Introduction: Fix the Earpiece of Your Motorola V551 Phone.

Picture of Fix the Earpiece of Your Motorola V551 Phone.

The earpiece of the V551 is reportedly flakey and tends to loose volume over time. Here is a cheap way to fix this issue if you are comfortable taking apart your phone.

**Please do _NOT_ do this Instructable if you are uncomfortable with small pieces, taking apart your expensive toys, or willfully voiding any warranty you might have still had. Make sure to fully read through the instructions first so you know what you're getting yourself into. I can, in no way, be held responsible for any loss or damages incurred by anyone attempting to follow these instructions.**

Step 1: My Phone Is Going Bad...

Picture of My Phone Is Going Bad...

My V551 was loosing volume, but it did so very slowly. In fact, I only figured out something was going wrong when I realized I was holding the phone to my ear very tightly to hear anything. If you have trouble hearing conversations or end up with sore forearms from trying jamming the phone into your head so you can hear, this may be the fix you need.

Tools needed:
Assortment of jeweler's screwdrivers (Flat blade and maybe some very small torx)
Electrical tape
Rubbing alcohol (optional)
Q-Tip (optional)

Once again, just so we're clear:
**Please do _NOT_ do this Instructable if you are uncomfortable with small pieces, taking apart your expensive toys, or willfully voiding any warranty you might have still had. Make sure to fully read through the instructions first so you know what you're getting yourself into. I can, in no way, be held responsible for any loss or damages incurred by anyone attempting to follow these instructions.**

Step 2: Beauty Plugs

Picture of Beauty Plugs

These 4 spots around the display of your phone are just aesthetic covers for the screws which hold on the back shell. They are held in place with a sticky substance that will allow you to reapply these plugs when you put your phone back together.
Pry them out with a jeweler's screwdriver or safety pin. The rubbery material that they are made out of is quite soft though, so take care not to cut them up badly when you take them out. Save the plugs for later.

Step 3: Take Off Your Top!!

Picture of Take Off Your Top!!

Using a torx driver if you have one, or very carefully with a small flat blade jeweler's screwdriver, remove the four screws.

Once the screws are removed _carefully_ pry the blue cover off the phone. I started at the top edge and used two screwdrivers to work my way around the edge of the phone. Once you have unsnapped about half of the cover it will be much easier to remove the rest.

Step 4: The Crux

Picture of The Crux

Now again brandishing your safety pin or other small object, carefully pry the metal cover off your phone. There are 4 places it clips to the plastic body and each will need to be released separately in order to remove the cover.

Good lighting and patience are a must.

Step 5: The Problem Spot

Picture of The Problem Spot

Pulling back on the tab of brown flexible circuit board reveals the problem connection. The pads on this circuit board are supposed to connect through the flexible rubber conductor to the speaker. Apparently they aren't or you wouldn't have read these instructions so far.

At this point you may want to use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a Q-Tip to clean both the pads and the conductive strip. I know the pads are gold plated... but it couldn't hurt.

Step 6: The Secret Ingredient

Picture of The Secret Ingredient

Now take a few strips of electrical tape and layer them up. Two layers was thick enough for my phone. Cut out a small chunk of the layered tape and position it on the back side of the flexible circuit board, above where the pads are located (see picture).

Step 7: The End

Picture of The End

Now reassemble everything just the way you took it apart.

The electrical tape you installed will cause those metal divots to press the flexible circuit board more firmly against the flexible conductor. This should result in a much improved audible signal.

Good luck!, and say Hi to Aunt Ginny!


Steve_53 (author)2009-05-19

Excellent! I am so glad I found this instructable. I lifted the zebra connector off of the speaker and cleaned those contacts too. The wife is now happy (she didn't want a new phone!).

iectyx3c (author)2009-05-14

5 stars, this instructable is great.

I used a wooden pointy toothpick to pop the rubbery plugs.
This way the plugs were not damaged.

Then I stuck the plugs onto a piece of tape to keep them from rolling away.
I used a T-6 torx bit. But I also found that a 1/16 inch wide flat blade screwdriver works fine.

I used a 1/8 wide flat blade screw driver to press in on the four plastic side clips and then pried gently.

For me, the metal backing popped right off on the two phones I fixed.
It also snapped back on with very little pressure.

The two gold pads lie on top of the rubbery gray and black zebra connector on the earpiece.

usedtruck93 (author)2009-01-17

I thought this phone was a gonner. I took me approx 1 hour to repair which is less time than I would have spent buying a new one; not to mention the cost. You are fantastic. Keep up the good work.

warwick30 (author)2009-01-05

Thank you VERY much. I was about to ditch my phone and would have had to sign up for a new 3 year contract to get another one. You have saved me a bundle. Great instructions; easy to follow. Sound now as loud as new. You are a saint!

OKflyboy (author)2008-11-09

Awesome! I just tried this on my phone and it works great again!! Thanks!

martlego (author)2008-09-24

Thumbs up gangsta! My mom now has a "new" phone (*with bluetooth please*) that works like a charm!

1safetyguy (author)2008-07-18

Fantastic!! Your directions were easy to follow, and the fixed worked just as stated. You saved me from buying a new phone; maybe this one will work for another 3.5 years! Even though it is pretty much a POS phone like most Motos! You get a major "ATTABOY"!

rlheure1 (author)2008-07-07 phone lasted over 3 years before I had the disappearing handpiece volume. You fix was easy to follow and worked great! Thanks

bcontres (author)2008-05-15

By simply following the instructions as indicated, I was able to remedy the lack of hearing on my phone. I had to set myself back by $6 or so by purchasing a Kobalt Srewdriver set #239384 at Lowes. But that's ok. Why? Cause my next job is to change the face plate on my phone that gets great reception which has all features necessary to keep me satisfied. Best of all, this phone is durable (can take a good drop or two) and gets great reception. I saved over $1000.00 by not buying another phone and locking into a 2 year contract. Thanks guys. Consider this a job well done!

yarb1934 (author)2008-04-16

This Site is Priceless for the info that is available, My V551 Cell started to have problems with the ear piece, I went to Rogers to have it repaired I was told to scrap the Phone,with that answer I turned to Google and found your site now the problem is resolved and the sound is better than when the phone was new,Thanks a million regards Frank

rk62 (author)2008-03-08

Thank you very much. Instructions were excellent. I thought I was going to have to get a new phone, which meant locking into another 2 year contract to get the good price. I only use it as a basic phone and the new lower priced offerings seemed so flimsy. If anyone is considering a new phone for this reason, do yourself a favor and at least attempt this. It is not very technical and for the cost of a miniature tool set at Radio Shack, you will have a working phone and a tool set.

schmag (author)2008-02-02

I also used 3 pieces to be on the safe side. Worked like a charm. Thank you "wdautrem"! Much appreciated.

wdautrem (author)2008-01-28

Thank you everyone for all the positive feedback! Maybe some day I'll get some free time to post more Instructables...

imagesofvision (author)2008-01-24

Can you hear me now?? YES!! thanks!

905guy (author)2008-01-05

This solution worked great for me also. Was about to buy a new phone before I found this site. Thanks.

Sneaky Chopsticks (author)2008-01-04

Lol, I have one here's a pic.

NVM it's not working

HELINTX (author)2007-11-14

I had no sound coming out of my earpiece. I tried your fix and now its as loud as can be!! Thankyou very much!!!!!

Hoopajoo (author)2007-10-15

Wdautrem, YOU ARE A GENIUS! This worked spectacularly on mine. The phone was given to me by a friend when he upgraded because I wanted a cheap little throw-around digital camera (doesn't get much cheaper than free). He mentioned the volume issue but it never bothered me since I'm not using it as a cellphone. When I saw your Instructable, the Obsesive-Compulsive in me that wants everything in good working order took over. Capital!

bcool (author)2006-10-01

A torx #5 is the right size. I found a nice little set at Lowe's (for US$5.92) that has a driver with 8 different size bits stored in the handle from a #4 on up to a #16.

Hoopajoo (author)bcool2007-10-15

I used a T6 from my set and it fit the screws like a glove. I guess it depends on which plant your phone was made.

Smorey (author)2007-10-09

Very good info - thanks

Smorey (author)2007-10-09

Find the 4 notches first! Then slip the end of a bent paper clip into the metal square and carefully pry the metal off the plastic clip (4 times). Took a lot of pressure to squeeze it back together

MarketingGuru (author)2007-07-20

Great Work! Thank you for adding this fix. I had no idea what was wrong with my Motorola V551, the ear-speaker volume was getting lower until I could not hear any more. The external speaker works fine but I did not want everyone to hear my calls and I tried a bluetooth headset which also works well. However I do have a problem with my headphone that plugs into the cell jack, I can not hear a thing. I have dropped my cell a few times and the top faceplate/housing is slightly cracked near the ear-speaker and when I removed the top cover one of the screw bases in the top left corner broke off so I can only use 3 screws to tighten. I plan on buying a new v551 housing kit from ebay for $10 or less. I found some of these housing kits include a torx driver. I decided to buy a cell phone tool set separately which includes T4,T5,T6 torx bits for $7. Other notes: In step 5 the green hard circuit board with screen and top rubber conductor might come out of its slot, when you reassemble the board there is a metal spring bar on the left side of the housing that you need to push the circuit board against that side first then push the other side in and next snap on the metal cover, see below. In step 7 when you are reassembling the metal cover onto the plastic body (components from step 4), I took some small pliers and very gently bent the 4 side area holes where the plastic clips come through so when it is installed the clips will make a snap noise and hold the metal cover in place tighter.

rekster (author)2007-03-08

Just signed up so I could let you know this worked great on my phone. Appreciate it!

seckzee (author)2007-02-26

This was definitely the trickiest. I broke the skin on my thumb because I was struggling so much until I finally pulled it apart. Yeouch! Much better sound though, once I got to the core!

laksha (author)2007-02-20

Very useful illustration and worked for me like a charm. Thaks wdautrem.

uniblab (author)2007-01-30

Thanks wdautrem. I was about to buy a new phone when I found this page. As a quick fix I just had to squeeze the ear piece to make it start working. For some people this may be enough to fix the problem without taking it apart.

rmedina (author)2006-11-27

Fantastic job. I could not figure out what was wrong with my 2 phones. They were too new to have this type of problems, on BOTH phones. Your help was greatly appreciated. awesome pics too. Easy to follow. Thank you

vspvilli (author)2006-11-18

What a great idea and simple procedure. I was about to throw this phone because of this trouble and buy an unlocked phone. I didn't even have idea that this can be done this way..........thanks a ton man for great pictures and clear instructions.

mattmill (author)2006-10-25

Thank you! You saved me a ton of money since Cingular wouldn't let me get a new phone at a discount until February. One caution I ran into: The main screen popped out on me and there seems to be a thin spring along one side that it needs to push on to seat flat. It took a few tries to figure this one out. Thanks again, nicely done instructable. matt

n1gdo (author)2006-10-07

I cannot thank you all enough... no one could/would help me regarding the earpiece volume on the V551... I ran across this site and went to Sears today and found that they sold T6 screwdrivers for about $3..lucked out and got the last one. followed the instructions and used the 3x5 card rather than the toothpick/electric tape method and bingo it worked! In fact had a friend call me and had to LOWER the volume on the earpiece...thats a first.... thank you all for your help..most appreciated.

bcool (author)2006-10-01

Watch out for those little plugs! I was s-o careful keeping them safely off to the side while I was working on things, and then when I was reassembling the cover, one of the plugs somehow got stuck to my screwdriver and flew off somewhere (to a parallel universe, I think). I couldn't find it anywhere, so I have a gaping hole in the cover. No big deal, though - I can live with it.

bcool (author)2006-10-01

I used three pieces to be on the safe side (and to keep from having to take everything apart again if only 2 didn't work).

bcool (author)2006-10-01

Fantastic instructions!! Thanks so much for taking the time & effort to post these - it saved me having to get a new phone - or pay to have my V551 fixed! When I started having problems with it, I went to the Cingular store & the guy said, "yeah, there have been problems reported with this phone, but it's out of warranty so you either can get a new phone or take it to a local cellular repair store & pay to have it fixed". BEHOLD THE POWER OF THE INTERNET! BTW, after reading the note by GaryPSU, I used three pieces of electrical tape & that did the trick.

horndog (author)2006-09-04

This is one of the best things I've found on the web in a long time! My purchasing agent had 8 V551's and 2 V400's sitting on his desk. I said, "What's wrong with these?" He says "They're dead phones, want'em?" Being a tinkerer, I of course took them and began searching for a way to fix them. Of the 10 units, 9 had this simple earpiece problem. They had no volume at all. Following these "great" instructions, I was able to fix 9 phones. What did I do with them? Of course I returned them to the purchasing agent, I'm an honest guy. That was fun. People like us enjoy keeping things going. wdautrem, we salute you!

bobinnyc (author)2006-08-24

Holy shit!!! You guys saved me. I used to love this phone and then that love soon turned to real true hate. I've simulated throwing it to the ground many times. To make matters worse my peice of shit blue tooth ear piece rolled over and died. As I was getting ready to take the phone apart as instructed, I read what GaryPSU did. He just took off the blue cover and inserted a piece of tooth. So i cut a piece of a toothpick to size and voila! I can hear the phone turn on and off again! I forgot what it sounded like. It took all of 10 mins to do. Great instructions and a great short cut. Thank you both.

satishnatla (author)2006-08-06

thank you very much. The instructions are very clear and was able to fix my problem.Ear peice volume is high now and I've to decrease little bit:-)

zakool21 (author)2006-07-27

This really works. Instead of electrical tape, I used a little piece of 3x5" card that I folded over itself. I slipped it in and popped the metal back together with the plastic and it works great!

The one thing that makes sense is that I would have to squeeze the front and back of my phone's earpiece with my forefinger and thumb before each call so that I could hear *at all.* Now, I don't have to do anything and it works perfectly.

I had a set of small screwdrivers (flathead) that worked for this project, but *barely.* Fortunately, I didn't strip the torx screws (the top screws are smaller but have larger holes than the bottom ones), but my tiny flatheads got the job done. :)

Robin Banks (author)2006-07-27

bought this phone on ebay and the receiver didnt work. i was pissed for a half hour till i found this. you're the best!!!!

GaryPSU (author)2006-06-26

While a great idea, the electrical tape didn't quite make the best contact. I then shimmed a couple of toothpicks between the metal divots and the brown flexible circuit board. This worked tremendously, and doesn't require the un-clipping of the metal cover inside the phone.

GaryPSU (author)2006-06-22

Great instructions! Electrical tape didn't quite do it for me. I used toothpicks as shims instead. Earpiece volume is perfect now.

Benbrower (author)2006-06-16

It worked!!!!!!! All 4 of us in the family had these phones and two had already had the same symptom - found this site when the third one stopped working with anything other than the speaker. DARN! Wish I hadn't bought the other two phones!

metallrulz (author)2006-06-08

You are the man! My phone was well out of warranty so I was going to get a new one all because of of this volume issue. I fixed it like you stated and it sounds like new now. The screws are T6. If you don't have any tools I suggest getting the Craftsman 3-piece screwdriver set 941631 that includes the T6 and a 1/16" flat head screwdriver.

GlitchCog (author)2006-05-31

This is awesome. I've had to push my phone into my ear so hard to maintain volume.

Also, the display text hack is explained here:

rljenk (author)2006-05-13

Brilliant! Thanks for saving me a lot of bucks with such a simple fix. My earpiece had gone completely silent even with volume all the way up. Afterwards, the earpiece was so loud, I had to check to make sure it wasn't the speakerphone.

rljenk (author)rljenk2006-05-13

Tip: T6 Torx screwdriver works perfectly for the screws.

wperry1 (author)2006-05-09

Awesome! Cingular replaced my phone because of this problem. (Fortunately it happened in the first year) Its nice to know that I can fix it myself now that it is out of warranty.

g0pher (author)2006-05-05

Wow, great work! Great pictures and details, id like to see an instructable on how to hack the display :D

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