I’m a big fan of the original Pebble Watch. Day-to-day it allows me to keep my phone in my pocket while still getting my notifications and controlling my music and its long battery life at around a week negates the fact it doesn’t have fancy graphics. I’ve even coded an app or two for it.
The only annoying thing about the Pebble is the infamous screen tearing issue. I’m on my third Pebble in three years and every single one has succumbed to this intermittent issue within a year:
Credit to Pebble – they’ve carried out two free replacements for me so far with no arguments. One of those was out of warranty. They didn’t even want the broken one back the second time around. So now I’ve got two Pebbles with the annoying screen tearing issue.
I was sure Pebble would do a fourth replacement if I asked nicely. However, this seemed very wasteful for what could be a simple issue to fix myself. Indeed I’d seen a few forum threads like this one describing how I could go about making a fix myself. Based on these I set about fixing both my Pebbles with only a few tools. Each Pebble took less than three minutes to fix. With a little care you can do the same.
This is my step-by-step guide to fixing the screen tear issue. I’ve included what I didn’t see in any of the guides I read – lots of pictures covering each step.
1) There’s some stuff you’ll need as pictured. Left to tight we have a small flat head screwdriver (I use an electrical screwdriver), a small Torx screwdriver (I used a size T4), an edged plastic tool, some masking/painters tape and some scissors.
The only stuff I had to buy was the Torx screwdriver and the plastic tool. I ordered a really cheap mobile phone repair kit from Amazon (only £3) to get these.
2) You’ll also need a broken Pebble. Flip it over and you’ll find four small screws, one in each corner. I believe the original KickStarter Pebbles have no screws and are therefore probably glued together so I’m afraid you are on your own if you’re one of the early adopters.
3) Use the Torx screwdriver to remove all four screws.
4) Put them somewhere safe as they are tiny and look really easy to lose.
5) Next is the tricky bit. Take the plastic tool and prise the back cover off. Be very careful here as you don’t want the back cover to come completely off yet (and if it does your Pebble will be completely broken as a result. You’ll see why in the next step). Just break the seal all the way round and lift the back case no more than a few millimetres.
6) Slowly prise the back cover away from the top and take a look inside your Pebble. Looking at it from the top you’ll find a small, round vibrator on the lower left-hand corner. This is glued to the inside of the back cover and attached by two tiny wires to the main body of the watch. It looks really easy to snap these wires if you pull the back cover away from the watch too far.
7) Instead use the small flat head screw driver to prise the vibrator off the back case.
8) Now completely remove the back case. The vibrator will remain connected to the Pebble by its wires when you do this.
9) Push the vibrator back down into the case. Then take a length of masking tape and fold it over on itself four of five times. Cut the folded tape to be the same width and height as the bottom compartment of the Pebble not including the tall gold section on the left side.
10) Place the masking tape into position as pictured.
11) Finally reattach the back case and replace the four tiny screws using the Torx screwdriver.
You should now have a jagged screen free Pebble. It probably isn’t water proof anymore but at least you can read the display.