Friday, January 13, 2012

Do Not Remove

It was only a few years ago that I was the only Apple person in my family. Recently however, my sister has taken a bite and now has two Apple computers, two Apple TV's, two iPhone 4's and an iPhone 3G that my nieces use like an iPod Touch. Anyway, the old iPhone 3G's battery is starting to fail so I brought it back home to replace the battery. How hard can it be?

Well, if you're not a nimble 13-year old farm girl from China working at Foxconn in Shenzhen, it's pretty hard. I did manage to swap out the 3.7V Li-ion polymer battery but it took awhile. Two electrical engineering degrees were not enough to overcome old age and very small screws and connectors.

Why yes, I did take photos:

Working iPhone 3G with battery replacement kit ($6.31 from Amazon). Note the time = 9:38pm.

Remove bottom two screws and remove LCD display. The "case cracking tool" was useless. I ended up using a suction cup to lift up the cover/display. Next disconnect connectors 1, 2, and 3, which were conveniently labelled.

Remove 7 tiny tiny screws. One was under the "Do not remove" sticker. Oh well... it's out of warranty anyway.

After removing the screws, disconnect connectors 4, 5, 6, also conveniently labelled, and unnumbered connector for the camera. Remove motherboard and finally see battery.

The battery was held down by double-sided tape. Remove old battery and replace with new battery. Connect and screw everything back. Look it still works. Again, note the time = 10:30pm. Took me almost an hour to do everything.

Final test: see if Land Before Time (Sydnie's favorite movie) still plays. Check!

Couple of thoughts. I've owned many Apple products from an old Apple II+ to a Mac Plus to a Mac mini plus several iPod/iPad/iPhones, and everything has been sealed up tight at the factory. Most product needed special tools to open the case, and you can't change the battery in mobile devices. My Samsung GalaxyS has a back cover and a battery change takes only 10 seconds, not close to an hour with the iPhone. Totally lame.

I am also lucky that I wasn't born in rural China. I would totally suck working at Foxconn assembling iPod/iPad/iPhones, unlike this factory girl:

iPhone girl

Seriously, if I had to do this 12 hours a day, six days a week, for $0.50/hour, I'd probably want to jump off a building too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i'm sure they could have done 30 in the time it took for you to do one.

i thought the 3GS were also sealed by some epoxy. i guess all the ipads and iphone 4 and aboves have no screws and you need a heat gun to release the epoxy.

did NC pay you for your time or by the unit?