23 Steps to Replacing a Cracked Screen on the Nexus 2013

Gadgets drop, it happens to the best of us them. This little Nexus was stretched out on the sofa before it fell to the floor and cracked its two front teeth screen. A cracked screen at the best of times can be a mild nuisance but in this instance it rendered the device unusable.

Make do and mend

Our greed for consumption is putting an insurmountable pressure on the earth to provide. Each new piece of electronic equipment produced, chips away (no pun intended) at the earth’s finite resources of rare earth metals. The manufacturing process too contributes to the already intolerable levels of CO2 found in the earth’s atmosphere. To buy a new Nexus might cost us €229 but it costs the earth too. In the spirit of eco-warriorism we thought we’d do away with technology and run to the hills to enjoy a simpler, more fulfilling life show you how to fix the Nexus for yourself replacing just the broken parts, in this case, the screen and digitiser unit.

Buy Your Screen

The first task is to source your screen. The screen and digitiser come as one unit in the Nexus 2013. A quick search on ebay for ‘Nexus 2013 replacement screen’ will prove fruitful. As an ambassador for quality and not wanting my investment to go to waste I opted for one of the more expensive options priced at €65. ‘Genuine replacement part’ it said. Hindsight has taught me that I should have opted for one of the cheaper options,  my €65 ‘Genuine Replacement Part’ turned out not to be so genuine and came complete with a dead pixel. I could have had the same screen for €20 cheaper.

Step 1. Get Stuck in with the Stanley

Nexus 2013 with the back cover off

Nexus 2013 with back cover removed

To take the back cover off the Nexus you’ll need a trusty (not a rusty) stanley knife. Use it to pry the back cover from the Nexus, work all the way around, gently separating the cover from the screen. It’s not going to be possible to do this without marking the case in some way but the easier you go the less damage you’ll do. Be careful not to crack the cover, we don’t want to have to replace it too.

Step 2.  Release the Nexus Battery Cable

Nexus 2013 Battery Connection

Nexus 2013 Battery Cable Connection

The battery cable is held in place with a locking socket, flip the black lever 90 degrees and remove the cable.

Step 3. Release and remove silver ribbon cable

Nexus Silver Ribbon Cable

Nexus Silver Ribbon Cable

The ribbon cable is held in place using a locking socket – simply flip the white lever running the whole way along 90 degrees and remove the cable

Step 4. Release middle ribbon cable

Nexus Orange Cable

Peel back silver tape and lift cable to disconnect cable from motherboard

The orange cable is secured to its ‘set-down socket’ using grey tape – use the stanley to peel away this tape and lift the cable out of its connection.

Step 5. Remove the Battery

The battery is held in place using four screws, remove the screws and lift the battery out.

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Nexus battery is held in place with four screws

Step 6. Remove both Speakers Connections

The speakers, at either end of the nexus, are connected to the motherboards using a simple connection. Your Stanley blade will help you free them both.

Removing both speakers from the Nexus (One at each end)

Removing both speakers from the Nexus (One at each end)

Step 7. Display Assembly Connection

Two locking sockets hold the display assembly connection in place, flip both leavers 90 degrees and remove the adhesive tape release the cables.

Use Stanley blade to lift lever upright

Use Stanley blade to lift lever upright

Nexus screen display connections

Nexus screen display connections

Step 8. Remove the motherboard

Use your favourite screwdriver on the seven screws holding the motherboard in place and remove it from the Nexus.

Removing the motherboard from the Nexus 7

Removing the motherboard from the Nexus 7

Step 9. Remove the Orange ribbon cable

You’ll now be able to free the other end of the orange ribbon cable – use your stanley to flip the lever 90 degrees and remove the cable from the tablet.

Disconnecting the orange ribbon cable

Disconnecting the orange ribbon cable

Step 10. Remove the speaker

Two screws. You know what to do.

Two screws removes the speaker from its home

Two screws removes the speaker from its home

Step 11. Release ribbon cable from second motherboard

The power and volume controlling ribbon cable is attached to the second motherboard – flip the lever 90 degrees and free the cable from it’s keeper.

This is becoming second nature

This is becoming second nature

Step 12. Remove second speaker

This should now be loose (from step 6) so this step is simply an exercise in picking something up and moving it out of the way.

Disconnecting the second speaker

Disconnecting the second speaker

Step 13. Remove the second mother board.

8 screws – work your magic. When lifting the motherboard out make sure your support the camera too so it’s lifted out at the same time (the connection is on the underside of the motherboard so you won’t be able to disconnect it first – just lift both out together).

Support the camera whilst lifting the motherboard

Support the camera whilst lifting the motherboard

Step 14. Get the hairdryer out

Run the hairdryer over the screen of the Nexus for a few minutes, the aim of the game here is to melt the glue holding the Nexus screen to the chassis. Gently pry the screen off the Nexus as you go using the Stanley blade and put pressure on the back of the screen to encourage it off. This step requires quite a lot of patience, if you’re not patient your desk will be covered in specs of broken glass.

Using a hairdryer, warm the edges of the Nexus 7 to melt the glue holding the broken screen in place

Step 15. Clean the Chassis and lay down the doubled sided

The chassis will have the left over bits of glue holding the screen in place, use your stanley to clean it off. Cut the double sided sticky tape to length and stick it around the perimeter of the chassis where it will be in contact with the back of the screen

Nexus 7 with the broken screen looking a little more broken (more patience will result in less shards)

Nexus 7 with the broken screen looking a little more broken (more patience will result in less shards)

Nexus 7 chassis cleaned and ready for its new screen

Nexus 7 chassis cleaned and ready for some double-sided sticky tape

Line the chassis with double sided sticky tape (unless you have some screen glue sitting around)

Line the chassis with the tape (unless you have some screen glue nearby)

Step 16. Lay the smack screen down

Carefully set the new screen in place – make sure you put the ribbon cable through the frame of the chassis when you do so. Press it into place making sure it sticks to the tape and fits neatly into the chassis the whole way around.

Take care to ensure the new screen is set in place neatly

Take care to ensure the new screen is set in place neatly

Step 17. Reinstall the speaker and the motherboard with rear facing camera

Set ’em in and screw ’em down (8 screws). Connect the speaker cable to its place on the motherboard and fit the ribbon cable for power and volume back into place, remember put the lever into its lock-down position.

Step 18. Fit the other speaker.

Two screws.

Step 19. Put the orange display assembly ribbon cable in its place

Step 20. Fit second motherboard

7 screws. Connect the display assembly ribbon cables to motherboard (two locking sockets) and plug speaker cable into its housing.

Step 21. Fit second ribbon cable

and lock it down

Step 22. Put the battery back in its place

Screw it down with four screws and strap it into place with the two ribbon cables (ribbon cables don’t hold it in place but you can pretend if you wish). Clip the battery connector into its connection on the motherboard.

The Nexus 7 with a new screen, insides replaced and waiting for the cover to be put back in place

The Nexus 7 with a new screen, insides replaced and waiting for the cover to be put back in place

Step 23. Put the back cover back on, power up and cross your fingers!

Success!

Success!

Thanks for reading and good luck if you’re attempting this for yourself. It’s a fairly simple process, just give yourself plenty of time and make sure your workstation is tidy before starting. The screen replacement can be completed within 30-40 minutes. If you’ve any questions or comments just let us know by adding your comment below.

Peter loves all sorts of gadgets, from tin openers to jet fueled micro lights. He particularly likes any outdoor related gadgets, eco-friendly gadgets and anything photography related.When he's not reviewing gadgets you can find him out walking the hills with his pet tamagotchis

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