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playing operation with my blackberry

February 1, 2010

i put a lot of mileage on my blackberry curve.  it’s on 24/7 and i think all the wear and tear is starting to affect its performance.  or maybe i’m trying to convince myself of that because i want a new gadget.  i think i got it maybe two years ago but it’s been through hell – i’ve dropped it countless times, it’s always stuffed into my bag without a protective holster or case and the battery life is starting to suck.  when DH got his new Bold, i was so jealous and immediately thought about “accidentially” dropping my phone into the toilet to justify getting a new one.

because of my constant usage, my trackball was starting to fail.  it would scroll up, right and left but not down.  do you know how annoying that is; to be able to scroll every which way except down?  and to be honest, i never realized how imporant it is to be able to scroll up or down because that’s what you usually do on a smart phone – you rarely need to scroll left/right when you’re surfing (unless you’re using another app).  anyhow, i mainly surf on my phone and not being able to scroll down was highly annoying.

so this meant that i had to fix it.  i wasn’t about to send it in to get fixed (i can’t live without my phone) so i figured i’d just do it myself.  i’m usually good with hacking into phones and installing/configuring software but i’m a little weary about digging into hardware because if you fuck something up, there’s really no way around it.  it’s not like a computer where you can just go out and buy/replace the part(s) – if you fuck something up in your phone, you have to send it in and it will immediately void the warranty.  that part i didn’t care about; it’s the sending in for repair part that i don’t like because the loaner phones – if you’re lucky to get one – usually suck ass and i can’t have a sucky phone.  i just can’t.  it will only irritate me to a point that i will just not even use it at all.

there’s an easy way to try and fix the problem:  turn off your phone, turn your phone upside down and with some pressure, depress the trackball and scroll in the direction that is causing the issue.  then scroll in all directions.  you will be able to feel if this dislodges whatever it is that is making your trackball stick.  if this doesn’t work, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and get down and dirty – which is what i had to do.

after doing some research, here’s how to clean your trackball and get it rolling again:

Pre-Op:  what you’ll need:

  1. a tiny flat-head screw driver (use one of those small screw drivers that are used to tighten the screws on eye glasses)
  2. a can of compressed gas
  3. a Q-Tip
  4. rubbing alcohol
  5. steady and gentle hands
  6. kleenex in case you fuck up and start to cry

Operation Procedure

  1. turn off your phone
  2. take screw driver (not a knife or you may damange the mechanics under the plastic cover) and gently pop off the plastic ring. if you look closely, you’ll see 3 sets of prongs:  left, right and the bottom.  there is no prong for the top
  3. once you pop off the cover, spray both sides with the compressed gas.  a few quick blasts should do the trick.  not that this is the reason why your trackball isn’t working but just to make sure that everything is cleaned properly
  4. turn the phone upside down and the trackball casing should fall out (it’s held by magnet).  if not, gently tap the phone on the back and it should fall out.
  5. blast the entire area inisde the phone, getting into all the small areas until all the dust is gone
  6. take a Q-Tip moistened with rubbing alcohol and gently swab the entire area.  make sure the Q-Tip is not drenched (ie. if you press the tip liquid does not come out) because the liquid will damange the phone!
  7. clean the trackball with the Q-Tip
  8. put everything back and pop on the casing back on.  make sure you align the prongs and be careful – the prongs are easily broken if you use too much pressure to snap it back in (like what i did boohoo! #bbfixfail)

voila!  your trackball is now working again and all is right with the world.

DISCLAIMER:  i did this myself but if you happen to fuck up your phone, don’t blame me!  i bear no responsiblity for what happens to your phone so dismantle at your own risk!!!

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