My cell phone

I got my Nokia model 282 right when it came out. About 2 years ago(1999). When I first got it, I loved it. Finally a cell phone small enough I could easily carry with me all the time. The battery lasted all day with normal usage and recharged fast if I needed it.

Yeah, it had some drawbacks. The range was not quite as good as my previous phone, but I could live with that. More importanty, some of the keypad buttons did not work. :-(. The volume key never worked. That was ok, the preset/menu volume was fine. I could live with that. Worse, the menu key almost never worked. After playing around awhile(something engineers do), I found that by pressing the '2' key and then the menu key, it worked. Again, I could live with this.

So this is the way it went for years. Until one day when I was wiring up my new house. I was on the top of an 8 foot ladder and wanted to be 2 feet to the North. I performed a manuever commonly called a 'ladder jump'. This worked fine, except for the fact that my cell phone was in my inside coat pocket(remember, I carry it everywhere). It jumped up, out and down to a frozen slab of 3/4 inch OSB. It ended up looking similar to this:

Well, this sucked! Actually, the top hinge was still connected. Being an engineer that can fix anything(except for plumbing :-)), I decided to fix my phone. I got the flex cable wrapped back up and put back together. It looked good to go. Unfortunaly, the only button that worked was the power button. None of the keys worked. While I was contemplating the situation, A call came in. It rang like normal, but I could not answer it. I have caller id, so I could tell who was calling. Basically, I turned my cell phone into a pager!
Then I noticed the little white thingy shown here:

It turns out this thing is called a 'sponge connector'. It is about 1/2 inch long by 1/8 inch wide. It connects the keypad to the main board. This is how signals pass from the keypad to the rest of the system. It had been knocked loose during the fall. Sponge connecotrs are basically little balls of wire(looks like gold) that get pressed between two sets of pads that make the connection. This is how the keypad was connectoed and why it was not working. This is a pict of the 'motherboard' side:

This is the keyboard side:

The sponge was toast. It just didn't compress anymore. And now I knew why the keypad never worked that good in the first place. It also explaind why pressing the '2' key helped. It put extra pressure on the connector. Normally, the sponge connector depneds on a 'pressure fit', there is no solder. So, I decided to 'hardwire it'. This is the first wire I put in:

Here's a closer view:

After about 2 hours, I had 5 of 13 wires soldered. Finally, I begged Gary Reed a fellow engineer at Via into helping me:

He finished the other 8 wires in about 20 minutes....

This is the finished 'hack', just before folding it back together:

After that it worked great! Even better than before. The volume key worked. The menu key worked on it's own. This was great!

Meanwhile(back at the ranch), I was still working on my house. About 2 weeks later, I dropped it again. This time the battery fell off, which I had never been able to open. After seeing it open, it was pretty easy to put back together:

Unfortunaty, this time the 'snap hinge' at the top broke:

I am planning on epoxying it back together. Until then, I am still using it, just very carefully.
If that doesn't work, theres always Duct Tape :-).