Device Cartography

Alright, my group took apart a Samsung Galaxy S4. Who knew that such a thin device was a pain in the butt to take apart? It was easy at first but that is how they get ya into a false sense of security. You take off the glossy little back and pop the battery off and bish bash bosh you’re already halfway there. However, then they stick this little baby in your way and you struggle for two days taking that weird thin little “midframe” off. We had to pop around 7 screws off and jimmy the frame apart.

Exo 2

After that it was pretty easy. I wasn’t very involved in the disassembly process because I was working on the website while Morgan and Victoria were across the table pulling everything apart. Regardless, once we had all of our pieces distributed, we had 11 pieces which included the motherboard or PCB, a headphone jack, camera, and many other smaller parts. I was in charge of the battery and the charger and microphone flex cable.


The battery was the easier to track down because right on the front it states who its manufacturer is and where it was made. The flex cable had no, and i repeat, no identifiable markings other than the model of the phone. The was a still as of yet identified logo on it and I could not for the life of me figure out whose it was. I ultimately decided that if the model number: SCH-1545 was on the piece, then Samsung personally made it in South Korea. Many of our pieces didn’t have any identifiable numbers and Google was, for the first time, very little help for us.

We searched high and low but nothing ever came up. We even went to the Samsung website and found little information. Bethanna called tech support and they also didn’t know anything. It was frustrating because we would spend hours and hours scouring the web to only find obscure retailers from halfway across the world. I was led to Calvin Klein bras once for typing in a number I saw. We had definitive places for only around 2 or 3 devices and everything else we had to assume was made in Korea.


The above image includes the infamous unknown logo. It is a G with a squiggle between it and an “a” in a circle. I really think that if we found out who owned the symbol, it would have given us so much information like the manufacturer, the location and the dates. But, no matter how much we looked, we couldn’t find anything. I looked over PCB makers that started with G but nothing was similar. That symbol is now on my hit list.

Overall, the project was pretty enlightening. I didn’t know that so many little pieces could fit into such a thin device and I didn’t know all the work that went into phones. I have a new found hatred towards research and I am now going to glare angrily at scenes in movies and TV where someone instantly finds what they were looking for on the internet.

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