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.
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…
- 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!)
Awesome guide. Thanks!
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.
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!
thank you :)
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.
Just called, only if you are within the one year warranty from your purchase. Google support # (855) 836-3987 :'( :'( :'( :'(
You’re the man :D I think I’m going to try it
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.
That’s a 10k resistor. Seems like a really tough job to me, hope you get to fix it!
Hopefully, I will manage it somehow. Thank you very much for the info. Have a nice day. Bye.
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?
Do you have a part number for the switch
It’s a Citizen Electronics LS12 series switch, service manual says EBF61974801 / LS12T2-T.
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?
Cheap US supplier
Where did you purchase the replacement switch?
This was the item on eBay: 4X OEM Power Button for LG GOOGLE NEXUS 5 D820 D821. As I recall it shipped from NYC. I would recommend getting more than one in case you mess up at first.
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?
I ended up finding this and ordering from here (haven’t received yet so don’t know if it’s good): http://m.ebay.com/itm/4X-OEM-Power-Button-for-LG-GOOGLE-NEXUS-5-D820-D821-/331220263763. They might ship to Germany?
Hello, I ordered the button(s) from here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-Original-For-Samsung-Galaxy-S3-i9300-i9305-T999-S4-i9500-i9505-i337-Inside-On-Off/32289194116.html
I read somewhere, that the button is the same, as in Samsung S3. Have a nice day. Bye.
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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?
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thanks so much… it helped fix the issue for me.. keep up the good work…
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…
This definitely fixes the issue! Give it a try before spending on a new one :)
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?
How did you get it to power up (and eventually boot-loop) without the switch soldered on?
at last, I replaced the power switch! it’s working now :)
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.
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?
Hey, shorts are usually detected with the continuity testing mode: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-use-a-multimeter/continuity
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.
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.
Thanks for a great guide! Thanks to you my old nexus 5 now works again!
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!
Thanks, great hint on the stuck button problem… that seems like the most reasonable explanation. I added it to the troubleshooting section :)
Thought you guys might appreciate my father’s approach to fixing my phone!! http://imgur.com/gallery/hc1bLYb/new
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!
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!
Hi, as far as I remember it didn’t show any signs of damage. Good luck!
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.
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
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!!!
Thx for putting this together. I will be following your instructions to fix my phone. And, let you know how it goes.
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.
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.
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…
Thanks for your article. Just replaced mine and all went smooth. You deserve a beer ;)
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.
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
If anyone rips the pads off like I did, you can still fix it if you have good soldering skills and electronics knowledge. Download the LG Nexus 5 D820 service manual from the net (its all over the place), and search the doc for KBR11000. That’s the button. You’ll find a circuit diagram, and be able to figure out where to solder wire links to.
I ripped off one of the 2 small pads, and had to put a wire link between the new button pin 1 and a nearby resistor (R11010). Good luck!