Remixed electronics: can I make a working frankenphone out of these two broken 6820 phones?
April 3, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify a mystery component from the board of one of two damaged/crippled Nokia 6820 phones and determine if it's possible for me to get one working Frankenphone out of the two.

I have two Nokia 6820b phones. One (on the right in this photo) was run over. The LCD and the flip-out keypad were both damaged beyond use or repair, but it seemed to power on and receive calls.

The one on the left hasn't suffered any physical damage, but it's locked to the old pre-cingular-merger at&t network, and was rendered un-unlockable through the keyboard by too many incorrect attempts by a previous owner. Nobody I've contacted seems to be confident in their ability to unlock it (if you have ideas on this front, I'd be happy to hear them).

Recently it occurred to me I might be able to make one working phone out of the two of them if the internals of the crushed one fared better than the outside.

The other day I decided to give it a shot. When I got down to the boards, things looked pretty good: the board of the one that got run over looked essentially like the undamaged phone... except for one thing.

You'll notice that beneath the board on the right in the photo there's a component lying on the paper. You can see on the left where it's supposed to be. There's two obvious pads/holes where the leads are supposed to be connected; it looks like it was lightly soldered there before. There's also some of the surface of the board still stuck to the bottom of the component. I don't *think* there was anything else other than the two obvious leads connecting from it through the board, but there's enough of a pattern and a few tiny holes in the surface that's stuck to it that I'm not completely sure.

Here's a few more close angles of the mystery component. The half-round part of it that sticks out rotates.

So, I've got the following questions:

1) What is this component? It doesn't familiar to me. Is it maybe a tiny odd fan? A little weird directional antenae? Some kind of instrumentation for detecting orientation of the device?

2) How likely am I to be successful at reattaching it without screwing up anything else? What could I do to improve my chances? The pads on the board for this thing are also pretty small. I've never been particularly steady-handed and consequently have found precision soldering pretty difficult in the past. Are there any tips/techniques I should be aware of? Also: soldering is probably only half the job here -- I suspect even if I'm successful at that, it'll be short lived if the component is hanging onto the board by the leads, but I don't know anything about what kind of cement I might be considering that'd be safe and effective at sticking it to the board.

3) What are the chances that the phone will function without this component?

4) Any other ideas or advice regarding this whole enterprise?
posted by weston to Technology (6 answers total)
Best answer: 1) This is a guess: I think it's the vibrator element. Looks like a small motor with an asymmetric thing attached to the shaft. When the shaft rotates, that's going to buzz. If everything works, just turn the vibration on and off with an oscilloscope attached to the terminals and see if there is a difference.

2) -
3) Good, given that the guess above is right.
4) Unless you enjoy this kind of work for its own sake, it's a bit crazy. Try to just reassemble the phone and see if it works. If it does, then great. If not, further fixing is likely not worth the trouble.
posted by springload at 1:35 PM on April 3, 2011

Definitely the vibrating motor.
posted by wayland at 1:59 PM on April 3, 2011

Best answer: That's the virbrator doohickey, definitely.

It's gonna be a bitch to solder back on, I'll bet. It looks like surface mount work, which is difficult to do with handtools. And, if you short it out by accident, then vibrate it... you're gonna fry the mainboard.

I'd just leave it off and accept that you don't have a vibrate mode.
posted by Netzapper at 2:03 PM on April 3, 2011

Yup, that's the vibrator motor. The phone should be fine without it (but it won't be able to vibrate, of course).

Are you sure it was soldered on? Sometimes they're physically attached to the case and make contact with the circuit board through a pair of springy leads. I can't tell from the photo if this might be the case for yours.
posted by hattifattener at 6:36 PM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: Vibrating motor! Awesome. If there was anything I'd care about less on the phone, I can't think of it.
posted by weston at 6:47 PM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: Poop. Doesn't power on now that I've reassembled it. Any chance that vibrating motor leaves an open circuit, or is it more likely something less visible got munged and this is just hosed?

Are you sure it was soldered on?

Yeah, on the one that hasn't been run over it's definitely soldered.
posted by weston at 7:16 PM on April 3, 2011

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