Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Not For the Faint Hearted

While coming back from a trip down to the family farm one particularly rainy day, I pulled into my driveway and spied what I thought was a cell phone laying in the middle of our driveway. I jokingly said to the others that there looks to be a cell phone lying in our driveway in the middle of the pouring rain not thinking it would be one of ours. That is when my mother-in-law exclaimed that she had been missing hers all day. 

When our mother-in-law first joined our family here in America, we gave her one of our old cell phones and she has been using it since. However, her eyesight is not the best and she really has to squint and hold the small screen close to see what's going on so as a Christmas gift to her, we bought one of those really large screened and really expensive phones for her. It lasted just shy of five months.

I say lasted because she immediately raced inside and plugged it into the charger. The phone lit up and then immediately turned off never to light up again. My wife and my mother-in-law were leaving for Washington D.C. the very next morning so there wasn't really anything to do but swap her back to her old phone and toss this one on the office desk. There it sat for a number of days before I picked it up and pressed the on button. Amazingly it lit up but the battery would flash 0% charge for a few seconds before it would turn off.

So I turned to the computer and googled replacing Samsung batteries and wouldn't you know, the internet was full of videos and tutorials of people who have done the same thing. A battery could be bought for about $12 and for good measure, I also got a charging port for another $13 including a tool kit for working on the phone. I figured for $25 outlay of cash for a chance of getting a $500+ phone working again was a risk I was willing to take.

The first step is to remove the back cover which is made of glass and glued onto the phone. The tutorials said to heat the phone up to loosen the glue and then carefully pry off the glass being careful not to break it. Well I broke it. Once broke, I didn't have to be careful and simply pulled the thing off and discarded.

After removing a pile of screws, I removed the frame around all the circuitry that was also covering up most of the battery. After that it was a simple procedure to pop the old battery out, put a new battery in and reverse my assembly steps. I was going to replace the charging port but in order to do that, I was going to have to remove every single board from inside the phone all connected by these tiny leads and antennae and I didn't want to do that unless I had too. When I pressed the on button and the phone powered up to life, I knew I wouldn't have too anyway. So for $25 initial outlay plus another $7 for a new glass back with adhesive that is now somewhere on its way to my door, I was able to salvage a very expensive phone to live another day.

While I was transferring service from the then still broken phone to one of our old phones so my mother-in-law would have something with her on her trip out east, the man on the phone asked me why I was transferring the number from such a nice phone to an old one. I told him the new one had been destroyed to which he asked if I wanted to buy another one to replace it. I told him that I wasn't interested at this time and he made a comment about waiting a bit to teach our kids a lesson about leaving phones in the rain. I responded it was my mother-in-law's phone so my hands were tied about lesson giving. He chuckled. Seriously though I hoped she did learn a lesson from all this.


Kelly said...

Isn't it wonderful how many things can be found on YouTube? A friend was just telling me last week that she'd made a major repair to her Apple laptop using a video (posted by a pre-teen) as her guide. Saved her big bucks at the Apple store.

*patting you on the back* for making the repairs and for being such a good SIL, Ed. I hope they appreciate you!

Ed said...

Kelly - I am constantly amazed by Youtube and the internet in general, something my daughter takes for granted since both have always been around during her lifetime. However, there is another chapter to this story and it takes a bad turn. See Friday's post.

sage said...

Good work!

Bob said...

Your narrative illustrates well the love-hate relationships we have w cell phones. Can't live with 'em .... you know the rest! Good repair job, by the way.