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Old 05-01-2011, 05:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bolds not charging

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We have about 80 Bolds here, and those that haven't been replaced under warranty are now approaching two years old.

I'm starting to see a trickle of battery charging problems coming in, and until last week assumed they were all due to ageing batteries. But this week I had two that appear to be caused by worn out USB sockets.

I'm wondering if anyone else has seen this problem. It might only occur on phones that are very heavily used, and are plugged in to charge several times a day.

The first wouldn't charge on several wall and car chargers I tried, but would charge via my PC's USB cable. I used pointy nosed pliers to slightly crush the metal surround of the plug of a wall charger, and that worked fine. I did the same to the user's wall charger and car charger, and that looks like it'll get him by till the contract expires. (The bit I bent down was the "top", the short side of the trapezium where the seam is.)

I also noticed that the bit in the middle of his USB socket was very worn, and very close inspection showed that some of the contacts were bent down a little. I bent them back up, and that allowed it to charge on an unmodified charger.

A second phone had a slightly different problem. We had assumed its battery was utterly dead, and were keeping it as a spare after we got a new battery. I gave it to a user, and they soon complained that it didn't always charge, and that if it was allowed to go dead flat then it wouldn't charge at all. When I plugged it in, it sat there for a while, then displayed the flat battery sumbol for a while, then died again. It repeated this over and over, and never began to charge. Same symptoms as with the "dead" battery.

I plugged it into my "crushed" wall charger, and it soon began charging normally. I put the "dead" battery back in, and it too charged ok. Therefore it must have been a USB socket problem, not a battery problem.

I'm thinking that maybe this socket is worn out too, and is perhaps able to receive a little charge, but not enough to charge a battery from dead flat. Again, crushing the plug surround cures it.

These phones are all being replaced soon, so I'm posting this as a warning to others more than anything, and out of curiosity to see if anyone else has the problem.

I'm a little concerned that crushing the plug will accelerate the wearing process, so I'm not recommending it unless there's a problem, and even then only bending it down a tiny amount.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolds not charging

You have discovered the problems with micro and mini USB sockets. If users dont treat the electronics with care and subject them to "abuse" then you will see connection issues. The pins will bend if users wiggle the connector when pushing it into the socket. Not much you can do except try to educate them. As for the battery going dead, this is not a good thing to allow with LI batteries. LI batteries will not recover fully and eventually completely die is allowed to constantly drop below 20%. Generally the cable will be the part that goes bad but either can fail.
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolds not charging

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsac View Post
You have discovered the problems with micro and mini USB sockets. If users dont treat the electronics with care and subject them to "abuse" then you will see connection issues. The pins will bend if users wiggle the connector when pushing it into the socket.
Pity the whole phone world is changing over to them then. Hopefully micro USB is a little better. They ought to be - this is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus#Durability
Quote:
The newer Micro-USB receptacles are designed for up to 10,000 cycles of insertion and removal between the receptacle and plug, compared to 1500 for the standard USB and 5000 for the Mini-USB receptacle. This is accomplished by adding a locking device and by moving the leaf-spring connector from the jack to the plug, so that the most-stressed part is on the cable side of the connection. This change was made so that the connector on the less expensive cable would bear the most wear instead of the more expensive micro-USB device.
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Not much you can do except try to educate them.
I did advise them to be careful when we changed over from the 8800s to the Bolds. The 8800s were an absolute disaster in this respect, with the inside of the sockets of 1 in 3 eventually almost ripping right out. The Bolds have been almost trouble free till now, and if the new phones will have micro USB with double the durability then we should be ok this time. Even better if it will be the cables failing, because they're much less hassle to replace.

I'll still advise them to be gentle with the new phones when we upgrade, but I feel that the main factor is simply the number of insertions, not how the insertions are done.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolds not charging

Incidentally, I believe we would never have had the problems we did with the 8800s if we'd had charging cradles for them that used the contacts on the bottom of the phone. For some reason these are incredibly expensive, and our dealer refused to stock them, so we never got around to trying any.

We got a couple for the Bolds, but the expected problems didn't eventuate so we never bought more.

I see that the Torch doesn't have special contacts for cradle charging, forcing users to charge via the USB socket. RIM must be confident about micro USB reliability.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolds not charging

Had another 2 Bolds with charging problems this week.

One had 2 problems. Firstly, the socket was worn or damaged as described above. Complicating things was the fact that her charger was faulty too. It's a travel charger and you can unclip the prongs that go into the power point. The contacts under the sliding bit were bent and making poor contact. The symptom was that the charging symbol came up when she plugged it in (if she held the plug at the right angle), then disappeared after a few seconds.

I unbent the contacts on the charger, and squashed the plug a bit to fix it.

Then my own phone started doing the same thing with the charging symbol disappearing. In my case the cause was two tiny pieces of grit inside the tiny holes in the centre piece of the charging socket. The grit was holding two of the contacts in the wrong position. I flicked them out with a pin, all good now.

I'm now wondering how many phones we've sent away faulty over the last few months that had similar easily fixable problems.
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolds not charging

I'm also having issues with charging in the same way you folks are.
I have some tiny screwdrivers which I'm using to try & get the charging tangs down a bit, but since I'm waiting for the 9900 to come out, and my machine is 3 years old in November, I'm sure it's just getting worn out.
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