My 2-year old recently broke the glass on my TF300T. The tablet is a couple of years old, so it’s a little bit on the expensive side to have it repaired by ASUS, so I decided to have a go at fixing it myself. After googeling a bit I decided to replace my 5158N digitizer with the G01. This will require rooting the tablet and updating the digitizer firmware. If you don’t want to go through that trouble, find and order the exact same model digitizer you have in your tablet. Here is how I did it, and what I’ve learned.
DISCLAIMER: This is a difficult repair. Don’t blame me if you try this yourself and mess up your tablet even more!
First, watch the “repair my device” video on youtube. It will give you an idea of how to do it.
1. Remove microSD card if any and remove the back cover. Be careful with the micro hdmi connector and audio connector. Use a plastic pry tool is you have one, Strong fingernails may also work.
2. Switch the service switch to the OFF position. You will find it on the upper right. This will power off the motherboard and prevent damage when you unplug cables. This is really the first thing you need to do when the glass breaks. If your digitizer is broken it can potentially break the controller too.
3. Remove the copper heat sink plate. When assembling again it is important that the copper plate is put back in place exactly where it was, as this plate provide cooling for the CPU and a couple of other chips.
4. Unplug the battery.
5. Unplug the display cable. It’s only necessary to unplug one end. But for convenience I recommend disconnecting both ends. Be sure to note which end it connected to the moterboard.
6. Remove the two black tape/foam bits that sits over the digitizer connector. Save them for reasembly later. Flip up the small white handles and unplug the digitizer.
7. Now it’s time to remove all the screws. Some of them have different sizes, so keep track of which go where. First remove 2 screws attaching the docking connector.
8. Unscrew 3 screws for the digitizer PCB. Store separately.
9. Unscrew the 6 screws for the motherboard. (The one beside the headphones connector might be under a piece of black tape.) Store separately.
10. Unscrew the 15 screws for the frame and the 4 for the hinge support. Remove the two hinge support plates.
11. Down to the left there is one screw that I wasn’t sure of. I examined it again, and found it is not necessary to remove.
12. Remove the motherboard/battery unit. There are some tape holding it together. Pry gently apart.
13. Remove the black tape over the LCD controller. There is a square magnet that probably is attache here. Be careful that it end up in exactly the same place when you reassemble.
14. Gently remove the LCD panel. You see where in the frame you must pry it open. Be careful when lifiting it up. The panel is loose in the assembly! Once the frame is unclipped, the best way is to hold your hand behind it and flip the hole thing over. Watch the youtube video from around 5:10. I’ve read of several people breaking or damaging their LCD at this point. Be careful.
15. Now you are left with three parts. The digitizer glass, the plastic frame and the metal frame. First step is to remove the plastic frame from the digitizer. It’s very hard to do this without breaing the glass. When the glass breaks, glass shrapnel will fly. WEAR PROTECTIVE GLASSES!
Heat up the glass and carefully with a hair dryer or heat gun. Don’t get it too hot. If the frame melts it will deform and be impossible to fix. (I’ve not found separate frames sold anywhere. Let me know if you do.) Slowly insert a thin blunt blade between the glass and the tape that’s glued to the plastic frame. Carefully slide the blade around the frame while heating it. I managed to keep the adhesive tape on the plastic frame and reuse it.
Once the plastic frame is off it’s just the metal frame left. Now it’s no problem using heat. Be careful no to bend it. I chose to wash the metal frame afterwards removing all tape residue. Then I replaced the double sided tape.
This gave me an idea. Maybe its easier to remove the plastic frame by just soaking the whole thing in hot water and kitchen soap over night. If somebody tries this, please let me know.
16. Start reassembly by putting the new digitizer on the plastic frame. Then the metal frame with new double sided tape. Make sure you don’t put it upside down.
17. In the video around 12:50 It looks very easy to put the LCD back in place. Just be very careful, because the LCD is not attached to the white backplate. The trick is to hold it together but don’t leave fingermarks.
I recommend using a dust blower to get rid of any dust before mounting, but don’t use compressed air. It can contain small drops of liquids that may leave marks.
Make sure the LCD clicks in the metal frame around the edge. Any crooked mounting and you will get light leaks around the edge. If you do it’s possible to fix by doing it over.
Now just do the rest of the process in reverse order. Don’t over tighten the screws. Be careful that the digitizer cable doesn’t pinch under the plastic frame. If it does you won’t notice before every screw is in place again and the cable is top short. (from experience).
Put all the bits of pieces of tape and support back in it’s original place. It’s all there for a reason. Remember to switch on the service switch again before you put on the back cover. Make sure the power button hasn’t shifted position (like it has in my picture).
The tablet should now be whole again. I discovered two problems
- A small light leak had appeared on top of the LCD.
- There was some blue pen markings and a scratch on the inside of the digitizer glass!
(I bought the digitizer from this eBay seller. He responded quick and gave me a partial refund. Good service!)
I opened it up and cleaned the pen markings with a DSLR sensor cleaning kit. Remounted the LCD and got rid of the light leak
If you have replaced with the same model digitizer the TF300T should now be fully operational again. If not the next step is to update the firmware to get the G01 digitizer working.
Next step is updating the firmware. Now it comes in very handy to have the docking keyboard. To do that you need to root the tablet. There are several ways to do that. This is how I did it. Go to XDA and search the TF300T forum for other ways.
(Tip if you don’t have the dock: androidroot.mobi has a special version CWM recovery that can be navigated with the volume and power key. While you’re at it, make your tablet unbrickable. (More on XDA here.)
1. Unlock the bootloaderThis is a simple step. Download the unlocking app from asus and sideload it. You’ll find the app at: http://www.asus.com/no/Tablets_Mobile/ASUS_Transformer_Pad_TF300T/#support_Download
All about installing TWRP and rooting is in this thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2187982
This is the tricky part. Because TWRP is touch based the only way to navigate through it is to use the docking and the touchpad on that. BUT you won’t see the pointer and you must tap on the touchpad as the buttons don’t work either. Once you get the hang of it install the SuperSU.zip.
4. Update firmware. Once rooted all that is left is to update the firmware. I used this firmware file: 02-3011-4820.ekt (md5:3365d5dacfcc955b39750c1e72ba7a4e)
(The firmaware is actually for the TF700T, but works perfectly for the TF300T as well. Here is all the files. I didn’t have the last_page.ekt file, but it worked without. Don’t know if this file will make a difference, but I got an error message saying it was missing.)
Before flashing I recommend backing up and deleting any .ekt files from “/system/etc/firmware/touch” to prevent auto flashing old firmware the next reboot, which may make it impossible to flash again! More in this post on XDA. (Seems like the impossible to update really was a hardware failure from not turning the service switch off).
Then I installed it with adb:
$adb push 02-3011-4820.ekt /sdcard/
#touch_fw_update command -u /sdcard/02-3011-4820.ekt
Updates scroll over the screen and completes:
ELAN] Enter Step5: GetHelloData~~~~
[ELAN] read Hello data successfully! buff=0×55 buff=0×55 buff=0×55 buff=0×55
[ELAN] 0×55,0×55,0×55,0×55 0xff,0xff,0xff,0xff,0xff,0xff
[ELAN] Update ALL Firmware successfully!!!!!!!
[ELAN] execnum result:1 th
[ELAN] Old IAP mode!!!!!!
[ELAN] Check the base value:0
[ELAN] Check the discharge value:0
[ELAN] Write last page data!
[ELAN] Fail to open the last page file in /system/etc/firmware/touch/last_page.ekt
[ELAN] Previous F/W version is 0×4822
[ELAN] Previous F/W ID is 0×3011
[ELAN] Previous resolution 132,210
[ELAN] New F/W version is 0×4820
[ELAN] New F/W ID is 0×3011
[ELAN] New resolution 132,210
and voila…touch screen works again.