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Too much dust Print E-mail
Jul 17, 2012 at 01:17 AM

The nearness of my elbow somehow destroyed the touch screen of my iPad. Yep, that's right, on saturday morning I was having a coffee with a friend and suddenly I heard a very soft "tic", and that was it. But Apple is not really very generous when it comes to glass related damages and the Pad was out of warranty anyway. They offered me to repair the screen for ~250EUR, which seemed quite reasonable for the amount of work, but not if you consider this thing is older than one year and costs about 600EUR if you get it as a brand new device. In addition, since I have a ownership marking on the aluminum case, it would take them about 10d to do this. There are some stores out on the internet that will do it for 120EUR but you never really know what you will get and the lead time was even worse than that. So for 60EUR I got a replacement kit and did it myself on an evening.

The instructions on ifixit.com already warned about the delicateness of the inner structure of the Pad and I agree. While it's really a beautifully engineered piece of hardware, the sticky tape holding it all together is a PITA if you don't have the appropriate tools for disassembly. I tried opening the Pad with a pretty well regulated hot air gun at about 90°C and medium airflow. Usually you get a feeling how hot you can get the first time you melt something, but since I wanted to repair this thing, I went the road of the fainthearted.
I'd better not just copy the instructions on ifixit.com these are really great and could guide dumbo though this process, but I'll add a few hints. First, if you remove your screen because it's broken, cover it with transparent sticky tape before doing anything else. You will never ever get out all the microscopic pieces of glass if you don't!
Second, if you're not a guitar player, you don't have to use guitar picks at all. I had some thin Teflon material lying around and this was just great. In fact it might even be better than these picks, since this damn adhesive used in the Pad doesn't stick to Teflon at all. But be warned, it sticks to literally anything else, especially when it gets hot, and getting it off the display is another PITA ...

I used gloves all the times, as I feared fingerprints everywhere on the screen and this is a good tip as well. If you don't have these by hand, get two pairs at least. They help keeping as much dirt from you fingers off the display as possible and are really great for the assembly process (hence the second pair, the first one will get dirty when you clean out the adhesives residue for a better fit of the repacement screen). And of course as always, keep the protection foil on the screen as long as possible, ou won't believe how much dust will be attracted by this surface even in a clean environment.
After connecting but before closing the device again, I did a short test, these one time sealing procedures are notorious prone to stupid errors causing unnecessary efforts.

Then I had to find out how to get the dust off the display and the inner side of the touch screen ... the real challenge, I never thought this might be that hard! Using my lint free electronic wipes from Farnell I usually use for fine pitch SMD rework turned into a desaster. Lints all over both screen and even if I ever managed to get one side clean, the other looked like a brand new flokati carpet. I was maybe one or two alternative approaches away from generating an electrostatic field over the pad to get the lints out, but fortunately a "microfaser" glasses cleaner thing worked as well. Getting it all together after cleaning was very easy, it's fine now.

Unfortunately, I forgot a slim metal bracket that usually seems to help the facetime camera, as this damn piece just got stuck to my pullover when cleaning out the dust for the gazillionth time. I somehow had the feeling that something was missing, but this particular camera really sucks anyway and I had some extra tape there anyway. For now it sits in it place, even if I shake the Pad really hard, so this shouldn't be a problem at all 8)

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