CrackBerry Genius of Geniuses
| | 03-18-2009, 02:00 PM Thread Author #1
Inside the 8900: Keyboard and Trackball Observations
So I finally received my Black Bezel from cnn (standard shipping option) two days ago and I replaced it yesterday. While I had the phone taken apart, I looked around at the keyboard and trackball setup so I could try to understand and potentially provide solutions for the reported keyboard and trackball issues on the 8900.
Please keep in mind that the following is just my observations and experiences. I do not hold any responsibility for anything you may do to your device after readying anything I have posted here.
ClintRo's Disassembly video:
First the keyboard itself was a surprise to me because I thought all along it was basically the same design as on the 83xx, just smaller. What I mean by that is that on the 83xx the keyboard is a flexible piece of plastic that is an easily removable part to the phone. It fits through what is basically a keyboard bezel, called a tray, to hold it in place and then sits on the circuit board. Due to this design, if the bezel part is not cut exactly to fit of the keys on the keyboard then it will shift around a bit. What I found out was the 8900 keyboard isn't exactly the same design because its keyboard comes attached to the tray, unlike the 8900 and is basically one piece instead of 2. Alas, even with the design improvement, the 8900 will still have the keyboard shifting issue but in this case the shifting is the entire keyboard tray assembly instead of just the keyboard itself.
83xx Keyboard Tray
8900 Keyboard Assembly
I noticed that when I first put my Black Bezel on my device and then reassembled it, I then had a lot of keyboard wiggle. I assume this is the wiggle everyone is complaining about in the forums. With my previous Bezel in place, I did not really have much wiggle at all. In fact, I would have to try and make it wiggle for it to do so. I decided to look into what was going on because it was very annoying and the only difference between the 2 Bezels was the foam pieces that were part of the original Bezel, which were not part of the replacement Bezel. I then decided to transfer the foam pieces to see if that would help and boy did it ever make a difference. The piece that specifically made the difference was the foam piece on the bezel that is just between where the bottom part of the LCD rests onto the Bezel. When you look at the design, it makes sense as there is just a bit of space there and without the foam piece in place, the keyboard will flex the middle piece of the bezel a bit, thus causing the keyboard wobble. I also think have a foam piece there makes the most sense because it fills the space but at the same time protects the LCD from being in direct contact with the Bezel assembly.
For you guys that have keyboard wiggle straight from T-mobile, my suspicions are that for some reason your bezel does not have the foam piece in place. Maybe it does have the foam piece but it is too thin or not lined up correctly, something like that. I definitely suggest getting a replacement in this case because you do not want to take your new phone apart and void the warranty. Plus even if you do take it apart, the foam piece is very thin and it may be difficult to find.
For those of you replacing the Bezel on your device, I highly suggest that you take the time to transfer this foam piece. It is thin and fragile and it doesn't look like it does much of anything but it definitely does help with the keyboard wiggle.
I have seen some people have complaints about a loose trackball. I do not experience this on my device so it is hard to say for sure without hands-on with a device that has this problem but I can think of 2 possible causes for this.
The first would be that the screws which hold the device together area bit loose. Specifically, the 2 screws in the middle of the device - they are right below the battery and are black instead of silver. Providing that you have the correct screwdriver available, I would recommend tightening these two screws. Its possible that is all you will need to do. Be careful though, as these are very easy to strip.
The second possibility is that something is wrong with the trackball assembly itself. In this case I would say for you to get a replacement if you can so you do not have to take your phone apart and void your warranty. If do want to take your phone apart then I suggest just purchasing another trackball and replacing the one you have.
The Call (Green) and End (Red) Buttons
The second time I took my phone apart, the end button came off. I looked into it and these two buttons are just glued down to the silicon keyboard assembly below it. Yes, nothing more but glued down. I took out some super glue and fixed it easily.
For those who have Call/End keys which are loose and or at funny angles then you probably just received a device that had a poor glue job on them. Either that or part of the glue is coming loose and so the key is tilted at some angle. Again, get a replacement device if you can. Otherwise you may want to try and take the key off of the keyboard assembly below it and then glue it back on straight. Be careful not to use too much force if you do go this route. Also I glued mine back on with the phone disassembled so I don't know how difficult it would be to do this with the phone fully assembled. You may also want to consider just getting a new keyboard altogether.
I have added pictures of my original bezel to show where I moved the foam pieces from . Take note of the 4th and 5th pictures as those are the ones that show were the foam piece was located to prevent (or at least drastically lessen) the keyboard wobble. There are not 2 different pieces, I just added two pictures so you can see from different angles. The red lines are where the foam pieces were located on the original bezel. You need to be careful when removing these and take your time as they are fragile. It is foam after all!
Again, try any of this at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damage you may do to your phone following anything I detailed here. I am just providing my observations on what I saw and experienced.
I am now sure that any of the keyboard/trackball issues that were brought up on the forums previously are directly due to either defects in manufacturing, materials or both. This also explains why it is so difficult to determine which phones/batches of phones contain the problems and which don't. Depending on how much human intervention is involved in the assembly/parts processing it can be very difficult if not impossible to determine exactly which phone will have problems and which will not. Its very possible that the problems are very randomly distributed throughout the assembled 8900s.