The $3 Fix

My OnePlus 5 has been my trusty sidekick for over three years. The first cell phone I’ve owned I can honestly say I had zero complaints with. All-day battery life (even still), plenty of storage and speed, a surprisingly good camera, and – gasp! – an actual headphone jack! So understandably, I nearly had a panic attack this spring when I was down in Santa Fe on my way to Rockies spring training and the GPS quit. One moment, things were working fine, the next, Google Maps proclaimed “GPS signal lost.” I fired up the GPS Test app and sure enough, ZERO satellite signals. Probably been a month or two since the phone was rebooted so I tried that.

No joy.

I limped around that trip relying on cell / WiFi location services, and when I got home, I started doing some research. Lots of folk with similar issues claimed software was to blame so I went hardcore and did a full system wipe.

Still no joy (and a full day setting my phone back up.)

Then, the COVID quarantines hit. Wasn’t going anywhere so location services weren’t a huge loss, plus the OnePlus 8 phones were about to be released. Maybe time to treat myself to an upgrade? So I waited, watched the announcement, and wait, the 8 STARTS at $700? What the heck happened to OnePlus being the bargain Android phone???

The culprit!

More research and I convinced myself this was truly a hardware problem. I wandered over to iFixit and took a look at the OP5 teardown. Hmm, surprisingly easy phone to work on. When I saw the GPS antenna connector I thought “well that’s pretty janky, I could totally see that failing.” So, I rummage the Internet and find a replacement connector. $3 and some change, delivered to my door via slow-boat. What the heck I thought, worth a shot so I hit ‘buy.’

Fast forward a month and disassembly of the OP5 went exactly as iFixit said. Little fanfare, as seen in the pic up top (that’s the new GPS connector sitting on top of the battery.) I popped the old connector off the phone and on close examination, could see the new one was a slightly different design with a much better ground connection. This was encouraging!

New connector in place, I excitedly reassembled my phone and powered it up…

Woo hoo! It’s alive! $3 sure beats $700. Well, technically $15 since I treated my phone to a new screen protector and case for returning my location services to me. Here’s hoping I can get another 2 or 3 years out of this beauty!