Repairing a Librem 5 Modem

My friends were telling me we should make our own phone with our own operating system so that the hardware was open and verifiable and trustworthy.

So to interrupt them I went and got my Librem 5 and a screwdriver and attempted to disassemble it to the fullest extent possible without reading any instructions, to prove to them during this conversation that we already have open phones.

I got the back plate off and removed Wifi and Modem boards but I didn’t get to remove the physical case to review the main SoC board. My friends told me I shouldn’t break it, and I guess it’s partly glued on.

But while I was doing all of this, I broke off one of the circular snap fit metal connectors that connects the modem. I guess modems are an evil closed source technology anyway. I managed to add tons and tons of electrical tape to hold it back in place and effectively allow my Librem 5 to at least sometimes receive cell service.

But I was thinking of buying another modem board and installing it. However, this will require somehow removing the tiny metal connector that was supposed to be a part of the modem, but is now snap-fit inside of the wire coming from the main motherboard inside. Am I likely to succeed when removing that metal ring or would that be likely to cause further damage?

No worries just tell to your friend that you broked something. :wink:

Yes the Modem it is a Evil-Blob but Purism greatly isolated the Modem to improve Security and Privacy to Userland however with all this it is not 100% Security on a Call, So that is why Purism(Yes Purism not Pain64) is Performing a Native Decentralized and Encripted Call through the Matrix protocol to Librem 5 to Get it 100% Security Privacy and Freedom CALLs and SMS, MMS. As all is complexed in L5, Matrix still not finished because not easy with a reduced money budget but Purism is great and still continue to improve L5 overall and that is why we still need to support Purism.

And for Ultimatum Security and Privacy things Purism made LockDown mode to Librem 5 to SHUTDOWN Any LEAKs from Librem 5.


Purism Community

You are not the first person to do this with his or her Librem 5. I suggest you review existing discussions before deciding how to proceed. You may also want to discuss with Purism, particularly if you are in the US (where you could readily return for repair).

You can use two fingernails on the side of the cable antenna connectors to desocket it from the modem, but it is clear you need to replace it. Contact Purism support.

I ordered a new modem at the same time as I created this thread, rather than contacting support directly. I feel like it broke because I broke it, so in this case I don’t really understand what Purism support would do for me other than tell me how to avoid breaking it in the future. Even if they offered to replace the modem, it wouldn’t seem ethical for me to charge them for it when I literally broke it myself by fiddling with it without the instructions.

Indeed. They would charge you!

Return for repair doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a warranty claim.

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Interesting point. Is that somehow a more ethical use of silicon/parts if I have them fix the original instead of shipping me a brand new modem? Would they actually do that? Would I be able to send them the modem only and not the rest of the Librem 5?

I guess I should try to find those other discussions like you guys said.

Just send an email to Purism support for a RMA, ship the Librem 5, and wait for them to repair the cable antenna connectors, unless you believe your current makeshift solution will hold out more effectively than what Purism is capable of doing.

I would suggest: take photos and discuss the repair with Purism.

So many people have already broken this exact thing that I would be thinking … leave it to the experts.

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I broke mine off and I was being very careful removing it. Looking at the solder pad and the backside of the u.fl connector that was now stuck in the end of the cable it appeared to me to be a cold solder joint (not good). I think the u.fl connectors are rated for no more than 10 connections/removals but mine didn’t even survive one. You can get a tool to remove these safely but was unaware of this tool until after I popped my connector off. Even so I’m not sure it wouldn’t have popped off even with the tool. I would recommend emailing support and getting an RMA number and letting them handle the repair, you might just make things worse trying to do it yourself and they have all the proper setup and tools and parts needed just in case.

It is possible to remove the antenna connectors using just the fingernails, like I did when I replaced my Redpine module with the SparkLAN module, but it requires great finesse and patience. The antenna connectors themselves can also last past 10 removals, as I learned when disassembling the Librem 5 multiple times. I had more trouble keeping those three golden pins in place when putting everything back together.

I think I will end up getting the proper tool because I can’t get my sausage fingers in there and was using a plastic spudger to get under the cable end to pop it off, and I was being very gentle with it but still rekt it, but I argue that the solder joint holding it on was a cold joint just looking at it under magnification. At least with the tool you can pull it straight off without putting any lateral force on the connector. The tool looks like this:


Sure, go ahead and try the tool. My strategy was using the thumb and index finger on the sides of the antenna connector, then applying pulling force upwards. I did it with and without long fingernails.