Saturday, 24 June 2017

Tablet Repair Part 1

This was one of the hardest repairs I've ever attempted. I got this lovely Samsung Galaxy Tab E (9.6-inch screen) from a kind Freegle user. It was dead, but a good look showed up that the micro USB socket was broken. I stripped the tablet down following a couple of useful YouTube videos and got the main board out.

The only way to really work with surface mount components is using an SMD re-work station, a kind of soldering iron using hot air. I don't have one of these, but I do have my trusty B&Q hot air gun for plumbing and paint stripping. This is way too big for this work, but by wrapping the circuit board in tin foil and using the gun on the lower setting I was able to get the old USB socket out. I soldered 2 wires to the power contacts and partially re-assembled the tablet. 

The tablet has intelligent charging and due to the odd connection it took about 12 hours to fully charge, but when it did the tablet booted up and I was able to do a factory reset and log in with my own Google account.

So far, so good. I bought an exact replacement USB socket on eBay for a little more than £1 and when it arrived I took the circuit board out again. Now the fun really began. After trying to solder the new socket into place with a small iron I realised this wasn't going to work and it would be back to the hot air gun and tin foil approach.

After 2 hours of messing about I finally got the new socket in place, fully soldered and connected correctly. Flux turned out to be really useful in getting this done, it helps to clean the contacts and make the solder flow. I have since found out that solder paste is what you should use when working with surface mount boards so I'm going to order some from CPC for future use.

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