Precautions to take when removing the Motherboard

Released 5/12/16  written by Joe K @ iMicroTek

When an end user or repair tech in the iphone, ipad, cell / mobile phone repair industry is faced with a damaged motherboard FPC connector, his / her first instinct is to dig deeper into the problem. ipad mini damage example 4When I say “dig deeper” I mean, the tech or end user will start to tamper with the actual connector or surrounding area of the FPC connector to test for continuity or solder bond of the pins to the motherboard pads. What most people do not understand is the delicacy of these motherboards. ANY amount of slight pressure to a connector or any part of the motherboard will damage that area of the board. Extreme care must be taken when simply handling these logic boards.

During disassembly, extreme care must be taken to not damage any IC’s or components when simply “unplugging” cables from their connectors on the motherboards. This goes for either the ipads, ipad mini, or iphone. The tech’s first instinct it to put their fingernail under the edge of the connector and lift up to unplug it from the FPC on the motherboard. That would be fine as long as you don’t use that area of the motherboard for any kind of leverage (to pry up) for your finger.

Seipad mini damage example 3e the photos to the left and above.

I have found that when logic boards / motherboard show up here for an FPC replacement, many times there is damage to a component(s) near an FPC connector (for example battery cable) that was the result of a finger nail using that area as leverage to pry up in the cable.

Also, once the motherboard is free from the base and getting ready to be packed up and shipped to us, IT MUST BE handled with extreme care. If any part of the motherboard brushes up against any hardipad mini damage example 1 surface permanent damage can occur.

Back to the tech’s probing… it doesn’t matter if the probe you’re using is plastic or metal they both will cause the same amount of damage to the motherboard or FPC connector area of the board.

If you are determined to check for continuity of the FPC connectors pins, then you will need a microscope or other similar magnification equipment to help make sure you can see what you’re doing. If you don’t have access to any magnification equipment then DO NOT attempt to probe any area of the board, you will cause more damage and that damage may not be repair-able.

Any and allipad mini damage example 2 techs or end users that are taking it upon themselves to disassemble an iphone or ipad or any other mobile device NEEDS to be able to visually inspect the motherboard to validate that you indeed have a damaged FPC connector. It’s also important to assess the rest of the board to see if there is other damage present. This is a tool (the scope) that you MUST have if you’re going to work in this industry. No, this does not make you a candidate to perform the FPC connector replacement, that will require expert and highly skilled soldering ability (that usually comes with a few years of experience). Of course you can try and hack up the area and the connector (as some other shops do) but you’re taking a huge risk with creating permanent damage.

Here is what I suggest that a shop or end user that replaces screens and other general mobile device repairs do:

  • Get magnification equipment for assessing a boards condition (it will also help you during disassembly and reassembly of the device.
  • If you find that you have a damaged FPC connector by visually inspecting it, STOP and don’t probe any further and send it to us for connector replacement.
  • If you find that you have multiple missing IC’s or components then you need to determine if it’s worth repairing that board.
  • At this time, we don’t offer IC and component repair / replacement services. If there are any missing IC’s or components there is nothing I can do for you as I don’t stock replacements. I do try to re-solder any IC or component that I find loose, but it’s not part of the service that we offer and we do not guarantee anything related to the missing or damaged IC’s & components.

I’ll add more to this page as time goes on…