My Galaxy S3 is almost two years old now, but even after the appearance of the S4 and recently the S5 I was still feeling like I want to use it as long as possible. Inside is a quad core CPU with 1 GB RAM. Even the S5 only got 4 cores here in Europe and 2 GB RAM is also not that generous, as of my feeling. So one of the main reasons to upgrade would be the full HD display which finally would give me finer detailed text display.
OK my phone is still fast with Cyanogen and a few weeks ago it fell down and unluckily hit a concrete edge and the display cracked. I have seen many display cracks since the appearance of the first iPhone, but this was the first display crack I ever was responsible for. As I didn’t feel like spending a few hundred bucks for the repair of an old S3 but also don’t want to be forced by that mistake to buy a brand new S5 I googled a bit about that display repair kits and found out that in contrast to the iPhones where the whole display unit needs to be replaced that there is another option for the S3. Just replacing the glass.
I found a DIY here www.ifixit.com/Guide/Samsung+Galaxy+S+III+Broken+Front+Gl…
I got me a repair kit then for about 12 EUR. This kit comes with a few tools (6) a double side glue tape layer (7) and the glass itself (7).
I don’t want to repeat all what is said already in the linked DIY guide. So make sure that you read that before you start this procedure yourself.
This article is only for documentation purposes. In no way do I want to encourage you to try that with your phone, nor I gonna be liable if you mess up your phone by any steps you see in this guide here. Try this at YOUR OWN RISK!
1 Precondition / Cracks
2 Remove battery, SIM and storage card
3 read the guide
4 heat gun
6 tools (the screwdrivers were together in that package but you don’t need them until you want to take out the motherboard or whatever you desire)
7 display glass and double-sided S3-shaped adhesive tape – look at this more close; there are a lot of DIY guides recommending to buy just some 3M tape, but in my kit there was a special tape layer in the shape of the original installed one … on the picture this is the one with the blue protection layer
8 heating up the surface SLOWLY and equally (!)
9 I tried to never let the surface temperature go above 80 °C as I don’t want to melt the AMOLED circuits or organic material whatever is inside
10 slowly lift the display glass … between the glass an the display there is a soft gel layer which slowly will go off (more about that gel layer at the end)
11 heat again and again and take off slowly and heat again … take care on the bottom of the device as there is a cable for the bottom keys backlight! (just dont stick something in at the bottom more than 2 or 3mm to be safe)
12 the glass is off and I did not crack the display – yeah 🙂 … now we see residue of the gel layer on the display … I took this off slowly with the blue plastic tools … this and cleaning of all the edges was the most time consuming part of all because you will want to be very careful to not damage the sensitive AMOLED display which has no protection at this point anymore
13 heat again – take off the adhesive (black stripe) … and clean again … after I cleaned the display surface with a micro fibre towel and display cleaner (no solvents!) ; also take out the metal part for the ear speaker, this one you will have to attach before you glue in the new adhesive layer
14 before you attach the new glass make sure everything is clean and then mount the new adhesive tape … for this step I went outside to have less of dust (from interior textiles) coming on the display … but that depends on the weather at your place (humidity binds dust particles; wind is bad!)
14 yes DONE its mounted!
15 and the best news its working – even the multi touch is working flawlessly – to my own surprise I have to admit
16 the old parts
17 Now a word for the gel layer. A lot of DIY guides never mention the gel layer which sits between the display and the glass cover. This was a big surprise to me and I had to find out a way to deal with that by my own as nobody told me before that there is a gel layer I will not be able to reuse. This gel layers main task is to optically link the glass and the display together. If you follow this guide you will loose this gel layer! If you work very carefully this will not be a technical problem, but without a gel layer between the glass and the display this simply means there will be a gap of air. Two surfaces will result in more reflections than one. So after the DIY replacment you will have more visible reflections (like sky) on your display than before. For me that is OK as I save more than 150 bucks with this trade in, but it would have been nice just if someone would have mention that before. So here we go.
Despite of spending about 200 EUR for a professional replacement of the whole display unit, the option to exchange just the top glass layer sounds interesting. But beware that this is a dangerous process for your phone. If you are lacking mechanical skills or tools or patience it is very likely that you mess up your delicate hardware. Another point to mention again, you loose the gel layer which prevents major reflections between the glass and the display. Even if you would have that gel layer it might be another challenge to apply it properly with a ultra high vacuum machine. I had none of either, so I have to live without the gel layer now. Still, it took almost 3 hours for me to finish this, but including taking photos and having a small snack break. Patience is the key.[EDIT after three months:] Slowly but steadily dust particles are locating in the place of the now removed gel layer. This means a negative aesthetic appearance, especially when the display is turned off. In the case of dust particles being big enough (still much less than 1mm) I even observed the particles resulting in false touch detection. This can lead to the unability of controlling the phone by touch gestures. As a temporary curement you will need to knock on the edge of the phone until the particles fall off from the display surface. If you still plan to try this DIY repair I can just emphasize the importance of thorough cleaning not only of the display itself but also on all other parts which will be covered by the glass cover, as all remaining particles have the possiblity to locate in the air gap sooner or later, affecting visual impression and false touch detection.
Tagged: , display , gorilla , glass , amoled , broken , crack , samsung , galaxy , s3 , diy , repair