June 2020] A
client of mine gave me her old faulty
phone, a "Rugged128"
from "fonerange". The (micro) USB socket
was damaged; it
powered on briefly to inform me
the battery was low. I have attempted to repair it; not
so long ago I successfully
repaired the charging socket on
a USB power bank (although my
soldering work wasn't so neat).
From my research, this phone was
likely purchased from Aldi. It is supposed to be waterproof,
although I'm not going to test that since the plugs for the
various sockets likely don't fit well any more. [Plus, I now
notice there should be a rubber gasket on the battery cover; that
is missing so it will most certainly let water in].
It apparently has 16GB of storage.
It has dual SIM slots (unlocked to any network). 2G connectivity.
1.3 Megapixel camera.
It reportedly weighs 138g, and
measures 56w, 119h, 20d (mm)
While it probably has little resale
value in a working condition, and I have no need for it, I don't
like throwing things out and I think for the sake of a project
it's is worth attempting to repair it. I can send it away for
recycling if I can't fix it.
Here someone has listed a faulty
one on ebay for £9.99; but I'm not sure anyone will buy that [link].
I ordered some
replacement USB sockets and carefully chose the correct ones
They arrived the next
day... but ended up being not the same as pictured. They can be
made to fit though with gentle bending with pliers.
I dismantled the phone and removed the
faulty socket and attempted soldering in a replacement but that
I have little experience with such fine
electronics; I have watched a few Youtube videos on various
methods. I tried using my soldering iron which has a fine tip but
it's still too bulky for the job. The preferred method is to use a
heatgun; I have one of these but it doesn't have a narrow-enough
nozzle since it is meant for jobs like paint-stripping. I am loath
to spend a lot on a tool that I will use infrequently; there are
cheap heatguns that appear to be only suited to craft work and
heatshrink; they claim to reach 200'c whereas in one Youtube video
I watched the guy stated that he set his heatgun to 360'c for such
therefore acquired a nozzle for my heatgun in the hope that I
could use that by pressing the trigger only briefly so as no to
heat things up too much. I also used 'kapton'-type-tape to protect
surrounding components (a trick I also saw on Youtube).
My first attempt with
this method almost worked but the 5 contacts on the rear of the
socket didn't quite line up since I'd had to bend the two main
contacts to fit the board and I wasn't precise enough. Also, one
of those contacts failed to go into the board and instead folded
outwards. Not good.
I removed the socket and
tried again, but by now the extra heat had removed some of the
pads for those five little contacts. I have since learned that
these are only held in place with adhesive, and will come unstuck
with the heat. Once these pads are lost or damaged like this then
traces wire would be required.
This is all too fiddly
now; I've seen people use a microscope for such fine work and I
was relying on my unaided eye-sight. Maybe I'll look out for a
magnifying glass and further practice on this phone; I used to
have one on some basic 'helping hands'... I likely need some new
flux and solder (not to mention the right tools) for the job.
- - - - -
[03 October 2020] While
work on this phone has halted (I'm still awaiting for delivery of
an item from China), I recently watched a video by BigCliveDotCom
about Soldering for Beginners.
I found it very useful,
even to me as someone who has been doing bits of soldering for
years (although not always successfully). Particularly, I had been
trying to get hold of another soldering iron with a fine tip; I
have one but it needs a new tip and I couldn't find one to fit
without replacing the whole iron. It's only a cheap iron but
that's what I go for. Clive's video featured a USB-powered
soldering iron; I had looked past these in my search as I thought
they would be borderline useless and woefully underpowered. How
wrong I was. You can watch his video to see him demonstrate it and
I why I have since purchased on (although not yet tried it for