Introduction: Cheap, Quick and Easy LCD Replacement for Samsung Galaxy S3

Had an incident and my phone hit at the perfect angle to break the LCD screen. After many searches, I decided I could replace it myself. It did power on, the bottom row lit up and the LED light still worked. I didn't have everything saved to my microSD or synced to any social networks, so I still needed to get into the internal memory for my games, contacts, and all that stuff. So here we go....

Step 1: Gather Your Stuff.

This was pretty easy to prepare for. A couple screw drivers, your broken phone and a donor phone. Serial numbers and everything was the same except mine was white and the donor phone a blue of some sort. The donor had a bad ESN but a good screen, bought off eBay for about 60 bucks (a new LCD was 150 bucks and requires a bit more work.)My phone had a bad screen and good ESN.

Step 2: Accessing the Motherboard.

Be gentle with your parts from here. You could easily lose small screws, get foreign objects on the circuitry, etc. Pop the back off the phone ( either one, but just to prevent mixing parts probably best to do one at a time).
Pop out the battery. And naturally, the next step of removing all the screws and then GENTLY use the flat screw driver to pop off the cover for the innards. You can see I left the top part of the plastic on for this step (it separates there anyway), I will show why on the next one.

Step 3: The Most Gentlest of Prying

You have to gently pry the connectors off the motherboard. I suggest a fingernail. There are a lot of small tines in the connectors and the flat screwdriver could bend them easily. There are 4 connectors and one for a white wire. Whatever the wire (antenna?) is, it needs to be disconnected.
First pic is of the connector on the bottom left.
Second pic is of the 3 connectors top left. After disconnecting those 3, then the last plastic piece can be removed.
Third pic is of the white wire, which I almost ripped out...Don't forget it there on the right...Just saying...And if you look real close, you will see one more small black screw on the bottom right of the mother board.
I did use the flathead to pop up the motherboard. Just gingerly and slowly, trying not to put a lot of force. If it has resistance, just gently pry in another spot.
Last pic is what's left after removing the board.

Step 4: Reassembled

After you do the same stuff to the second phone, keeping the parts separated, begin the reversing process to assemble.
Set the motherboard back into place, making sure the camera is placed properly and other buttons are set. Snap the connectors back on, all 4 and the white wire. Screws back into place and just to test that it works, I held the battery in place and started the phone up. Everything turned on fine and all the apps/games started. Success! I put the other phone back together just in case I had to get another part off it.
All together this took about 30 minutes.
I should also note that I changed carriers, so I can't guarantee that it'll start right up with the same service you had before. It does still work on my WiFi, and what little info I could find said it has the same ESN attached to the board and should work fine. If it does work just remember to write down the DEC and HEX numbers (located behind the battery of the old phone) somewhere safe. If it ever gets stolen or lost, your carrier or police may have the wrong info for it.

This was definitely easier than it sounded. It was the first time I did this and it all went like clockwork. Also my first Instructable, so please don't judge too harsh...or do, either way. Hope it helps!

Comments

author
TobiasB32 made it!(author)2016-11-03

Thanks man! I scored a donor phone with a broken lcd and for 15 EU, screwdriver set for 7,95 EU - took the motherboard out - I couldn't believe that my big fingers could put this tiny stuff together. Way easier than I expected, due to your your soothing words. Happy camper here with an again working S3! :-) Thanks a lot for your instructable!!

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author
TobiasB32 made it!(author)2016-11-04

I filmed the process - it's not very descriptive but maybe it shows how easy it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIxNQ_EdM_8

author
wikkedspindl made it!(author)2016-11-15

Going back through and rereading this, good lord! But, for a first Instructable helping someone, couldn't be happier! And I'm sure your vid has better explanations!

author
wikkedspindl made it!(author)2016-11-15

These phones are actually pretty good for being older units! Since I did this one I rebuilt quite a few after for friends and family and never had an issue. Even rebuilt a couple to just resell them.

Glad it worked for you!

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craftclarity made it!(author)2014-06-11

You make it look so easy!

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wikkedspindl made it!(author)2014-06-12

It really is easy! Like I said, it was the first time I ever tore a phone apart and it's like a new one without losing my contacts, games, music or pictures. Thank you for the comment!

author
bullet0775 made it!(author)2015-01-03

good job!! i am currently in that same predicament. ive gota good esn phone wit a broke screen, & a bad esn wit a good screen.... ive gotten both o them tore down, when i reassembled, i discovered that tha good esn one would not fit down right because of a small little speaker lookin round thing being located slightly below the placement of the good housing ..... not sure wtf im goin do yet; my 1st instinct is to dremel it a lil bit an c if that works......wish me luck!! glad u were successful !! gives me hope, hahaha

author
wikkedspindl made it!(author)2015-01-18

Yeah, I built another one for a friend (a new kit for the old esn and all the goodies), and on the left side I found the cover wouldnt fit properly because of a "rib" that passed right where another part of the board....so anyway, yeah, I just started shaving down the aluminum case til the board fit snug. Just used a file tho because I was worried about it overheating and melting something. But good luck!

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