Replacing a Nokia E66's case

I have been using this old cellphone on daily basis for over 3 years now and time has taken its price on it. when I say time I mean everything that affected the cellphone during that period of time and that includes: weather effects , gravity (falling here and there on a hard/soft floor) , dust , sun exposure , dirt , fluids and so on.

As much as I am a gadget and technology junkie , I never really found a will and the necessity to upgrade my cellphone and act as a part of the herd around me. That herd jumps on every new cellphone that comes out , spending a lot of money on a fancy piece of technology it doesn't necessarily needs.

I admit , the Nokia E66 is slow and old and doesn't support the majority of the applications out there, but, it gives me basically everything I really need in my daily life. It's Symbian OS is old and obsolete but it's capable and good enough to run WAZE , WHATSAPP , streaming internet radio from thousands of predefined stations (this feature was included in the cellphone) and MP3 files - all that simultaneously , a little slowly but steadily , without crashing.

So why not maintain it properly and restore it? (rhetorical question)

That's what I asked myself before buying a complete new housing kit for it. along with the housing kit I also bought a screwdriver kit and a pack of Torx head screws. I made the calculations and came up with the conclusion that taking it to a cellphone repair lab would cost me quite a lot and would not be worth it so I decided to go ahead and enter into an unknown territory trying to fix the cellphone on my own.

Before the repair:

After over 3 years of continuous use wearing signs on the E66 could be clearly seen. The front LCD cover was full with scratches , the external outer cover of the top sliding unit got dismantled , both screws that held the cover of the top sliding unit were gone , the top sliding unit 's plastic was broken and the housing had many scratches all over it.

I couldn't stand looking at it anymore.

Getting it done - disassembling the cellphone:

  1. At first I turned the cellphone off the normal way

  2. After the power was off I removed the back battery cover and the battery itself.

  3. Removing the battery allowed me to remove the SIM card                                                                                                                         

  4. Removed the MicroSD card                                                                                                                                                                         

  5. Removed 6 Torx head screws from the back of the cellphone - 2 of them which hold the keypad outer bottom front cover                    

  6. After making sure all available screws were unscrewed , I put them in a safe location.

Separating the 2 major parts of the housing :

This part was the hardest. The two parts just didn't want to be separated from one another , and on the one hand i really wanted them to be separated and on the other hand - I knew increasing the amount of force might damage the electronic board. So whatever you do - be very patient in this part and do not get temped to increase the amount of brute force you use.

I used a special tool for this purpose that was included inside the housing kit I bought. It's basically a flat thin plastic separator. I believe it was made out of plastic to prevent damaging the other plastic parts and the cellphone's delicate electronics.

After finally removing the keypad outer cover I began trying to separate the back cover from the electronic mainboard. Remember - be patient and consistent , use small amounts of force.

Once the back cover was separated from the mainboard I could start removing the peripheral remnants that were still connected to the back housing unit. Those remamnts included the power charging unit , the right vertical keypad that controls volume , the headphones connector unit and the camera unit.

Once all these units were out I was able to completely get the mainboard free of any housing parts.

Installing the new housing and covers:

Basically this part is the easiest. Once you know where each part should be it's not really a problem reassembling the housing.

  1. I began with the peripherals because they were the easiest parts to reassemble. the headphones unit and the power charge unit. I just put them both inside their place.

  2. The camera unit and the right keypad unit were next. Again, putting the camera board in place was very easy, however , the keypad was a different story and presented some challenge and tested my patience…

  3. Next , I placed the entire mainboard in its place. It seemed relatively easy…but right after I thought for myself that I was done and activated the cellphone to see that everything is alright , I noticed the LCD was working in a weird way - half of it was on and half was off. So finally after carefully inspecting the mainboard, I found out that while I was putting the mainboard into the new housing I accidently disconnected the LCD data cable from the mainboard itself. Connecting it back was a bit tricky because of its size, again ,patience is a key here.
     

  4. After the mainboard was in place along with its peripherals , I screwed back the 6 Torx head screws I had originally unscrewed.

  5. In order to screw in the 2 bottom Torx head screws I had to put back the new keypad outer cover. But BEFORE I put the outer cover, I had to put the keypad itself back BEHIND the outer cover.

  6.  

  7. Next , I put back the second keypad unit in the sliding part of the cellphone (just under the LCD screen)                                               

  8. After all that work I noticed that the LCD screen got filthy and greasy due to the exposure to my fingers. so I cleaned it using a special LCD solution and a soft cloth specially designed to clean LCD monitors.                                                                                     

  9. Next , I installed the top cover of the sliding part of the cellphone. This part was also tricky. At first I didn't realize that besides having 2 screws on the top back side to lock its position , the entire cover is locked in place due to "pressurized installation". That is , the cover has to be placed by using some amount of force and mechanically locking it on the sliding part itself.                                    

  10. Returned the SIM card back                                                                                                                                                                         

  11. Put the battery back

  12. Put the battery cover back

As a bonus I did something I have been planning to do many months. I replaced my 2GB MicroSD card with a bigger 8 GB card.

Later on I took the temporary LCD transparent protection cover off and replaced it with a new one that can survive longer.

RESULT:

Just like new:

Pros:

  1. Cheap solution for restoring an old cellphone

  2. Relatively easy installation process - everybody with technical skills and patience can do it

  3. The Cellphone would look like new after the installation process

Cons:

  1. The housing unit was cheaply manufactured, it was shipped with a broken edge , the plastic LCD cover got minor scratches very quickly and the outer cover of the front sliding unit fell off due to poor glue quality the manufacturer originally used.

Price:

  • Full new housing for Nokia E66 - 6.53$

  • T4 , T5 and T6 screwdriver set for Nokia E66 3.98$

  • 3 LCD Screen protectors - 1.79$

  • 10 units of Torx screws - 5.15 $

Total: 17.45$

Beats buying a new Iphone-5….

 

 

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