Aurora 8260

After getting my new Nokia 8260 phone, I decided that I really didn't like the icky green lighting. The display was vile, and the keypad was hard to read. So I changed it to blue for the display and red for the keypad. Here are some shots taken in the light and in the dark with no flash.

Aurora - daylights Aurora - night lights

Now, you might be wondering at this point, "How the heck did you do that?" Well I've created a step by step below. Be forewarned however, this hack is not for mere mortals. It involves soldering on itty bitty 0603 package surface mount LED's through a microscope for over an hour and is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.

You will need the following things:

  • Rosin core solder that looks like hair.
  • A good temperature controlled soldering iron. Perfereably metcal.
  • A very tiny tip, again prefereably the metcal curved tip.
  • 20-40X microscope or stereo dynoscope. Preferably the latter.
  • A LOT of experience soldering surface mount technology (SMT), or at least a friend who can.
  • ESD safe workstation.
  • Incredible patience.
  • A torx T-6 screwdriver
  • A Desco Spudger model 622 (nylon soldering tools).
  • 12 0603 sized SMT LED's. Available from DigiKey. Actually, get some spares.
  • insanity...complete and utter.

Remove the battery door. This can be surprisingly challanging if you've never done it before. Press the little button on the bottom of the door and slide the cover downwards as illustrated below.

Aurora - battery door

Remove the antenna door using your spudger to depress the little locking tab as illustrated below. Yes I know the phone is all still together at this point. You can't actually remove the backplate until this is done.

Aurora - antenna removal

The antenna door has a little adhesive on it, and sometimes the gold patch antenna stays in the phone. If this happens, very carefully pry the metal patch from the phone with your spudger and re-affix it to the cover as in the picture below. DO NOT PEEL THE ANTENNA OFF! Doing so will bend or tear it.

Aurora - antenna

Remove the 5 screws from the back cover. Then remove the cover itself starting at the bottom. There is a hinge/snap at the top. The 5 screws are shown below in red.

Aurora - backscrews

Remove the two remaining screws from the EMI shielding and remove the shield plate.

Aurora - emiscrews

Carefully remove the printed circuit card from the phone. It's a tight fit, so be very careful not to flex the board. Hold the board only by it's edges and never touch any of the components or circuit traces. If you are scared at this point, put your phone back together before it's too late.

Once the main board is removed, look at the LCD unit. There are 4 sheet metal clips holding it to the board. Carefully push them out and the display will simply fall off. Try not to bend the tabs. Below I have indicated the location of the six LED's that need to be replaced in order to change the display color. I used blue LED's.

Aurora - display sites

The display lights are a right angle package. Blue's are not available in that package currently, so you can solder the normal ones on their side. If you can find right angle LED's buy them instead. Mark the board with the polarity of the old LED's before removing any of them. Use your SMT soldering experience to remove the old parts. I'm not even going to attempt to teach that skill on a web page, sorry. Tin the pads with a tiny bit of solder. This is mainly to get some flux on them. A little extra solder is good too. The new LED's must be centered on the pads, or the light pipe will hit them when you try to put the display back on. Hold the LED with some very fine tweezers. Melt the solder on both pads at the same time and drag the led into position, quickly and accurately. Note that if you touch any part of the LED other than the metal contacts for more than about 1/10 of a second, it will be almost instantly vaporized.

Aurora - tweezer

Remove the circuit board that covers the keypad. Turning it over reveals 6 more itty bitty LED's that are responsible for lighting the keypad. In this picture I have marked the polarity with a dot on the negative terminal before removing any of the original LED's.

Aurora - keypad sites

STEP 10:
The white plastic cover can not be removed without ruining the whole board. Also it melts quickly under the soldering iron, so be very careful. Always push the iron away from the nearest button. Follow the same soldering procedure as above, except, don't solder them on their sides.

STEP 11:
Reassemble your phone. Pay carful attention to the vibrator. It isn't mounted securely, and if it comes out of it's proper position, it will bind, and not work. Here is where it should be:

Aurora - vibrator

STEP 12:
Show off your handy work to your friends, buddies, significant other, etc. You will not need to exaggerate the difficulty of this task. Enjoy!  

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