Posts tagged: repair

So much new in the BMW

By , October 9, 2015 5:35 pm

I’ve been doing so much work on this car and I have been documenting most it of at the BigCoupe forum. The reason for this is that this forum is full of enthusiasts and if there’s a question, they have someone who know the answer.

As a result, I haven’t spent so much time on my own site. Major new things such as the steering wheel,  fuel system and the cooling system, stereo and seats have been replaced or repaired.

I’ll try and put information on my site sometimes, but truth is that it’s too much work to type it in two places.

So hop on over here to follow along my story:

I’ve put about 200 miles on the car since I got it. Most things are working quit well now and there are only occasional completely annoying things.


New Kenwood Media player matches the interior lights quite well.

New Kenwood Media player matches the interior lights quite well.

Click on the image above for a much larger version.

Repairing the iPhone power switch – aka “Nerves of Steel”

By , August 3, 2013 7:49 pm

About a month ago, my iPhone’s power switch stopped working reliably. This is the switch on the upper right that toggles the phone into standby mode. It’s also used for taking screen shots, which I find really useful. Everything else was fine with the phone, so I thought I would see if I could figure out how to fix it myself.

Great kit with screw organizer.

Great kit with screw organizer. Click the pic for a larger view.

A quick search on the web got me to I studied these instruction several times and thought, “Hmm… I could do that”, but I needed the tools. So a quick hop over to Amazon got me a list of  iPhone repair kits. The one that won me over was the Syba SY-ACC65061 Repair Kit with Dis-Assembling Tool for iPhone and iPad because it came with a very unique holder for the screws. Having messed with iPhones before, I can’t begin to tell you how microscopic the screws are.  This kit rocks and was just the thing for my little endeavor.

It’s got parts for the iPhone 4S and 4 as well as iPads, etc. In reality, the only things that I really needed from the kit were:

  •  * Pentalobe screwdriver – removes bottom screw securing the case.
  •  * Tiny phillips – no, I mean really tiny. You don’t have one of these.
  •  * Screw organizer – worth the price of the whole kit.

I could have used some of my regular tools for the rest of the effort. However,  I cannot emphasize how great it was to have the screw organizer (yellow thing in the picture).

The other thing that I needed was the actual part to replace. It’s weird how parts pricing can be all over the map. I found parts from $3-35. They all looked pretty much the same. Some came with tools, others did not. I originally ordered a part that was advertised as OEM and was only $10, but after my order I was informed that it would take 1.5 months to arrive – from China. OK, so much for that. I ordered another part from an outfit in California for $5. Generic BestDealUSA Replacement Proximity Light Sensor Power Button Flex Cable Ribbon for iPhone 4S
It arrived in 2 days. It’s that weird black ribbon cable looking thing in the picture above.

Nerves of Steel:

Battery and power cable has so much glue!

Battery and power cable has so much glue!

One thing I HATE about the iPhone is that all the parts are so tiny and they use a lot of adhesives. I’m always nervous to pry things that are glued down or to exert great pressure on tiny parts. Well, this process gave me plenty of those situations to deal with. Almost immediately I had to deal with this in order to remove the battery and the power cable. Both of those are secured with a double sided adhesive. Argg. So after some careful prying, I was able to get the phone to the state you see to the right.

One thing I do like about the iPhone is that the connectors for the various parts (camera, antenna, speakers, etc.) area ll very easy to disconnect and reconnect. I always admire how they got these complex connectors to secure so well and how exact the cable routing is inside the phone.

In the picture to the right, the battery is out and the power cable is folded to the left. The grey stuff on the cable is the adhesive. That little round thing in the bottom left is the vibration device.

&$^%%! – Clips!

As it turns out, the battery would be the easiest thing to take out. The next steps required lots of prying and removal of clips and tiny grounding pieces. Here’s a closeup of the innards. The power switch is attached to the metal frame of the phone on the upper left. You can’t get to it until you take apart most of the phone. There’s no clearance to reach the screws until the motherboard is out of the way. The open silver spot is where the camera goes (removed in this picture).

The business end of the phone - the top.

The business end of the phone – the top. All those IC looking things are the connectors for the cables.

Of all the items in the dis-assembly process, the darn metal clips that secure the front facing camera and the power cable are the most nerve wracking. They are tiny and hold fast. I tried using the plastic spudger (blue lever with a curved end) that came with the kit, but it’s edges just got destroyed. I ended up using a regular micro screwdriver to pry the clips loose. The whole time I was extremely worried that I would break something in the process. In fact, the original power assembly cable tore when I was trying to remove it. Thank goodness I didn’t need it since it was being replaced. In the picture below, you can see it above the phone. Those pieces are supposed to be one assembly.

Halfway There (living on a prayer):

At the end of the process, here’s what my phone and desk looked like. You can see I had a spotlight on the phone itself as I worked on it. I needed the light to see all the tiny parts. I even broke out a magnifying glass a few times to double check fit. You can see the evil clips on the top of the yellow organizer. The tiny black one in the center held the power cable assembly onto the phone. The silver one (below and to the right of the black clip, help the forward facing camera in place. These clips will make you get a few white hairs.

Time to put it back together.

Time to put it back together. Click the photo for a full view.

After I got to the picture above, I literally had to go take a break because I was a bundle of nerves. I was mentally preparing for my phone to be completely busted when I re-assembled it.

In the End:

Well to make a long story short, this had a happy ending. After the major pain of reassembly, the phone worked! The only odd thing is that my SIM card holder won’t go all the way in to the phone anymore. It sticks out about 1mm. When I put a bumper case on it, I can’t notice it so I decided to leave it alone since the phone was otherwise working fine. The bottom line is that this is NOT an easy fix. Set aside several hours and be really patient. I really recommend the screw organizer. Also notice that I placed it on a magnetic tray (got it at the auto parts store) to make sure that no tiny screws fly out and get lost.

So that’s my experience. I have left comments on the iFixit website for those who may decide to try it out yourselves. My iPhone will continue to serve me now since I won’t be totally annoyed by a broken power button.




Fix the Leather car seat again

By , July 6, 2011 10:52 pm

About 10 months ago I repaired some ratty looking leather using a product called Leather Magic. Link to Leather Repair. It looked pretty darn good after the repair, but I got a lot of inquiries about how well it would hold up. Well, I have the answer for you now.

First a caveat, I may not have prepped the repair area perfectly as it was my first try. It looks like the seat that gets the most abuse, the drivers seat, started to show wear again in the repair zone after about 9 months. I spent a few hours one Saturday afternoon and did a quick touchup. Here are the results.

Repair seat Leather Magic

Driver’s seat by the door where most of the wear happens.

I could have let it go a bit longer, but I thought that maybe it would be easier to repair if I got to it sooner. Also, I didn’t do the full-on airbrush application. I just used a foam brush so you can see brush strokes if you look close. In reality, you’ll hardly notice it in daily use.

So now we have the real world update. For me, the repair lasted 9 months. Not too bad for the investment cost.

Here’s a link to the original post if you haven’t seen that: It covers a detailed overview of the first repair process.

===<Another Update>====

Today (8/25/2013) I refreshed the front seats of the car again. So it’s been about 1 year and 3 months since the last treatment. The driver’s seat outward panel had the most wear and a lot of the previous finish had come off completely. I had to carefully cut out flakes with a single edge razor and then re-coat a 2×3 inch area.

The leather compound material I had was hardened and I had to order more. The color coat material was still good and I was able to finish the front seats and my steering wheel. Tomorrow I’ll use something new called a “Gloss Restorer” to top off the job. The finished leather tends to be tacky and the Gloss Restorer is supposed to reduce that.

I’ll update with more pictures later in the week.

Here’s a general repair kit from Leather Magic that you can get on Amazon. However, if you call them directly they can arrange a color match for you. That’s what I ended up doing.


All the Gory Details

By , May 19, 2011 7:11 pm

I recently changed my black iPhone to white. I found a vendor on eBay that sold all the pieces as a kit for $75. That was a lot better then $199 at the Apple store with another 2 year contract! It was a bit of a commitment getting this done, but with the right tools and patience it can be done by a “regular” tinkerer like me. My process took about 1.5 hours in all, but I was going really slow and cataloging everything with pictures. Here’s the process in a few pics.

The paper with screw guides on a magnetic tray

All the parts can be seen above. I have already taken off the back as that’s super easy. Two screws on the bottom and you just slide it up and pop it off. The magnetic tray I got from an auto parts store. It was invaluable to keep the tiny screws from disappearing.

Power connector unfastened and battery is coming out

I heard that the battery was easy to take out…NOT! It was secured with adhesive and I had to pull very hard and firmly to get it to finally lift out. The picture above shows the battery being lifted out.

There are 5 connectors at the top near the camera.

You can see the little screws are  in their respective circles. Also in this picture you can see the vibrating device just outside the top edge of the phone. It’s pretty cool how it’s contacts are connected. There’s basically a copper plated spring steel “prong” coming off of it. Screwing it in place forces the prongs to contact the power source. I thought it was a nice way to accomplish a connection with no wires.

Main board is being removed. Speaker box at right.

After all the connectors are out, you can lift the main board out of the phone. In this picture you can also see at the far right, the plastic box that holds the speaker and causes it to amplify the volume. The audio cable is a teeny tiny black wire with a unique circular connector. I was really fascinated by the various fasteners.

The touchscreen and LCD assembly is held by these 10 screws.

It’s hard to understand the scale of those top screws without actually trying to handle them. I had to break out tweezers for this step. Those 10 screws hold the touchscreen and LDC assembly to the phone frame.

Separating the screen was the most nerve wracking part.

I had to pry quite a bit to get the glass separated from the frame. You see, there’s an adhesive involved. I ended up using a swiss army knife blade to cut and pry until it came loose. I was afraid I was going to crack the glass, but I didn’t.

The button was a PAIN to replace as well

Again they don’t tell you that there’s adhesive securing the plastic button to a rather delicate mylar film with contact stripes on it! So once again I broke out the swiss army knife and ever so carefully pried the button away from the mylar, all the while hoping that I didn’t damage the contact stripes. It proceeded VERY carefully as there was no replacement for this. If this button didn’t work, I would be royally screwed. Luckily it all went well.

So that was the last major setback. After that, I just had to re-assembly everything in the right order. The tolerances are extremely tight in the phone. They did not waste an lot of space.

So a few tips, get really really small screwdrivers. I just needed a Philips and a flathead. The magnetic tray was key! It kept all those tiny screws from getting lost. It also kept them pretty close to the circles on the paper I was working on . The circles are roughly equal to the locations on the phone interior.

Finally, if something doesn’t fit just perfect, stop and check clearances and how the parts are seated. Everything fits in a very precise manner. If something looks bents or is not flush to the surface next to it, it’s probably not right. Take it apart and check it again.

OK, that’s my experience that I wanted to share with you. If you decide to go for it, good luck and take your time!

Automotive Leather Repairing

By , August 7, 2010 10:31 pm

I keep my cars for a long time. All the cars I own have leather interiors. After a decade of wear and tear, the leather finish sometimes crack and wears off. Replacing a leather interior for an old car is prohibitively expensive, usually running in the several thousands of dollars. Sometimes the car isn’t even worth that much! So what’s a guy to do?

I’ve read about various leather treatments and have tried most of them. There’s no saving dry, hard, cracked leather if you ask me. However, if your leather is still pliable, but there are cracks in the surface finish, there is hope. I came across a company called Leather Magic on the web. After reading lots about them and also viewing their YouTube video, I thought I would give it a try. This is my experience in pictures.

I ordered the deluxe kit for $59.95 with a few dollars shipping. I think it came to about $71. The color of my car interior was “Light Beige” so I ordered the color with the same name on their color page for Volvos. So far so good.

So I decided to try this on my front passenger seat first. Since it needs to sit for 48 hours after the repair, I figured I could still drive the car if I needed to. Here’s what I had to deal with.

The outside bottom panel has a lot of cracks in it.

So the first order of business was to clean it well. I used a light detergent (same as I use when I wash my car) and a nylon scrub brush. I must say that I was surprised how much dirt was removed by this simple process.

First order of business is a good scrubbing.

A light sanding with the provided 220 paper after the prep solution was applied.

This magic white stuff was quiet tacky. Multiple layers filled the cracks.

The photo above shows, the repair compound being scraped into the cracks. Between each coat I had to sand it lightly and get rid of the dust. After about 4 passes (it took a long time), the surface felt pretty smooth. OK, it’s time to color it.

The colorant (special paint) seemed a pretty good match.

After two coats with the foam brush, not much was covered...

After 3 coats, it was starting to look a lot better.

Five coats later and I think I am done.

It was getting dark as I had worked at this for about 3 hours now. I took the last picture with a flash and noticed that the color of the new area and the old area was not really matching so well. It looks like I’ll have to re-color the whole seat for a perfect match. However, look at the repair area! It looks like it’s new leather!

I showed this to my family when then came home, and they thought I had replaced the leather! So at the end of the day, here’ s my analysis.

  • It works pretty darn well.
  • It takes a long time…. 3 hours for the part I did.
  • The color match was pretty good, but in certain light, you can see a difference. Plan on coloring the whole seat.

So that’s it. I can say that I am pretty pleased with it. We’ll see how it holds up over time. I am supposed to wait 48 hours and then go over it with a leather conditioner. I’ll report back later and let you know.

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