"Frah-gee-lay. That must be Italian." - Ralphie's father in the film, A Christmas Story.

One evening, last August, Olga's iPhone 3G gravitated to a particularly hard patch of asphalt. The impact fractured the glass and bruised the LCD. For many weeks after it's unfortunate injury, it soldiered on, reading Atlas Shrugged to her, providing directions and placing calls.

The first attempt to restore it damaged the new LCD in the process. Below is what it looked like when she first gave it to me, three weeks ago. I assumed that was a hint, or maybe a challenge; can you fix this?

The second attempt has proved to be a partial success.

Seen here are the shielded communication and logic boards, then the gasket and LCD's chassis and some of my handy tools. The folks at Apple even numbered some of the connector locations with stickies for us.

Everything works but the normal earpiece speaker, because I accidentally severed a connecting ribbon. I do not know how to repair this, yet. Besides, there are at least two simple work-arounds: use loudspeaker mode (which uses a separate speaker) or plug in earphones to hear callers.
The front glass panel also needs to be fixed in place. A semi-permanent adhesive will be decided upon and applied soon. It came with a double-sided tape holding it down, flush with the bezel.
Gasket material can be seen still hanging out the cracks.
Note: I used a ball point pen for some of the important crowbar prying steps; not recommended.

It is back to life, for now. Neither Olga or I are willing to pay for a cellular data plan. It will have to settle for weakness, only a text message and a dial away from becoming it's less capable little brother, Touch. Much like Ralphie's father, the hard cussing furnace fighter, I feel proud that I fixed the existing problem, disappointed that I created a fresh one, but I will claim a tiny victory, regardless. Definitely not a Kobe, more like a MacGyver.

Guest Contributor, JTGuest Contributor, JT


  1. Чего Kobe? Kobe - это город в Японии.

  2. Kobe!

  3. При чём тут этот баскетболист?

  4. JT, is the problem that you can't get the spare cable or that you can't figure out how to connect it? It looks like the cable may be readily available and cheap. Search for 270535703176 on ebay. Is that what you need?
    "New EAR Flex Cable FOR Apple iPhone 3G" at least sounds promising.

  5. Doug, I haven't had much time to troubleshoot it. I did take a look at the item on eBay. I think that particular flex connects the 3.5mm TRRS jack, the side volume control buttons and the top power button. Thanks for looking!
    I need to dismantle it again. The earpiece speaker is mute, and the proximity or light sensors don't seem to work. I think I'll try fixing this over spring break.

  6. JT, no doubt it's a lot easier to tell what you need when you can look at the actual unit. EBay has lots of different flex cables for that model.

    330417855392 says "Light & Proximity Sensor Flex Cable For iPhone 3G" which sounds consistent with much of your response. Search Ebay for many similar flex cables for the 3G.

    I'm a little suspicious about how cheap the asking price is. I almost wonder if they're QA rejects or counterfeit, but suspect there aren't a lot of "official" suppliers out there for consumers to order from. Some of the detailed descriptions are also specific about particular revisions of the 3G.

    Good luck!


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