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Tyeira1987
Asteroid

U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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Okay, here's the story:

 

Now I'm an avid Samsung Galaxy/Note series fan and user, and have been from even when the Galaxy series didn't exist yet, in my young adulthood when Samsung phones were of the flip variety (SPH-A680 from Sprint ring a bell? That was technically my first Samsung phone). I've worked on and rebuilt several phones as well, but these particular issues have me stumped with the Note 4 I bought last week:

 

It appeared in the eBay listing as a White U.S. Cellular N910R4, in which case this meant the particular seller (who, by the way had a 99.6% seller score and less than five negative feedback reviews within the past year) had stuffed this motherboard into, specifically an AT&T N910A frame. I was thinking it was just a replaced screen or something another, the ad stated it worked with no issues. So I end up shelling $150 for it.

 

Last Monday it arrives, with a completely dead battery, not even wanting to take a charge. Good thing I had a brand new battery to pop in, no problem. So I power on the phone, thinking it's on silent mode as it powers up, not hearing anything but seeing the factory USCC boot animations and such. So I go as usual to test all the functions:

Boot, external buttons, touch, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, phone, headset jack, etc... until I put the phone on speaker to activate it. It activated with no problems, and works almost like new. So tore it down, in usual fashion, to find out why the speaker was dead, figured the terminals weren't making contact or the speaker itself was dead. So I replaced the speaker Thursday, speaker still isn't working. Then, I just tried to use my S-Pen yesterday for the first time, and discovered it was an OEM Black S-Pen that doesn't pick up the stylus sensor (which I thought these pens were screen-specific, and prefer an OEM White one to match the phone itself, if I can find a solution to this speaker problem first)... Is there supposed to be some type of audio card issue or something? I've Googled and pretty much this is what it leads to. Someone please tell me the audio card is gone, so I can get beat out of even more money sending it to Samsung and going through all those Marshmallow updates/set up again just so I can hear my phone ring... 

1 SOLUTION

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Honored Contributor

Re: U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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Hey @Tyeira1987

Wow you're super techy! I love it.  XD

It certainly does sound like there were several problems with the device before that Ebay seller put it up. I can't speak for sure, just given that I don't have my hands on it, but you did give a lot of details. It certainly sounds like the speaker was blown and there could be some problems with the touch sensitivity.

While in a normal case I would warn you that the warranty is over, due to age of the device, I'm pretty sure you're well aware on that one. The real problem comes down to the edits already made to the device. If you're right that the internals were changed to a different frame then the Samsung repair folks won't even touch it. They might open it up, but once they saw that things were a bit of a 'Frankenstein's monster' in there, they'd send it right back without repairs.

In this case, it might actually be best to reach back out to the Ebay seller. I know that's a bummer, but they sold you a bit more than just a 'fixer upper'.  


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Honored Contributor

Re: U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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Hey @Tyeira1987

Wow you're super techy! I love it.  XD

It certainly does sound like there were several problems with the device before that Ebay seller put it up. I can't speak for sure, just given that I don't have my hands on it, but you did give a lot of details. It certainly sounds like the speaker was blown and there could be some problems with the touch sensitivity.

While in a normal case I would warn you that the warranty is over, due to age of the device, I'm pretty sure you're well aware on that one. The real problem comes down to the edits already made to the device. If you're right that the internals were changed to a different frame then the Samsung repair folks won't even touch it. They might open it up, but once they saw that things were a bit of a 'Frankenstein's monster' in there, they'd send it right back without repairs.

In this case, it might actually be best to reach back out to the Ebay seller. I know that's a bummer, but they sold you a bit more than just a 'fixer upper'.  


Be sure to click " ✓ Accept as Solution" when you find an answer that works for you.

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Tyeira1987
Asteroid

Re: U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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Thank you for that helpful information. I try to be as detailed as possible when it comes to issues like this. It's a bummer I basically got beat out of $150, I tried contacting the seller multiple times without a response. It's also a bummer I spent another $10 on a new external speaker, only to not even be able to diagnose the issue. Yet here I stand, accepting the fact that I'll never get the phone fixed because of these three issues:

 

1) it's WAY past the warranty, despite USCC offering phone insurance on it.

 

2) the actual N910R4 motherboard somehow got stuffed into an N910A frame, and the N910A sticker is still attached to the screen (which I thought wasn't even compatible given the N910R4's CDMA background over the N910A's GSM capability); and

 

3) there's not even a local repair shop that fixes USCC devices, yet if it was any other carrier, I could have had the issue fixed.

 

I honestly love USCC as a carrier, despite it's the only cell phone provider that picks up service at my house (due to me being within a mile of the USCC towers and such). Had I known I was going to experience this much trouble with the phone, I would have sought out another phone instead. I guess I'll just have to use it until I can at least jump to the newer S8/Note 8 (purposely skipping the S6/Note 5 due to lack of external storage, and purposely skipping S7 due to the whole Note 7 fiasco). Thanks again for your help, it is greatly appreciated.

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Honored Contributor

Re: U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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Fair enough. I'm so sorry about all the craziness in this particular experience. Sometimes buying from places like Ebay go smooth, other times less so. =/


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Tyeira1987
Asteroid

Re: U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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It's okay. I'm just glad I was able to find a solution. I'll be okay, since I have a new Galaxy Tab E to keep me occupied as well as this Note 4. I know I'll eventually have good luck with a Samsung phone sometime...

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Honored Contributor

Re: U.S. Cellular Note 4: External speaker and S-Pen not working

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Awesome, fair enough!  ^_^

 


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