Motorola E550 mobile phone disassembly

Yeah, I know. Why bother to fix a four year old mobile phone? It's not like replacements are hard to get hold of and this thing should have been end of life two years ago. The wife loves it however and no replacement seems to fill the void which was left when the earpiece speaker packed up in hers last month.

Fortunately circumstances were in her favour as firstly we knew someone who also had an identical model with a knackered screen sitting unloved at the bottom of a drawer somewhere, and secondly her husband (i.e. me) likes nothing other than spending those darkening autumn evenings pulling apart faulty electrical items to attempt repair.

Talk about being in luck!

Anyhow, my initial suspicion was that the flexible ribbon cable that runs from the PCB at the back of the phone to the screen and speaker at the front had probably worn and split as happened with my Psion a few years ago. The motor for the vibrate function is also directly mounted onto the ribbon which can't help with the wear and tear.

As it turned out, after changing out the ribbon cable I found it was actually the speaker itself which was faulty. Still, both the cable and speaker ended up being transplanted from the doner phone to the wife's handset and all worked in the end.

Down to business then. If you're attempting this yourself, you follow this guide at your own risk (etc.)

1. Remove the battery cover, battery and SIM card. Use a knife to prise out the two rubber screw covers either side of the rear loudspeaker and use a T6 Torx screwdriver to remove the four screws.


2. Unscrew and remove the aerial.


3. Use a small flat blade screwdriver to release the clips mid way down both sides. The casing should start to pop apart....


4. ... and then the rear casing can be removed completely. By the way, that shiny round silver thing towards the lower centre of the PCB in this picture is a battery. I'm guessing it backs up the memory and date/time should the main phone battery run out. I reckon that if this phone starts suffering some amnesia in the future, renewing this battery will likely cure it.


5. Pop the ribbon connector off the PCB socket.


6. Flip the phone over and open it up. Use a knife to remove the four rubber screw covers around the LCD screen and then use the T6 Torx screwdriver to remove the four screws.


7. Use a knife to carefully prise the casing from the rear of the LCD section. Start at one end and work around....


8. ... until the LCD casing comes free and can be removed.


9. To remove the metal shield, use a knife blade to release the two clips on each side....


10. ... then lift the shield away along with the rubber insulator underneath it.


11. Lift the ribbon holding the camera out of the way and pop off the ribbon connector located above and to the left of the smaller external LCD screen.


12. The LCD PCB along with its attached camera ribbon can now be removed (if necessary).


13. Use a flat blade screwdriver to prise out the hinge (from the right hand side when looking at the phone).


14. Once the hinge is released, the ribbon cable may be fed through a hole in the keypad enclosure allowing the two halves of the phone to be separated.


15. Finally the ribbon may be completely removed by feeding it through the slit (arrowed red). To fit a replacement ribbon, reverse the procedure. In my case, it turned out the earpiece speaker (arrowed green) was at fault. To replace this, one simply needs to prise it from its adhesive mounting and plop a working component in its place.


Reassembly is the reversal of the above. Hopefully this thing will last another four years now while I get back into the wife's good books for a few days!