[MOD] Fixing Volume-Rocker and Power-Button

lfrst05

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2011
81
61
38
Vienna
The issue:
I got one of the very early Nexus 9. My device was mostly fine (no huge light-bleeding) but the Power and the Volume-Up buttons were hard to press because they were not raised high enough above the surface.
(Volume-Down was working fine)

Tools required:
  • Tweezers, a small Phillips screwdriver and something to open the device. (I used the iFixit Toolkit)
  • 1 piece of paper (regular printer paper, post-its, ...)

Disclaimer:
If you follow my instructions you do this at you own risk. I'm not responsible for any damage you do to your device.

The mod:
Take of the back cover of the device. (https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Nexus+9+Teardown/31425)

(Edit)
Shortcut: It is also possible to improve the buttons without removing the whole button frame. See post #3 for details.
Remove the 3 screws (red) and the big connector (green).
1.jpg

Pull out the metal body holding the buttons. Pull carefully on the button cable to remove it from the connector.
2.jpg

If you look closely you can see that the Volume-Down button is not completely attached to the metal frame. This looks like a production error but it allows the button to be pressed normally.
We could apply this "production error" to the other buttons too which should improve their usability.
3.jpg

First separate the buttons from the metal frame. I found that only a piece of paper is thin enough to not cause damage to the buttons.
4.jpg
5.jpg

Now, use the same piece paper (or another one - I don't care :) ) to create tiny pieces that can be put behind the buttons to raise them a bit. (I folded the paper once to have 2 layers)
62.jpg
7.jpg

Carefully put everything back together.

Results:
All buttons work fine.
 
Last edited:

Diaphragma

Senior Member
Nov 2, 2012
106
29
0
This is amazing! I was thinking I should open the nexus 9 to see if there was anything I could do to fix this. Good to see I wasn't the only one who had this thought :)
I will try it out tomorrow morning. Thanks.

Edit:

I've done it, and it definitely improved the buttons. I used 4 layers of paper since your piece of paper was so thick.
I think overdid the volume down button though, because it's not as clicky as the others. My buttons were all glued on properly unlike your volume down button, so I put a little extra under it.
Might go ahead and fix sometime later if it bothers me. The buttons could still be better, but this fix makes the best out of what we got. Mine is a 32gb HT4AHJT which is built mid october, so the buttons aren't sticking out as much as the later versions. The screen is so good though that I don't want to replace it because of the buttons. Thanks the tutorial man, it really made this fix easy.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Migamix

Kubens1pl

Member
Nov 8, 2013
36
13
0
Kraków
Hi! Thanks for your tutorial. You inspired me, and i fixed my buttons in the similar, but i think, simpler way.
After opening a back cover, you don't have to take out buttons from tablet. Also you don't have to separate buttons from metal frame.

I think that simplest solution is to put folded pieces of paper between buttons (these on tablets cover) and that black thing with metal frame, which you were pulling out.

I attach pictures showing what i mean.
 

Attachments

lfrst05

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2011
81
61
38
Vienna
Yeah I tried this first too but somehow it did't work that well for me. Nevertheless its worth trying the simple way before pulling out the whole button assembly.
 

mrlanrat

Senior Member
May 12, 2010
93
4
0
San Diego
lanrat.com
Hi! Thanks for your tutorial. You inspired me, and i fixed my buttons in the similar, but i think, simpler way.
After opening a back cover, you don't have to take out buttons from tablet. Also you don't have to separate buttons from metal frame.

I think that simplest solution is to put folded pieces of paper between buttons (these on tablets cover) and that black thing with metal frame, which you were pulling out.

I attach pictures showing what i mean.
I also did this and it worked great!
 

Migamix

Senior Member
Jul 4, 2011
193
66
0
50
New Orleans
www.terminal-interface.com
this reminds me of the n7.1 screen raising issue using pill pack foil as washers for the screen screws, that works to this day since the wife is happily using my old n7 right now. I'll be trying a variation of this paper or plastic fix in the near future...
HTC should just send us a new button mount for early adopters.. I have 0 screen bleed, but shallow buttons. guess what I can live with.

Sent from my Nexus 9 using Tapatalk
 

Gezzaman

New member
Jan 22, 2015
1
0
0
I got an early device also, one question though.

when opening the back cover, and replacing it on... does the back cover feel loose and flexes more now?
there were reports early on that pulling the back off then replacing it on makes it more floppy....
 

Philaphlous

Senior Member
Aug 5, 2013
242
75
0
I got an early device also, one question though.

when opening the back cover, and replacing it on... does the back cover feel loose and flexes more now?
there were reports early on that pulling the back off then replacing it on makes it more floppy....
The cover does wear on the clips that hold the back to the aluminum sides... If you remove the back too many times you'll wear away the plastic clips and will damage the seal...

Ive taken mine apart about a dozen times... There's 2 places where I need glue now.. [emoji23] [emoji26]
 

lfrst05

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2011
81
61
38
Vienna
I got an early device also, one question though.

when opening the back cover, and replacing it on... does the back cover feel loose and flexes more now?
there were reports early on that pulling the back off then replacing it on makes it more floppy....
I opened my device twice now.
After the first time the back cover flexed significantely more on the surface than before. When closing it the second time i pressed firmly on the whole surface BEFORE I pressed the edges back together. There are clips across the surface that snap in place more easy when you do it before snapping the edges back together.

Now the back cover has nearly no flexing at all - even less than in its original state.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Diaphragma

Jsunn

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2010
262
20
0
Thanks for posting this. Can you please help me understand how the camera is attached to the back cover. From the iFixit video, they mentioned that the camera came off with the back cover and that it was attached to the underside of the mother board... eeek! I don't want to screw something up like the camera while trying to fix the buttons.

What should I watch out for as I remove the back cover?

Thanks!!
-Jason
 

lfrst05

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2011
81
61
38
Vienna
There is a small amount of double-sided adhesive tape around the camera. On my device the camera did not come of when removing the back cover - I guess it sticks a little bit different on every device.
 

Diaphragma

Senior Member
Nov 2, 2012
106
29
0
There is a small amount of double-sided adhesive tape around the camera. On my device the camera did not come of when removing the back cover - I guess it sticks a little bit different on every device.
Mine also had the camera still connected after pulling the back cover off.
 

Jsunn

Senior Member
Jan 14, 2010
262
20
0
I did this and the buttons are great now. Thanks for the MOD.

I didn't pull the back all of the way off, it was held on by adhesive. I think it was a fix they introduced. My Nexus 9 is about perfect now.
-Jason
 
Nov 14, 2012
49
7
0
Yep, pulled my camera off. =-O
I guess I'm tearing into it more than I expected.

My buttons are perfect though. Thanks for the tip. I used 3 layers of standard paper.
 

Metallice

Senior Member
Jun 24, 2010
3,276
5,173
0
This really is amazing. I just did it on mine. Really really simple fix. Unbelievably simple. I didn't even have to pull the whole back off. Just the top and sides were enough.

3 layers of paper under each button and they are now perfect. Thank you!
 

FrankBullitt

Senior Member
Sep 25, 2010
409
325
93
Mafra, Portugal
Yep, pulled my camera off. =-O
I guess I'm tearing into it more than I expected.

My buttons are perfect though. Thanks for the tip. I used 3 layers of standard paper.
Did you or anyone else who pulled the camera off got it back working?

Did you follow the ifixit guide to tear it apart until you were able to remove the motherboard and reconnect the camera, or is it possible to do it without removing the battery and the copper fold (being extremely careful not to break it, of course).

And yes, I did pull my camera off. It was firmly glued to the plastic cover :\


Edit: from what I see in the ifixit teardown and from what I see in mine, it does seem that if I remove the front camera cabling and the battery cable It might be ok to remove the T5 screws and raise the mobo just enough to be able to pry open the camera connector, insert the camera ZIF, close/press the connector and reatach the mobo wihtout having the hassle to unglue the battery, remove all the copper foils etc etc...

Anyone has had a similar experience?
 
Last edited:
Nov 14, 2012
49
7
0
I had to tear mine completely down to get the mobo out. I tried to reconnect it without removing it, but it was a lost cause. The worst part for me was getting the battery disconnected. There wasn't any natural way to do it as far as I could tell. If you try to just lift the edge of the mobo enough to connect the camera, be incredibly careful, but from my experience I doubt it can be done that way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FrankBullitt

FrankBullitt

Senior Member
Sep 25, 2010
409
325
93
Mafra, Portugal
Thanks for the answer, although it's not what I was hoping for... this afternoon I started removing the battery and quit because I was afraid I was going to break something. That stuff is completely glued and it requires a lot of pressure to start separating it from the body :(

One day I will get tired of not having a camera and will try to do it by just lifting the mobo edge.

Quite honestly, this damn nexus has brought me too much trouble already...