BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 Housing Swap

I use to enjoy being able to swap my old phones (8330) color when I got bored but lost that ability when I upgraded to devices like the 9630 and 9650 due to no colors being available, slightly different story now with my 9930.

This is a long post because I try to show the reader everything I went through so they see the mistakes I made and learned from.

So I got my 9930 when it launched for Verizon and had no choice but to get black and I was okay with that. I wished the phone had come in white like the 9700 and 9800 but I took what I could get at the time. Now ever since I saw the 9900 launch in white I had been waiting for the housing to show up for a cheap price online so I could attempt the housing swap. I remembered paying maybe $20 for housings with the old 8330 so I couldn’t bring myself to paying $100+ for the white housing so I waited. I checked in on forums like Crackberry to see if others had done it and where they got their parts from. I gave up after a while and just settled with keeping my phone black.

After a few months I saw someone with the 9900 in white while they were visiting from Canada and they let me check it out. I instantly loved it in my hands and started my search again. I found the prices were the same still for the housing so I just went for it and ordered mine. I ordered what I thought was a complete set. Now once it had arrived I realized there was more to this than what I had anticipated.

Here is what you should order. First search on Ebay or Amazon for a “White BlackBerry 9900 Housing” and just find a high rated seller (price ranges from $45-$65). Most previews will show the entire phone minus the screen. Some will say they ship with the screen but they don’t. Most will ship with the digitizer which needs to be swapped onto your original LCD and I don’t recommend trying that at all. With that said the second item you should order is the complete screen (this will be around $60). The third item will be the tools if none of the other items ship with them. The tools are a T5 screwdriver, T6 screwdriver and plastic pry tool ($3 if ordered separate). The last item is optional but if you’re nervous about this project and don’t want to have to do any kind of surgery then buy a complete keyboard with flex cables ($10-$20). The complete housing set you will order will ship with just the keyboard and not the flex cables attached which takes some work to swap. After working someone through their own swap and they bought a keyboard separate I realized this might not be the easiest task. The user going through this went through 4 keyboards before just swapping the white keys he got with his full housing with the base of his original keyboard like I did. Worked perfect this way.  

Full Housing. This is what it will look like when you order a full set.

Screen. Take not of the 002/111. Check yours before ordering.

This is what you need to make sure comes with your keyboard purchase.

Let’s start with the screen and the hurdles I found. The screen that shipped had the digitizer but not the LCD attached (I tried to save cost and just ordered a $20 screen). I searched for some other BlackBerry Bold “tear down” videos and found the digitizer was glued to the LCD and I wasn’t comfortable replacing that myself so I searched for a complete white screen with the LCD and digitizer already together. This piece was a majority of the cost to this project. Once I finally got the new complete screen in I felt comfortable doing the swap. I did make 1 small error when ordering my screen with the part number. I ordered a 001/111-1 when in the pic I clearly had a 002/111-1 screen. I installed the screen without any issues despite what people said on the forums but just to be safe you should take your phone apart before ordering a screen and see what yours says.

Once I started taking the phone apart I was feeling good about the experience since the 9930 was very simple to take apart which was a pleasant surprise. First thing to be put together was the screen and this was my first small hurdle. I realized that the “complete” screen wasn’t exactly the same as my black OEM in the fact that it didn’t have the speaker glued to the back of it but this was a very easy swap so didn’t cause me any problems. The speaker was held on casing by some glue which was easy to peel off and stick to the new screen.

The second and biggest issue I came across was the keyboard. Similar to the screen this didn’t ship with a completely assembled keyboard but this didn’t appear to have as much involved with it as the screen so I attempted this swap myself. I pulled they keypad off from the board which took a good amount of force. Once they were separated I realized they weren’t held together by glue but rather a few plastic tabs/pins. This is where I recommend spending a little more money and buy a complete keyboard as well and use what ships with the housings as a backup. I was able to successfully put my keyboard replacement on my original Bold membrane.

Final product:

The battery door I’m using came with the housing I ordered and it is not OEM but I love it. Has a unique look and a better feel then the slick black one that was originally on the phone. Hope you enjoyed the write up and happy modding if you dare attempt it (it’s easy).

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