Introduction: Repairing an Iphone/Ipod Touch Charging Cable (4th Gen. and Down)
A couple of days ago my brother stopped by. He said he bought a 3 meter charging cable for his Iphone 4S, but it didn't work. He said he ordered it at a website without warranty, so he asked me if I could repair it. I said I'd look whether or not I could repair it. To tell you the result: I did it and now I want to tell you what you should do when you're in the same position as my brother and want to repair it yourself.
Off course before you read any further, make sure the problem is the cable, not your Iphone and not the usb port. If you do not know how to do this, here is an instruction:
Try to charge your Iphone with the cable and several differed usb ports. When your Iphone does not charge with any usb port, the problem could be located in the cable or in your Iphone (assuming not all usb ports are broken). Now try charging your Iphone with an other cable. If this does work, the problem is indeed located in the cable.
Step 1: Stuff You'll Need
Here's a list of things you'll need to locate the problem and repair the cable.
- soldering iron
- some solder
- thin piece of metal
- utility knife
- small screwdriver
- small pliers
Depending on where the problem is located, you might be needing some wire.
Step 2: Locating the Problem
Assuming the problem is the charging cable, you need to know where in the cable the problem is located. Basically there are three possible places the problem could be located: the usb, the cable and the Iphone part. Furthermore there are four small wires inside the cable. You need to know which wire is not fully connected and where in the charging cable this wire is not fully connected.
To know which of the four wires is not fully connected, you'll need to use an ohmmeter. When you look inside the Iphone part of the charging cable, you could see four connection points. One in the center and three at the left. The one in the center is ground (-). The other three are 5V (+), data+ and data-. Inside the usb you'll see also four connection points. From left to right these are ground (-), data+, data- and 5V (+).
5V is the wire through which the electricity will flow to your Iphone, ground is the way back.
You now take a little piece of metal and place it against all connection points in the Iphone part. Place one side of the ohmmeter against the piece of metal. The other side of the ohmmeter needs to be put to one of the connection points of the usb. If the ohmmeter does not give a reaction, you know this wire is broke. In the case of my brothers charging cable, ground was not connected, the others were. The ALL need to be connected to make the cable do its work!
Now you know which wire is broke, you still need to know if the problem is located in the cable, in the usb or in the Iphone part. This part is a bit tricky. You need to make a small incision in the wire. The best place to do so is close to the Iphone part. Look at the picture to see the exact location. Only cut through the white plastic! Do not cut any wires! Inside you'll see four wires: one grey, one green, one white and one red. The grey one is ground, the green one is data+, the white one is data- and the red one is 5V. Now make a small incision in the plastic around the broken wire. Do NOT cut any coper wire! Next you'll need your ohmmeter again. Place one side of the ohmmeter against the coper wire of the wire you did just cut. The other side of the ohmmeter needs to be placed against the the usb connection point of the broken wire. If the ohmmeter gives a reaction, you know the problem is at the Iphone part's side of the place you just cut. If so, skip to step 5. If not, the problem is located somewhere between the usb connection point and the place you just cut the wire. In my case, the problem was located at the Iphone part's side. Always keep in mind it is possible there is more then one problem!
When the problem is located at the usb/wire side of the cut, you'll have to cut again. This time close to the usb part. Check the picture for the best place to cut. Now place one side of the ohmmeter to the coper wire in the first cut, and the other side to the second cut. If the ohmmeter gives a reaction, you know the problem is in the usb part. If so, skip to step 4. If not, the problem is located inside the wire.
No you know where the problem is located, so lets solve the problem.
Step 3: Repairing the Wire
So the problem is inside the wire. That's sad, because repairing the wire is pretty hard. You do not know where exactly the problem is located, so you cant solder the broken parts together. And if you'd make small cuts all over the wire, the wire wont be very strong any more. The easiest way to solve this, is to replace the broken wire. Because the wire is in a compact group of wires, I recommend to leave the broken wire in and simply solder an equally length wire to the coper wire of the broken wire at the places you cut. Be sure this wire is strong. For extra strength, use some tape to keep the cuts closed and the extra wire to the rest of the wires.
I know this is not the most beautiful way of repairing a wire, but is is the most easy way. To make it look a bit nicer, you could choose a role of tape with a fun colour and tape the whole wire. This will also give the wire extra strength and a nice, personal colour.
Step 4: Repairing the Usb Part
So the problem is in the usb part. Apple is pretty good is shutting there products tight, so it's hard to open up the usb part. You'll need to try though. Once it's opened, you'll probably see the problem. The most likely is a wire which has gotten lose of its pin. Just soler the lose wire to the empty pin. I case there are two wires lose, be sure you solder them to the right pin! Now first test if your Iphone charges with the wire, before closing up, because there could be another problem and you'll get pretty pissed off when you first close it, then test it and then find out you'll have to open it again. So first test and if your Iphone does charge, close it.
Step 5: Repairing the Iphone Part
So the problem is in the Iphone part. Apple is pretty good is shutting there products tight, so it's hard to open up the Iphone part. You'll need to try though. Once it's opened, you'll probably see the problem. The most likely is a wire which has gotten lose of its pin. This was the case with my brother's wire. The pins of the Iphone part are really small. Because of the bad quality of my camera, the pin is hard to see. Also when you open up the Iphone part, you wont recognize it as a pin. It's just a small metal line. You'll have to solder the lose wire to the small line and you're finished. Now first test if your Iphone charges with the wire, before closing up, because there could be another problem and you'll get pretty pissed off when you first close it, then test it and then find out you'll have to open it again. So first test and if your Iphone does charge, close it.
Step 6: Congratulations
Your wire has been repaired. Congratulations!
Plus, I thought it was pretty interesting to see how this Iphone charging part of the cable looked at the inside.