Ask Rick 302 29/03/14
Cracking Good Advice
My Samsung Galaxy 4 smartphone suffered a nasty
tumble recently. The glass screen has cracked, but the touch display still
works and seems unaffected. Stupidly I didn’t insure it and I have been quoted
£200 to have it repaired. I found replacement glass screens on the Internet
selling for £10, but there is conflicting advice on how to fit them. Is this
something that a DIYer, could do?
Malcolm Harding, by email
The YouTube videos make it look easy but it is
actually fiendishly difficult. The glass cover is bonded to the LCD touch
screen or digitizer module with a powerful adhesive. The only way to separate
the parts is soften the glue using a hair dryer or hot air paint stripper gun.
The temperature needs to be almost 200 degrees C, and very carefully monitored
before gently prising apart. Apply too much heat or leave it too long and you
will destroy the digitizer, and if you prise too early you will crack the LCD.
Even if you manage to get them apart the chances of refitting a new glass
without trapping unsightly air bubbles or specks of dust are very small. In
short it is just not worth the effort. Shop around, there are plenty of
companies offering to fit new glass to the S4, typically for less than £100. If
you want to have a go at fixing it yourself then replace the screen and
digitizer as a complete assembly. Amazon and ebay sell them for between £100
and £140, with the necessary tools included. It still involves a fair bit of
fiddling around, with tiny screws and small parts but if you follow the
instructions and take it slowly, you should be successful. You may even be able
to recoup some of the cost as a working digitizer, even one with a cracked
screen, has some value for refurbishment and sell for around £20 on ebay.
On The Go Glitch
Your recent advice on how to access images on
an SD card on a Tesco Hudl tablet, using an On The Go cable and card reader was
helpful. However, if I use a USB stick instead of an SD card, when I remove it,
I get a message ‘SD card removed unexpectedly’, and a USB drive is not be
recognised unless I restart the tablet. Is it possible to safely remove and
insert USB sticks, without having to switch off every time? Tesco think not.
Max Whitehead, by email
Tesco is essentially correct, though there are
exceptions and there is an app that can help; more on that in a moment. Not all
USB sticks are affected but there is definitely a problem on older types, with
a capacity of 4Gb or less. Newer and larger sticks (8Gb and above), especially
those from well-known brands such as SanDisk, can be plugged and unplugged with
impunity, without the Hudl minding. There is clearly something in the most
recent firmware used on these sticks, which needs further investigation and
there may well be a simple workaround but for the moment the best solution is
an app called OTG Disk Explorer Lite, free from Google Play. Once installed the
trick is to run the app, without the USB drive connected, then plug it into the
OTG socket and when it asks to be allowed to access the device, click OK. Hudl
still objects when the stick is removed but there is no need to restart and you
can open another stick using OTG Disk Explorer.
Whenever I run System Restore on my Vista PC it
concludes with the error message, ‘System Restore did not complete
successfully. How can I restore System Restore?
David Forbes, by email
One or more of the saved Restore Points (RPs)
may be corrupt. Turning System Restore off and back on erases all of the stored
RPs and it should be useable once again. To do that go to Start > Control
Panel > System & Security > System > System Protection, select
your main drive, click the Configure button then Turn off system protection and
click OK. Reboot the PC, go back to the System Restore Configure menu, turn it
back on again and set a new Restore Point.
Black Market Bargain?
I recently imported a Cubot GT99 smartphone
from China. I have fitted it with an Ovivo SIM card, which works well for phone
and texts. I can connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi but I have been unable to
get it work with mobile broadband. I queried this with Ovivo and was
disappointed with their response, ‘…we are unable to provide support for Cubot
products as they are black market devices’. I cannot believe that this hi tech
phone is unable to perform this important function.
Paul Jackson, by email
If you choose to go off-road when buying a
mobile phone do not be surprised if there are some bumps along the way. This
attractively priced smartphone has an eye-catching spec but it has received
mixed reviews, mostly as a result of it not being designed for, or properly
configured for use on mobile networks outside of China. The most common
complaint concerns the GPS function and this can be fixed with a software
update, but the mobile broadband connectivity problem is more complicated.
Several mobile networks have decided not to support phones that they do not
supply, are not officially marketed or have no service backup in the UK. It
might be possible to get mobile broadband to work on another network (try a
Virgin or GiffGaff SIM card), but only after carrying out a full factory reset
and manually setting the network’s APN (Access Point Name) server address.
However, online forums and reviews suggest that there may still be problems
with poor signal strength and intermittent connections, which appear to stem
from the design of the antenna. In the end, though, the best way to avoid
problems of this type is to stick with UK-based phone suppliers and networks.
© R. Maybury 2014 1003