Friday, June 14, 2024

Guide to Buying Quality Mobile Repair Tools

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Mobiles are the most used gadgets now-a-days. Now every elder member of a family & even kids possess at least one handset, while most people own more than one mobile phone. With use of mobiles touching such heights so is the need for repairing it. Due to this the demand & sales of mobile repairing tools have witnessed a massive growth in recent time. But with large numbers of sellers & brands the task of selecting the right quality tools is difficult and confusing. Here I present you a guide to buying tools for mobile repair which will help you to make the right decision in terms of cost while not compromising on the quality of tools at the same time.

Note:

The prices shown are for indicative purposes only so please check the price before making a purchase. The products that I have listed here are available at Amazon India and/or Ebay India unless stated otherwise. The prices of some of the items may be higher than their equivalents available at local market of your city. So before making a purchase I advise you to check the prices at your city stores.

Mentioned below are the list of tools for mobile repair under various categories:

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Soldering/De-soldering Tools:

Under Soldering/De-soldering tools we would be considering two brands (Soldron & Max Gold):

1. Soldron Soldering/De-soldering Tools:

If you are on a budget consider buying Soldron variable wattage micro soldering station. It is priced at Rs 666/- on Industry buying website. Its temperature range is 100 to 450 OC with a temperature accuracy of +/- 10OC. The wattage of the iron is variable from 4 to 18 watts. Its input voltage is 230V/ 50 Hz AC. The iron works at 18V (Max). It has a metallic body & is ESD Safe by design.

The spare soldering iron & needle bit for the above station are priced at Rs 330/- & Rs 59/- on Soldermall and Industry buying websites respectively.

Image Courtesy: Soldermall

A slightly expensive offering from Soldron is Soldron 936 soldering station which is priced at Rs 2153/- on Industry buying website. I would definitely recommend you to buy this station over variable wattage ones as it is much more suitable for delicate & sensitive SMD components you encounter while repairing mobile phones. It offers a temperature range of 200 to 450 OC. The iron works at 24V while the input voltage of the station is 230V/50Hz AC. It is a 60 Watt station & ESD Safe by design.

The spare soldering iron & needle bit for the above station are priced at Rs 860/- & Rs 105/- on Industry buying & Soldermall websites respectively.

For soldering/de-soldering BGA chips & for various other types of rework you need a SMD hot air rework station like Soldron 878D. It is priced at Rs 6950/- on Soldermall. It offers two types of tools – hot air blower & soldering iron – in a single unit. Its circuit is MCU controlled & the heater shuts off automatically when iron or blower is not used for a predefined time interval. The iron unit is 60 watt while the blower consumes 500 watts of power. The units work on 230V/50Hz AC. The temperature range of the iron is from 200 to 450 OC . The air flow rate is 120 litres per minute with accuracy of +/- 1 litre.

The spares for the iron unit of the above station are same as that of Soldron 936 station. The hot air nozzles & hot air blower handle are priced at Rs 225/- & Rs 1596/- on Soldermall & Industry buying websites respectively.

The Soldron tripod PCB holder is a great tool to hold mobile motherboards while working on them. The held motherboard can be rotated 360 degrees which is very convenient during heating various sections of it using hot air blower. It is priced at Rs 288/- on Industry buying website.

The Soldron de-soldering pump is extremely useful tool for correcting your soldering mistakes. It can be used to extract away the wrongly formed solder from soldering connections. It can also be used to correct dry solder joints. It is priced at Rs 129/- on rhydolabz website.

The Soldering fume extractor is an essential item & should not be ignored as it extracts the toxic fumes generated during soldering/de-soldering. The toxic fumes, if inhaled, can cause serious health issues & should be avoided under every circumstance. The Soldron fume extractor is priced at Rs 1350/-(with discounts) on Soldermall website.

The last item from Soldron brand we are looking at is Solder assist tool set. It is useful in holding SMD components in place while soldering, cutting jumper wires & for lot of other applications. It is priced at Rs 500/- on Soldermall Website.

2. Max Gold Soldering Tools:

One of the extremely popular soldering station among mobile repair technicians is Max Gold 550 micro soldering station. It is priced at Rs 302/- on Industry buying website. It is a variable wattage station having a range of 5 to 15 Watts which is pretty adequate for most mobile micro soldering applications. It offers a temperature range of 65 OC to 350 OC. The iron/pen works on 12V tip heating technology. Its input voltage is 230V/50Hz AC. It is ESD Safe by design.

The spare 12V/15 Watt soldering iron for the above station is priced at Rs 128/- on Industry buying.

Max Technology India offers 850 SMD hot air rework station in its lineup of hot air rework stations. It is priced at Rs 3077/- on Industry buying website. It is an essential tool for working on various BGA chips as well as SMD components. The spares of this station are cheaper yet offers good quality & availability.

Another offering by Max Technology India in the category of hot air rework stations is Max 7805. It is priced at Rs 6875/- on Industry buying. It is tailor made for mobile repairing scenarios & offers hot air blower, micro soldering iron, DC power supply, battery booster, battery analyzer & voltage & ampere check with continuity buzzer. You can use it to test speaker, ringer & vibrator. It also provide the provision of charging any mobile battery without handset. Another interesting feature is that you can power up any mobile without having its battery. It’s a 7-in-1 Multi-tool for mobile repair.

Test & Measurement Tools

1.Digital DC Power Supply:

The Baku DC Power supply shown in the picture is priced at Rs 2089.05/- on Ebay India. It provides output current of 0.6 to 2 Amp. & output voltage of 1.5 to 15 Volts. It consumes about 500 Watts of power. It can be used to Hot test any mobile motherboard as well as to power up any mobile without the need for a battery. Look for built-in continuity beep test in the power supply as it is useful for performing shorting test on mobile. It is also useful in boosting an under power mobile battery.

2. Analogue DC Power Supply:

The KT APS1502AD DC Power supply shown in the picture is priced at Rs 2899/- on Amazon India. It provides an output current of 0-2A & output voltage of 0-15V. USB port is also provided for charging of mobile phones. Unlike Digital Supply, one has to read the readings of voltage & current on analogue dials on such type of power supplies. Many analogue power supplies have the provision for testing voltage.

3. Digital Multimeter (DMM):

The HTC DM86 Digital Multimeter offers great quality at affordable cost. It is priced at Rs 1250/- on Ebay India. It has a large backlit display which is easy to read. Its spares like testing cables (both testing probes & temperature test probe) are readily available & rightly priced. Mostly you use the “Continuity” setting to test for shorts or for cold testing.

4. Analogue Multimeter:

The HTC YX360 trEB is a great value for money unit. This model is priced at Rs 650/- on Ebay India. For some specific types of testing the analogue meter proves beneficial, compared to a digital one. For example, capacitors can be tested better on an analogue meter.

Screwdrivers & opening Tools:

1. Jakemy Screwdriver set:

Jakemy 8142 is a quality screwdriver set which includes most of the bit types you need for mobile repair. It is priced at Rs 2310/- on Ebay India. While purchasing a screwdriver set you should avoid buying the extremely cheaper ones as they can damage the screws of the mobile device that you are repairing. This screwdriver set comes with extension bar, an opening pick & a suction cup.

2. Individual set of screwdrivers:

It would be nice & would only improve your repairing ability if along with the screwdriver set you also have individual set of screwdrivers with bit types of T3, T4, T5, T6, philips 00, philips 000, pentalobe, torx etc. The one shown in the picture costs around Rs 2221.10/- on Amazon India.

3. Opening Picks & Pry tools:

It is priced at Rs 1010/- on Ebay India & is sold by DIY Crafts. Jakemy brand is preferable. Opening picks are used to remove the damaged or broken screen of smartphone. After heating the smartphone with a hot air gun the glue becomes loose & then picks are inserted one by one. Thus four to five opening picks are required to complete the procedure of screen removal. The pry tool is used to open the ribbon cables from the motherboard of the mobile.

4. Magnetic Screw mat tool:

The DIY Crafts Jakemy magnetic screw mat tool is priced at Rs 818.10 on Ebay India. Not only it will keep things organized on your work desk but help you find different sets of screws when required. This is a must have tool for a mobile technician as each & every section of a mobile consists of a large number of screws. You can also add comments about the screw type with a marker pen on this mat.

5.Mobile Screen Opening Plier & Spudgers:

It is priced at Rs 640/- on Amazon India. While screen opening pliers use suction method to remove screen from the housing of the mobile phone, spudgers serve as an indispensable tool for disconnecting the flexible cable connectors of displays, battery etc. The opening set pictured & mentioned here comes with 2 opening picks & 2 suction cups & 2 screwdrivers in addition to 3 spudgers & one plier.

Antistatic Tools & Wearable:

1. Antistatic Mat:

A 12X24 inch mat costs around Rs 425/- on Ebay India. Static charge present in our body or other mobile repair tools can damage the sensitive & compact SMD (Surface Mount Device) components. To avoid this we need a proper grounding method which will ground all the static charge. Grounding or antistatic mat does exactly that. It can be used either on top of the work desk or as floor mat.

2.Antistatic Wrist strap:

It is priced at Rs 175/- on Amazon India. It fits right around your wrist while its jack is connected to the ground point. It directs the static towards ground terminal which otherwise may cause damage to sensitive SMD components.

3.Antistatic Gloves:

It is priced at Rs 199/- on Amazon India. It prevents the damage to electronic components due to static charge & restricts the transfer of static to the component you are working on.

4.Antistatic Apron:

It is a unisex ESD Safe Apron that hinders transfer of static charge from the working personal to the Sensitive SMD Components. It is available for Rs 399/- on Amazon India.

5.Antistatic Cleaning Brush:

Set of 3 Antistatic cleaning brush is priced at Rs 499/- on Ebay India. Special material is used in its construction to ensure that no static builds on it while cleaning.

6.Antistatic Tweezers:

These are the most essential tools in mobile repairing scenario. It is priced at Rs 509/- on Amazon & includes 6 different types of tweezers in a single set. These are very useful for holding small SMD parts or for holding jumper wires in place while soldering. Ensure that the tweezers set you are using is an antistatic one.

Other Tools:

Under this category we will look at all the other specialty tools of mobile repair.

1. Jackly PCB Holder:

It is another useful tool which serves the purpose of holding the motherboard of mobile phone. It is priced at Rs 250/- on Ebay India.

2. Helping hand PCB Holder with Magnifier:

It is priced at Rs 710/- on Ebay India. This is another type of motherboard holder which provides the provision of holding the motherboard PCB at various angles as per the need. It also has a magnifier which is essential for working on fine SMD components.

3. Illuminated Magnifier:

If you are using a general PCB holder that doesn’t comes with a built-in magnifier then you need a stand-alone LED illuminated magnifier for viewing & working with extremely small SMD components. It is priced at Rs 1533/- on Ebay India. It has a magnification of 2X & 5X.

4.LCD Screen Separator Machine:

In some models of mobile phone you can’t remove the screens by other methods mentioned in this article. For this you need special LCD screen separator machine. The iMax model is available for Rs 10000/- on Ebay India.

5.Glue removal soldering Iron:

It is priced at Rs 1800/- on Amazon India. The tip is a 80mm t-type one. It is 60 Watt Soldering iron. It is used to remove the glue from the screen of the mobile phone. You can find it available at cheaper price in mobile repair stores of your city compared to the ones available online.

6.Baku Ultrasonic cleaner:

It is priced at Rs 2890/- on Ebay India. A liquid solution like Elma is used in it to clean the motherboard & other components of the mobile phone.

7.UV Lamp:

It is priced at Rs 5179/- on Ebay India. It has 6 LEDs. It is used for curing LOCA UV glue used in mobile repairing. This specific model works on 110V AC Input so you need a Voltage convertor which converts 110V AC to 230V AC to use it here in India.

8.SIM Card Adapter & Ejector:

It comes as a set and is priced at Rs 45/- on Ebay India.

9.Battery booster:

It is priced at Rs 343.65 on Maxbhi Website. It is used to boost charge a partially or fully drained battery. You can select the required voltage for boosting the battery by rotating the rotary switch provided.

10.Heat Gun:

You need a heat gun to melt the glue prior to removing the LCD assembly from the housing. Black & Decker KX1800 heat gun is priced at Rs 1099/- on Amazon India. It is an 1800 Watt dual temperature heat gun.

11.BGA Repair Tool Kit:

It is priced at Rs 999/- on Amazon India. Mobile phones are full of BGA (Ball Grid Array) type chips and you need BGA kit to re-ball a BGA IC. Along with this kit you either need Solder paste or solder balls to do the re-balling work efficiently.

12.Micro & Nano SIM Cutters:

Micro & nano SIM cutters are priced at Rs 229/- & 299/- respectively on Amazon India.

13.Multitec Nipper:

It is priced at Rs 120/- on Ebay India. It is useful in cutting left over jumper wires after making jumper connections by soldering.

14.Hobby Knife:

It is priced at Rs 175/- on Amazon India. It is used to cut the jumper wires in appropriate size.

Consumables:

While the tools are described in earlier sections we now look at the items which frequently get used up & we need to re-stock them quite often.

1.Jumper wire:

A 15-meter roll of 0.1mm enameled copper wire costs around Rs 118/- on Amazon India. It is used to establish connections between two points which got disconnected due to faults. The enamel coating in the connection area is scraped off prior to making jumper connections.

2.IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol) Solution:

Cero IPA (99% pure) is priced at Rs 199/- (200 ml) on Amazon India. It is used to clean the motherboard of the mobile phone. A good quality IPA should be non-corrosive in nature.

3.Solder wire:

BT Solder wire is far superior than Chinese brand solder wires. You should use 0.5 mm/26 SWG solder wire for mobile repairing tasks. 60% Sn – 40% Pb or 63% Sn- 37% Pb can be used for best professional results. It has 5 cores of rosin flux contained within it.

4.De-soldering wick:

It is priced at Rs 90/- on Amazon India. You need de-solder wick to correct your soldering mistakes or to extract away excess solder from solder connections. It doesn’t need to be excessively costly, a cheaper inexpensive one is adequate for the job.

5.Soldering Flux:

These come in various types & quantities as shown in the pictures. The action of flux is simple. It is non-corrosive at room temperature while it becomes corrosive at soldering temperatures. Due to this nature it cleans the surfaces to be soldered.
The Max Silicon liquid flux (60 ml) is priced at Rs 46/- on Industry buying website.

The 5 pieces of flux grease (10g each) costs around Rs 199/- on Amazon India.

The high intensity rosin flux paste (50g) is priced at Rs 199/- on Ebay India.

6. Glue:

Various types of glues are available for mobile repair. Most of the small individual components inside a mobile are either held by glue or screws or both. In such a scenario you need a good quality glue to fix things up once the repair has been done.
The B7000 glue is available at Amazon India for Rs 549/-.

The UV LOCA (Liquid optical clear adhesive) glue TP-N1000 (5ml) is available at Amazon India for Rs 389/-. It requires UV Lamp for drying.

7.BGA Solder paste:

The Mechanic brand BGA solder paste (Sn63-Pb37) is priced at Rs 399/- (42g) on Ebay India. This paste is used for re-balling BGA (ball grid array) chips & should not be confused with flux paste.

8.Glue cutting wire:

Rrimin Gold Molybdenum wire (size: 0.10mm) is priced at Rs 393/- on Amazon India. It is used to cut the glue (which bonds various mobile handset parts to the housing).

9.Tapes:

There are two types of tapes which are primarily used for mobile repair.
Double sided red tape is useful in attaching display assembly to the phone housing or body. TeflonA 18mm strong acrylic clear double-sided tape (length: meters) is available for Rs 529/- on Amazon India.

Conductive heat resistant tapes are used to protect the areas of the motherboard where heating is not required during either removal or soldering of an electronic component. The tape protects the areas beneath it from the hot air of rework station. It is priced at Rs 395/- on Amazon India (Width: 5cm; length: 4m).

10.Containers:

There are basically two types of containers used to ease the task of mobile repair.

Flux bottle comprises of a fine needle through which liquid flux is applied. A 50 ml flux bottle is priced at Rs 139/- on Ebay India. It should be ESD safe.

IPA Dispensing bottle makes the use of IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol) Solution much more convenient. A 150ml bottle is priced at Rs 349/- on Ebay India. It should be ESD safe.

Software Tools

Software tools include universal flash boxes (UFS boxes) of different makes & types along with a large variety of flashing cables. Different handsets have different flashing cable requirement. So the purchase decision solely depends upon the handset under repair.

The Saras UFS Turbo box is priced at Rs 23106 on Amazon India.

The Z3X Pro Box with 30 flashing cables is priced at Rs 23447/- on Amazon India.

Points to consider

Never buy cheap Chinese tools as you would regret it sooner or later. They can even damage the phone you are repairing, beyond repair. Moreover, it could cost you your client’s confidence. Once you master the skill of mobile repair, you can earn a good income every month from it. The initial investment may seem high but returns are great in the long term.


Image Courtesy: Soldermall, Amazon India, Ebay India, Max Technology India, Maxbhi

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