Despite the huge growth in the smart phone market, which feature phones with virtual keypads as opposed to the physical keypads discussed in this guide, there are still millions of keypad-enabled mobile phones in use today. Unfortunately, for a device that gets used so often, the main part that tends to stop working first is usually the keypad. The second most common part of mobile phones to fail is the screen, but that's a topic for a different guide. There are businesses that can repair or replace mobile phone keypads, but the cost may end up being more than the current market value for the phone. In this case, it's just not practical to pay for repairs. Thankfully, there is the option to do the repairs at home with a bit of preparation, a steady hand, and the right tools. This guide will point out some useful tips for first-time phone repairers, and give some advice on how to go about the repairs. Please consider putting the repairs on hold if the task becomes too complex or any mistakes are made. A mobile phone can be dangerous if not put together correctly, and care should be taken to follow all instructions and safety advice when opening one up.
Materials Needed to Replace a Broken Phone Keypad
Obviously, a replacement phone keypad should be at the top of the list. There are directions how to find the correct keypad and tools on eBay later in this guide. Keep the replacement keypad and any other screws, tools, and instructions in a safe place. An ice-cube tray is a great place to store small screws and other tiny parts. Don't start any keypad replacement task without detailed instructions on hand. It's very easy to damage the complex insides of a modern mobile phone. If the instructions supplied with the replacement keypad are not clear enough, search online to find any alternative instructions. It's better to have too much information rather than getting caught out halfway through the keypad repair. Go over the instructions a few times before dismantling the phone. Make sure that the process is clear before starting, and try to finish the repair in one sitting if possible. This will avoid any issues if the step being taken is forgotten after returning to the job. Pressurised air is a must when doing any electronic repairs. While the device is open, it's a good opportunity to clear any dust or other small particles from inside the gadget and around any points, such as the charging dock or memory card slot. When working on mobile phones, it's a good idea to give the screen a good blast of clean air to remove any last-minute dust before assembling the phone. Anti-static wrist straps are commonly used when working on computers and protect the delicate circuit boards from being zapped with static electricity. While not as important when working with mobile phones, it still may be worthwhile investing in one to be safe. As mentioned above, an ice-cube container is a great place to keep screws and other small electronic bits and pieces. Most modern mobile phones are a marvel of engineering, and there are usually a handful of small connectors, clips, and screws involved in repairing a keypad. While not necessary, many electronics hobbyists use a camera to record each step of any repair task. This can be an invaluable tool when putting a mobile phone back together after any repairs. Pay particular attention to any screw placements and cabling. There's nothing worse than putting a device back together and ending up with an unused screw or clip sitting on the table. A precision screwdriver kit will make this task a lot easier. Invest in a good set,, because they can be used again when tackling any small repair jobs. Some replacement keypads include tools to help with the repair task, but these can be cheaply manufactured and won't last very long. They may be good enough for a single replacement project, but a good precision screwdriver set can last for many years. A craft knife with a nice sharp edge can make precise tasks such as removing the old keypad much easier. They can also be used to break seals and trim any small excess pieces of plastic or rubber. Keep it in a safe place if there are children around, and retract the blade when not in use.
Setting Up a Workspace
It's important to have a tidy, well-lit space to carry out the keypad replacement project. Clear away any unnecessary clutter, and clean the surface being worked on. Ensure that the work area has good lighting, and lay out the tools that will be used. Have the instructions on hand for easy access, and set aside at least an hour or so of uninterrupted time to carry out the repairs.
Tips on Repairing Phone Keypads
Every phone keypad replacement project will have a different set of instructions or guidelines to follow, but these general tips will help to make sure the task is completed successfully. If in doubt, stop the repair and take the phone to a professional. It's not worth risking an expensive phone if the task becomes too difficult or complex. Consider trying the same replacement process on a cheaper phone that can be written off as a training project if anything goes wrong. Take photos of the task at key points, such as when the cover is first removed or the keypad is first cleared for removal. These reference pictures can be invaluable if the instructions are not clear enough, or screw placements have been forgotten. Work slowly and carefully. Use the pressurised air to clear any dust from the phone, but be careful not to dislodge or lose any plastic protective film or sheeting. Double check everything, especially when putting the phone back together. This can save a lot of time if there are any unused parts after the phone has been put together again.
With some preparation and careful technique, a keypad replacement for mobile phones is a repair job that can be done by most people. As advised earlier, if there is any doubt or the project becomes too complex, seek the help of a professional. There are still millions of mobile phones in use today that use physical keypads for dialling and entering information, so the skills learned from replacing a phone keypad may be valuable for the future. Buy in confidence on eBay and save money by doing this fun repair job at home. Join the thousands of home repair fans, and discover the complex engineering masterpiece that's hidden inside the phone and usually hidden from view.