Dec 21, 2012

HTC EVO 4G Digitizer & Screen Replacement

I find a lot of discarded technology on my daily walks with my dog. So far, I've found one camera, a Samsung BlackJack 2 phone and most recently, an HTC EVO 4G cell phone.
I found the EVO on the street next to a restaurant with the heavily cracked digitizer as shown in the before ("From this...") picture above. I replaced the screen at a cost of about $8.00 with install kit, shipped from ebay using the video show here as a guide. Unfortunately, I wasn't careful enough pulling the old digitizer away from the bezel. Too much pressure from the broken screen caused cracks in the LCD under the screen.
So, ordered a new LCD at about $22.00 shipped. I repeated the same procedure and resused the digitizer screen, being more careful to go very slowly with the nylon removal tool around the edges. I also learned from the first install attempt not to use the removal tool around the very bottom of the screen. That's where the fine copper cable slides through a small hole to attach to the phone mainboard. You can bend and crack this cable easily with too much force.
If you are doing this repair, make sure that you get the correct size of cable for the LCD. There are two sizes: narrow and wide. The narrow ones are relatively rare. You can check which one you need by taking the phone apart and looking at the back of the LCD. If the model shown is 2WCA, you need the wide flex version.
Depending on your experience level, this repair should take about an hour. I worked very slowly and carefully, having never done this before, and took about an hour and 45 minutes to make sure everything was correct.
One thing to be careful of is removing the flex cables from the mainboard. The referenced video made the removal of the cables seem very straightforward. I found this was more difficult than the video indicated. Also, the clamps holding the tiny cables in I thought were quite fragile. I made efforts to be careful and I broke the camera cable clamp off completely and the LCD cable clamp slightly in one corner. However, both of these still work.
When I powered up the device and tested the camera, I got an odd sepia/brown tone to photos, even on the LCD.Thinking this was some kind of photo effects filter, I started poking around in settings. Didn't see any obvious filters, but I did see a setting to "Reset to defaults". This fixed the problem!
For $30 in repair costs and a little time, I have a fairly nice extra device with WiFi (but no cell coverage, don't need it), Android 2.3, Pandora, Google Maps, Google Mail, Music player and quite a few goodies. It's kind of like getting an iTouch-class device for cheap.

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