iFixit declares Pebble Smartwatch unrepairable

By on March 13, 2013, 11:30 AM

iFixit recently performed a teardown of the Pebble Smartwatch and ultimately declared it unrepairable. The teardown specialists found copious amounts of adhesive inside the watch used to keep water out (a good thing) but it’s this very adhesive that also safeguards against human interaction.

While the team was able to eventually get inside the smartwatch, they weren’t able to do so without compromising the e-paper driven display. Once the display has been removed, however, it’s generally smooth sailing the rest of the way.

Inside is a single small ribbon cable that houses four buttons, three LEDs and a Bluetooth 2.1 antenna. As such, replacing an individual component will be impossible even if you could manage to get the display off without breaking it.

Behind the backlight guide panel is the motherboard / battery / vibrator assembly. The assembly is held together by what iFixit describes as very delicate soldering. Again if any single component here breaks, the entire assembly will need to be replaced.

The team found an ARM Cortex-M3 MCU with a maximum speed of 120MHz, an STMicroelectronics LIS3DH 3-axis accelerometer and 32MB of Micron flash on the front of mainboard. The reverse is home to the system’s Bluetooth controller chip from Panasonic. The system’s battery from Fullriver is rated at 3.7v and 130mAh. Pebble claims it can last for more than seven days on a single charge.

iFixit uncharacteristically didn’t award the Pebble Smartwatch a repairability score but instead, listed a few of their repairability and durability findings. The team said low power consumption decreases the frequency of charges which will increase the battery life. They also liked the easily replaceable watch band but the inaccessibility of the battery would limit the device’s life to no more than 10 years. Furthermore, it’s impossible to open the device without destroying it or at the very least, compromising the waterproofing.




User Comments: 14

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Add this to the list of things I wont ever attempt to repair!

Good thing nobody will buy them anyway...

1 person liked this | Rippleman Rippleman said:

They should try to repair a rock. Unless they realize that maybe everything in this world does not have to be repairable.

BlueDrake said:

They should try to repair a rock. Unless they realize that maybe everything in this world does not have to be repairable.

The whole point I think is honestly would it be possible to repair, or just more logical sense to just buy a new one which is $150 each. Price might adjust or such but still that's that. Some people would like to know, is it even repairable or just headed for the trash. It's the same as buying any generally that could be, an unrepairable thing to begin with.

Just would it make logical sense to buy if it can't be repaired, especially at prices people might not pay. Say a $400-500 phone that was too fragile and unrepairable, would you buy into that kind of product then? There's a reason they give a repairability score, for those personal fixers or professionals who offer repair services. Sometimes people hold onto something for sentimental reasons, so there's a logical point to it also.

1 person liked this | Ravik Ravik said:

Sites like iFixit keep you safe from that guy in the mall who tells you, "Pebble Smartwatch? Oh yeah...I can fix that. Cost you $40. Please pay up front, and read my disclaimer..."

Then when he breaks it he looks at you and says, "You must have done something to your watch. I've never seen one do this before..."

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

A lifespan of 10 years is not even worth mentioning in something like this.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

They should try to repair a rock. Unless they realize that maybe everything in this world does not have to be repairable.

everything in this world is repairable. just a matter of know-how and having the tools and equipment to do it.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Lets stop repairing anything then, shall we? Lets just dispose of everything once we've used it. Environment, economics, resources be damned.

Watch needs a new battery? Nope.

Boots need new soles? Nope.

HD dies? Nope.

Lens cracks? Nope.

Lose keys? Nope.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Lol guest made me laugh

BlueDrake said:

Lets stop repairing anything then, shall we? Lets just dispose of everything once we've used it. Environment, economics, resources be damned.

Watch needs a new battery? Nope.

Boots need new soles? Nope.

HD dies? Nope.

Lens cracks? Nope.

Lose keys? Nope.

Friends are broke often? Disposable! </sarcasm>

I'm all for repairs though, just don't want to invest in something like this. :p

Lurker101 said:

They should try to repair a rock. Unless they realize that maybe everything in this world does not have to be repairable.

If you have enough superglue and duct tape, anything can be repaired.

Scshadow said:

10 years... It'll be obsolete far before battery dies. I really don't have a problem with this. Most watches aren't worth repairing, some aren't even worth replacing the battery. Unrepairability should almost be a given at such a small form factor. And at $150 bucks, either you'll love it enough to shell out for another one or you wouldn't bother fixing it anyway. Besides... if its unrepairable, thats a good thing. No getting refurbished products when you claim a manufacturer's warranty.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If there is a 10 year guarantee on the product, I don't have a problem with it.

I would have a problem with any merchandise that is manufactured without repair in mind, and does not come with any guarantees of replacement.

JC713 JC713 said:

Add this to the list of things I wont ever attempt to repair!

Good thing nobody will buy them anyway...

I actually think this is a cool invention, hopefully version 2 will be more repairable and have a color display instead of a paper white display (or whatever you call it)

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Lets stop repairing anything then, shall we? Lets just dispose of everything once we've used it.
Did you just reinvent the "one night stand", you devil you.

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