Monday, July 30, 2012

Replacing a damaged USB port on a Galaxy Nexus (SC-04D)

The shorted USB port is on the left - replace part is on the right.

We repaired the broken Galaxy Nexus with a shorted out micro USB port following this simple guide from ifixit. While the guide specifically mentions the Verizon LTE version, it is also applicable to the NTT Docomo GSM version (SC-04D).

The whole thing took about 20 minutes. Here's what we used:
In Step 3 of the ifixit guide, where the case of the phone is pried open, we found the above "guitar pick" to be more useful.

Step 6 mentions to remove the volume rocker ribbon cable. Instead, we pealed off the entire rocker because the attachments are under the board. The glue was tacky enough to re-stick. In Step 7, we did the same thing with the power button.

Between Steps 6 and 7, we also removed the vibrator assembly, which is not shown in the ifixit guide - perhaps it is located differently in the LTE version. It was glued in very well and we need the the small screw driver to pry it out. The vibrator is similar in size and shape to a round watch battery.

The vibrator (red arrow) in the GSM version.

Replacement USB port ribbon

We also stopped to take some photos with this microscope. It is surprising that the phone works at all. There is pretty extensive corrosion around the entire assembly. Moisture had entered not only through the open USB port, but also through the speaker grill on the back of the phone. Residual salt was all over the place.

Lower left of phone with speaker grill and salt.

That's just nasty.

Increased the depth of field with a lower-level zoom shows
the extensiveness of the corrosion.

It appears to be somewhat scorched.
The damage is not just limited to the USB port, but can be seen on other parts of the ribbon, where there's flaking and peeling, as well as salt.


  1. Chuck Norris used this phone.

    FWIW, I swear I never used this phone with the cover removed. Somehow those elements got in through its natural holes and gaps.

  2. I just repaired my GSM Samsung Galaxy Nexus whose USB port went bad (as a result of my use of a Kindle charger in lieu of the official Samsung model) and when I noticed the difference in the board assemblies between the two models of Galaxy Nexus I hit a stumbling block and just wanted to say thank you for this page existing, I now have a perfectly working phone, like it was the day I bought it!

    Thanks from the UK. :)

  3. I just had the same problem and fixed it without a replacement. I simply stuck a tac into the usb port under the rectangular thing in the middle (which in the pic you can see is bent downward) and pushed it upwards toward the screen just a tiny amount. I can now sync and charge, which I have been unable to do since I got the phone.

  4. Your's wouldn't have been exactly the same problem, since it was a defective connection. This was shorted by water.

  5. Thank you so much for this guide! This article cleared every doubt I had while following iFixit's guide while replacing the USB board on my GSM Galaxy Nexus.

  6. Cheers - Great Guide :D

  7. Hi Chris,

    You say that your Galaxy Nexus was damaged by your Kindle Charger. I have charged my phone before with a Kindle charger but this weekend I charged my phone at my girlfriend's, with her Kindle Charger, and now have an issue with a loose connection in my phone. I didn't think the Kindle Charger could damage the GNex as it has the same Voltage. Are you sure it was your Kindle Charger that caused the issue?