Acquired broken tablet to fix - Capacitive 7" A13 Android 4.0 tablet - help?

Discussion in 'Android Tech Support' started by ABZ, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    the other day I bought a broken tablet that seems to be bricked (tablet was dropped) and I want to learn how to fix it. Also I bought a kindle book for the kindle app on my ipad, its a android troubleshooting book. Book's title is "Android rooting and troubleshooting" by Math Joe McArthur.

    it has a section in it that talks about unbricking dead devices (softbricked/hardbricked).

    instructions say

    --turn off device (although it says phone, I take it to include tablets),

    --switch device on by holding power button + volume down + home button (I tried this by using the included micro USB adapter to connect tablet to my macbook pro via my male-to-male USB cable) and trying to press all three buttons on the computer by volume down + command button + power button. nothing happened.

    so, leaving tablet still connected to computer, I tried using the tip of the end of a dinner fork's handle to press the volume down button (tablet's volume controls - recessed/indented into the tablet's plastic case) + the tablet's power button (also recessed/indented into the case) but again, nothing happened.

    So I pried off the back plastic cover of the tablet using the pointy end of an metal ipod/ipad pry tool (does not look like guitar pick, looks more like sort of dentist's tool) that has narrow flat blades at either end of tool. I tried to upload my jpg's of the tablet innereds/tools after getting back case off but everytime I clicked upload (after selecting photos) I got an error. I PM'd the admin about the image upload error.

    Regarding the recessed power button and volume controls on this particular tablet, this is what made me want to get the case opened in the event that the power button/volume control knob may need replacing, thus I wanted to see if there were any connectors on the hardware/mobo or holes, etc, where the power button/volume knob may have broken off when the tablet was dropped, but initially, it doesn't look like there were any screw holes or whatever that these buttons may have snapped off of.

    I also have an ipad/iphone/ipod repair DIY book, "the Unauthorized guide to iphone, ipad, and ipod repair - a DIY guide to extending the life of your idevices" by Timothy Warner.

    I still think this tablet needs a new power button/volume control know replaced, this is why I wanted to upload my jpg's of the tablet showing the recessed openings in the sides of the case, as well as the tool I used, and the innerd's of the tablet (innerds look OK to me, battery looks like its securely in place, but I may be wrong).

    I can't think of anything else to try in order to unbrick this tablet. I'd like to use it to play MP4 videos once I fix it.

    Please I'm a DIY person, this is why I prefer not to take the tablet to some shop (such as Geek Squad) but wish to use it as school lab material to broaden my computer tech repair skills/gain valuable hands on experience.

    Is there anything I'm missing?

    What do I do about the unbricking?

    What do I do about the recessed power button and the recessed volume controls on the sides of the case of this tablet (I'm more concerned with the recessed controls than the unbricking at this time since I'd like to try the unbricking method from that kindle book I bought for my ipad first of all)?

    I'd welcome any suggestions about unbricking/recessed power/volume control buttons that you guys know of.



    Thanks in advance.
  2. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    Seems that I cannot find replacement power buttons nor volume control knobs for this tablet on eBay or a amazon, or anywhere else. Yet, there has to be a place where I can get these replacement parts for any future broken android tablets that I'll likely buy on ebay after I fix this one - suggestions, links, please?
  3. Miller6386
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    Miller6386 Developer Developer

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    Probably have to go to manufacturer for parts on that one. It's an odd ball so "unbricking" also won't be super easy.

    Suggested from Beer Tent Capital of the World.
  4. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    Gee, I didn't know this (sigh).

    May I please have name/link to manufacturer?

    As an alternative, can you suggest the name of or else link me to a different tablet (to be my second tablet to fix) on eBay (united states eBay since I'm in the USA) that's the same physical dimensions (broken, of course, but in which parts such as power buttons, volume buttons, etc) are very easy to find on ebay that I can get (buy it now/free shipping) for 20 bucks or possibly cheaper in the meantime (until I can order parts from the first tablet i got (capacitive a13 android) manufacturer in the future)?
  5. Miller6386
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    Miller6386 Developer Developer

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    I'm not real familiar with that unit. Your best bet would be doing some Google searching to track down a service center or the actual manufacturer.

    Everything I see points to MTM trading llc.... Probably just who imports them.
    Suggested from Beer Tent Capital of the World.
  6. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    I googled for these links, but it seems I cannot get find them on google, so I ended up doing a search on eBay for an identical broken android tablet after making sure that the power and the volume buttons were intact, and the unit arrived yesterday.

    So I took my first android (which I had removed the back plastic cover of) and I studied the innerds, trying to think of a way that I may be able to at least salvage the screen/display unit since the seller said that it no longer worked for him, and put the display on the 2nd android, since this one has both it's power and volume buttons intact as well as assuring that no other innerds were damaged other than the cracked screen (which the seller confirmed as per the eBay listing) and then root the 2nd unit (as per the instructions in that android troubleshooting kindle book I bought for my iPad) and then set the unit up as a video player (but that, I'm sure, belongs in another section of this board) as I'm currently focused on repairing the unit and getting it running in the first place.

    So after studying the innards of the first unit, I thought maybe I could detach the wire that runs from the green circuit board alongside the display unit, cut the red and black wires running from the display unit and the second pair of red and black wires running from the li-ion battery of both units, and replace the circuit board of the first unit with the circuit board (and maybe the li-ion battery as well) of the second unit and splice the red and black wires and somehow connect the display wire of the second circuit board to the display unit of the first unit (possibly by soldering it after transplanting the circuit board after having cut all wires (incl the display cable) before removing the circuit board from both units in such a way that the wires would overlap each other so that there'd be adequate wiring/cabling for splicing) since the circuit boards are where the power and the volume buttons are connected to, thus I think this way, I might possibly be able to get the first unit running this way (as I suspect that the reason that the person that sold the first unit on eBay could no longer get it running is b/c both the volume and the power buttons were broken off (and lost) when the unit fell.

    Having said all of this, could you guys please weigh in and give me your opinions of my ideas?

    Do you think that this might be a good way to fix the first android unit and get it operational?
  7. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    With them selling for as little as under $60 (Buy A13 7" Capacitive Touch Screen Android 4.0 Tablet PC w/ TF / Camera / Wi-Fi / G-Sensor - Black), I'd say that investing in parts to fix a device of that nature, and for which you don't know if it works, and for which you will still have to spend hours of research in hopes of finding a method to un-brick it...I'd save my time, energy and effort and simply buy a new one.

    Better yet, save a little more money up and buy a name brand tablet. You'll get far more for your money with a branded piece in almost every case than you will with that one. There's a good reason why it sells for under $60, and why others of similar build size, but which have far better specs and are from known name brands will sell in the $150 to $200 range.

    No insult intended, but I'd consider that one a complete loss and move on. Perhaps you could part it out and even make some money on it.

    Good luck! :biggrin:
  8. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    Edit - when the second unit arrived, I tried testing both units by plugging in each unit's ac cable into 2 different wall sockets of our house and here's my results:

    --the first unit - the whole display turned on, showed a gray background, no pictures/messages, only a gray glowing background for about 10 - 20 seconds or so,

    --the second unit (as soon as I took it out of the box, before I did anything with it, even before plugging it into the wall socket) I searched the display screen for any cracks and it did not look like the screen had any sign of a crack on it) so I plugged it into a 2nd wall socket and the display lighted up, only it showed glowing bars of varying widths showing partial images of what looked like the normal android tablet logo image, and from what little I know (but I'm more than willing to learn about these units) about what an operational android tablet's logo screen looks like (during my few days worth of online searching for spare parts for the first unit that I have, I observed from online images of fully operational, brand new android tablets of this particular brand that were advertised for sale at different places that its logo screen is green with some kind of design imprinted on it, although I may be mistaken about this), and glowing bands shifted their position up and down across the display screen a bit for a few seconds before turning off. Thus I suspect that maybe this display is showing bands are caused by that crack (which I now suspect may be hidden or inside the display since I could not see any signs of a cracked screen when I first took the unit out of the shipping box), but from what little of the logo screen I was able to see during these few seconds, I reckon that, once I transplant the display unit from the first unit onto this second unit, maybe this display will show a normal, operational logo screen, and I'd be able to get into the settings and set it up as a video player after loading a movie (as an mp4 file) onto the unit, although I may be wrong about this.

    Again, having said all this, could you folks give your opinions of what I've said?
  9. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    The messed up display may not be due to a crack, but instead to either a loose screen ribbon cable, or possibly a torn one. If you see images and they are moving/changing, you may very well have a fully working motherboard. I'd try swapping the screen from the other one onto it, but first, I'd check to make sure the screen cable is securely attached to the motherboard. It may be as simple as a re-seating of the connector.

    I recently bought a 50" Plasma monitor for $20 from a yard sale because it wouldn't display anything. I took it home, opened it and removed every connector I could find, then re-seated it. Finally, I powered it up while still open and the thing powered up fine. I used it for over 4 months before it failed again - this time with a board failure (as identified by the power-LED flash sequence). I've been debating whether to order the replacement board or just consider having "rented" the TV for 4 months at $20. LOL!

    I will probably replace the board...but it's gonna cost a good bit more than the $20 I have invested into it now.
  10. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    That's what I was trying to say in my earlier post this eve about transplanting the screen from the first unit onto the second unit. I'd like to upload jpeg's of these units but that first night that I joined up I tried to upload my jpeg's of the first unit onto my original post but each time I clicked on "upload" after selecting my image I got an error/a red exclaim point message, so how exactly do I upload my jpeg's of these units as well as any work I'd like to do on them?
  11. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    Edit - what do you think of what I said about how I'm going to cut/splice the wires/cable of the mobo from the second unit after I remove the mobo from the first unit and swap the mobo from the second unit onto the display unit of the first unit?
  12. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Not sure why you were getting the red exclamation point error, I'd try again and let me know if you're unsuccessful now. As you can see...I can upload a pic quite easily;

    maxwell_smart__confused.gif
  13. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    Perhaps I'm going about uploading incorrectly - could you please list the correct steps for uploading jpeg's?
  14. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Click the "insert image" link just to the right of the globe with the red "X". Then choose the "From computer" tab, then click the "select files" link below. Next, browse to the image you wish to upload and double click on it, or left-click and choose the "Open" button at the bottom. Finally, choose "Upload File(s)".

    That should give you this;

    Strawberry-032.jpg

    Well, maybe not ^^ THAT! But, you get the idea! LOL!
  15. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    I finally found out why I was getting these image upload errors - my photos were over the required 3000 W size, so I opened them in photoshop and resized them, now I had no trouble uploading them.

    Ok, so here's what these images are:

    first image - this is the pry tool (came with my ipod/ipad repair set that I bought on ebay) that I had used to pry open the back plastic shell of the first android unit that I bought,

    second image - this is the innerds of that first android unit after back taken off,

    third image - plastic case pegs (2 that I know of that broke off when prying shell off, apparently I was careful enough that rest of the plastic hooks on either side (front/back) of the tablet's shells remained intact),

    fourth image - my pry tool has 2 blades, a rounded blade and a sort of pointy blade, one blade at each end. This (pointy) blade is the part of my pry tool that I used to pry open that plastic shell,

    fifth image - this is what I originally thought was the recessed power button on this unit. Now (especially after getting my second unit) I believe that this is where the power button was supposed to be, only in this particular unit, the power button had broken off when the tablet fell,

    More jpg's on the way....

    Attached Files:

  16. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    sixth image - again, I originally believed this to be the recessed volume controls, but now I suspect that, like the power button, this is where the missing volume control button had broken off when this unit took its plunge.

    What's your opinion about all of what I've said about these images?

    Did I use the correct tool/pry blade to open the shell, should I have used a different tool?

    EDIT - and from the foreign characters that were written on the li-ion battery label of this unit, I suspect that these units were made in China (cheap, so that's maybe why buttons broke off).

    But because I'm thinking of buying more of these units on ebay to fix, I don't care if they're made in china, as I'm only going to set these up as video players after loading a movie on them after wiping all other apps off (but this is a story for another place, another time).

    Attached Files:

  17. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I think you've got a pretty good handle on it from what I've read. Only thing I would recommend is to leave the metal spudger (pry tool) in your tool box for when you need to pry apart heavier casings, and especially non-electronic ones. Plastic spudgers (see link below), are highly recommended for opening of electronic devices. It may have even saved one or more of the casing clips, but that's just a possibility. Those clips look as though they weren't designed to be re-opened easily, hence the more likely reason they broke off.

    http://qurl.org/jj1

    NWTTOOLR2SP_hero.jpg
  18. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    Well, with my ipod tool kit, included were 1 - 2 guitar picks and a plastic spudger.

    EDIT - just checked my archived ebay page, in my tool kit were/are 2 guitar picks, one smaller, the other larger, and precision screwdrivers (plus spudger, metal pry tool).

    EDIT 2 - but what's the difference whether I use the metal pry tool vs the plastic spudger/guitar picks to open the plastic case? :confused:
  19. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Well, considering that metal is far less forgiving than plastic, there's the possibility that instead of breaking the tabs off, it might have bent and given enough play to allow the clips time to bend and release rather than snapping off.

    Still more importantly, a slip with a plastic spudger isn't going to short out board contacts (although it may do damage by breaking components off none the less), however a slip with a metal spudger is very much likely to short out contacts, and for certain will break off board components far sooner than a plastic one will.
  20. ABZ
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    ABZ New Member

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    What's your opinion on all these images/captions that I've uploaded about the first android unit?
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