Replacing the screen on my Garmin eTrex 30

I wish I hadn’t tried to fix my screen. I should have just left it with minor scratches from when someone dragged a big tub of herbicide over the top of it. The real damage was when I tried to buff the scratches out of the “glass” with a rotary tool and melted the screen. Whoops.

So I ordered a replacement screen on eBay from Russia:

Shockproof glass in package

Shockproof glass for Garmin eTrex 30

Contrary to the “easy installation” instructions you will have to disassemble the unit.

Remove the battery cover and batteries, and unscrew the six screws using a #6 Torx driver.

Torx T6

This is the back of the unit with the waterproof seal clinging to it:

Rear of eTrex with waterproof blue seal

I did initially try to remove the glass without removing the PCB and LCD display but I was heating the glass to around 75°C and it wasn’t coming away easily:

Prying glass off eTrex with knife

So I removed the PCB, which was held by two clips and a single #5 Torx screw. Push the case outwards to free the clips, but they are not attached to the board and may fall off so don’t lose them!

Internal clips on circuit board

Now with the circuitboard safely out of the way I could use the heat gun more aggressively and pry the screen off.

It didn’t come away cleanly …

Cracked screen

This is what it looked like when I got the screen off:

Foam adhesive

I tried using a knife and chisel to remove it but was causing too much damage to the plastic, so I switched to using the rotary tool with a variety of attachments including sander, but this plastic brush seemed to finish it off the best:

Rotary brush

Once you’ve done as best you can, make sure you clean the plastic thoroughly outside and inside to avoid debris being sealed inside the unit, preventing a clean seal or getting stuck to the screen protector at the end.

This is the screen before I removed the backing tape:

Screen with backing tape

Place the screen adhesive side down, push firmly but supported from the other side so you don’t break it.

Then remove the protective film on the front and apply the included screen protector.

Re-assemble, and this is what it looks like:

Re-assembled unit

Note the gouge and scrape marks on the plastic around the screen.

If I had to do this again I would just buy a whole new front unit with the screen already attached.

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8 thoughts on “Replacing the screen on my Garmin eTrex 30”

  1. Thanks for this post. I was considering doing the same thing. The “official” repair in Canada (from Garmin’s approved repairer) will set me back around $125 and the Russian replacement is only around $40. Given the problems you encountered, I think I won’t bother.

  2. Used oven heated to 140 C, (285 F) to pry screen from disassembled case.
    Glue residue hard to remove. Used knife and rubbing alcohol.
    Be aware that you will lose the black background and logos.
    Hard to install protector without including dust and air bubbles.

    1. Yeah I removed the protector it came with as well, I don’t know if it’s just a poor quality protector or I applied it wrong but it just annoyed me.

  3. Got my replacement front case today, and by following your disassembly instructions above, I was able to complete the repair myself. Thanks!

  4. I’m getting ready to replace the whole front unit of my etrex 20 with the body of an etrex 10 that we’ve had setting around the house. The zoom out button fell off my etrex 20. I’m still not sure how hard it will be to detach the button from the 10 and attach it to the 20. We’ll see if it’s possible without soldering it, since I don’t have a soldering gun. Anyway, thanks for the post. My T5 torx driver should be here tomorrow.

  5. I can’t figure out how to remove the clips and I can’t see the screw T5 that held the board, so I gave up. Any suggestions? Thank you. Marco

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