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"Best practices" for reassembly?

I’ve just started delving into fixing my own devices, and one thing I noticed almost right away is that reassembly is a lot harder than disassembly, especially with small or fiddly things like the insides of phones or other tiny devices. For instance, I just did some work inside an oculus rift that went all the way to taking the motherboard out, and the hardest part was getting all the pieces to line up properly again during reassembly to make sure I could reattach everything without breaking something.

Are there any tips or best practices for making things easier for yourself and/or making sure you don’t damage delicate parts? That seems to be the one thing this website doesn’t have a guide about.

Edit: Since there seems to be some confusion, the issue isn’t knowing how it goes back together, I have a handle on that already. My question is whether there’s a safe(er) way of doing it that carries minimal risk of damaging something. My experience with the Rift showed me that trying to awkwardly hold onto multiple tiny PCBs at the same time that are all connected to each other with flimsy cables just doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do.

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Maybe record yourself taking it apart and the playing it back so u know what position each item was in when u managed to take it... eg if u had to turn a certain way or align it a certain way having it recorded may help however ultimately it's just building experience working with things and learning how logically things should go together or come apart...

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When you are taking things apart make sure you have a spot to put screws. Something like an ice cube tray can be really helpful as it gives you a space to put the screws or other components where they are not likely to get lost. One thing you can do is number the slots in the tray then write what they go to on a piece of paper.

Another great idea is to take pictures of what you are disassembling. This is especially helpful if you have multiple cables that need to be plugged into something and aren’t sure where they should go back in.

Last when you are disassembling take you time and don’t rush. Use the appropriate tools for the job. Metal tools work but be extra careful with them. If there is a guide on iFixit or somewhere else, use it. If you can’t find a guide, take notes about how you disassembled something.

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Thanks for the answer, but disassembly isn't the problem, it's reassembly.

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TBM's point is that good practices during disassembly will help you during re-assembly. Proper storing of removed parts and pictures along the way will make a huge difference. Take notes, make videos...whatever necessary to help you visualize how two things go together. This is even more important if you are re-assembling the device at a later date...you will forget a lot of small details.

You will find very few, if any, guides on re-assembly other than the "do the steps in reverse order", especially when working on more obscure products.

Even iPhone/iPads that have copious amounts of info online all have their peculiarities and the only way to be proficient is to do it over and over again, often times making lot's of mistakes along the way.

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Oh, I see what he meant. Knowing how things go back together isn't the issue, it's knowing how to do it in a safe way that won't damage anything. I do everything TBM mentioned already.

To give an example, I just had to work on something with tiny components where nothing on the inside laid flat, and during reassembly I ended up having to leave PCBs dangling from cables and awkwardly trying to hold onto small parts to keep them steady while praying I wasn't going to break anything. There has to be a better way than that.

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Nope, todays devices aren't designed with repairability in mind, that's why they can be so hairy to work on. We all face the same challenges. I mainly work on iPhones (which are pretty easy to repair) but in my experience, headphones, drones and pretty much anything of low cost is downright hard to work on.

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Pictures... pictures... pictures...Each and every step of the way....

I'm not huge into the small electronics repair but having to conduct lock/camera/security devices/access control devices troubleshooting consistently for my job, I started keeping a camera with stand in my tool bag and an anti-static tray to keep everything in the order. when I see something that looks like it is going to be a pain in the butt I'll take video of the exact process (where a stand for the camera comes in handy) of the tear down.

Helps if you find something cool and want to reference in the future, it becomes a tool to teach and train on. Or if you are lucky you get good pictures of what not to do in regards to customer fixes.... Example of getting called to fix an deadbolt that "all of a sudden stopped working" in -50 degree windchill.... Come to find out they poured hot water into the key cylinder.... Can't argue with a picture of ice inside the lock


I try not to add additional things where the don’t belong but I always have a roll of the 3M acrylic foam double sided tape. Usually in a couple different sizes. Just to ensure things get held in place. (Just reading from your comments) Worst case scenario it adds buffer between parts that seem to be moving freely.




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