My HTC EVO 4G now has a new digitizer (the touchscreen, glass cover of the LCD screen) after I successfully replaced the badly shattered old one that was almost falling apart. Stores usually charge about $100 for this replacement, while Craigslist has ads for about $60 in Chicagoland, but I’m not sure whom to trust so I did it myself instead and saved quite a bit. I ordered and received all the necessary spare parts and tools from Amazon.com for under $30 with shipping included and they arrived in about one week. I needed the digitizer, the double-sided adhesive tape and the smartphone repair tools, main pieces including a T5 torx scredriver and a very small phillips (all parts with links listed at the bottom).
The package arrived via USPS, well protected – first in a big bubble envelope with a smaller bubble envelope inside, with the digitizer inside yet another bubble wrap bag.
I was tempted to video the process but during several hours of preparations, reading and watching YouTube instructional videos my little daughter walked into the room carrying in the digitizer screen in her hands. She used a chair to get to the middle of the table, took the envelope, took out the bubble-wrapped digitizer, took it out of its wrap, peeled the protective cellophane off and brought it to me as a trophy, asking when I’m going to put it in. Compelled to pull my hair out, I let it turn gray instead. I used the cleaning cloth that arrived with the tools (how did they know?) to remove the dust and fingerprints and so I was pushed to rush into doing this immediately before the new unit picks up more dust.
I watched several videos because I didn’t find one with all important details included. The two I like best are below and they complement each other – the first one shows the full replacement of a cracked screen with reassembly, but it’s lacking some details important for disconnecting the ribbons at 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the video. At that time (2:20) I recommend pausing the first video and watching the ribbon removal part at 1:43 of the second video below, before returning to continue. I had to re-run parts of both videos to make sure I’m doing the right thing.
See the very important section below at 1 minute 43 seconds into the video below, showing how to carefully disconnect the three ribbon cables before taking the screen out.
Althogh the most delicate part was disconnecting and reconnecting the ribbon cables, the toughest part was pulling the glass apart from the phone. Some small pieces of glass were even falling off in the process and I was scared they will scratch the LCD but it turns out that the glass is glued onto plastic that’s keeping it together above the screen even when it’s shattered, so the LCD came out unharmed.
After taking out the broken glass it took me at least 15 minutes to carefully peel off the adhesive remainders with a scalpel – this has to be perfectly clean before applying the new adhesive.
Eventually everything worked out OK except for the four buttons at the bottom not being backlit any more as described in further text, but there were some road bumps to overcome and tricks to think of.
The most tedious part was fitting the double-sided adhesive 3M tape in its place. The tape is thinner than the one used in the first video, but I used multiple strips next to each other to achieve more width where possible (see above photo). I used the tips of small scissors to press the strips onto the surface, align them, and to make sure they attached. Then after I was done with placing all of them I used a small carpet blade to carefully peel the protective layer off the strips and they were ready.
I put in the glass and pressed around the edges, up and down, left and right, but I didn’t want to use the hair dryer for better bonding yet, just in case I had to disassemble everything and repeat the maneuver – I could always do it later. That was wise because I got very close to it, but I chose not to because the issue was trivial for me (see the backlit buttons section below).
Then I put back the screen on the motherboard and connected two ribbons, only to find out that the third one was missing. What the heck? The video goes so fast that I missed when he plugs in the front camera before placing the motherboard on the screen, so I had to repeat the most careful work – disconnecting the two ribbons, taking out the motherboard, inserting the camera and then reconnecting all three, ending this phase with screwing in the phillips screw.
After attaching the back red chassis piece and making sure everything clicked I held on putting in the six T5 screws as the video instructs. Instead I put in the microSD card and the battery and carefully booted up the phone to test whether everything worked. The phone booted just right and all parts of the screen worked fine (except the four buttons at the bottom weren’t backlit any more) so I shut it off, took out the battery, put in all the screws and that concluded the installation.
Avoid These Mistakes
1. The replacement digitizer doesn’t have the four small plastic transparent pieces that stick out and guide the light to the four touch buttons at the bottom of the screen, so they aren’t backlit any more. It was only after assembling the phone that I found out that these transparent plastic elements can easily be separated from the old digitizer and I could have placed or glued them onto the new glass before assembly. Because I know the position of the buttons by heart, this was not annoying enough to make me open the phone and repeat the entire time-consuming precision maneuver one more time. The pic below is showing one of the light guides separated and the other three still at their old position on the old replaced digitizer:
2. I should have used a hair dryer before disassembly (as advised in the videos) to warm up the glass and ease separation of the damaged digitizer from the phone. It was hard to detach and it took a long time and a lot of patience.
As already listed in my previous related post, here are the parts I ordered from Amazon.com:
1. Touch Screen Digitizer Front Glass for Sprint HTC EVO 4G 4 G EVO 4G A9292 Supersonic ~ Repair Parts Replacement – best average user review score among all available EVO digitizers sold on Amazon
Price: $15.86 shipping included ($10.84 without)
2. 2Mm 3M Adhesive Sticker Tape LCD Screen/ Digitizer Sticker For HTC 4G Evo Supersonic, Incredible, HD2 T8585, Desire, Hero, Legend, Diamond 2 – another seller with lower price needed four weeks for delivery, so I found this one and the tape arrived first.
3. 8pc T6 T5 iPhone pentalobe, cross Opener Screwdriver Tool Kit for Opening BlackBerry Phones PDA MP3 Palm Treo Pocket PC Laptop iPhone (all series) Blackberry universal cell phone repair tool (HEAVY DUTY) –
There are many tools available but this seemed most versatile and it was OK. You need the T5 (6 screws on the back red chassis part) and the small philips (1 screw inside). The wiping cloth was very useful, too, particularly for removing dust and my daughter’s finger smudges.
Price: $6.99 shipping included ($1.99 without)