So, your thinking about replacing just the glass on your cracked galaxy 5S? Feeling real clever for buying that ten dollar glass kit on Ebay? I felt real clever too, until I finally decided I was going to do the replacement job the other day.
I watched loads of YouTube videos, and read a bunch of articles on blog site, and you know what, they all pumped me up to think I could totally do it. I was raring to go. Granted when I went into my lab with my fresh brewed coffee and spilled it all over the table, I should have known that using my hands should have been taken off the list of options for the day… sadly though cleaning up my Coffee from all over the desk and floor only convinced me more that I needed to do a project.
So, I didn’t document the process with photos, because I planned on having it done in a snap and moving on. In retrospect had I at least documented the process of me destroying my phone, it would have been a little more entertainment for us all later, but let me repeat that I never intended this to be a misadventure.
I pulled out my heat gun, because I figured I could control that better than a hot plate. First mistake, I don’t care what folks say about using heat guns, my heat gun was way way way too powerful. In seconds I had already permanently scarred about a third of my pixels. In the picture below you can see the big whitish spot on the screen. I quickly plugged everything back in, and made sure it was still working, and sighed with relief that I had only made things look a little crappier.
So at that point I really should have just stopped, and said “just leave well enough alone Joe”, but did I? No, what I really said was “Well it can’t get much worse now, might as well make it better.” And, like a champ I was like, double or nothing, I can totally do this. I mean I make robots, and do fine pitched soldering, how hard can it be to separate a measly piece of glass from a screen. Afterall, I can clearly get the glue freaking hot enough.
If you ever wondered why I am not a betting man, this little thought train should clue you in.
So I started heating the phone again (from a lot farther away this time, because I learn from some of my mistakes), it was really tough to pry the pieces up, but eventually they started to give. I was really careful to keep the angle low and everything too, and I tried to use all the tools in the kit. The whole time my biggest concern was the fact that there was a mounting pool of wavy goo, that I had no clue how I was going to clean.
Luckily for me pretty early on in the process the LCD went a bit floppy and I discovered there was a huge crack in it. I had in a flash of DIY over eagerness destroyed a perfectly good LCD screen over a few cracks that had been covered up by my screen protector for almost a year already with relatively little issue.
In the end I ended up having to have the screen professionally replaced, which cost about half as much as the phone had cost in the first place. If I had known what would have happened, I would have left well enough alone, but hopefully my loss can be your gain. Let this be a cautionary tale for you. I won’t pump you up, and say it’s easy or safe. I will simply say, be ready to fork over just shy of $200 if you decide to take the task of replacing your glass, and things work out just as fabulously for you as they did for me.