Some time ago, around the beginning of the year, Google and Samsung released the next Nexus phone. The Galaxy Nexus. A number of my co-workers were waiting for this thing to release, so they could get one. Currently 4 of my co-workers have them, one on AT&T, the others on Verizon.

One of them accidentally dropped his in a toilet… A few weeks after he got it. He made an attempt to dry it out, without dis-assembling it, and it failed, so he went to Verizon who happily charged him full price to replace it.

He told us the story after it happened, and he’d already bought the replacement, so he had this dead Verizon GNEX that he sort of held on to as a paperweight. A few months passed, and I asked him what ever happend to the dead nexus, and he said he had it right there at his desk. I asked if he minded if I poked at it. He didnt object, what did he have to lose right?

Well, I broke out my screwdriver set, and started taking out screws. I managed to get the thing apart, and inside the thing looks perfect. No obvious water damage, nothing that looks fried or bubbled up from the board. So i started prodding. The phone was in a state where it didnt seem to power on, at all, but something told me that it was just the screen. That the screen wasnt working, but the phone was actually turning on. I could hear a faint click from the camera module when i attempted to power it up, so it made me think the phone was attempting to start up, but failing some internal self check and giving up.

So I found the connector on the board for the screen. Disconnected it, gave the plug a once -over (blew some air in there for good measure) and reconnected it. In getting to it, i had to disconnect a few other things, all of which i re-connected as I re-assembled it. Put the case back together, and gave it back to my co-worker. He hadnt given me a battery with it, so i couldnt power it up. Told him to give it a try, see what happens.

The next day He came into work and said the thing was coming back to life! When he attempted to power it up, the screen came one, and it booted up! A number of things werent working. The camera app would crash. The power button was flakey, the phone didnt seem to get any cell reception, and it wouldn’t read a SIM card. In short, it powered on, but was mostly useless.

He took it and tried to figure out a use for it. I told him that if he decided he didnt want it, let me know, and i’d give him a couple bucks for it. I’m always looking for a new device to fiddle with. I had my Droid 4 as a daily use phone, so I wasnt really in a rush for a new phone, just wanted a new toy to play with. So a few weeks go by, and one day he walks into my office. Tells me he cant find a use for it, enough of its functions are dead that even his kid’s dont want it as a media player or something. So he drops it on my desk, says its mine.

So it sat there for most of the day, finally, late in the afternoon, i decide to start taking a crack at it. I’d plugged it in so it could charge up. Turned it on, and its behaving exactly as he described. Most of its dead, but it does power on, so I take that as a good sign.

I power it down, pull the battery, and start dis-assembling again. It took me three tries, each time focusing on a different component of the phone, but through disconnecting, cleaning, and reconnecting each module, i was able to restore complete functionality to the phone! The camera was simply a disconnect/reconnect of the camera module. The SIM card reader was the same, the lack of Cell reception was a matter of disconnecting the wire leading to the antenna array and reconnecting it. At the end of the day, I left work with my droid 4’s SIM card in the Galaxy Nexus, and i’ve been using it as my daily phone ever since!

Because i was able to take what was thought to be a dead phone, and bring it back to life, I offered my co-worker $100 for it, which he accepted. The phone is working so well, that I’ve given my Droid 4 to my wife, who was getting by on my old Droid Incredible because she hated her Droid 2 so much. She’s enjoying the Droid 4 much more.

My co-worker talked to me a few days later, said I taught him a good lesson… He gives up too easily. 😛