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Re: Motherboard Swap
(Everything below applies to CDMA phones. I mostly deal with sprint, but most applies to verizon as well. I do not have much experience with GSM phones and networks, although the basics od swapping a MB are pretty similar. CDMA and GSM boards are NOT the same, and when getting a replacement, make sure you get the appropriate one, preferably one that was used on your same carrier. Even though this process is possible, it is not for everyone, and requires knowledge far beyond what is required for the simple flashing of roms.)
Originally Posted by gollum18
No. For clarity, no, it does not "ruin" the phone. If the replacement board has a clean ESN/MEID, it can be activated like normal. If the replacement has a bad ESN, then a migration of serial numbers (ESN/MEID/IMEI) from the old board to the new is required. If known, it helps to also move over the MIN, and account info etc, that way it can be activated without calling sprint. AFAIK, migrating your own good, clean ESN over to a replacement board with a bad one is not considered "cloning," or illegal. If you aren't careful, you can (with sprint) get an "Error code 16," with which you most likely wont have data, and will get an recorded error message when trying to call out. Just hang on the line and you are automatically connected to customer service. They typically don't ask anything beyond the account PIN, and will take you through resetting the phone.
The tricky part is really making sure the data (3G and 4G) works. It helps to keep it as simple as possible, know what you need to move, and how to move it before hand. If the old board is still functional, make full NV backups, as well as any other info you can manage first. Also, make sure you never have two boards with the same serial numbers on and active at the same time. They would be considered "cloned," and if the carrier notices they may flag your account. As long as you aren't actually trying to use two phones with one ESN, you should be fine, just be careful.
Successful MB migration can be achieved with a number of freeware programs like QPST, CDMAWS, QXDM, and DFS (my personal favorite). The actual process is too involved for me to spell it out, but all the info is available online. It mostly consists of backing up NV items from the original, and restoring to the replacement. I went through the process about twice before I really got it down. Only once did I have to use my riff box to recover a phone when I wrote an efs image to the wrong partition.
But again, just because you are very familiar with flashing ROMs, using odin etc, does not mean you can do this. They are very different processes, and involve a deeper understanding of how a cell phone operates. If you feel like you shouldn't be messing with it, you probably shouldn't. However, if it's something you're interested in, and just want to learn, go ahead and find a used phone with a cracked screen (the cheapest method of obtaining a replacement board, I have found. Try craigslist), and start reading up. If phones are your thing, gaining a deeper understanding of how they work, and learning to perform such tasks can be pretty rewarding.
No, the motherboard is the only thing that holds the serial numbers. The ESN/IMEI/IMED is printed on a sticker behind the battery, but that's just a sticker. It's not like a computer, the MB is the only board in the phone. Hard-coding serial numbers to the digitizer or the loudspeaker (only 2 other electronic parts in the s3) would just be silly, if even possible.
Originally Posted by bpramod24
Really, a galaxy s3 consists of the screen/digitizer/casing, the motherboard, the battery, and the plastic back. The glass/screen/digitizer are technically separate entities, but they are all mashed up into the main "casing" of the phone. Then the board sets into that (which has all the ram, chips, storage etc attached), and then the back panel closes up the phone. Buying a used phone with a cracked screen on craigslist for the motherboard is usually much cheaper and easier than buying a new screen/digitizer combo. I've gotten replacement boards, 16gb and 32gb, for 50-80$ through craigslist time and time again by posting an add looking to buy used phones with cracked screens/cosmetic damage. If you have a good ESN, it's very simple since you dont need to worry about the replacement phone having a clean one. Just be sure the phone for water damage before exchanging money. From my experience, trying to buy a replacment phone or board off ebay is straight robbery most of the time.
It works if you do it correctly, and use a corresponding replacement board (CDMA (sprint and verizon) to CDMA, GSM to GSM) CDMA and GSM have actual hardware differences, and for all intensive purposes are not interchangeable.
Originally Posted by Benjamin Peacock