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About one week after the 1-year warranty of my Nexus 5 expired, its power button began to fail out of the blue, showing the following symptoms:

  • The phone would often show the power menu, or lock itself and turn the screen of
  • It often shut itself down, and got stuck in a bootloop, making it even impossible to access recovery

This seems like a frequent problem and results from a defect power button signaling its pressed state, without being pressed or stuck. Hard tapping on the phone around the power button can temporarily help to get it back to its normal “unpressed” state, which makes it usable again and interrupts bootloops. Still, this gets more and more annoying over time.

The internet has a few solutions to the problem: factory reset, remapping the power button function to a volume key or minimizing its usage through various third party workaround apps, or sending it in for repair. I tried the factory reset, and it helped for about 10 minutes, which was probably just random luck. Remapping the button is an ugly hack, and the Nexus 5 has no superfluous button that could be used; minimizing the button usage through workarounds, e.g. apps that lock/unlock the screen with the proximity sensor, does not solve the problem at all. Sending it in for repair is way too expensive.

To fight this evil at its root, the power button must be replaced, and since I couldn’t find any guide on the internet, I’ll show you how it’s done. You need at least some SMD soldering skills and preferably a soldering station, else the chance is high that your beloved phone crosses over Jordan. I also highly recommend you to backup your precious data, just to be sure.

Before you begin, you need to get a replacement button. I got mine on eBay for 5€ including shipping. It’s a Citizen Electronics LS12 series switch that is probably just a few cents in wholesale and it seems to be the same button that is also used in the Galaxy S/S2/S3/S4 and other popular phones.

Procedure

Step 1: Remove the back cover with a plastic opening tool, guitar pick, or whatever you see fit. The cover is held by clips, marked in orange in Picture 1, and some adhesive at the bottom. You can use the iFixit teardown as a more detailed guide on how to disassemble, but keep in mind that you only need to follow certain selected steps, as the target is to just extract the motherboard.

Step 2: Remove the six screws circled in blue in Picture 1, and remove the motherboard cover by carefully levering it off (Picture 2).

Step 3: Unplug two antenna cables and 4 flex cables marked in green in Picture 3. Also remove the SIM card tray. You should then be able to loosen the motherboard by slighty pulling it downwards and to take it out without any force applied (Picture 4).

Step 4: The power button can be found on the back side of the motherboard (Picture 5). It is held in place and connected to the circuitry by 5 solder points (Picture 6). Now comes the dirty part, removing the broken power button. There are multiple methods on how to do that. The cleanest way is to use a hot air station, as seen in this YouTube video. Another way is to scrape off the power button like in this video, but this seems to be rather risky to me as the soldering pads could come off the PCB. I chose the solder wick method in this video. Since factories have to use lead-free solder which has a much higher melting point that lead solder, it is hard to get off. My selected method proposes to add lead solder and get it mixed with the lead-free solder, lowering the melting temperature and making it easier to get it off with solder wick. It took me multiple tries, which is why the result looks like a huge ugly mess (Picture 7), but I finally managed to get the button off. Just make sure that the surrounding components do not get too hot or damaged.

Step 5: Clean up the soldering pads with some flux and solder wick, then put the new switch in place, add flux, and solder the five points with just a little bit of solder. Take a multimeter and make sure there is no short and the button works as expected. Check the two outer points on the back of the switch, they should only conduct when the button is pressed. You can take the two volume buttons on the other end as a reference. Clean away flux residue from the switch.

Step 6: Reassemble the phone. After putting on the back cover, press tightly all over the back to make it snug fit again. Press the power button, and pray. If it boots up, enjoy your Nexus 5 for another year ;) If not, well…

Troubleshooting

  • NFC or wireless charging does not work: the back cover did not snap in everywhere – press below the camera to bring the contacts closer together
  • Button gets stuck after some time: There might be flux residue in the button – this stuff gets sticky when it dries and could jam the button. Flush and clean it with isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip. (Thanks to Eric Dargelies from the comments!)

Comments
Posted at 17:08 March 20, 2015
Sam Atkinson
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Awesome guide. Thanks!

Posted at 03:54 April 14, 2015
Emmet
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Any trick to soldering such small points? After buying the new switch and taking the phone apart I realized it’s wayyyy too small for me to even try.

    Posted at 19:25 April 15, 2015
    Mario
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    Yap it’s really small, if you don’t feel comfortable at all doing it I’d recommend against it… might be better to get a repair or modchipping store do it for you as it takes someone experienced probably just a few minutes and shouldn’t be too expensive. Not really a trick but if you’re like me and still want to do it on your own, you could at least practice soldering at this scale on an old broken phone… try to desolder a few parts, as this is the more difficult part, soldering the new button is rather easy. Good luck!

Posted at 13:03 May 10, 2015
Sreekumar
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thank you :)

Posted at 12:34 May 13, 2015
tony
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If you’ve purchased the Nexus 5 from the google play store, you have one opportunity to replace the phone by google for free. call their 24/7 support line to confirm if you qualify.

    Posted at 01:46 May 14, 2015
    Alfred
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    Just called, only if you are within the one year warranty from your purchase. Google support # (855) 836-3987 :'( :'( :'( :'(

Posted at 06:41 May 15, 2015
Pablo Infante
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You’re the man :D I think I’m going to try it

Posted at 21:58 June 1, 2015
Matej.
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Nice guide. Wanted to ask, do you know what kind of resistor is the closest to the power button? I accidentaly soldered it off and cannot find it. I realized it when I was soldering the power button. Thanks for any info. Have a nice day. Bye.

    Posted at 13:40 June 2, 2015
    Mario
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    That’s a 10k resistor. Seems like a really tough job to me, hope you get to fix it!

      Posted at 14:09 June 2, 2015
      Matej
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      Hopefully, I will manage it somehow. Thank you very much for the info. Have a nice day. Bye.

      Posted at 21:44 December 21, 2015
      Francesco
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      Hi,
      I’ve tried to change the button after hardare bootloop but I damaged the pads on the motherboard! :(
      There’s something I can do now? I was thinking to bypass the button itsel and short-circuit the power function but I cannot find something useful for that. The elecrtic scheme I downloaded doesn’t show how fix it…
      Can you help me?

Posted at 02:35 June 9, 2015
Cameron Stewart
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Do you have a part number for the switch

    Posted at 13:23 June 9, 2015
    Mario
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    It’s a Citizen Electronics LS12 series switch, service manual says EBF61974801 / LS12T2-T.

Posted at 19:46 July 15, 2015
Ben
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I’m having trouble finding the switch to purchase (I live in the United States). Can someone please tell me where you bought it from?

Posted at 07:57 July 19, 2015
Ralf
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I’ve got also trouble finding a shop (in germany) which sells this switch. I even don’t find one shop in google. Does anyone know a shop for such parts in germany?
Best,
Ralf

Posted at 16:02 July 30, 2015
Pingback
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Posted at 16:36 August 10, 2015
haydster7
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Thank you so much for this guide, especially for pointing out the switch used. I managed to get a cheap one off eBay and repair it all with a normal soldering iron (although i added a coax copper wire because its all so small). What soldering iron did you all use? Just a normal large tip?

    Posted at 22:24 August 16, 2015
    Matej.
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    Hello, I used a normall one but as so far I was not able to solder it, because one copper pad got off. Where did you add the wire? Could you post a pic somewhere? Thanks in advance. Have a nice day. Bye.

Posted at 14:52 September 25, 2015
joe1724
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Thanks for the guide, I managed this repair today using a fine tipped soldering iron. I found the easiest way to remove the switch was to flow additional solder around all contact points of the switch until all points are flowing together and then lightly ease the switch away from the board. Once removed, clean the pads up with a desolder station or solder sucker.

Thanks again

Posted at 17:32 October 29, 2015
Martin
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Thank you for the information. It was as you described. I also second joel1724 as to the way to remove the switch, that is a good way to remove multi-connection SMD parts. One complication is that it is not a purely SMD part, there are locating pins. I could not wick the solder out of those holes but instead had to heat them and push the part in when they got hot enough.

Posted at 18:38 October 29, 2015
Martin
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A follow up. After the switch replacement, the phone worked correctly for about an hour. Then the misbehavior came back. An endless loop of rebooting if it plugged into a power source, unresponsive to the power switch if not plugged in. So it would seem the power switch is not the problem on my phone.

    Posted at 16:29 October 30, 2015
    Sreekumar
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    i think its nit a power button issue..
    i had this reboot problem few times in a year, and after a day it went normal everytime.

Posted at 23:55 November 6, 2015
Mike
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Excellent guide, I wicked it off with a little soft solder and braided copper as well. It surprisingly worked fine with the new button, so all in all £1.75 well spent to have a working phone again. Thank you for the informative photos!

Posted at 16:43 November 24, 2015
vijay
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Thanks so much… it helped fix the issue for me.. keep up the good work…

Posted at 19:09 November 26, 2015
Mark Miranda
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Anyone else here have the issue persist after doing the procedure?

Just curious whether I should pursue or just cough up for a new phone…

    Posted at 13:40 November 27, 2015
    Mario
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    This definitely fixes the issue! Give it a try before spending on a new one :)

      Posted at 05:55 December 12, 2015
      matt
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      Hey is there a reason why I have to have the power button on my phone? I’m actually wondering for a special project if it’s possible to remove the power switch permanently somehow, but I keep getting the endless boot loop without my power button soldered on. Is there a way to not include the stock power button?

        Posted at 14:00 December 12, 2015
        Mark Miranda
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        How did you get it to power up (and eventually boot-loop) without the switch soldered on?

Posted at 18:36 December 18, 2015
Sreekumar
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at last, I replaced the power switch! it’s working now :)

Posted at 20:53 December 18, 2015
Mark Miranda
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good to hear that! I took Mario’s advice and decided to give it a shot.

I’m expecting the power switch I bought from eBay today in the mail so…

I’ll be back to share my result.

Posted at 15:47 January 18, 2016
scottocsScott
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Hey Mario. I got some new buttons and had a friend to the replacement, but I think there is a short. What should the multimeter be set to detect it?

Posted at 16:28 February 8, 2016
Remi
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Honestly, unless you some very good and small soldering station, don’t even bother to try this.

the “signal” button contacts are incredibly small (the ground is ok, but the signals no), and if you observe the button well they are very hard to reach because they are not on the external surface of the button, rather a little bit inside.

I have been fixing some of my electronics for 8+ years now, but this is the toughest repair I had. And ultimately, I gave up because it’s just no doable. And I’ve been trying it at my company fablab with decent solder station and binocular lenses, just to give you an idea.

    Posted at 21:40 February 8, 2016
    Mario
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    A pity you gave up on it. It’s not a walk in the park, but definitely doable… especially if you have the right tools at hand.

Posted at 17:46 March 10, 2016
EB
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Thanks for a great guide! Thanks to you my old nexus 5 now works again!

Posted at 18:22 April 1, 2016
Eric Dargelies
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I just did this last night. I studied as a Computer Engineer and was an Electrical engineer for 6 months. This was one of the most difficult solder jobs I’ve done, but it’s definitely doable. Couple tips: first make sure you have an iron with a fine tip, the button contacts are tucked away and impossible to get to with a blunt iron. I used a radio shack iron, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive one. Getting the switch off: whenever I have through hole parts I just add more solder, to the point that all the connections have merged in a big glob. Once they’ve all merged in one big glob all the solder will flow freely and you can just pluck the button off. I used wick to get most of the excess solder off, but I wasn’t able to get it out of the through holes. I think someone else mentioned you can just start soldering the button on and press it into the hole with a tweezers when the solder starts flowing. After getting it mounted I added some flux and worked on the small button terminals. This was the worst part. A lot of guess and check and reflowing until you’ve ensured it hasn’t bridged. Use the multimeter to check if the terminals are only connected when the button is pressed and the hard part is done. I noticed a few people saying that it stopped working after an hour or so. If you use flux and don’t clean well that stuff is naturally tacky. Get some alcohol and douse the button with a q-tip. Keep dipping and pressing the button with the tip of the sopping wet q-tip. Then get some compressed air and blow it out. Rinse and repeat 5-6 times. Otherwise your button will probably end up sticking. Before even soldering you can try just cleaning the button like this and it may fix your problem. Thanks for the tutorial!

    Posted at 18:57 April 1, 2016
    Mario
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    Thanks, great hint on the stuck button problem… that seems like the most reasonable explanation. I added it to the troubleshooting section :)

Posted at 15:35 April 10, 2016
Alex Kempton
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Thought you guys might appreciate my father’s approach to fixing my phone!! http://imgur.com/gallery/hc1bLYb/new

Posted at 16:53 April 12, 2016
Steven
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Just replaced the power button. Thanks for the excellent guide! My nexus 5 works great now.

I bought extra buttons (4 of them) in case I mess it up. ( http://www.ebay.com/itm/4x-OEM-Power-Button-for-LG-GOOGLE-NEXUS-5-D820-D821-NEW-/301440368794?hash=item462f3f009a:g:oYIAAOSw2XFUjklU ). It took two business days to get it (free shipping, CA to MA).

As others suggested, a small solder station with fine tip is necessary. In my case, a 0.5mm tip, the smallest one I can borrow from my friend’s lab. I used a cheap microscope to watch the soldering closely.

I followed joe1724’s way to remove the old button. It was easy. Thanks to joe1724.

The probes of my multimeter are too big for the job. So I just took a close look at the finished part under microscope to make sure there is no short.

It took me about 50 minutes to get it done.

I have limited experience with this kind of repair. What I have done before are cleaning the fan of a HP laptop and replacing the battery of my wife’s Samsung Note 10.1. (Dealing with HP laptop is tough though. ) So I think if you are careful and have right tools in hand, it is doable.

BACK UP your files before start!

Posted at 00:59 April 30, 2016
Francois OD
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Hi Mario, did your old power button show any physical signs of being broken? I’m having the exact same symptoms but my power button itself still feels nice and crisp so I’m wondering if the problem could be somewhere else. Thanks!

    Posted at 02:07 April 30, 2016
    Mario
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    Hi, as far as I remember it didn’t show any signs of damage. Good luck!

Posted at 20:48 May 21, 2016
Johannes Felten
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Thanks alot for this guide! I successfully fixed my phone today, in fact I’m writing these very lines on it! I would like to share one observation regarding the terminals and possible shorts. It seems that the terminal to the right is connected to the bigger metal structures on the switch. My guess is that they are bound to ground. So you can measure a short even if it does not look like one visibly. This seems to be they other way around on the volume switches though.

Posted at 16:57 May 29, 2016
Zeshan
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It maybe nothing to do with power button. Local fix it guy diagnosed this. Water/moisture easily seaps in through back case causing damage to logic board. The same symptoms were reported through out the web of device rebooting on it’s own

Posted at 19:42 June 19, 2016
Scorp
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My Nexus 5 would randomly shutdown. My power button was getting stuck too although it seemed to be ok, clicking and not feeling stuck. Few days later my Nexus 5 started to continually reboot when power adapter was connected. As well I could not turn it on anymore. My fix was simple, I opened the back case (broke a couple of the little tabs accidentally), removed the motherboard, then with just a Q-tip and some isopropyl, cleaned in and around the power button switch thoroughly, pressing side to side, pressing the button in with the isopropyl soaked Q-tip. Let dry for a bit, reconnected and so far my Nexus 5 is working fine. Just thought I’d share this simple tip before trying to re-solder a new switch onto the board possibly damaging more components. Good Luck!!!

Posted at 19:09 July 13, 2016
jairp
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Thx for putting this together. I will be following your instructions to fix my phone. And, let you know how it goes.

Posted at 22:58 August 20, 2016
Dinesh rao
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Guys.. Even i faced a same problem of rebooting any it was a Power button issue of Nexus 5. LG guys said that they will charge approx 9000 rupees. I was so frustrated and finally took my phone to jayanagar I saw the add in Google The savior of my nexus 5 was Mr. Taj(repair guy ). He is fabulous in rectifying the issues with all type of phones. Just charged me 400 rupees and my phone is alive now. Thanks a lot taj.. Guys if you are in Bangalore please take your phone to A one networksolutions in jayanagar 1st block phone number is 9945985234. He just replaced the power button from the motherboard. Tricky task but it worked. I

assure you all it will work.

Posted at 22:19 September 19, 2016
Argus Brown
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Thanks for the post!.

I just finished this today and the repair was tricky but not impossible if you have the correct tools. Also, you can get this part from digikey for $0.38. https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/citizen/LS12T2-T/1642-1312-1-ND/5820727.
A couple of tricks.
1) You can remove the old switch with some snippers. Don’t have one. You should. Add it to your digikey order. https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/apex-tool-group/175D/175DCI-ND/278949
2) After you clean up the pads, put a little solder paste on each pad and on the switch contacts too. All you need to do is touch the iron to the pad then everything will flow together. The paste usually has flux in it so you don’t have to add any. Do the two outide pins first and press the switch down if you were unable to clean out the holes.
3) A micro-scope or magnifier is really helpful to inspect everything.

Posted at 22:28 September 23, 2016
goergeS
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I managed to get the broken switch off, but ended up damaging the pads so I have no power switch.

Does anyone know how to turn on (boot) the phone without the switch? I feel like there should be a pin on the back that the manufacturer would use to boot up (and flash) the phone, in production, without pressing on the button… Not ideal, but I can get by with the phone without power button (I can plug in portable USB charger to turn screen on). I just need the damn thing to boot up…

Posted at 07:52 November 1, 2016
Hornet
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Thanks for your article. Just replaced mine and all went smooth. You deserve a beer ;)

Posted at 18:10 March 14, 2017
Michael
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Excellent article. Sadly I just received four replacement power buttons that looked fresh from the factory but the contacts conduct all the time, button pressed or not. Bummer.

Posted at 07:58 May 1, 2017
George Z
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I almost went with this fix, but I found that I should reset the cache on this phone. Problem solved! https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/nexus/SLAF_OA5TxI

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