Pry damage can be caused by a careless technician using the wrong tools or just reckless brute force when opening or disassembling a device. On occasion it can seem like a trap set by manufactures using weak solder, cheap parts and impracticable housing assemblies, crippling even the most skilled technician.
Avoid Causing Damage
To avoid causing a problem first learn the trouble spots on each device, and get to know how to properly open and disassemble a device before working on one. Then you’ll eventually get the ability to predict a problem before it happens, even on a new unknown device. An already damaged device is significantly more susceptible to pry damage, whether it be drop or water damage. Depending on the severity of specific damage on a particular device, just opening it alone, even with the most care, will uncover internal damage that wasn't symptomatic prier. So make sure to express concerns to any customer before opening their broken, yet functional, devices. A good tip is using a suction cup in replacement of an iSesamo opening tool, this will greatly reduce the risks of causing opening damage. Also using clean sharp spudgers or newer prying tools instead of older used and worn ones, will help reduce the risks of an FPC being damaged. There is a right way and a wrong way to disconnect components, learn them before you regret it.
(The Flexible Printed Circuit* is where electronic parts connect to the motherboard, speakers, buttons, digitizer, LCD, cameras, and other functioning parts connect this way)
Example: Sometimes the iPad mini digitizer FPC will almost self destructing when detaching the original touch screen. Avoid this booby trap, by disconnecting the screen from the board using a fresh clean spudger and inserting it into the gap between the connection and lift straight up, try to avoid using uneven pressure.
Responsibility > Deniability
If you did it, you should fix it. Let’s differentiate technician damage from secondary issues. ie, drops will never damage an FPC connector. It’s one thing to take off a shield to find a floating piece no longer soldered to the motherboard. It’s another story if you went to disconnect something like an LCD and the FPC is now missing contact pins. Knowing where and when the damage is the technician's fault is half the battle, the other is repairing it. There are times where a device will come in for repair with bad enough damage where it’s most likely already suffering internal damage that’s not yet expressing itself. This is like breaking your foot and taking your shoe off. The pressure was keeping everything together and in place, keeping things from getting worse. Releasing this pressure via opening a device or removing a shield is very similar in practice.
(Explaining this to someone before accepting the task of repair is much easier and more honest than avoiding it till something does happen.)
Example: Say a water damaged device comes in, that’ll still turn on and work but has limited issues, image flickering, bad battery life, mic or speaker failure, yet otherwise works. Warn the owner of the other issues opening and prying could cause since the integrity of the parts and their foundations are weakened.
Repair or Replace
Learning how to perform simple micro soldering repairs is worth the practice, especially to right your own wrongdoings. I chose eTechTraining in FL, which takes place in KC now, for my micro soldering education. Since then learning the basics, I’ve took to FB groups and YouTube videos to earn my own PHd from Google in soldering repairs. I started with Jessa Jones & iFixIt’s videos, to pick up where my hands-on training left off. Buying damaged devices for practicing on, offering services free for the hands on experience and lots of YouTube videos are all good ways to help build confidence in board level repairs. Depending on the damage and again if you caused it or just discovered it, sparks a debate. The debate is if you caused the damage, you should repair it and if it can’t be repaired, you should replace it. Now for the inconvenience of a mistake on a level such as this, it’s debateable to wave the original repair fee in general. If the damage wasn’t a result of the technician obviously if it’s repairable there is an additional repair fee or halt and discuss risk vs reward to the customer.
(Knowing the difference between open pry damage & pre existing damage comes with experience. Doing the right thing about it, when it is your fault or not, reflects who you are as a technician.)
Example: LG G3 comes in for a simple LCD / Digitizer repair. The device works other than the touch functionality. Upon disassembly everything looks factory and clean. Continuing with the repair, all goes well. After testing, which passes all checks, reassembly takes place and the battery begins to warn of low charge. At this point the repair is complete and the device is working with its touch functionality, but… But, the device’s battery won’t charge. (Debate this in the comments below. Who is at fault & what would you do?)