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Replacing the digitizer is very stressful.

OP DEinspanjer

16th April 2012, 12:18 AM   |  #1  
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I smashed the screen on my Tab a few weeks back. While I didn't take a video of the replacement, here are some notes and tips on my experience:
  1. If the glass is cracked but you can still see the display fine (i.e. no rainbow or black ink spills) then it is just your digitizer that is broken. Your top priority at this point is to not break the LCD because the digitizer is relatively cheap (~$35 shipped from China, $60 from the US). This also goes for the picture being fine but the touch not working at all.
  2. Buy a replacement digitizer. I got mine from ebay ( http://www.ebay.com/itm/270938561127 ).
  3. Gather tools:
    1. A clean towel to use for your work area to prevent scratches and scuffs
    2. A little plastic prying tool (likely to come with your ebay order)
    3. A thin and sharp utility knife/razor
    4. A three prong screwdriver. The seller I used sent a few other screwdrivers but not the three prong one. I used one I got from a Nintendo DS repair a while back.
    5. A heat gun will make this a lot easier. I guess a hair blow-dryer might work in a pinch.
  4. I did not see any good videos for the disassembly. The one I watched ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thTt6G27NV8 ) really screwed me over because it didn't show removing two screws first.
  5. Here are my written steps for replacement:
    1. Use a needle to pry out the two caps on either side of the USB charging port
    2. Use the three prong screwdriver to remove those two screws
    3. Insert the pry on the bottom middle between the plastic frame and the glass. Push down firmly so it wedges in up to the L shape.
    4. Slide the pry along from the middle to either end and around the corner. You will feel the frame pop away from the innards.
    5. Continue working the bottom half of the frame apart until you can insert tweezers or something else under the unit and lift it up and out of the frame.
    6. Be careful to lift the bottom half then pull it out away from the top. Otherwise, you will crack the audio port which extends from the unit and fits into the hole in the top of the frame.
    7. Set aside the frame and place the unit on a clean towel. If you have a broken screen, you are going to be dealing with lots of tiny slivers of broken glass.
    8. On the circuitry side of the unit, you will see three big flat ribbon cables. The middle one is the digitizer. Use tweezers or the pry to *gently* lift up the tan colored plastic locking hinge on the far side (opposite the cable). It will pop up and the cable will easily slide out. Go very slow and carefully here. Don't mess with the black plastic because it will chip right off.
  6. Now comes the painful part. Removing the old digitizer. Take a cigarette break if you need one. Maybe a Valium. Basically, almost all of the black trim part of the glass is thick strong glue binding it to the unit. You need to separate this glue to be able to peel the glass digitizer away.
    1. Hold the unit upright with one hand and use the heat gun to loosen up the glue holding the digitizer to the unit. Run it along one edge for less than a minute until the glass is a little too hot to touch.
    2. Quickly insert the razor as close to the glass as you can and about 6 centimeters in. Slide it along the side that you heated. Don't make any prying motions or you'll just crack the glass more.
    3. Continue with the remaining three edges. Heat then separate. You may not make much progress the first time around, but by the second time, you should see the glass starting to peel away. It took me about 5 to 10 minutes per edge and it is grueling work.
    4. Once you can safely peel the entire glass digitizer away from the unit, use the razor to lift up and peel off any of the flat black tape/glue that was left behind. Most of the unit where the glue goes is gray. On the sides there are two parts where you see black plastic. It is okay to leave glue residue as long as it isn't bunched up.
    5. Vacuum up any stray glass slivers. Make sure you set aside tools screws and screw-hole-plugs before vacuuming.
  7. Installing the new digitizer
    1. Use an LCD spray and cleaning cloth to clean your LCD. Don't leave any dust or fingerprints as it will look bad once everything is put back together.
    2. Remove the back covering of your replacement digitizer revealing the glue. Obviously, try not to touch the glue.
    3. Align the digitizer above the unit, make sure the camera hole is on the correct side. Very slowly lower it down and try to have it perfectly in alignment when it touches. You will be able to nudge it a tiny bit, but the glue is strong and if you get it crooked, you are going to have to try to quickly lift it back up without cracking your new digitizer.
    4. Once you have it in place, remove the front protective film and free the new cable. Wrap the cable around to the back and very gently insert it between the contacts then push the locking hinge down.
  8. Testing and reassembly
    1. Power it on and see if it works. Just push down the little metal bump closest to the edge where the power button would be on the frame.
    2. When happy with the test, turn it off again and hold the unit above the frame.
    3. Check the orientation then insert the top part first to fit the audio port into the hole. Line up the rest and then push down on all the edges to snap it into place.
    4. Breathe a deep sigh of relief.
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16th April 2012, 09:23 AM   |  #2  
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Appreciate the time you put into this, hopefully I never end up in a similar situation.

Could have used some more return key though lol

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29th January 2013, 03:37 AM   |  #3  
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Wish I would have read this first. I broke the housing by the 2 bottom screws. Dayum! I haven't touched it since. Supposed to get the digitizer Friday. Wish me luck!
13th February 2013, 04:05 AM   |  #4  
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Re: Replacing the digitizer is very stressful.
Its really easy to replace the digitiser on WiFi version. Use Stanley knife and hair dryer to loosen it off and remove middle flex cable. Videos on youtube

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23rd August 2013, 11:23 PM   |  #5  
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Any picture of these 2 screws cause i do not see it on a p4 here.
I still have one here with a cracked glass but it all still works even the touch screen.
But i do not see the screw so a pic would be nice
24th August 2013, 06:13 AM   |  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opuske

Any picture of these 2 screws cause i do not see it on a p4 here.
I still have one here with a cracked glass but it all still works even the touch screen.
But i do not see the screw so a pic would be nice

They are covered by plugs on either side of the charge port. Gotta pry the plugs out first.

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24th August 2013, 11:09 AM   |  #7  
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Ok so i am on a mission this weekend then to try and do that then
25th August 2013, 04:53 AM   |  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opuske

Ok so i am on a mission this weekend then to try and do that then

One tip: be really careful not to touch the inside surface of the glass. I ended up with a fingerprint on the inside that drives me nuts every time I clean the screen. Wear gloves if you've got them.

Otherwise it was no sweat. I used this as a guide but with a hair dryer instead of a heat gun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUI2...e_gdata_player

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13th June 2014, 01:45 AM   |  #9  
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Quick question
I really found this post very helpful, but I do have one question. What if when I was trying to pry the tab up to pull out the digitizer, I cracked the black plactic on the other side. Would this cause the new digitizer not to work when I finished replacing everything and put it back together?
15th September 2014, 05:54 PM   |  #10  
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Best tutorial on the web (much better than those godawful youtube videos).

Thank you!

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