phone

Family vs Tech

Family vs Tech

I’ve had to find out the hard way just how destructive kids under 5 can be. I have two young boys, and an ever increasing number of broken devices.

This page is a running tally of the tech devices physically damaged or destroyed by my family.

Broken Plasma Screen Broken iPad Broken Nexus4

Total Damage

$2200
.00

Score Board

PlayerScore
1.4 year old1 Plasma TV
2 iPad screens
2.2 year old1 tablet screen
1 iphone screen
1 iPod Screen
3.Wife1 Phone Screen
1 Camera screen
4.Me0

Device Tally

Device Status Damage Cause
Samsung 50' Plasma TV Destroyed $1700 Son #1 hit it with a toy phone.
Canon s100 Camera Mostly working $100 (+warranty) Son #1 held finger over lens, and power cycled it... repeatedly. Wife spilt make up on/in it.
iPad retina Gen3 Screen shattered $150 Son #1 tripped on charging cable, shattered screen. Repaired, Son #1 dropped it onto tiles, shattered screen again.
Asus Transformer Tablet Screen cracked $150 Son #2 dropped a full money box on it.
iPod Touch 2g Screen cracked $120 Son #2 threw it onto tiled floor.
iPhone 3gs Screen cracked $120 Son #2 threw it on the tiles

Advice for Parents-To-Be

Here are a few tips so you don’t have to share my pain:

  • get LARGE rubber/foam cases for any devices your kids are going to use
  • a toddler can have a rage attack and destroy a device in the time it takes you to get up and get a glass of water
  • Samsung devices are expensive to repair
  • Apple parts are fairly affordable, and easy to get
  • don’t leave charging cables hanging in places where your kids may (will) trip on them
  • devices can be fixed, some times all you can do is laugh

References

  • The text effects used on this page came from here

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Replace your Nexus 4 screen

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?).

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Dbrand Phone Skin Review

Someone at LG needs to be slapped, and I know who. It’s Bob - in Product Design. “I’ve got an idea!”, exclaimed Bob. “How about we give the Nexus4 a glass back!”. In an ideal world he would have been beaten to death by his co-workers - but he wasn’t… so I have a Nexus 4, it’s broken… and here we are.

I’m too cheap/lazy to fix a cracked Nexus4 back, so I decided to try a DBrand skin. On to the review…

Here’s my Nexus 4, before getting a new skin:

Broken Phone

Can you see the crack in the top right corner? I fell asleep on a rug with my phone in my pocket. When I woke up and took my phone out… it felt different. There was a big damn crack on the back glass! The crack isn’t noticeable most of the time, but I know it’s there, and I’m easily annoyed by these sort of things.

I’d heard about a nice Canadian company who make phone skins - and even better, they use a Laser to cut them! I work with a Canadian (hi Diwas!), and I like Lasers, so I thought, why not? DBrand have an impressive range of skins. I went for the “Carbon Fibre” model. They also have a “tacky gold” version (must be huge in China), a “white douche leather” edition (for iPhone fans), and some cool brushed aluminium styles.

A week and a half later (and $10), the skin arrived in an envelope. It looks like this:

DBrand Skin DBrand Skin

It is surprisingly easy to install. I’ve installed screen protectors before, so I was expecting this to be hellish. It was literally a 30 second job. It is also removable. DBrand accomplish this using 3M Vinyl stickers.

DBrand Skin DBrand Skin DBrand Skin DBrand Skin DBrand Skin DBrand Skin

It has a very smooth yet textured feel. It doesn’t feel like a sticker, yet it doesn’t it doesn’t feel entirely authentic either. Overall it is not unpleasant.

The visual effect is amazing. If I move the phone around under the light, the texture shines and reflects - looking incredible. The skin fits so well that a friend asked if I had replaced my phone. The cutting precision is impressive. The shiny “Nexus” lettering is clearly visible, and the camera cut outs perfect.

I can recommend this product with no reservations. If you want to make your phone look great, hit up the DBrand Website. Oh, and if anyone knows Bob at LG - go slap him for me.

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