So, I suppose this is on-topic for this thread and it may help somebody, I didn't see a company having more restrictive policy with their spare parts than Archos and practically a broken glass means doom for the low-end guys and even for the hi-end ones considering the prices Archos quoted for digitizer repairs.
First some background info: I'm a DIY guy and also an electronics professional that likes to save little devices in his free time, what I'm gonna tell you here is no rocket science but also if you're totally inexperienced and no comfortable with a soldering iron better ask a friend that is to do it for you. And of course doing any of the following will void your device's warranty and it may kill it for good. Use your own judgement because if it breaks you'll have to keep the parts.
Whats follows is the first part of a small tutorial about replacing the broken digitizer glass of an Archos 32 device.
OK, so browsing EBAY I've got one of this little guys for a very good price and its only problem is a broken digitizer and I've said: how hard could it be, I've replaced digitizers to very obscure devices, this is a mainstream, one I should find a replacement digitizer on EBAY as well. BIG MISTAKE, I've realized in a few minutes !!!
- There are NO REPLACEMENT DIGITIZERS or any Archos 32 components on EBAY or mainstream sites, if you're considering getting one with a broken digitizer/screen/whatever to repair it make sure that first you have the component or another similar device that has it and can be used as replacement. I've found what is I hope a compatible digitizer on an obscure Chinese site, but more about this later.
- Fortunately the unit is easy to disassemble it if you follow some simple steps, a nice tutorial with pictures can be found here:http://beyondthekeeboard.wordpress.com/ ... d-screens/
I have just the following comments:
To save the little notches (clacks) that make the lid close firmly I've used a little plastic "pry-bar" and gently opened the lid without destroying any of them, sliding forcefully the lid it will most likely kill some, be aware.
Once the lid is open comes the most delicate part: you have to unsolder from the board the flex cable of the digitizer because Archos was to cheap to use a connector there
, use a small soldering iron ( maximum 35W ) and heat the 4 soldering joints, one by one or simultaneously making sure to not touch anything around with the iron, especially the LCD connector that is around.
While working on PCB use standard electrostatic protection measures: make sure that you touch before some grounded metal piece like a water pipe to discharge yourself.
IMPORTANT: If your soldering iron is not rated as being ESD isolated let it heat and then UNPLUG IT FROM THE POWER SOCKET before touching the board.
Capacitive digitizers needs very sensitive inputs and usually they have no ESD protection, be warned.
Once the digitizer flex cable is out of the way the whole assembly ( PCB + battery + LCD ) can slide out of the case, ATTENTION there is a black piece of plastic that is used as spacer there and also the power button will try to run
, get them and store in a safe place, also make sure that you memorize where they are, write it down or better make some pictures, it will produce a nice blog post
Once the PCB is out you'll see the reason why the glass break so easy, is actually glued to the outer screen that is a miserable thin and flexible piece of transparent plastic that practically offers no protection to the glass so if the device starts again make sure to not drop it or use a really solid protection case.
The digitizer is made of very thin, transparent and SHARP GLASS !!!, if it's broken it becomes pretty dangerous, once if fells on the floor it is almost impossible to see, make sure to collect them all and dispose of them in a safe place.
In the next minutes you have to peel off each shard from the plastic foil, you can use a heat gun or a hair dryer to if the glue is stubborn, around 50C the glue melts, in my A32 case it wasn't necessary, event the glue was weak and the pieces were small enough to allow for peeling.
Make sure if you use a heat gun to not exaggerate with the heat or hold it to close to the plastic foil where the digitizer is glued, it may cause deformations!!!
Now if Archos would be nice guys they would have indicate the generic Asian SKU number of the digitizer or God forbid, even contract one of the many online shops that sells replacement parts to distribute repair components for their devices, as this didn't happen one has to scour all the Asian online markets for something compatible.!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING, WHILE I'VE BOUGHT ALREADY THE FOLLOWING PART, IT DIDN'T ARRIVE YET AND I DON'T KNOW IF IT FITS OR IF IT WORKS, THE SKU HERE IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY AND EVENTUALLY FOR PEOPLE WITH MONEY TO SPEND, PLEASE WAIT FOR THE SECOND PART WHERE I WILL TEST IT !!!!!!!!!!!
In my searches I've found the digitizer for an cheap iPhone clone with the SKU14715/14716 that from the size and pictures it looks similar to the one on my A32, I will test it as soon as it arrives.
Furthermore the glass seem to be glued to the face for that phone and it most likely needs to be unglued and transferred to our device face, I'll keep you informed what comes out of it but at least at around 8EUR was not so expensive and I haven't got anything else to try so keep the fingers crossed.
I've got it from http://www.dealextreme.com/p/replacemen ... 4716-20655
but it shows on many other Asian online stores, as usual be aware of scammers and don't trust your CC with those sites easily, check for their legitimacy and if possible use a PayPal for paying !!!
Well, that's it for the moment, I hope it helps somebody, I'll be back when it arrives with news, maybe a new life will enter those little A32's with broken digitizers.