Replacing a Palm Centro Alpha Numeric Pad With One From a Demo Phone





Introduction: Replacing a Palm Centro Alpha Numeric Pad With One From a Demo Phone

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

Most "demo" or "dummy" phones that are sold online at places like eBay can not be used for cell phone replacement parts for their real counterparts.

I had a tear in the rubber alpha-numeric keypad of my almost new Centro and decided to take the risk and try using a demo for parts. I had read on a forum online that the case was identical to the original phone. That is definitely not true. The demo would suffice for the rubber keypad cover, the stylus (although it feels lighter and is a different hue than the one that came with my functioning phone), and perhaps the buttons used for navigation and the on and off buttons on the front of the phone.

Just slip a thin screwdriver under the rubber keypad cover to pull it off and replace the damaged one. The case, screen and battery cover can definitely not be used to replace any parts on the phone.



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    Most cell phone dummies plastic pieces are completely interchangeable. Blackberry's seem to be the exception most of their mock up models are made from utter crap and are completely fake on the inside, where phones like the lotus or the centro are mostly the real parts. The paint used is usually cheaper so the device will scratch, scar, and crack much easier but if well kept can replace an already totaled phone. The centro after prying off the back battery door and removing the glue and the metal box that's usually used to imitate the weight of a real centro, can be further disassembled and used to re-case an old phone. Keyboard however cannot be used, keypad is fine though beats having to buy a new phone or file a claim. I will say one thing though after you replace that keypad it never sticks down quite the same and can be annoying if anyone figures out what type of adhesive to use to make it feel more like the real thing please post.

    2 replies

    double sided sticky tape?

    You could use that but it would have to be real strong, thin, and you can't let it cross over top of keys or you will get a lumpy keyboard.  I've even went as far as to hot glue them down.  Once existing pads start to peel up theres not much left to do but get another one they just don't seem to go back down lol

    What kind of glue did you use to attach the keypad onto the keyboard membrane? Special type of glue for cell phones?

    1 reply

    No glue was necessary.  It had an adhesive that held the keyboard in place.

    Thanks for a great idea. I will be trying it out on my grand daughters phone. Sprint wanted 80.00 dollars to fix it even thought we pay for insurance on the phone. The demo phone is 12.00 dollars on ebay.

    The case, battery cover, and keypad buttons are reusable. The battery cover is glued on. Use a plastic case opener tool, and slowly work it under the battery cover. Gently insert the tool deeper and deeper, working it around the cover. The cover will flex but not break, if you are careful. The upper tabs may look damaged but should be fine. The two case halves are screwed together as a real centro. Take it apart, then pry out the weight. Be careful when inserting a tool through the hole for the battery connections. The top of the opening can be damaged. Remove the keyboard (from the inside) with a plastic case tool, as you normally would. Separate the keyboard, and keypad. Normally the ribbon cable has been snipped off of the membrane keypad. Finally the stylus has usually been melted slightly about halfway down to lock it in place. Use small diagonal wire cutter pliers to nibble around the melted spot. When weakened the stylus can be broken and removed. A dummy Centro is $10 to $20 on ebay. The 685 (GSM) and 690 (CDMA) use the same case.

    1 reply

    Good tips. The case of mine was not screwed together though - they were plastic connections that were melted together.

    I managed to replace the entire shell of my phone with a shell from a "dummy." Maybe some dummies are different from others. Like disassembling any electronic product, you need to be super super careful in taking it apart, especially when handling the ribbon cables. Try not to use metal screwdrivers, except on the torx screws, to pry things apart--they scratch the plastic. I'd recommend an old credit card or other hard plastic. I actually used the little square plastic thing they put on bread bags to seal them. The only thing I ended up ruining was the stylus, because it had been glued in placed. Probably the most easily replaced part. Now my used, scratched, and gouged phone from eBay looks brand new. (Luckily the screen was already in good shape--obviously, the dummy contains no electronics.)

    Cool idea, had not thought of something like that before.