With each passing day, more and more smart phones are sold. From young teenagers with their first phone, to adults getting upgrade after upgrade. Each phone sale has one thing in common. All phones are fragile pieces of electronic equipment; and they break easily. Squaretradeblog.com estimates that 30% of iPhone users have damaged their phone in the last 12 months. That’s 3 out of every 10 people crack their screen EVERY YEAR!! But what is sad news for them is happy news to the cell phone repair guy.
Even if you know nothing about cell phone repair, you can find everything you need on YouTube. I personally have hundreds of cell phone repair videos posted on my YouTube Channel JerryRigEverything. (Other popular cell phone repair channels are Le55ons and iFixityourself.) With a small investment in tools, you can soon become the neighborhood tech guru. Whether you repair phones locally, online, for friends, family, or for profit, there are some essential tools you need for the job.
Here are the links for the tools that I personally have in my arsenal:
A Universal Smart Phone tool kit. Ive used this exact tool kit for over a year now with zero issues. The little pry tools that come with it are pretty much useless, but the actual screw driver bits themselves, work great with android phones as well as iPhones. (The tool kit even comes with the special pentalobe screw driver that is needed to open up any iPhone.)
Isopropyl Alcohol This is the magic solution that helps restore water damaged phones. The first step to repair ANY liquid damaged phone is to throw the powered down phone into a container of rice for 48 hours or more to absorb the water out of the device. Anyone can do that. If a customer brings their wet phone into your work place, the best thing you can do is open it up and use your anti static brush to clean all the connections with Isopropyl Alcohol. This helps dissipate the water and make sure no corrosion forms on any of the electronic components. Isopropyl alcohol is non conductive and evaporates extremely fast. (If the phone will still not power on, sometimes a simple battery replacement is all that it needs to turn on again.)
Anti Static Brush. Normal brushes create static electricity. This build up can short out many electronic components. It is important to have a brush that can clean dirt out of charging ports without damaging the phone itself. This is also important when you are cleaning up corrosion inside phones that have gotten wet.
Suction cup. This is super important for the new iPhone 5’s. (Also the 5c, and the 5s) Apple got smart and allowed the screens to be pulled up and away from the top of the phone allowing the screen to be swapped from the device in 3 Minutes flat. It is better to have the right tools the first time around; so skip any of the dinky little suction cups that come with any ‘free repair tool kit’. If you plan on doing more than one screen repair, Id spend a few extra bucks and get a decent suction cup. I pulled mine off of an old cell phone car mount; the kind that suctions to your windshield. I cant seem to find a decent one to link to. The screen width of an iphone 5 is about 2 inches, so make sure the suction cup is smaller than that or it wont fit. (If you find one that works well for you, leave a comment below and ill link it here.)
Tweezers. You’ll be working with SUPER small screws. And not all of them will be magnetized. It is important to have a decent pair of tweezers within your reach. I personally use this pair every day. They are solid. You’ll thank me each time that you use them.
Digitizer Separator Here is where things get complicated. Anyone who can work a screw driver can swap the screen on a device. But replacing just the glass on a phone is where the ‘art’ comes into play. It takes real skill to swap a shattered glass with a replacement screen. This is where the MOST risk is, but also the most profit. Having a special machine that does the job for you is the easiest route, but plan on paying upwards of 200 to 400 dollars. I have linked kits that comes WITH the UV glue, wire, and molds that make it easier to swap devices. Ive found that getting the machine anywhere from 75-85 degrees Celsius works best. (167 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.) Too cold and the glass wont separate, but if you are too hot the LCD might burn, and become discolored. HERE is the UV light I use (It has a crappy review on Amazon due to slow shipping, which is dumb, but you can use any UV light that works with cell phones, or woman fake nails. It’ll be the same.)
If you are going BIG TIME and want a fully automated process you can check this guy out Vacumm Screen Separator I personally have not used a machine like this… But if you have the volume… this would be worth the purchase.
You CAN swap the glass of a phone with just a heat gun, wire (or just use a deck of playing cards, as seen in some of my videos), and temperature gun . It does take more time and effort this way. You’ll just have to figure out personally if it is worth your time to buy the machine that does most of the work for you. It mostly depends on how many screens you plan on doing. And how fast the machine will pay for itself if you end up buying one.
As far as repair parts go (Screens, charging ports, glass) I usually get all of my stuff from either Amazon, or Ebay. Just make sure to buy from highly rated sellers, as the replacement parts from china are not always super reliable. ALSO make sure you harvest whatever working parts you can off of old cell phones before you recycle them. Parts like charging ports, screens, LCDS, antenna cables… This will save you tons of money down the road.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Good Luck!