Friday, 3 May 2019

I may just have fixed it

This post is going to be about how I solved the problem with the mobile phone not connecting to the network.  you may want to skip the post if that doesn't interest you.

Whilst in Saudi Arabia back in 2013 I purchased two Samsung S4 mobile phones.  The phones were much cheaper in Saudi Arabia as Samsung has a region pricing policy.  Unfortunately one of the phones never worked properly and after 'tinkering' with it for several months I just put it to one side.  Obviously I'm not going to take it back to Saudi Arabia and see if I can get it repaired.  Repairing the phone in the UK or Oz was just too expensive to contemplate.

This wasn't a problem as Jan had a small, inexpensive mobile phone that she liked.  However she recently discovered making call on the phone was very expensive.  She was on a Vodafone plan and the call cost per minute was $1.  I'm on an Aldi PAYG plan which is excellent value for money.  So Jan decided to purchase an Aldi SIM to replace he Vodafone plan.  Then we discovered her cheap little phone was locked to the Vodafone network.  A new phone was required.  It was time to revisit the problem with the Samsung S4.

The specific problem was the S4 not recognising any network.  It didn't matter which SIM card was inserted, the phone simply wouldn't work.

You can see in the above photo there is No Service and no strength bars.  I guessed the problem was a hardware fault with the phone antenna.  If the back is taken off the phone there are two antenna external sockets.  I cut a 150mm length of wire from the left over trailer wiring and stripped one end before inserting the bare wire into the top socket.

This didn't resolve the problem so I moved the wire to the second socket.

Success.  The phone found the Aldi network and was showing maximum signal strength.

But the red wire was too thick to fit between the chassis of the phone and the back plate.  I stripped back the insulation and then removed all but one of the copper strands before using sellotape (sticky tape) to hold the copper strand in a loop to make an antenna.

The old antenna socket can be seen a 'A' above with the copper wire coming out of the second socket.  The backplate of the phone fitted snugly holding the new antenna in place.

We now have a working second phone.


Catherine VK4GH said...

Now you will have to keep the battery good. We finally gave up on the S4's we had when the batteries and replacement batteries were not holding their charge well enough.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Catherine, I'm keeping an eye on that potential issue. First step was to replace the Samsung firmware with a cut down version thereby eliminating most of the "junk" programs that run in the background unnecessarily consuming power. We've also turned off mobile data and wifi. Battery life between charges is 3-4 days. But of course no battery lasts forever!