What quality of part is being installed in your phone?

Why Talk About This?

There are many considerations when looking at getting your phone repaired. First and foremost is the price of the repair itself. We frequently price check our competitors locally and nationally and have found that there is a wide range of pricing for the same repair but no explanation offered for it in most cases. Well, since we repair phones all day we know what the difference is... the quality of the part that is being used. There are many bad actors in the the third-party repair space and we think customers deserve to have at least an abbreviated break-down of why there is such a large pricing discrepancy between some repair businesses.


Do We Know What We're Talking About?

As a repair service provider there are about ten vendors that we purchase parts from on a regular basis. Our vendors are screened and all of our parts are tested when received, before installation, and after installation to ensure that we have as low of a defect rate as possible. Whenever possible we buy either new original parts or refurbished original parts that are as close to what you'd be getting in a new device as possible. That leads to slightly higher prices, but a higher quality and longer lasting repair.

We've been repairing electronics for about a decade and smartphones for most of that time in a professional capacity. In that time we have watched the marketplace for replacement parts grow from a few small websites to some quite large companies that are now investing in component production and infrastructure around the world. This gives us a unique perspective on that supply chain and those vendors. We've learned the hard way that it's very easy to get a crappy part. If it's too good to be true it probably isn't.


New Original ("OEM")

Most expensive option, but this is the same part you'd be getting from Apple/Samsung. These parts are typically in short supply as Apple does not sell parts to third-parties.


Original Refurbished ("A")

These displays are what we typically purchase and are all original Apple/Samsung Components (LCD, Backlight, Digitizer) with replacement glass that matches the original specifications of New Original Displays. Using this quality of part allows us to balance quality and cost to provide the best part for the most reasonable price to our customers.


Aftermarket Premium/Prime ("AAA")

This is the highest quality of aftermarket display that is currently available to repair service providers. Typically none of the components (LCD, Backlight, Digitizer) are Original Apple/Samsung or come from an Apple/Samsung contracted manufacturer. That being said, the manufacturers of these parts are typically able to put together a display that functions and is very similar to what you'd be getting with an Original Apple/Samsung Part. A good part supplier will indicate what manufacturer produced the display (AUO, TIANMA, etc) which can be an indicator of what will be different from an Original Apple/Samsung Part. In most cases departures from the original specifications to save on production costs will cause the backlight to be dimmer or the LCD to skew towards blue/purple which is particularly noticeable when editing photos or when looking at the display with a blank white background.


Aftermarket Select ("AA/AAA")

These displays typically do not try to conform to the original design specifications. The specific cost saving measures that are taken with these parts is making the display glass thinner or lower quality and increasing the thickness of the plastic frame. This leads to your phone being about a millimeter thicker in most cases following installation. If you have a case it's not really noticeable, but the hand-feel of the device is definitely different without one. We don't buy this quality level because the defect rate through some vendors can reach 30% within the first few months following installation. We offer a limited lifetime warranty covering defects on iPhone Displays so that doesn't work for us. Keep an eye out for repair service providers who only offer 30 or 90 warranties. In many cases even within that time period warranty service will be denied even if it's for an obvious defect.


Aftermarket Basic ("A")

The lowest quality part and thus the cheapest part. These parts suffer from the same issues that Aftermarket Select do, but to a greater degree in most cases. Most vendors will not bother stocking this quality level of part as repair service providers do not typically purchase it due to the high defect rates. That being said, this or Aftermarket Select are almost always what you'd be receiving if going through Amazon or eBay and purchasing an Aftermarket part.

iPhone Headphone Jack Not Working

So you're unable to hear anything through your headphones when they are plugged into your iPhone. That sucks, lets do some troubleshooting.

iphone_headphonejack.jpg

Is there anything stuck in the jack?

If there is it's probably lint and you could carefully remove it using a small set of tweezers. Keep in mind that most repair shops would be happy to do this for free and they will probably take care of it for free. We end up doing this and resolving charging problems upwards of four or five times a day!


Does the Loudspeaker Work?

If the loudspeaker is not working this typically indicates that the headphone jack is registering something inserted. This could be anything from defective soldering on the jack to damage to one of the conductors. In most cases replacing the jack entirely is the best course of action in this situation.


Try a DFU Restore

Last step before replacing the charging port would be to perform a full backup of your iPhone using the following instructions [1] provided by Apple and then following these instructions [2] to perform a DFU Restore of your phone and ensure that there is known good new firmware installed. The firmware facilitates communication between software and hardware and if it's not working properly in some cases it can cause strange symptoms like this.

[1] https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203977

[2] https://www.bridgetownrepair.com/berblog/2017/4/14/dfu-restore-tutorial-iphone-ipad-ipod-touch


Next Steps

If none of that helped then the Charging Port/Headphone Jack Assembly likely needs to be replaced. Feel free to get in touch with us using the contact information at the bottom of the page if you're in Oregon. If you are outside of Oregon we'd still be happy to perform any necessary repairs for you, but you'd need to fill out the mail-in repair form at the following link ::

https://www.bridgetownrepair.com/mailin-repairs/

VW Keyless Entry Module Repair (3D0909135M 5WK47026)

The automotive electronics repair community is familiar with failures of this particular module and have identified two primary root causes  ::

- Liquid Damaged Components

- Failing Components (Resistors, MOSFETS)

In this post we will be focusing on replacement of the most commonly failed components for this model using common tools available on an electronics workbench.


Setting System Date via Terminal (OSX, Recovery, Install)

Changing system date from Terminal – OS X recovery

When you’re booting your Mac from the recovery partition and are planning to reinstall OS X, you might be met by the following message:

An error occurred while preparing the installation. Try running again

Now, if you haven’t used your Mac for a while, the error might be caused by an incorrect system date setting. You can check this by going to utilities and opening the terminal. Once in the terminal enter the following command and hit return/enter:

date

The result of this command will be the date that the system currently has been set to. For some reason, it might have been reset to 2001, in which case we need to set it to the right date. To do this, we enter a new command. This command will be entered as follows:

date {month}{day}{hour}{minute}{year}

Every bracket should be replaced with a two-digit number. For example, March 18th 2013 12:50 would become the following command:

date 0318125013

Enter the command and hit return. You can then check if it was set correctly by running the first command again. If the date was wrong, it was likely that which caused the error, and after you quit the terminal it should be able to install OS X just fine.

Smartphone No Power Troubleshooting

If your iPhone is not turning on there are a few things that could be going on. Luckily, there are some steps that you can take before bringing it in for repair. If none of the below steps work feel free to give us a shout using the contact information at the bottom of this page.


Liquid Damage

The first thing that we need to determine is if your iPhone has been liquid damaged. Liquid Damage doesn't necessarily mean that the phone was dropped in a lake or had something spilled on it (although both of those definitely do count). We run into lots of people who like to play music when they are in the shower and even that ambient moisture can damage components like the earpiece speaker that are delicate and exposed.

Liquid Damage typically only gets worse the longer you wait to have the device disassembled and professionally cleaned. No, rice is not a way to resolve liquid damage. The liquid may dry up but anything that was suspended in that liquid will be left behind to cause corrosion and other mischief (maybe not at that moment but at some point). We fully disassemble liquid damaged devices and put them through an ultrasonic cleaner with an electronics cleaning solution to remove any of that corrosion and all liquid. We then displace the cleaning solution with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol which entirely evaporates without leaving a residue.


Battery Problems

Second thing to be suspicious of when your device is not power on would be the internal battery. If you have an older Android Smartphone or a newer budget smartphone from ZTE/BLU or similar your battery may be removable by popping off the rear battery cover (there's typically a small pry point on the edge of the device that you can lift away). Removing your battery and re-inserting it will force your device to fully power off and may resolve some instances of the No Power symptom.

General Drum Sander Power Board Repair

Customer pulled this board from their General Drum Sander after the whole unit stopped working. The circuit is pretty simple and after initial testing quite a few resistors were found to be operating outside of their specifications. Additionally, failed diodes and a suspect OP AMP were found. Electrolytic capacitors were pulled from the board and tested with one being found faulty.

Samsung LN46A630M1F :: Power Board Troubleshooting

Repair Summary

This device came in failing to power on as expected. When the power button was pressed the device would sometimes power on with no issues, and other times it would seem to loop between powering on and powering off until it finally would remain on and function as expected.

These symptoms are commonly associated with capacitor failure on the power board. I removed the back cover and stand then inspected the electrolytic capacitors on the board, but did not discover any visible failures. After some research into this specific model I identified seven suspect electrolytic capacitors on the Power Board near the Main Board Connector.

Fortunately, I had all of the capacitors I needed in stock so I swapped them in which seems to have resolved the issue entirely! I've included photos of both sides of the board below and some close-ups of the failing components along with replacements for reference. If you're having the same symptoms replacing the capacitors in the general area is a good place to start when attempting to repair the Power Board. I used replacement capacitors that are rated for a higher voltage than the originals because Samsung did not use appropriately rated capacitors on this board and that is why they have such a high failure rate. A replacement with the same voltage rating would likely also fail is short-order (under a year).

Original Parts

  • 4 x 1000uf 15V Electrolytic Radial Can Capacitors
  • 2 x 470uf 15V Electrolytic Radial Can Capacitors
  • 1 x 47uf 10V Electrolytic Radial Can Capacitor

Replacement Parts

  • 4 x 1000uf 35V Electrolytic Radial Can Capacitors
  • 2 x 470uf 35V Electrolytic Radial Can Capacitors
  • 1 x 47uf 50V Electrolytic Radial Can Capacitor

BOSS Equalizer GE-7 :: Troubleshooting

This device came in to the shop with undefined symptoms so I went ahead and did a full tear-down. Four screws out of the bottom plate, remove the plastic shielding that prevents the board from grounding out to the device housing, and one screw out of the bottom board which flips out with the ribbon-cable as the pivot point.

There were some terrible looking solder joints at wire connection points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 that I was able to clean up without any issues using Amtech Flux and our shop Hakko FX-888D Soldering Iron set to maximum heat. Additionally, a couple other solder joints on the bottom of the PCB needed to be cleaned up and I did so for the sake of being thorough.

Since this was an initial investigation of the issue I went ahead and created a rough board layout and component listing for Resistors, Capacitors, and Diodes that can be used in future testing if the customer decides to go forward with paid diagnostics. Assuming that happens I'll go ahead and include both a marked and measured value for each component so that others have it as a resource and possible shortcut when troubleshooting.

Ferrari Digitek ECU SMT Measurements and Component Layout

Recently replaced a number of surface-mount components on this Digitek ECU from a Ferrari for a customer. Figured that my resistance and capacitance measurements might help someone else troubleshooting the same board. Since the board does not have silk-screened component identifiers I went ahead and used my own with traditional (Left -> Right) (Top -> Bottom) coding.

 

 Added my own reference designations and associated reading with them. Reference the top-left section of the page for a visual of the components and general component layout.

Added my own reference designations and associated reading with them. Reference the top-left section of the page for a visual of the components and general component layout.

JTAGULATOR :: Bill of Materials

Hello Internet,

Over the next couple weeks we're going to be putting together a JTAGULATOR that will be used for diagnosis of advanced hardware issues and reverse engineering of device firmware. Since an initial search didn't produce a DigiKey Cart that already had a Bill of Materials added to it that's where we're going to start. Feel free to download the provided CSV from the link below and use the BOM Manager on the DigiKey Website to order the necessary parts!

https://goo.gl/uWftkJ

DFU Restore Tutorial (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)

iPhone-6-black-screen.jpg

Entering DFU Mode on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

  1. Plug your device into a computer with iTunes installed using an MFi certified cable.
  2. Hold the power button for three seconds and swipe to shutdown.
  3. Hold the Home and Power buttons for ten seconds.
  4. Stop holding the power button but continue holding Home.
  5. If you have followed the instructions above iTunes should notify you that there is a device in 'Recovery Mode' connected within about fifteen seconds.

Your device should auto-magically exit DFU Mode once a restore has been successfully completed, but if the restore fails or you want to return to a normal boot just hold down Power and Home for five seconds to Hard Reset your device.

HP Stream (Unexpected Blue-Screens)

Initial Description

Device is able to boot and operate as expected for about ten to fifteen minutes. If the user attempts to run any programs that time period shrinks drastically.

Diagnosis

Possible software corruption, failing storage media, or failing memory.

Troubleshooting

- Attempted to verify integrity of the filesystem but device blue-screens too quickly.

- Device passes integrated quick-tests for storage media.

- Device passes integrated quick tests for RAM.

- MemTest full run confirms that there is failing RAM.

Resolution

- Disassembled device and reflowed RAM.

- Verified Full Functionality via MemTest.

- Verified Full Functionality via in OS Testing.

Donate Your Electronics - Help Us Create Repair Guides!

So, here's the deal. We recently repaired a crockpot for one of our customers and realized that there is almost no repair documentation for this type of device which is readily available to consumers or repair shops like us. By donating your old, weird, or broken electronics to us you will be helping us create repair guides, or at the very least disassembly guides, that we will share directly with the public.

We have the first of many teardown documentation projects underway and will be posting the results to iFixit as a repair guide that anyone with an Internet Connection can access. Who knows, we might be able to get your supposed eWaste running better than something new off the shelf!

iPhone Charging Issues

We have noticed quite a few iPhones coming in with charging issues recently and wanted to get some information out about the most common causes. Other guides may provide part of the solution, but we have yet to find anyone who explains all of the possible causes (except Jessa who is an exception to most rules).


Lint In Charging Ports can cause the phone not to charge. Ohh, the joys of pulling pocket lint out of iPhone charging ports. Although it is relatively easy to do with a pair of thin tip tweezers we strongly recommend relying on a third-party. There are two main reasons for this: (1) There are thin pins that can be damaged if not carefully avoided, (2) Additional diagnostics can be run on the device to verify that there is not another underlying issue contributing to a failure to charge issue.

Failing Batteries can cause a whole range of symptoms from unexpected shutdowns to a failure to charge properly. You can check the current health of your battery using a utility like Coconut Battery (http://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/#faq) but there are more thorough options available to determine the current health of the battery which are not readily available to consumers.

Consumed Batteries frequently fail to charge as quickly as entirely functional batteries and in some cases can stop charging completely or simply not be able to provide the amount of power required to turn a phone back on once it is completely discharged. Most consumers hold onto their devices for long enough that their battery will enter a consumed state. Battery replacements are quite affordable 

Damaged Logic Boards are a possible cause as well either because of a device specific component failure like the U2 Chip in many Apple Mobile Devices which is supposed to control power flow or liquid damage. Luckily damaged logic boards can be repaired, but you should expect a turnaround time of about a week due to the complexity of troubleshooting required to identify problematic components.

 

 

Recognizing Battery Failure in Apple Laptops

Unfortunately, nobody has been able to come up with a battery to put in electronic devices that will last for more than about three years without either losing a significant amount of charge capacity or failing entirely. Fortunately, replacement lithium-ion batteries are plentiful and in many cases quite affordable. If you've ever found yourself running around like a crazy person to find an outlet to charge your laptop you may want to review the following symptoms and consider having your battery replaced!


Service Battery Warnings are a way for your laptop to let you know that it has detected either a failure to charge as expected or that the internal battery has been consumed, or is unable to hold more than a specific percentage charge. You will see notifications that the battery needs to be serviced near the top-right corner of your display.

Trackpad Not Working is one of those symptoms that may at first seem like it couldn't be related to a battery issue. More than a few times we have had a situation where we have quoted a customer for a trackpad replacement over the phone and it ends up being a failing battery. The reason the two symptoms are related is the location of the battery itself. For example, on non-retina Macbook Pro models the battery is located directly underneath the trackpad. When a failing battery swells the path of least resistance is towards the trackpad which can prevent movement of the trackpad and in some extreme cases even crack it!

Short Battery Life is quite common with both failing and consumed batteries. Although consumers are able to access information on their battery health we strongly recommend consulting a third-party for an analysis of that information. Most service providers will be able to provide a quick explanation of current battery health at no cost and recommend replacement options.

Overheating can be caused when the electrical current flowing to individual cells in the battery encounters unplanned resistance. The excess energy that builds up is released as heat and can cause significant damage to your laptop. If you notice that your device is overheating we recommend consulting a technician to ensure that there is no risk of fire.

Unexpected Shutdowns can occur when a battery is unable to provide the necessary amount of electricity to your computer. If you are plugged directly into an outlet periodic loss of battery power is less significant, but without that fallback anything that is unsaved will likely be lost when the device loses power and reboots.

iPhone Unexpected Shutdown/Restart

Unexpected Shutdowns on your iPhone/iPad are nothing new, but it seems like they are becoming more common, especially on older devices. Use the guide below to match your symptoms with a possible cause. Got questions? Get in touch with us and we will diagnose the issue for free at our physical location (5020 SE Division Street Portland, OR 97206).


Corrupted Software/Firmware is one of the most likely causes of this type of issue and luckily it is one of the easiest to address. Although it is possible to restore both iOS and the appropriate version of firmware for your iPhone using iTunes many people opt to have a this done on their behalf to ensure that the issue has been completely resolved. All iOS and Firmware restores that we perform include a battery health check and device cleaning.

Failing Batteries are the next most likely cause of these symptoms. Fortunately, battery replacements are generally completed in under an hour. All battery replacements come with a one-year limited warranty.

Logic Board failure can cause these symptoms and if it is diagnosed the cheapest way to get a fully functional device back in your hands is to replace the logic board or device entirely. In these situations we offer a trade-in program to customers who are interested in replacing their iPhone with one of our refurbished devices. All refurbished devices have a one-year warranty limited warranty that covers non-accidental damage and workmanship built into the price.

Macbook Pro 13" Mid-2009 (Boot Issue, Keyboard, Trackpad)

Initial Description:

- Device powers on and displays an Apple Logo as expected for a few seconds, but instead of completing the boot into the user environment it displays the 'Do Not' icon after about fifteen seconds indicating that the operating system was unable to load as expected.

Troubleshooting:

- PRAM Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- SMC Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- Booted into Recovery Partition ... Success!

- Determined that Keyboard is non-functional in Recovery,

- Determined that Trackpad can move cursor but not click in Recovery,

- PRAM Reset ... No Change in Symptoms,

- SMC Reset ... Keyboard works but Trackpad remains the same,

- Installed Known Good Battery ... No Change in Symptoms,

- Removed Known Good Battery,

- Installed Known Good Trackpad and Trackpad Flex Cable,

- Installed Original Battery,

- Booted into Recovery Partition ... Success!

- Determined that Keyboard is fully functional,

- Determined that Trackpad is fully functional,

- Boot Issue Persists,

- Removed Internal SSD,

- Rebuilt HFS+ Directory Structure,

- Booted into Install Media (USB),

- Disk Utility First Aid recommend a format reinstall,

- Unable to rebuild directory structure via third-party tools,

- Removed Internal SSD,

- Backed up Data to Known-Good Storage Media,

- Reformatted Internal SSD,

- Clean Install of 10.11.6 ... Success!

- Restored Customer Data,

- Service Complete,

Diagnosis:

- Malfunctioning Trackpad,

- Corrupted Operating System,

Apple SMC Reset

 

Macbooks with non-removable batteries

  1. Turn your Mac off.
  2. Remove the power adapter from your Mac.
  3. Press and hold the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left side of the keyboard and then press the power button. Continue holding these keys for 20 seconds.
  4. Release all keys.
  5. Connect the power adapter to your Mac.
  6. Turn your Mac on.

macbooks with removable batteries

  1. Turn your Mac off.
  2. Remove the power adapter from your Mac.
  3. Uninstall the battery.
  4. Press the power button and hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Reinstall the battery
  6. Connect the power adapter to your Mac.
  7. Turn your Mac on.

imacs

  1. Turn your Mac off.
  2. Unplug the AC Power Cable.
  3. Wait 15 seconds.
  4. Plug the AC Power Cable in.
  5. Wait 5 seconds,
  6. Turn your Mac on.

Apple PRAM/NVRAM Reset

What is NVRAM?

NVRAM stands for "non-volatile random-access memory" and is the part of your computer's memory that handles the storage of settings like Speaker Volume, Screen Resolution, Startup Disk Selection, and Recent Kernel Panic Information.

Resetting the PRAM/NVRAM in your laptop or desktop is generally the first troubleshooting step that you should take when attempting to distinguish between software and hardware issues. One situation that we tend to run into on a regular basis is a customer's laptop booting directly into their Recovery Partition instead of into the locally installed Operating System. In many cases a simple reset of the PRAM/NVRAM will resolve it.

If you continue to experience issues after following the instructions below please feel free to reach out to use via phone or email. We offer mail-in service in addition to our walk-in service for customers in Portland, OR.

reset-pram-or-nvram-mac.png

How to Reset NVRAM

  1. Power off your Mac entirely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Hold down Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  4. Continue holding these keys until you hear a chime.
  5. Stop pressing down these keys and allow your Mac to boot normally.

If this troubleshooting step does not resolve the issue that you are experiencing or your Mac does not power on at all you may want to consider resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) as well. You can find instructions for that process HERE.

Special Instructions for MacBook Pro 2016 and Newer

  1. Power off your Mac entirely.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Hold down Command (⌘), Option, P, and R.
  4. Continue holding these keys for thirty-seconds.
  5. Stop pressing down these keys and allow your Mac to boot normally.

iPhone Stuck on Apple Logo

iPhone-Stuck-On-Apple-Logo.jpg

Software/Firmware Issues

Corruption in the software or the firmware on your iPhone is the most common cause of this type of issue. When Apple releases a new version of iOS it has to get installed on your phone. If there is a pre-existing issue, most likely caused by a third-party app, installing that iOS update could have stopped your iPhone from starting up properly.

Unfortunately, restoring your iPhone to factory defaults is the only reliable way to bring it back to a fully functional state again which will remove all of your data. If you need to have your data backed up from a phone that is stuck on an Apple Logo get in touch with us.

Liquid Damage

Exposure to any type of liquid can also stop your iPhone from starting up properly. If you know that your iPhone was exposed tortant to have it treated as quickly as possible. Do not try to dry your phone out with rice (Find out why).

We have a number of tools that allow us to ensure that any trace of liquid in your iPhone have been removed. Please give us a call or stop by our physical location