since the last Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour and we’re at it again. This year, we’ll be focusing on the wholesale markets which offers an easier way for people to get exposed to how things work in China as well as understanding the mechanism of how an import/export business would work. We’ve lined up quite a lot of markets to provide a good mix of products so people can get ideas on what they could potentially import to Japan. Continue reading “Hackerfarm Shenzhen Tour, Vol 2 Prep – Scouting Markets 1”