The tl;dr for this post, which ended up going on a bit: if you’re experiencing a dead display and haven’t tried disconnecting and reconnecting the screen, I recommend giving it a go. It worked for me.
Anyway, just to add another data point: I got my FP3 two days ago and have had intermittent problems with the display not coming on, although it would start working again if I left it for a few minutes. (In fact the very first time I tried to power the phone up I just got a black screen, although that resolved itself after I opened the back and put a SIM in, so I didn’t worry about it as much as maybe I should have.) I’ve also had a few instances of the screen glitching: showing odd colours and patterns, not updating in response to actions, or only partially refreshing.
Eventually the screen died and stayed dead for hours, no matter how much I attempted to restart it. It seemed like a fault that could be caused by poor connection between the screen and the main unit, so I followed @Squeeze’s example and disassembled the phone (following Fairphone’s simple “How to replace the display” video instructions on YouTube), cleaned the contacts (not that they looked like they needed it), and reassembled it, tightening the screws nearest the display connector first to try to ensure a good contact.
It’s too early to say whether this has resolved the glitching problem and intermittent display blackouts, but the screen has at least come back on again. If you’re experiencing similar symptoms, and you have any confidence at all that you could follow the steps in the video, I’d give it a go before shipping it back to Fairphone for repair.
Good points about this experience:
- It’s a genuine pleasure/relief to be able to fix the display problem myself, so well done to Fairphone for designing the FP3 for easy maintenance.
- And for providing clear video instructions.
But bad points:
- It’s a bit worrying that the display failed so quickly. It didn’t seem to have been assembled poorly and I have no reason to believe that I’ve put it back together any more securely than it was before, so there’s every chance that it will go again soon. I’m really hoping that I’m not going to have to reattach the screen every few days or weeks. (I could maybe tolerate every few months.)
- A couple of the screws were difficult to get out; they didn’t seem to “bite” in the anticlockwise direction, as if the edges had been worn slightly. I don’t think I’d have been able to complete the disassembly with just the little screwdriver provided in the box. That’s another reason that I’m hoping not to have to repeat this too often.
- It’s a shame that the support pages on the Fairphone site don’t guide you towards attempting this repair instead of going straight to a form to report your problem to their support team. But I guess maybe the FP3 is new enough that they’re still trying to gather information about common faults and their solutions.