DIY Developer
software and power tools, yay!

07 July 2014

The Nexus4 is a great phone. Unfortunately it is a little bit fragile. I fell asleep with my N4 in my pocket… woke up, and the back had a crack. My wife dropped her N4 and the screen shattered.

I’m going to walk you through how to fix it.

##Should You fix it?##

First, be aware that you are going to need up to AUD$100 in parts. You may need to get another $20 worth of tools.

If you pay someone to fix it, the cost is around $160.

You need to decide if it is worth paying an extra $40-$60 to have someone else do the repair. If I had to decide again, I would probably just pony up the extra cash.

##How to Repair Your Phone##

###Risks###

You have a real risk of breaking other parts of your phone. I managed to break the antenna cable - and had to wait 2 weeks for another one to ship.

Break the wrong part, and you will wish you paid someone else to do it for you.

###Parts###

I went with this complete assembly from Etradesupply. There are a lot of second rate screens on ebay that have bad digitizers. This one seems to be genuine, and it comes as a complete front assembly. Having the full front assembly is much easier doing a straight screen swap.

The cost was AUD$80 plus AUD$20 shipping. The shipping cost sounds expensive, but it arrived within a week (most of the time anything from China/HK takes 3-6 weeks).

###Tools###

  • Tools for opening things

    Spreader Tool

    You will need one of these to crack open the case. Yes, you can use a flathead screw driver like I did, but you shouldn't, because you will scratch the case.
  • Screw drivers

    Screw Drivers

    You need a good set of small size screw drivers, including a phillips (cross) head, and a T5 Torx. See below for a close up.
  • Torx screw driver.

    Torx Screw Driver

    A Torx is like a phillips head that doesn't slip and strip the screw head.
  • Magnetic pickup tool.

    Magnetic Pickup & Tweezers

    The screws are pretty small, so a magnetic pickup tool is a good idea. You will need tweezers to unplug some of the more fiddly cables.

###Step By Step Guide###

  • Borked phone

    1

    Find a comfy spot and a level surface.
  • Removing the sim card

    2

    Remove the sim tray. If you can't find your sim eject tool, a paper clip will do. If you forget this step, you will break off part of the back cover.
  • T5 torx screws

    3

    See these two small screws on the bottom of the phone? Use a T5 torx screwdriver to remove them.
  • Cracking the seal. With a club. boomtish*

    4

    Time to crack the seal. You should start from the bottom of the phone. Don't be a dodgy bastard like me (using a flathead screw driver), use a plastic wedge tool (available on ebay for about $5).
  • Using my professional tool kit to open the phone.

    5

    I used a plastic card to work my way around the rest of the phone. It takes a surprising amount of effort to remove the back cover.If you are only replacing the back cover, you can put it on now and re-assemble.
  • N4 in various states of undress.

    6

    The image shows the new screen assembly (middle) next to the phone (right). Remove the screws holding the L-shaped plastic cover on the right. Be careful not to strip any. The top left screw may be a little more difficult to remove than the others.
  • I'm a derp, and I stripped a screw.

    7

    This is what happens when you strip a screw. It's not the end of the world, but I did have to drill it out. The top left screw seems to be the most difficult to remove.
  • Battery.

    8

    Use a wedge tool to leaver out the battery. It has a fair bit of glue, so it will take some wiggling about. Do not use anything sharp - you don't want to pierce the battery. Bad things will happen (I think demons fly out).
  • Speaker module

    9

    Remove the 2 phillips head screws holding the speaker module down. Use tweezers to disconnect the ribbon cable at the top of the module, then carefully pry the module out. Use a wedge tool. There is a little bit of glue holding it in place.
  • Logic boards

    10

    Use tweezers to remove the antenna cable. I didn't, it broke, and I had to wait for 2 weeks while a replacement was shipped. Use the tweezers to remove all the connectors going to the logic boards, then lift out the logic boards.
  • Little grey thing

    11

    See this little grey thing? Pay attention to how it sits, and don't lose it. It is needed by the front facing camera.
  • Switches

    12

    Here is the volume rocker. The power switch is similar. Have a good look at how they sit, then remove with tweezers. If not mounted exactly the same way, they won't work.
  • New front assembly

    13

    This is the new front assembly. You will notice a couple of 3M glue stickers. Make sure you remove them before mounting anything over them.
  • Assembled front assembly.

    14

    Reassemble everything in reverse order on the new front assembly. Remember to be careful with that antenna cable. Make sure you power up and test the buttons before you snap the back cover on.
  • Fixed phone, next to old broken screen.

    15

    Here is the fixed phone. There are no additional steps, it should happily power on (if it has charge). The most likely issues you will come across are: your buttons don't work right (make sure the pins have good contact); the camera doesn't work (did you connect all of the ribbon cables?).


comments powered by Disqus