Renewed Desire

As I walked out of my last job and headed for the bus stop – my last day ended and a whole new life in another country ready to begin1 – I pulled my HTC Desire out of my pocket to check the time and it leapt out of my hands into a painful-sounding faceplant on the concrete, cracking the glass in front of the touchscreen. Devastated – and with glass splinters in my thumb from trying to check when the next bus was – I headed home.The broken phone.  And my broken dreams


A search on the Googles revealed that others in my situation had been quoted between $200 and $300 AUD to repair the touchscreen. Still others had chosen to ship parts from overseas repairers ($100 – $200 AUD) and replace the screen themselves. By the time I did my damage the phone was popular enough, and had been on the market long enough for me to be able to ship replacement parts from Hong-Kong for little more than $40 AUD. It turned out that the LCD was still working fine, but the broken glass cover at the front of the screen is actually the digitizer: The part of the screen that detects and sends the touches to the phone. 3 weeks later my replacement digitizer arrived and I set to work repairing my HTC Desire, following the instructions I found on this helpful website.


The screen came with several free tools for opening the phone (that didn't fit) A roll of double-sided tape and a $1 knife to attach the new screen

Tools needed:

  • – New digitizer
  • – Star screwdriver
  • – Cross screwdriver
  • – Separator
  • – Knife
  • – Double-sided tape

Step 1Step 1 is pretty easy – remove the cover, battery, SIM card and SDCard








Step 2 Step 2 is where I discovered that the cross-head screwdriver included with the replacement digitizer kit didn’t actually fit my phone, and had to go out and buy a new one. Note the VOID stickers that need to be removed to get at the screws: this procedure will end your warranty
Note the VOID stickers that need to be removed to get at the screws: this procedure will end your warranty



Step 3

Step 3 is where it starts to get hairy – try not to lose the Power button or Volume rocker as the circuit board comes out, and remember to unplug the antenna connection and to plug it back in when closing the phone up again.






Step 4

Step 4 gets a little scary- the screen is held into the frame pretty firmly, and it requires peeling and slight bending to get it out (not too much bending, mind you). There’s some metal tape stuff that has to be peeled off as well, but it’s pretty easy to stick it back on once you put the screen back in.





Step 5

Step 5 is similar to the last step, but worse. The digitizer is held in by a sticky black glue, and it’s necessary to pull it away far enough that you can cut it with the separator all around. I managed to do this without bending the frame, everyone else may not be so lucky.





There's a whole lot of gunk on the inside of the frame once the digitizer has been removed Easily cleaned off using the knife and some cheap alcohol (yes, Vodka works)

Step 6 just involves cleaning the frame so that the new screen can go in.






Step ??

Step 7: Put it all back together and…it doesn’t work. Crap.

Whenever I touch the screen it brings now the notification panel. I was lucky to get the phone unlocked for the picture.


Strangely, it seems to work fine when the screen is left just slightly out of the frame, so I went ahead with the next step. This eventually ended okay, as the tape made the screen work for some reason.

 Double-sided tape Cutting the roll into 2mm pieces

Step 8 is to glue the digitizer back into the frame using small (2mm) strips of double-sided tape placed along the edges.





Step 9 is to gloat!  I replaced my screen for less than $50!









Overall it was a surprisingly easy procedure, despite the worry about the screen not working about halfway through. If you can’t afford to get the screen replaced by an official repair centre, or don’t have warranty anymore, and you’re comfortable pulling the pieces out of a Tandy Robby Robot toy then by all means go ahead and replace the digitizer yourself!

Just don’t sue me if you stuff it up.

  1. I’ve since moved to Vancouver, Canada for a 2 year working holiday []

New iPhones and the Hero

So this Thursday I finally went into the Apple store to get the intermittent issue with my iPhone looked at. Ever since I first got it, the handset speaker has been popping and cracking in my ear whenever I tried to call someone, making them very hard to hear most of the time. In fact, I think a major contribution to my seething hatred of the iPhone was my inability to actually use mine as a phone! That aside, I never wanted to go back to keypad text-messaging, so I put off the inevitable tech support visit for as long as I could. But my warranty is soon due to expire, so I made my appointment and trundled down to the local Apple store on Thursday.

Intermittent issues are annoying little buggers, and always seem to know when you’re getting someone else looking for them and hide away until you get back home. And lo and behold, as I sat on the annoyingly hip couch in the annoyingly hip Apple store surrounded by computers with single mouse buttons that just screamed “Look at me I’m so f**king annoyingly hip!!” and awaited my turn with the ‘Genius’ aka annoyingly named tech-support geek: my intermittent problem disappeared. :(

Not to worry the Genius, he took one look at the bottom of my case, noticed a crack I didn’t even realise was there, and replaced the whole phone with a brand new refurbished one! Go banana! So after re-restoring, re-jail-breaking, and (annoyingly) losing all my Apps, I gots me a whole new iPhone!

Later it was pointed out to me that Apple get so many tech support issues they do this with everyone they can. That way they can keep their annoyingly hip designs away from anyone who might offer cheaper tech-support out-of-warranty, and in fact is Apple’s way of actively screwing their own suppliers. I guess screwing their customers out of a decent media/sync app wasn’t quite enough for them. :(

So despite my brand new Apple-pod, I still eagerly await the arrival of my HTC Hero, my own personal Jesus Christ. Okay, okay, I’m sure it’s not all that and it’ll probably be either really disappointing or only offered by Optus in Australia (I’m actively begging otherwise from Virgin right now). But it’ll certainly be a huge step up from my annoyingly hip iPhone :)