Phone GPS Repair

138,187

27

83

Posted

Introduction: Phone GPS Repair

Trouble navigating with google maps?

Unable to determine your location using GPS?

If you suffer from poor GPS signal, prolonged time for fixing satellites, or GPS plain not working at all, your phone might benefit from this repair.

In this instructable, I will be using the Galaxy S4 as an example. This process should work for all phones, but the disassembly process will differ.

Principles

GPS problems on the mobile phones like the Galaxy S4 is usually due to poor contact between the circuit board and the GPS antenna. This repair aims to provide better electrical contact between the components.

In this instructable, we will use aluminum foil to increase the thickness of the contact and hence the pressure with the phone is pressed together again.

Diagnosis

Firstly, you should determine that the GPS is truly faulty(instead of your navigation app).

1) Try using another navigation app

2) Try updating your apps

3) Download the application "GPS status" to check if your phone is able to detect any satellites and fix onto them

If you confirm that the fault lies in your GPS and not software, you may proceed to gather the following materials:

Materials Needed

1) 2x Small clean pieces of Aluminum foil (1.5cm x 1.0cm)

2) Tweezers (good to have)

3) Clear plastic ruler (for bending small pieces of foil)

4) Small Philips head screwdriver

Lets move on to dis-assembly!

Step 1: Disassembly: Remove Back Cover, Screws, Speaker

Please refer to the pictures:

1. Remove the back cover using your fingers to pry at the seam.

2. Remove your SIM card, Memory card and battery

3. Using the phillips head screwdriver, remove the 9 screws you see at the back and KEEP THEM SAFE

4. Remove the speaker module

You will see that the GPS antenna, which is embedded in plastic, is now visible.

Step 2: Disassembly: Expose Circuit Board

1) Start prying at the sides with your fingers OR a thin piece of plastic(eg. edge of ruler), careful not to scratch your phone

2) Remove the internal cover to expose the circuit board

On the circuit board side: At the top right hand corner, you will see the contacts from the circuit board to the GPS antenna

On the plastic side: On the top left hand corner, you will see the metal contacts to the GPS antenna

Step 3: Prepare the Aluminum Foil

Now we need two pieces of aluminum foil to fit into the recesses(shallow holes in the plastic to contain the metal contacts) of the plastic encased antenna. This increases the "thickness" of the contact and will ensure good electrical contact once the phone is pressed together again.

1) Cut two pieces of Aluminum foil measuring 1.5cm x 1.0cm (you do not need to be accurate to the milimeter)

2) Fold lengthwise.

3) Fold breadthwise.

4) Fold lengthwise.

5) Fold lengthwise.

Tip: use the edge of a clear plastic ruler to ensure that the folds are right in the center. It is also helpful because of the small size of the foil folded.

The order of fold is not crucial, as long as you get the foil to a size that will fit on the gold contacts of the plastic encased antenna. Keep comparing with the size of the contact of the plastic-encased antenna.

Step 4: Install the Foil

1) Place the two pieces of foil directly onto the metal contacts and make sure the fit snugly in the recesses of the plastic (see picture)

Step 5: Press the Two Back Together

1. Lay the plastic side on the working surface

2. Carefully place the circuit board side onto the plastic side (ensure that the foil stays in the plastic recess)

3. Press down firmly on all sides to lock the two pieces back together

Step 6: Screws Back On

Now that you have the two pieces back together again, it is time to put the screws back on.

IT IS CRITICAL for the screws to be tight. Loose screws can decrease the mounting pressure and cause poor electrical contact.

*Don't forget to install your speaker module!

Step 7: One Last Touch

To further increase the pressure on the contacts, we can add some sticky tape on top of the GPS antenna before installing the backcover. The added thickness will cause greater pressure on the plastic after the backcover is installed.

Step 8: Reinstall Memory, SIM and Battery

Reinstall your memory, SIM and battery

Step 9: Reinstall Backcover and Test

1) Reinstall the backcover

2) Power on the phone and test

Testing: I recommend downloading the app "GPS status" to assess your GPS.

Thank you for putting up with me through the long instructable. I hope this has fixed your GPS problems. If problems persist, please seek help from a professional.

Special thanks to

1) ifixit.com for their excellent pictures in the disassembly process that i have used in my instructable

2) mobilehowto.co.uk

2 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Science of Cooking

    Science of Cooking
  • Pocket-Sized Contest

    Pocket-Sized Contest
  • Spotless Contest

    Spotless Contest
user

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.

Tips

Questions

79 Comments

Unbelievable, worked great on my SHV-E330S (S4 LTE-A). Any long term reports, I hope the aluminum stays in its place and doesn't short anything.

Spoke too soon, problem persists although signal strength appears improved

The GPS antenna connections are actually on the opposite site. The connectors in this guide are really for the 4G antenna. Try fixing the connection on the other site and it might work.

Hi @varunrao, are you able to get a lock on any satellites?

It will lock, then almost immediately lose lock. Its weird. Every time I clear cache through recovery menu it works well for one trip (home to office). Then its glitchy, constantly losing lock the next time I use it.

When you opened your phone up were the screws loose? Im afraid yours may be software related. Did the fix change its behavior?

I'm confused. According to the official S4 manual the GPS antenna should be located at the other (left) side. I only have a "S4 active" and if I cover the upper left corner with a metal box GPS signal drops, If I cover the right side GPS signal keeps unchanged. So in my case the manual is confirmed. Any ideas?

No, you are absolutely correct. The connectors "repaired" in this guide here are actually for the 4G antenna. Probably moving of contacts and retightening of the screws is all that was necessary.

That's actually the 4G antenna that you're fixing!

GPS antenna connections are on the opposite site! However, opening, closing, and tightening of the screws still was enough for a good result.

The problem is: somebody came up with this fix and telling everyone that this would be the connection of the GPS antenna, which is simply wrong. But now everyone has made a guide and tells everyone about the wrong connectors.

wow! thanks, but i only tighten all the 9 screws and it works great! This a good instuctor guy!