The move from the desktop and laptop to tablets and smartphones in the residential tech sector has been a cause of concern among many PC Techs. Tablets are often less expensive, harder to repair, and that means they’re easier to dispose of and just replace with a new device. If you’re an expert on conventional machine repair and are finding yourself a little uneasy about the current trend towards mobile devices, don’t despair, go into tablet repair!
While it sounds easier said than done, the fact is, tablet repair resources are popping up on the internet, making it easier for experienced technicians to move into this field without feeling completely in the dark. The tools may be a little more specialized for the job than the usual PC repair tools, and the components inside tablets are more delicate than your common computer hardware, but with a steady hand, a light touch, the right slim tools, good repair resources, and a firm grasp on technique, you can slide into tablet repair with ease.
I’d like to just cover a few resources that will help you move into mobile device repair. This list is by no means comprehensive, as new resources will continue to appear as mobile devices become more and more common. Don’t let the expanding variance between manufacturers and device layouts hold you back. As you become more experienced in handling different types of tablets, you’ll get a better feel of what to expect every time you open up a tablet you haven’t opened before.
There is a need for caution, however. There are many mobile devices that seem designed to break if ever someone attempts disassembly, so before you attempt repair of the device, ensure it’s not one of those ‘disposable’ devices. Unfortunately, many devices simply cannot be repaired, or will need to have the external case repaired after the internal repair is finished, and the thin plastic used on most mobile devices today is not easy repaired, and often looks worse afterward.
A second word of caution is in order regarding the devices brought to you for repair. Depending on the depth of the component requiring repair, it may be more feasible and cost efficient to replace the whole device rather than spend an hour or two fixing a year old inexpensive tablet which is already showing signs of wear, so alerting the client regarding this before attempting repairs would be the best way to go.
A frank discussion regarding your honest estimate and the cost of replacement and a comparison of both when the client brings the device in will help them appreciate you’re not just a tech, but your main concern is helping them get the most value out of their devices.
Ifixit.com is rapidly becoming an exhaustive resource regarding repairs, and while guides are provided for Macs, game consoles, phones, cars, cameras, and other devices, it’s an excellent resource for mobile device repair such as iPhones and iPads.
One of the outstanding points is the ability for anyone to create their own guide to repairing a device they have actual hands on experience with, and for anyone else to edit that guide and perfect it to eliminate the possibility of any errors. While I didn’t find any actual guides for one popular tablet that I specifically searched for, I did see someone attempting to start a guide for it, so as time progresses, we will see many more guides added.
One of the things I appreciate about Ifixit.com is the suggestion of tools and parts on the side of the page that you might need when repairing that specific tablet. Another feature is the excellent photos which show in great detail exactly what the repair entails, rather than the generic ‘remove all screws and loosen part described in figure 1…’ you’re likely to find in some repair guides.
You’ll also notice an ‘Answers’ area where you might find some extra insight into that tricky problem you’ve seen with a tablet, even though it may not be the same tablet you have in mind. They also have a store area where you can find replacement parts and kits that send the tools you need to do the job along with the parts, but while it may not always be the most inexpensive place to find replacement parts, you’ll see what tools you need if you don’t have them yet.
DirectFix.com is another excellent repair resource for all manner of mobile devices. In fact, there are numerous guides for all different types from different manufacturers, which is a bit more exhaustive than Ifixit.com at the moment. While I’m sure that Ifixit.com will eventually surpass other repair resources due to it’s Wikipedia-like nature, if you have a device you can’t seem to find a repair guide for there, you’ll probably find it here.
DirectFix.com provides video instructions as well, which is to me one of the most valuable type of repair guide. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a repair video may be worth a thousand dollars, as there are often small techniques that pictures just can’t convey, which may not only save you time figuring something out but save you that simple mistake you could have avoided’if you had only known that tiny plastic tab was still attached to that other tiny plastic tab’.
One thing to remember when considering mobile device repair is the fact that simply opening up the case may void the warranty of the device, so always check on warranty status before even considering opening up the device. It may be that something is wrong just underneath that plastic panel, but upon contacting support, you find the device can be replaced at no additional cost by the manufacturer. You might consider a small troubleshooting fee for just working out their device issue for them and saving them the cost of repair or replacement had they not contacted the manufacturer about the issue.
If you have any good tablet repair resources to share, drop a comment below, we would love to hear it!
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