Gadget Teardown: What’s Inside a Ruggedized Smartphone?

I met a buddy at a coffee shop today, and as guys like us are wont to do, we disassembled his ruggedized smartphone (a Blackview BV6000) just to see what the insides looked like. Rather, he disassembled it while I spectated. Of course it’s not something anybody would do unless the phone was broken, and indeed it was.

Here’s the second SIM and micro SD slot access panel removed. According to him, the phone was fried when he recently entered an area with intense EM radiation going on. There were signs warning about the effects on personal electronics but he didn’t make the connection until it was too late.

So he made lemonade from lemons, deciding to have some fun dissecting the phone to see what all went into its construction. The first thing he noted was a lack of epoxy on the PCB. I opined it’s likely because the phone’s shell is already exhaustively waterproofed. Part of how they do this is with rubber gaskets on the tiny screws holding the case together.

Here’s the other half of the case, with the speaker plainly identifiable. It surprised me there was only one before I reflected on how pointless stereo sound on something as small as a smartphone would be. Unsure what the electrical contacts at the bottom are about.

There’s a QR code on the back of the battery I can probably glean some information about the battery manufacturer from, though as yet I haven’t bothered. The manufacturing date is of interest, not an especially old phone as it’s less than two years old at the oldest.

Here’s the battery removed, which he offered to me (since I always have need of more lithium batteries for DIY projects). It’s a sizable one. Same voltage as any other single lithium cell however, making them easily interchangeable.

Here’s the PCBs and camera assembly removed. There’s a metal backing my buddy opined is probably magnesium by the texture, color and weight. Shielding perhaps? For all the good it did. It may also simply be there for structural reinforcement.

Anyway, that’s all. No great mysteries were solved, though we gained some insight into exactly how manufacturers of ruggedized phones go about insulating their devices against shock and moisture. That’s potentially useful information for someone who often builds devices intended for use underwater.

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