Fairphone 3+, Dead in 3 years

I can absolutely understand, that you are upset. The FP3 is supposed to work much longer, but there seem to be a batch, where a voltage regulator has a problem, maybe that’s the same cause of your phones dysfunction.

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They sell an image that is not real at the end. You can change a few pieces that can be replace in almost any android movilephone. I check the trade price they give my for it and is 22 euros for an upgrade. Unfortunate.

I hope in the future other company do the same but better

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First of all: I totally understand that this situation is frustrating for you. BUT: I think you’re jumping to some conclusions in your frustration that are just not correct.

You are basing this on a single observation. While of course every broken phone is too much, as previously explained above, this is likely a manufacturing issue in some batches of this phone. This can happen to any company and does not show ill will. Mistakes and errors happen everywhere.

This is at best partially true: Hardly any other company offers original repair parts to end consumers - and makes it as easy as possible for them to change them. At most other companies, you can be happy if battery and screen can still be changed - by a specialized shop and possibly not using original parts.
The one exception to this at Fairphone is the core module which contains the “heart” of the device. If this breaks - as it likely did for you - then it gets real difficult. While there might still be some room for improvement, this will always remain an issue with all such devices due to the highly integrated nature of the product.

I assume you’re referring to the official recycling program? That is often not very attractive, indeed. But there are better options - assuming that the other components are still fine: There are usually people who are willing to buy such devices either to attempt repair or at least use the other spare parts somewhere else. I’m pretty sure that you could fetch more than 22€ for this. Have a look at this forum’s market category, for example.

PS: In the case of FP4 and 5, the warranty period was extended to 5 years. So if this had happened to one of the later models, you should have received a warranty repair. I think this shows that they are somewhat serious about making long-lived products.

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Of course it can happen to anyone. I dont say that or at least wasnt my intention! Sh*t happens everywhere. However, you sell that you can repair it all and if i want to repair I have to send it to Netherlands and pay almost 300€ for a mobilephone that cost 450€…

I can change the camera, the speaker, the conector, the screen and the batery, In quite a lot of other brands you can change the same but going to a shop for do that but any piece I hace to ship it from Netherland and the shipping cost that Fairphone offers are quite expensive

I really like the politics about the company and the final goal but I am not happy at all with the product I got.

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Please show me any phone from any brand, where you can change these parts on your own without hazzle. That means hoping to get spare parts, heating up the glue, using special tools to take the phone apart, trying not to destroy the ribbon cables, or making shorts because the battery is still connected and so on.
And there are some third-party suppliers, you don’t have to buy the spare parts directly from Fairphone directly.

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Hey @Vange
I can totally understand your frustration. The same happend to the motherboard of my FP3 two weeks ago.
I already had an Idea why this happened (which I will elaborate on below) and tried to reflow the motherboard as explained here for the FP2 and tadaaa - after I put the motherboard in my oven at approx. 200°C for 10-15 min. it worked again :partying_face:
But here comes the sad part of the story: A week later my beloved FP3 fell out of my pocket from ~10cm to the ground, and was dead again. So I reflowed the core module again, but this time without success. :disappointed_relieved:
I will try it once again but I do not have much hope left. I think that maybe my oven was not warm enough the first time as the soldering tin I did into the oven next to the board didn’t really melted.
Instead of throwing the core module away, you could think about this method, but read the linked post carefully first!

But here comes the point what I think the reason for those failiures could be:
If we compare the FP2, FP3, FP4 and FP5, we can see some huge constructional changes over the generations:

  • With the FP2, you were able to open the phoneand change the display without removing any screw. Something that sounds amazing at the beginning, but it had huge drawbacks: You were able to bend the FP2 very good, as there is no stable let alone a metallic frame that would stabilize the device.
    Thus, all the components were subjected to strong bending. And that caused huge issues, one of those were those dead motherboards.

  • With the FP3 Fairphone fairly improved the quality of the overall shape stability of the phone. The frame was much stronger, the phone is hold together with screws and not only with some plastic slider as with the FP2.
    But still: The frame consists of plastic and thus is still more form flexible as other metallic phones.

  • With the FP4, the whole design changed again and - finally - the phone got a much more stable metallic frame. With this design, bending the phone is much harder.
    But one thing that still bothered me after reading all those motherboard failiures: All motherboards from FP2 to FP4 were extended from the top edge of the smartphone the bottom edge. This inherently causes more mechanical stress to the core module since even the FP4 is flexible to some extend.

  • With the FP5, Fairphone decided to place the whole motherboard only in the top part of the phone instead of streaching from the top to the bottom.
    I suppose this will improve the lifespan of the core module since twisting should no longer be an issue.

Here some pictures to illustrate the huge differences:

  • FP2:
    There was no stabilizing Frame around the phone and some parts of the core module were very small, which exposed the core module to a lot of mechanical stress and caused a lot of different issues:

  • FP3:
    The frame of this phone stabilzed the the phone at least more than its predecessor. But the motherboard was still streched all over the whole length of the phone:

  • FP4:
    While the motherboard is still streched over the whole length of the phone and has some very small areas, the metallic frame improves the from stability a lot:

  • FP5:
    As you can see, Fairphone positioned the core module only in the top area without streching a it on one side to the bottom part. Instead, there’s a second part of the core module on the bottom, connected only by a flat cable on the display side.

TL;DR:
I don’t think you can really extrapolate from the bad experiences with the FP3 to newer models, since the whole design has changed a lot that should improve the overall life of the phone.
And yes, the core module is not cheap and I would gladly buy it direct from Fairphone to fix my broken FP3.
But since the main components like the SoC (CPU, modem, GPU,…), RAM, storage and other important parts are located there, it is reasonable that this is the most expensive part of the phone.

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Have a look at this and the linked topic

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Thanks for the post Vange and the subsequent post from HolosericCaligo and the graphics would explain a lot BUT Vange is completely correct that a phone that sells on repairability and the ethics of it has completely failed in its objective.

There are a number of posts on the forum about weeks, even months, of delays for needed parts. Users can not wait weeks for this (or you do not need a phone?).

As HolosericCaligo points out, the original poor design has been changed by trial and error - this is not a confidence booster at all.

The only remaining reason to buy such a phone is to escape Google.

Best of luck in getting a repair. I can not even get my local phone shops to look at mine to discover what is wrong, so I will buy something else :frowning:

Thanks again for the info

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Hmm, when deciding for y new phone on beginning of 2020, I had some requirements. One from my former mobile use was - to self change the battery and to get such a long, long time. Some others are in this context not relevant. With only this NOT debateable requirement most of the achievle phones where shoot out of my “want to get list”. Then I tested the support (not beeing a customer at this time) and they were nearly the only one, who went on my technical questions and gave adequate answers. So I decided to buy a FP3 and I’m still (although the OS13-issue) satisfied with the phone.

my2cts

although not having the need to exchange any vital part of the phone, I understand that this isn’t a good thing. And fairphone tells (as guaranty?!) that it will have parts for five years (and not only support the software line of it) and thus, there the company should learn to become better.

Since my first phone (very long ago) let me determine that I really need a phone, from my second phone on I always kept the direct predecessor around as a backup phone, always hoping I can keep it meaningfully operational. Worked out well so far.

(I’m not excusing any lack of spare parts on Fairphone’s side, that’s obviously not a good situation. Just pointing out backup strategies are not only good for important data.)

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Same happened to me. My phone wasn’t even 3 years old.
I have written about here Dissapointed experience with Fairphone
The main problems is the misleading advertising that fairphone did about the longevity of the F3. If they had a faulty batch as claimed in some comments, they should have been recalled and a replacement offered to the customers affected.

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Just to add my N=1 experience: the ability to easily repair (exchange) a broken display is the most valuable feature so far. Yes, repair shops can do this for many other phones, but ordering a new display and (the day after) just 10 minutes using a screwdriver to get the job done, well, that’s very appealing to someone who likes to fix their own stuff.

Just like I’m always fixing my own bike tyres when they are flat. Very satisfying.

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That was just an assumption by me, and you can only recall something, if there is evidence for a fault and a relevant number of failures caused by this part.

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Please see post Fairphone 3 motherboard problem

I doubt that there is a faulty batch.
As I wrote here, depending on how the FP3 was handled, the flexibility that comes with how the phone is built could cause too much mechanical stress on the motherboard:

As the very last resort, you can try to reflow the core module. But just look at my post, it is written there.

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I suspect you’re right. And in particular, regularly submitting the phone to torsion such as by keeping it in one’s back trouser pocket, might be unwise. I don’t, as a rule, but recently when on holiday did this quite often. I experienced two spontaneous reboots, that I’d never seen before. FP4 as it happens, but still relevant I think.

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Hi!

2 days ago my Fairphone 3+ also suddenly stopped working. I reflowed the motherboard as explained by @HolosericaCaligo and it works perfectly now! :tada:Thanks!

I put the motherboard 15min the oven at 200°C (preheated) in a glass oven tray (pins up!). I let it cool down (~30min) and rebuilt my phone.

I found it pretty easy to do. The last 2 screws (the ones holding the motherboard) can’t be unscrewed with the Fairphone screwdriver, you need a very small torx.

Good luck to those who will try as well!

Side note: since my phone was open, I cleaned it and especially the bottom speaker. It incredibly increased the volume and quality of the sound. Sounds logical, but I wouldn’t have spontaneously thought of cleaning it.

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@Ehocl I would like to try the same. Just to make sure, how you positioned the board in the oven: “pins up” means you put it in the glass tray with the side that we can see in the image facing upwards? Or vice versa?

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He Nibor,
The other way around.
With the side visible on the pictures facing downwards.
That way the pogo pins are facing up.

Good luck!

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