The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a multi-touch, slate-format smartphone with eye-tracking ability, increased storage, and a wireless charging option.

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Won't power on, where to start?

I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 that won't power on. It was my daughter's and got submerged in water. It was usable after that, but less so over time, until now, it will not boot at all. I've tried the conventional troubleshooting (different battery, boot to recovery mode, etc) without any success.

She's since gotten a new phone, and having come across ifixit.com, I thought it would be a good exercise to see if I can fix it. Not sure where to begin, though. I'd appreciate any guidance on how to proceed.

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how to repair samsung grounded

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Darryl Whitmore sounds like you are dealing with the after effects of the water damage. I'd start with that. Use these guides to disassemble your phone. Once disassembled use this guide to help you clean your logic board. you have to remove all EMI shields. That guide was written for an iPhone but all the points are still pertinent to your phone as well. Of course if you have access to an ultrasonic cleaner then you want to get it cleaned that way. While you are cleaning it, pay close attention to the components on the logic board. Make sure that there are none missing or that you have a burned/charred looking component. Once it is cleaned, you do want to use a new battery. That way you have a known good starting point.

Now comes the fun part, troubleshooting what works and what does not. You will have to have a multimeter for that. Start off with the power section. Here is a document that flowcharts the no power on situation Galaxy-S3-no-power-on..pdf water damage is the hardest to diagnose and to repair since virtually any part my have failed. Definitely a challenge and a great exercise.

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Thanks for the great advice! I think disassembly and inspection/cleaning are within my wheelhouse, but when you got into checking circuitry and that flowchart, I start to get over my skis ;)

Would an alternate approach of just replacing the motherboard likely do the trick? The risk, I suppose, is that a) it might be overkill when a smaller fix is all that is required and b) may miss the issue entirely, resulting in a waste of money and effort.

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Yes replacing the board will get your phone back. Could be same simple stuff. Clean it first than post some images of your board with your question. Maybe we can help you out a bit by showing you what and where to test.

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Ok, will do, good plan. I will get my feet wet with disassembly and cleaning, and post some images for comments before proceeding. Thanks again!

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Well I think I've found the problem. Check out the attached images of the motherboard, and especially the first one where I've marked what I think the problem is. Looks like some of the components on the motherboard are fried:

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I didn't see any other obvious areas of damage on the motherboard, but I'm guessing that the whole thing will need to be replaced anyway.

So I think my next move is to order the Samsung S3 Verizon motherboard and install it by reversing the disasembly steps that I took to remove the damaged motherboard. Simple as that, or is there more to it?

Also, dumb question: what about the Android OS? Is it stored somewhere on the damaged motherboard that is going away, or elsewhere on the device? If somewhere else, I would think that there is no problem with swapping out the motherboard. But if it is on the motherboard, I have other questions (such as will it be present on the replacement motherboard, and if so, what version, and so on).

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Yup, definitely water damaged. Clean the board as originally described and see what you get after. If you want to attempt to fix it, let me know so we can get you the right parts to resolder. The new board will have the firmware on it and then you can update it once your phone is back up running. I still strongly suggest that you clean it and replace the battery then see what you got.

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Did it work? It looks like it could be an easy fix. But it also could be intergrated circuit related and that requires a board swap unless you are skilled with smd and bga soldering. Btw, don't forget to remove that metal shield. This is where your radio transeiver, duplexer and PAM's are located. There could be corrosion there too which could prevent it from working.

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Hi, before replacing the motherboard, I got some more advice in another thread and soaked the original motherboard in isopropyl alcohol for a day and cleaned it with a toothbrush. That cleaned the corrosion right off. I let it dry for a day and reinstalled. Unfortunately, there was no change and the phone did not boot. So I'm again figuring that the next step is to replace the motherboard. But you say there is another area that I should clean? Under where the motherboard is mounted?

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Replaced the motherboard and the phone booted up like new! Great experience, looking forward to my next repair job. Thanks for all the advice, everyone!

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Darryl Whitmore will be eternally grateful.
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