Transplant complete: my 2013 Moto G is alive again

My Android developer device that I introduced in an earlier post got sick. Terminally sick. I loaned it to a friend and after it was returned I proceeded to duly reflash to the GPE ROM and then update to Android 5.

But something went wrong. I think the battery was barely charged despite the phone reporting that it was at 70% after briefly booting it up. The flashing went well, but when upgrading to Android 4.4 (the milestone to 5.0.1), the screen showed occasional noise and then the phone suddenly died.

I tried charging it while off, but to no use. I then read in several places about a phone design flaw: to be able to charge the battery you must have some charge in it. I tried various fixes: hold power&volume down for 2-3 minutes, disconnect the battery and run it directly from USB power, bought a pre-charged battery. Nothing worked 😦

Even though it’s an extremely cheap device, I hate throwing stuff out. So I bought a donor phone from ebay. It was the unlocked 16 GB international GSM edition (always the one to buy) but it had a shattered screen. No problem, since I had a good screen.

Following the iFixit teardown I just completed the transplant last night: put the motherboard and battery from the donor phone into my original phone’s display and body. Here’s a picture from the middle of the process:


It was my first experience at dismantling a smartphone at this level but I’m glad I did it. Note to self: don’t try this bravery on a more expensive phone 🙂

Needless to say, the phone is running happily!


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