Fixing A Backwards Tursion Android Tablet That Reversed Itself
My wife and I got the call on a Saturday night. Our bawling six year old's tablet had just discombobulated, and then so did he. The screen was all pixely and my wife had performed a factory reset on it. But what happened later (just prior to the crying phone call) was something weirder. His screen was flipped backwards and reversed.
In this picture, portrait mode, the X axis was reversed. If I wanted to touch the spot marked 1, I'd have to actually touch at 2.
And this was wicked messed up. In landscape mode, both X and Y axes were reversed. Here, when I wanted to touch 3, I had to actually touch 4. By going into System Settings, then Developer Options, you can check a Show touches box that will show a white circle (a little smaller than the dots in my pictures here) where you actually touch the screen.
Anyway, Grammie (the person in the room when the tablet actually broke) bought a new tablet immediately, and it showed up a couple of days later. When my phone screws up, I can generally pull it apart and unhook the battery, then just put it back together and go. I thought this method might work on the tablet. My wife and older son took off for Cub Scouts, and the younger son and I tore into the old tablet. We got it working. I will preface all of the following with this: I only have the vaguest notion of what things are inside of this tablet. I'm familiar with the innards of computers and laptops but these rigs are different enough that I admit I really don't know what I'm doing. Fair enough? Let's move on…
Getting it apart was a little dicey feeling. It was no big deal, but what I used was a very small flat head screwdriver and pried around the whole thing along this line. Once it was apart, I had to be careful. The speaker is attached to the back of the tablet, so there are speaker wires to contend with while this thing is apart.
After I cracked this puppy open, this is what I was dealing with. 1 is the battery, and I initially though it hooked up at 2, because before I got the battery off it was over a little bit and hid the ribbon. The battery is weird because it feels like a flat lump of clay. I have no idea why this is, only that it's very hard to get unstuck from the piece of galvanized steel underneath it. I used the same screw driver to carefully (I'm guessing that puncturing a battery is bad) pry in between the battery and steel, and eventually worked it off.
What I ended up looking at was this… The arrow here points to what is ACTUALLY connecting the batery to everything else, and it requires desoldering the wires from the circuit board. I'm always game, but I didn't want to if it wasn't necessary. I unhooked the ribbon (#3 in the last picture) and fired it up. I got a lit, but blank, screen. I shut it down.
Both of these operations, but they way, require you to hit the power button (shown here) with a screw driver or something when you need to turn it on or off to test, unless you have VERY small fingers. I was blessed with big bass player paws, so I need the screwdriver…
When I plugged the ribbon back in and fired the tablet up again, I was amazed to see that the screen was now frontwards and no longer reversed. Touching acted like it was supposed to. I left the setting alone that allowed to see where I actually touched, as it might come in handy later.
When I put the tablet back together and turned it on again, there was trouble. Backwards and reversed again. GAH! Take it apart, fine. Put it together, screwed. I did this a few times before I realized that squishing things to get it together might be the culprit. Again, I'm not sure what's inside this rig for hardware. There's some sort of an attitude meter in tablets and phones to tell them which way is up, and I'm wondering if pressure from squeezing the tablet together is screwing things up.
If you look here, you can see clearly that the ribbon is dimpled in spots. I would think that the cable would just break or not, but maybe there's some sort of in-between state that ribbon cables can be in where they work or don't depending on whether you squeeze them or not.
Regardless, tucking the two battery lead wires UNDER the ribbon allowed me to get the tablet back together without having to press hard, and when I fired up the tablet it still worked the way it's supposed to. Problem solved.
I don't quite trust it not to act up again yet, and Sam (my six year old) is worried Grammie will be upset with him for having his old tablet fixed after she bought him a new one, but it was an interesting project and I'm hoping someone else will have as good a luck as I did. Shame on Tursion for being such a pain in the arse to get hold of.
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