How to Save Money by Buying Generic Phone Replacement Parts and Tools

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How to Save Money by Buying Generic Phone Replacement Parts and Tools

Given the delicacy and fragility of the ever advancing modern smartphones, it is no wonder that many smartphone enthusiasts look to try their hand at DIY phone repair projects. Unfortunately, it is all too common for screens to be easily damaged, splintering and cracking until they are virtually useless. Similarly, the backings and coverings can be easily scratched and cracked pieces break away. Keypads stick, touch screens become insensitive, and many other parts can fail.

About Buying Generic Phone Replacement parts and Tools

All phone manufacturers' advertise the benefits of using only their genuine brand replacement parts, warning of potential dire consequences if generic parts are used instead. But is this really the case?

What are Generic or Universal Parts?

OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. OEM phone parts are made by, or for, phone brand manufacturers. On the other hand, generic (or non-brand) parts can be made by any manufacturer. Known also as universal, or aftermarket, phone replacement parts, these generic parts are usually made to be compatible with specific brands and models.

Saving Money

There are any number of reasons why buyers seek out generic phone parts, but the most important is generally to save money. Generic parts are usually much lower in price than OEM parts, and the buyer just needs to make sure that the quality of the part is satisfactory for their needs. In addition to saving money by purchasing low cost generic phone replacement parts, the phone enthusiast can also save money by attempting the repairs themselves. Replacing parts such as LCD screens, batteries, buttons and backplates are good for first time projects.

Choosing Generic Phone Replacement Parts and Tools

While tinkering with intricate electrical components is not recommended for the rank beginner, there are a number of parts that are good for a DIY project, including those described below.

Antennas

Poor phone reception from weak or intermittent call and data connection may be caused by antenna problems. Depending on the specific brand and model, replacement parts may include antennas, antenna bases, flex cable, and antenna covers.

Battery covers and Backplates

Backplates / battery covers can be easily damaged from an accidental drop on the floor, or a heavy weight being mistakenly placed on them. Many phone owners like to replace these with a more durable material, and they are generally quite easy to replace with the right toolset. Backplates / battery covers are available in a wide range of materials and designs. Even 24k plated gold is out there for owners who like more than a bit of bling.

Buttons

Specific buttons operate power, volume, and other phone functions. In some phone models, these are side key buttons, and in others, button functionality is on the front panel. Buttons can stick due to a build-up of dirt or dust around them. Cracks in the glass panel or backplate can also let in moisture and corrosion may occur. Whatever the reason, replacement buttons and related flex cables can be purchased quite readily.

Camera Module

Internal smartphone digital cameras are subject to problems like any internal electrical component. The camera module may cease to work due to software or memory issues. However, if these are not found to be the problem, consider buying a new camera module

Earpiece and Microphone

Located at the top of the phone, the earpiece enables the listener to hear the other party during a call. Usually located at the bottom of the smartphone, the microphone transmits sound to the other party in a phone call. These two separate components can run into issues where the sound becomes markedly diminished, or is not clear at either end of the call.

Keypads

Some phones like the Blackberry, for example, have external keypads. These are used to enter data and text. Individual keys can stick, cease to function, get locked down into continuous send mode, or start to interact incorrectly with nearby keys. If a check of the relevant software and settings and cleaning does not work, the owner may have to look at replacing the keypad in its entirety.

Loud Speaker

The loudspeaker is also known as a buzzer, ringer, melody etc. It plays sounds like the ringtone, or mp3 files. Sound can stop altogether, become faint, or play only partially. If cleaning of the area does not work, the part may need replacement.

Screens

Smartphone screens are the most essential component, and unfortunately, the most likely component to become damaged. Fragile in nature, they are easily scratched, cracked, and broken. If the damage is more than a scratch, they should be replaced as dust and moisture can enter the phone and cause corrosion. Replacement screens are generally quite easy to refit, and they can often just be snapped into place with the right tools.

Tools for Phone Repairs and Upgrades

The right tools are essential for all DIY phone repairs. These can make the difference between failure or success. Without the right tools the money saved on generic phone parts may end up being thrown out the window. The most commonly used tools are described here.

Antistatic Accessories

Using antistatic clothing is quite important when doing any internal intricate repair work on smartphones. They are unfortunately, sensitive to static electricity and can be damaged by static electricity charges generated by people. Some of the clothing to consider are items that have been certified as being antistatic, including hand gloves, mat, and footwear.

Cleaners

A good cleaner is essential for removing dust and grime from screens, buttons and external facings. IPA or Isopropyl Alcohol is generally considered to be the best cleaning agent for mobile phones.

Cutting and Snipping

Cutting and snipping tools are useful for cutting jumper wire, solder wire etc. into manageable and customised sizes. Tools include blade cutters, point cutters, nose cutters, and fine wire snips.

Electrical Test Equipment

Test equipment can be a little more costly than other phone repair tools, but an invaluable investment for people wanting to do this long-term. Equipment like multimeters, LCD testers, and battery testers are used to identify and analyse faults of various different phone parts.

Magnifiers

Viewing intricate tiny parts can be enhanced by a magnifying lamp with a lighting element.

Opening / Unlocking Tools

Specially made opening tools help to pry the mobile phone body from its housing so that parts may be checked and replaced. They are usually made from plastic.

Screwdrivers

A good quality set of precision screwdrivers is one of the most important toolsets required by budding phone repairers. Magnetic tips and the exact screw size matches are absolutely necessary to not lose those tiny screws or damage them.

Tweezers

A humble pair of tweezers can be extremely handy in holding electrical components and wire still when performing tasks like soldering.

Reducing Risk When Buying Phone Replacement Parts and Tools

There are three major ways for the buyer to protect themselves when purchasing phone parts or tools. First, ensure that the part is compatible with the brand and model to be repaired. Second, check the credentials and reputation of the seller. And last, ensure that there is a good warranty or return policy so that money won't be wasted if the parts are found to be not quite right or damaged in any manner.

Finding Generic Phone Replacement Parts and Tools on eBay

eBay is an excellent source of generic phone replacement parts and related tools. Buyers looking for such items can track them down by the following website menu paths. From the Home Page, select the Shop by Category link in the top left hand corner. A list of several eBay categories will be displayed, with a See all Categories link active at the bottom. Click on the See all Categories link and eBay's master category list will display. Scroll down to the heading Mobile Phones & Communication. Select the More link under this heading, and an expanded list will be displayed. Select the Replacement Parts & Tools subheading, and many thousands of phone parts and tools will be listed. Specific part types like Screens or Battery Covers can then be easily selected in the left-hand column. Importantly, if the buyer is seeking a generic part for a specific brand or model, then the Compatible Brand search option in the left-hand column is particularly useful. Select the see all link next to the Compatible Brand heading, and a list of additional brands will display. Scroll to the checkbox labelled Universal, and then click the Go button. Phone parts that have been labelled as 'universal' by their sellers will be displayed. The most common tools required when replacing phone parts are opening tools and precision screwdrivers, and there are comprehensive phone repair toolkits to be found as well on eBay.

Conclusion

Buyers looking for generic phone parts and tools for a cost effective DIY project can find a good range of parts and equipment and for a big range of compatible brands on eBay.

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