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How to Repair Dead Mobile Phone

Updated on January 28, 2015

How to repair a dead mobile phone is an interesting subject because one of the most used electronic gadgets in the World is a cell phone. A mobile phone may not be dead as perceived from the surface. There are number of factors that can prevent a phone from coming on. This discourse is an attempt to highlight and discussed a number of reasons that can prevent a phone from switching on and possible remedy. So you may not need to throw that phone to the bin.

You may discount the essence of fixing a cell phone when the cost of acquiring a new one is affordable. But there are cases from personal experience when vital information or contacts get lost if there is no back up. If that be the case, repair is inevitable.

For the sake of simplicity, I will divide this discourse into primary, secondary and advanced dead mobile phone troubleshooting. It is possible that the reason your phone is not coming on may be what you can solve without the help of a technician or technical tools. So examine these under listed steps carefully.

Primary Dead Mobile Phone Troubleshooting

This is the simplest approach to finding solution for a cell phone not coming on. It can be further divided into the following steps:

1. Battery Examination: Battery is the primary reason why phones go dead or fail to switch on. It may also be the reason why phone suddenly switch off when in use. When cell phone fail to switch on, the first step is to examine the battery perhaps for liquid damage or contact pins may be broken, oxidized and the presence of rust which will not allow proper contact with the power pins mounted on the phone.

When mobile phone battery has liquid contact, it should be changed as soon as possible as it can lead to abnormal voltage discharges and chemical leakage which can make the phone to go dead and perhaps beyond economic repair.

It is also possible that the battery has expired and by implication does not have the capacity to make the phone to come on. I am saying this from personal experience and as a trained cell phone technology consultant. Some phone users have spend a fortune on phone repair just because of ignorance and even abandoned or throw to the bin phones that need a change of battery.

My final word in this regard is ensuring that you have the right battery in your phone. The fact that two batteries look alike does not mean they perform the same function in terms of capacity. If there is a need to change battery, insist on getting the right one as indicated on the phone manual. With this knowledge you may discover the cell phone is not dead and further prolong the life span of your phone.

2. When the battery completely discharged or devoid of electrical energy: It takes longer time for the phone to start charging if the battery is completely drained. Why this is important is that you may not have access to an alternative battery immediately so as to know what the problem is. Although it depends on the type of phone and battery capacity, it may take up to 5 to 10 minutes for the battery to resume charging. It is advisable not to allow your battery to completely get used up before recharging. At most 85% to 90% exhaustion is okay before revitalizing the battery.

3. Check the Battery Pins: Do you know as simple as touching the battery or power pins can make a dead cell phone to come on. Brush them up; if they are oxidized or there is a friction, there will be no connection between the battery and the circuit board, as a result the phone will not power on.

Secondary Dead Mobile Phone Troubleshooting

Secondary dead mobile phone troubleshooting is a step further when no solution is in view after employing the above stated steps. This may require the assistance of a cell phone technician as it involve technical tools. The following steps are essential:

1. Disassemble Mobile phone: This require the right set of tools such as screw drivers. Don’t use wrong screw drivers as this may permanently damaged the screws and make dismantling process tedious. It can also damage the casing of the phone. Great caution should be taken when dismantling phones especially if you are not familiar with it as this may result to more damage which can defeat the troubleshooting process.

The essence is to examine the circuit board for rust, oxidation or water damage. If rust or liquid is presence, the board should be sanitized by non corrosive liquid with the aid of a succulent brush. Allow the board to dry if you have no access to hot air station (Rework Station). Hot air station can be used to drain water or liquid from the circuit board, it however requires some degree of expertise.

It is not advisable to apply hot air station when proper cleaning has not been done as it can bring about the problem of rust in the future and consequently a dead phone. After this process the phone can be switched on and most likely if the phone went dead due to water damage it will power on.

2. Examining Power Circuit: The power circuit begins from the battery contact pins to the power integrated circuit(IC). The contact pins may be broken or lost contact from base. In this case it may requires soldering depend on whether it is a surface mounted pins. Loose contact pins may just need repositioning or a replacement which does not require soldering. The interface that is the contact points on the board and the pins must be devoid of oxidation for loose components. This is to ensure proper connection from the battery.

Please note that even when it is not obvious from the surface that the pins are broken, a continuity test should be carried out to ascertain proper connection of the power circuit. Continuity test can be conducted using digital or electronic meter. This requires foundational knowledge in basic electronics. Continuity is trying to ascertain whether there is a connection between two or more points in a circuit.

3. Use Circuit Diagrams: Schematic Circuit diagram shows network of connections which is not physically visible on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). With the aid of circuit diagram as depicted below it is possible to measure connections with digital or electronic meter. The power circuit is usually shown in red. Use the meter to check continuity between the battery pins and the power circuit. If breakage is discovered, it has to be reconnected or “flow” the affected area with hot air station .If you lack basic knowledge don’t apply hot air station as some segment of the board are sensitive to heat.

Check and test power circuit chips such as fuse if still intact. Upsurge of voltage can damage the fuse and so it may need replacement.

A good circuit analyst that is familiar a PCB can easily identify the fuse and other relevant chips that directly impact on the power circuit. Fuse is usually marked with the symbol ‘F’. It has continuity when tested from both ends and can easily be replaced with some degree of dexterity when a rework station is used.


Advanced Dead Mobile Phone Troubleshooting

Just as stated earlier I decided to break the entire process of troubleshooting a dead cell phone into three for the sake of simplicity. Advanced troubleshooting for dead cell phone is not an uphill task if the basic knowledge in Cell phone repair techniques or technology can be acquired from a reputable training outfit. It involves the following:

1. Software requirement: A phone can fail to power on if basic files are corrupt or infected by virus. It can also go dead if the wrong set of files were used to update or flash the phone. Software approach to cell phone repair is not a job for the amateur.

A succinct study of the software requirement should be carried out before any attempt to power on a phone via this method. It is interesting to note that it is the easiest media for bringing a dead cell phone back to life if one is conversant with it. It requires a computer, software, relevant cables as the case may be. However, it is not advisable to use this approach if the phone went dead as a result of liquid damage. If need be it can only be secondary if the basic approach of dealing with liquid damage phones has been exhausted.

2. Replacement of basic Chips/Integrated Circuit: This is one of the most difficult aspects of the entire process. In most cases it is the last thing to do. It requires high level of dexterity and experience. Chips such as transistors, regulators, capacitors, diode, resistors and even integrated circuit (Ics) can be changed but on a 50/50 basis. If the readings are well taken with proper understanding, dead chips can be replaced. However, there is what is called beyond “economic repair”. Apart from vital information which may have huge consequence if not retrieved, cost of modifying a circuit may outweigh it benefits.

My students often asked when to employ the advanced dead mobile phone troubleshooting approach. If it is not a liquid damage situation, after the primary troubleshooting the advanced troubleshooting should be employed in terms of the use of software before reverting to the secondary dead cell phone trouble shooting if no solution in view.

From the foregoing, apart from the economic benefit of repairing a dead mobile phone by GSM technicians, users of cell phones have a lot to benefit especially if it happened when the phone is most needed with respect to data retrieval.


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