Up next was a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It had suffered a smashed screen and a smashed back glass. The glass on the back was so fragile that I damaged it further when I took the phone apart as part of the inspection to identify what issues the phone had. The plan was to always replace the back, so a few extra cracks didn’t discourage me.
An internal inspection of the phone confirmed everything inside was in good working order, so the focus was on a new screen and back.
The screens for these phones are incredibly expensive. When finding a screen, I saw prices starting at £270 for a new screen, rising to £450 on some websites. I could not go that high, the customer would not allow it. After a little bit of searching, I ended up on Ebay and found a refurbished screen in and frame, located in Germany, which looked in excellent condition. It had all the ribbon attachments and had only minor scuff marks in the corners. Total cost was £190, plus £10 delivery, still not cheap, but cheap compared to what was available. I was then able to source a new back for £10, again on Ebay. With my customers blessing I ordered the parts.
The replacement back arrived two days later, the screen and frame arrived from Germany after six days.
When the new screen and frame arrived, it looked even better then I was hoping. It just needed a slight buff up and it would be ideal. My plan of action was always to rebuild the phone components inside the new frame. I expected it to take a few hours to put together due to the size and fragility of the parts, so I settled in for the long haul and got started.
As mentioned earlier I had already removed the broken glass back to originally inspect the phone. This was achieved using a heat gun set to 70 degrees Celsius and using a prying tool to release it from the adhesive. The glass shattered a bit more, but it came off fine, and I was careful not to damage the fingerprint sensor ribbon as I removed the back.
I unscrewed all the screws from the top cover and metal protector, and then unscrewed the bottom cover, and lifted the whole protector out from the bottom. Peeling off the black film stuck down on the left-hand side of the phone released the covers. The top panel simply lifted and came out.
Next the battery ribbon was disconnected, and I remove the various ribbons inside the phone for the many components.
My attention then moved to the bottom of the phone, and I unscrewed the charging port board from inside. There were no other parts that needed to be removed, so I put this board straight in the new frame and screwed it into position.
The battery next had to come out. From the bottom of the battery, using a prying tool to, very slowly, get underneath it and gently pull it away from the adhesive. I tried not to bend it too much as any movement on the battery can render it unusable and unsafe. Slow and steady I released the battery (I think the whole process took about 45 minutes). Eventually it came out as the adhesive gave up the fight.
I inspected the battery for any damage. It seemed to be OK, but just to make sure it was flat I gently flattened it against a table. It did not need much, just a few millimetres, and it was flat again. I put it straight in the new frame, lifting the new screen ribbon so that it didn’t get caught, and was very happy the battery ordeal was over.
Moving up to the top of the phone I disconnected the front camera ribbon and lifted it out from the bottom. While up there I also removed the sim card holder from the top of the phone.
Using a pair of tweezers to get underneath the logic board in the bottom right corner, I was able to gently lift it up to release it. Like the charging port board there were no other arts hidden underneath so I put it straight in the new phone frame, being careful to move the ribbons out of the way when placing it.
I then connected all the ribbons back up, put the camera back in and reinsert the sim card tray.
Connecting the screen ribbon and the two ribbons connecting the charging port board to the main logic board was next, and they all connected with a satisfying click.
With the components reassembled I tested the phone works by plugging it in to a USB C charger.
Good news, it is charging. Granted it was at 1%, but it was a good sign. I disconnected the charger and finished assembly by putting the plastic covers back in place and screwing them down.
Not forgetting the stylus, I took it out of the old phone and put it in the new frame.
Finally, the back glass. It came with adhesive that needed peeling off some cellophane and attaching to the inside. I then simply positioned it on the back of the phone and stuck it down. I used some clamps to gently hold the back in place while the adhesive sticks and took the opportunity to charge the phone while it settled.
I figured the adhesive would need a few hours to work properly, and the phone needed a few hours to charge anyway. It was just a case of waiting, giving me time to write this rather fantastic write-up.
I ended up leaving it overnight, removing the clamps, giving the phone a good buff, and it worked perfectly. A very delicate repair, having to move lots of tiny components, but it has come out looking beautiful.