The time when I replaced Nexus 4 Digitizer/LCD Assembly!

I have always been a fan of Android Nexus Series of Phones. I had got mine (Nexus 4) almost 2 years back. Till last week it was going strong and I was loving it more than ever with new Lollipop update. But the destiny had something else in store for it. It got washed in water accidentally and also fell hard on the volume button. This debacle resulted in non-functional touch screen in the bottom area where "home, back & recent" soft touch keys come up. The volume rocker also stopped functioning.

Though the condition was not totally out of hand because most part of the touch screen was functional. So for temporary workaround I installed Handy Soft Keys, an android app which lets you have pie menu on the screen to simulate Home, Back and Recent Operations.

But ergonomically it was pretty annoying and time consuming. So I finally decided to find Nexus 4 repair center. I found it in a near by Mall. But discovering their fees (around $170) made me realize that I will have to repair it myself.

So I started with -

Diagnosis

Searched with phones' symptoms and to my relief it was common problem across many Nexus 4 digitizer. The front screen comprises of two components digitizer and LCD panel. Digitizer senses all the touch inputs and sends it to the processor and LCD displays the content. Both these components are glued together in a tight assembly.

The problem was a short circuited Digitizer.

I only needed to replace the digitizer. But it is a complicated process of separating the digitizer from the LCD and gluing the new one again with working LCD. So I thought of getting the pre-assembled unit of digitizer and LCD and replacing it myself.






Repair - Prerequisites

  • Ordered adhesive tape from eBay


Repair

If you are doing this for the first time then I would suggest to have someone around you who can help you keep your calm because it needs lot of patience to disassemble and assemble the phone. I took guidance from the Youtube video and huge encouragement & help from my Wife to fix the phone.


Unscrew the cover by unscrewing two screws. Look for the clicking slots on the four sides of the phone and use spudger to remove the back cover. Remove the battery attached with two screws to the motherboard. Use heat gun or blower to loosen the grip of the glue with which the battery is glued with the phone chasis. Unscrew the plastic covering the motherboard by removing all the screws. Remove all the sub units connected with the motherboard. Remove the motherboard with only the chasis, LCD and digitizer assembly left behind. Detach the existing assembly from the chasis with some force and tactic and glue and paste the new assembly to the chasis. Arrange all the components back, cover the mother board, connect all the subunits back, connect battery and close the Phone.

Important step is to properly glue the assembly to chasis.


To fix the Volume Rocker Issue simply use a screw driver to bring the spring back to its original shape so that it connects with the circuit end points on pressing. It generally stops working as it gets compressed due to the impact of falling on the volume button inhibiting it to make connection properly.

Problems Faced

  • I tried saving the LCD from breaking but it was so tightly glued together that I had to break it.
  • Few screws were very tight so one has to be careful while opening them because if you try too hard you might end up damaging the grooves of the screws and it might not open in the end. If something bad has already happened use 1 point bigger screw driver and instead of moving the screwdriver, try rotating the screen and keep the screwdriver stationary. (Totally my wife's Idea! Yes it worked!)
  • Don't loose hope even if few things don't work out the way you have imagined.


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