Author Topic: iPhone Repaired!  (Read 3886 times)

acepedro45

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iPhone Repaired!
« on: March 11, 2015, 07:49:09 PM »
My iPhone 3 GS has been my faithful companion since the heady days of 2011, but these days, it is more and more common for it to elicit snorts of laughter from non-Mustachians who wonder how a museum-piece phone can possibly offer the modern conveniences available for smartphone users.

(Incidentally, I know that smartphones themselves are distinctly non-Mustachian, but surely there is an exception that can be carved out for a 6-year-old model with a very cheap non-contract data plan.)

But since I mostly use it for the GPS, occasional newspaper web browsing, stupid app games, texting and old-fashioned talking, the phone meets my needs. Or at least it did until recently, when it began displaying the dreaded “Charging Is Not Supported With This Accessory” message despite the parentage of my Apple-branded charger being beyond reproach.

I visited the Apple store and met with a Genuis there who gave me five or possibly even ten minutes of his precious and valuable time to let me know there was no hope of ever resuscitating the phone for a cost the was less than buying a new iPhone 4 or 5 with a contract. According to the Genius, an unmatched Authority on all things Apple, the battery and power assembly on the phone was built into the case, so repairs were not even possible without replacing most of the phone’s circuitry and the back of the case (which sounded expensive).

But with some Googling, I discovered the culprit of this vexing message was likely the phone’s docking port. There were entire video series on YouTube devoted to replacing various iPhone parts that even seemed accessible to me, a curious but unskilled noob when it came to disassembling a phone and swapping out electronic parts. In fact, the very part I needed could be had on eBay for the low price of $4.78 including shipping.

In Neil Barker, producer of excellent YouTube videos, I found a Virgil to my Dante, one who could guide me into this miniature electronic Hell and back again. Inside the phone’s case, his videos showed, was a world filled with Mysterious Electronic Parts, Itty Bitty Screws, Circuit Boards and other subtleties. As I pulled my phone gently and gingerly apart, at last I came to the point of no return.

DO NOT REMOVE, the sticker warned me, and indeed Neil’s commentary informed that by removing the sticker and the screw it covered, I would be invalidating my Apple warranty. Here I paused.

Who was I, a neophyte, to go poking and prodding with my tiny screwdriver even further into the iPhone’s innards and possibly damaging the delicate circuitry within? Was this not foolish and reckless? Would the Apple Police kick in my door and drag me off to the FoxConn factory just for thinking about removing the DO NOT REMOVE sticker? 


I know of an apartment building filled with mostly people who are low income and don't speak English very well. For the most part, they don’t have a lot of information about their rights or how the legal system works. Every time I visit this building, I am struck by an arrogant sign posted on the door by the building’s management.

ATTENTION RESIDENTS!!!

IT HAS COME TO OUT ATTENTION THAT SOME RESIDENTS ARE HOLDING THE FRONT DOOR OPEN FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHICH IS UNSAFE FOR US ALL. ALL BUILDING ENTRANCES MUST BE SWIPED AND ALL VISITORS MUST BE CLEARED THROUGH THE OFFICE. NO EXCEPTIONS!

ANYONE FOUND IN VIOLATION OF THESE RULES WILL BE REFERED TO THE ATTORNEYS OFFICE!

Now I am all for a safe and secure building, but the tone of this message infuriates me each and every time I read it. It would be better for the building’s management to recognize that the people who live there are not lackeys to be berated but renters who pay the semi-literate sign writer’s salary. Not only is it rude to use all caps, it’s even ruder to take advantage of the gullibility of residents, many of whom would not immediately recognize the threat of the ATTORNEYS OFFICE as laughable bluster.


Poised over the DO NOT REMOVE sticker, I realized that perhaps my guilty qualms were misplaced. Was it not silly for me to cower over Apple’s imagined punishments for removing a tiny sticker from MY OWN PROPERTY? What did I have to lose, really? Had the Genius not informed me that the only sensible place for my poor iPhone was a landfill where it would slowly leach out toxins for the 100 years or so?

I peeled off the sticker with the very tip of my fingernail, wadded it into a microscopic spitball, and tossed it in the wastebasket.

With Neil’s guidance, I completely disassembled the phone and replaced the power port. Although it took me twice as long as the hour the video estimated it would take for a beginner, the phone worked flawlessly after I had effected repairs.

A few great things that came out of this DIY project:

1.        First and most obviously, I spent $4.78 instead of the cost of a replacement phone and the attendant "activation fee."

2.        I saved the environment. Defunct electronic equipment is, pound for pound, some of the worst garbage human beings can generate short of nuclear waste. Brominated flame retardants, mercury and cadmium are just a few of the nasties that end up seeping back in our soil and water when we throw out electronics. My project means the world needs one less cheap, plastic phone shipped halfway around the world so an American can enjoy uninterrupted access to Facebook and Zynga games.

3.        I learned not to be afraid of a medium-complicated repair project and built skills that will help me on my next medium-complicated project or even let me graduate to hard-complicated projects. 

4.        I felt like a badass. As I walked the streets today, I stood a little taller. My gaze was just a little bit more steely.  I was just a little more ready to spring to the aid of any beautiful women who needed aid, and slightly more eager to thwart the dastardly aims of any Mustachioed Villians I might encounter (no offense meant to the MMM community).

laka

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 08:22:10 AM »
Love this.  The Mr. and I have iPhone 4Ss, and I've replaced batteries and cracked backs, saving a TON.  Once your phone is out of warranty, no reason not to give it a try yourself - there is so much info online about how to make these repairs! 

In the same realm, I've resuscitated three older laptops this way. Granted, they're older, and don't perform as well as a brand new computer, but the minimal costs (comparatively) to replace a hard drive, power port, missing keys, battery, power cord, and Windows (due to new hard rive - installed Ubuntu instead) are pretty hard to argue with.  Keep fixing!

Syonyk

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 10:03:03 AM »
Well written.  Would read again. :)

And, yes, smartphone/tablet repair is awesome, because most of the "problem parts (ports, batteries)" are actually designed to be replaced easily.

acepedro45

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 12:40:11 PM »
In the encounter with the Genius, he was absolutely crystal clear on this point. There was no way, he said, to replace just the power port without replacing half the phone's guts along with it.

Pish posh, I say.

BCBiker

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 07:11:29 PM »
I avoid cellular telephones all together but I have recently done some pretty nifty Macbook repairs: battery and trackpad.  Our cat recently spilt a glass of water on the computer, giving me a blank screen.  I ripped off the underplate and allowed the circuit board to dry.  It eventually resurrected itself.  I ended up replacing it with a new one before it came back to life.  (A 6 year old Macbook is pretty inefficient for getting anything done.) But since I was able to preserve the old, I have a nice standby for potential use in other endeavors.

N

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 12:58:31 AM »
congratulations!
A friend recently gifted me an iphone4 she no longer used, so I sold my 3Gs on a virtual fb site. It was in almost pristine condition, because I never took it out of its case and took really good care of it. I offered to take off the case and show her its condition and the buyer said, nah, its just for my baby to play with.
I didnt know I was using a baby toy for a phone! Goodness gravy.

LOL.

Avidconsumer

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 10:20:00 AM »
Voiding the warranting on a 3+ year old phone isn't exactly hard, which is easily replaceable. Good job though.
My experience with pulling things apart is 50/50. It's nice when it works out.

Syonyk

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Re: iPhone Repaired!
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2015, 12:08:45 PM »
You don't have a warranty to start with if it's 3 years old.  Which leads to my philosophy on such things:

"If something is broken, you literally have nothing to lose by trying to fix it.  If you fail, it's no less useful than it was before and you've learned something.  If you succeed, you've fixed a broken thing, and learned something.  In either case, trying to fix it leads to a better state of affairs than it being broken."

I've done all sorts of goofy hardware repairs when I literally had no idea what I was doing on my way into the device beyond "Try to see what's broken and fix it."

I've replaced/repaired bad power jacks or bypassed them with other wires/connectors I had laying around, I've pulled up traces on bad RAM soldered to the mainboard on a Powerbook so it would disable the onboard RAM & only use the expansion, I've replaced fans for people, I've replaced parts in broken phones/tablets... just go in & try to fix it, and if you fail, oh well.  It's no more broken than it was when you started.

On the other side, if you're good at this, you can easily restore thousands of dollars a year of hardware to working condition to either use or sell, and at this point, I'm the person in my office of highly technical people that people ask to do laptop work, because I have confidence in my ability to pull a laptop apart, replace bad components (or sometimes just resolder a bad power plug), get it back together, and have it work.  :)  It keeps my wallet full and contributes to keeping my whiskey stocked.