Errors Google Hardware

Nexus 4: Red light of death

On Thursday night I used my Nexus 4 as GPS (as I always do — it’s my main navigation device, so Google, please bring back a usable navigation app pretty plx!) to drive from Brussels to Antwerp (~40 minutes).

I had about 60% of battery left when I turned on the GPS. I tend to recharge my battery every night. It’s times like these I usually just use the GPS without using the car charger. I don’t mind my phone being at 10 or 20% when I arrive home, late at night, as it will be charged overnight anyway.

Almost home, the notification of 14% battery left popped up; I dismissed it as I had 10 more minutes to go. About 5 minutes after that, my phone suddenly switched off. Like, just, suddenly black. No shutdown or anything. It caught my attention, but I left it at that.

Finally home, I quickly unpacked some stuff, checks some mails, etc, and about an hour later I headed to bed.

That’s when I took my phone and plugged it into the charger and a red led popped up. I had never seen this one before.

From there on, I was unable to turn on my phone (my entirely drained Nexus 7 has the same behaviour, it requires being plugged in for 10ish minutes before booting up). I decided to let it charge 10 minutes. Nothing. Hitting power button didn’t change a thing.

As my Roomba seemed to have had a fight with the charger cables under the bed, I thought it might have half ripped the cable or something, so I tried a USB cable and a PC: same. Another charge: same.

Fair enough, I left it charging for the right. Waking up (yes, these things kind of keep me awake — or rather, wake me up) several times during the night, I tried turning it on… but alas. And still a constant red light turned on.

I just had the latest 4.3 bis update (the 7 or 9 Mb update) like 24 or 48 hours before. And I don’t think I had rebooted the device since. Was this causing it?

I started Googling, got in touch with my seller (as it’s ridiculously expensive in Belgium, and I think when I got it, it wasn’t officially for sale here yet) and bought Skype credit (yep, didn’t have a backup phone) to call Google Play support.

Amazon told me to try to do it via Google, or it will take a “very long time” to RMA it.

Google told me to do it via Amazon as it wasn’t bought via the Play store (and send me a troubleshooter to try to “get it out of deep sleep” — but that didn’t work).

I tried several steps, including the hard reset (volume up + power for 60 seconds), but nothing helped.

As it was still under warranty, I didn’t want to really mess up too much, but I couldn’t imagine having to miss this device for another day, let alone weeks…

Drove to my parents to get a backup phone, and there we opened the device (with those odd you-are-not-supposed-to-open-this screws) and, as one post stated on XDA-dev, to unplug the battery.

The multimeter showed 0 volt on the battery (but the connector was so small we weren’t sure it quite touched the copper.

However, reconnected the battery cable and inserted the USB charger… And the screen lit up, a charging icon popped up, and no red light of death. Yay.

Let it charge for ~3 hours (the battery felt warm, but not sure if it was anomalous) and so far so good. We’ll see tomorrow whether it drains faster than usual.

Some people pointed out a product issue, either causing the battery to overdrain (which is bad) or to be too strict on it (and refusing to recharge when it’s quite safe to do so). But the battery itself could also be dying.

I have a phone mount on my dashboard, and during the summer, in full sunlight, using my GPS, and the phone being black, I noticed the back side got quite … hot… So did this cause any permanent damage?


After being fully charged, I noticed a drop of about ~10% per 60 minutes. Which seemed a lot. I let it discharge overnight, and when I woke up it was indeed entirely dead again.

Attempting to recharged caused the red light of death again. Unplugging the battery (for 5 minutes) didn’t solve the problem anymore. It seems like it’s really dead.

We managed to read the voltage with a multimeter, stating 3,15V (instead of 3.8). Unsure whether it’s the battery or the charger of the phone… Unplugging the battery and attempting to charge also causes a red light of death.

I’ll get a new battery on Monday, and do my best to swap it (apparently they glued in the battery… sigh).



Errors Google Software

Random reboots of Galaxy Nexus

Since I moved to Antwerp, in a high building apparently made out of the thickest steel they could find (> My wifi signal barely passes the internal walls, and I’m pretty much unable to make a decent cell phone call) my Galaxy Nexus has been behaving oddly.

It started during the night of the press conf when I was catching up on my mails when I got home of a whiskey tasting evening/”apps for whiskey” event.

It suddenly rebooted (the screen lit on showing the usual boot animation (“X”)). I didn’t pay attention.

A couple of minutes (twenty ish) later again.

Odd… I did a reboot myself (hold power button, turn off, turn on).

After booting up for about 30 seconds, it rebooted again… Annoyed but busy with other stuff I didn’t pay that much attention.

This time I unplugged the battery, hoping that would help anything, and tried again.

By the way, this is all on a stock Android 4.2.1.

After booting, I had to refill my pincode each time (so it was not one of those infamous reboots where it saves its session/state/whatever… The cache-thing-whatever was cleared). I first thought some mail over IMAP was causing this (as I was directly thinking of my previous mail issue). But I made sure that I read all my mails and deleted what wasn’t relevant on my Macbook Pro and Nexus 7. It should sync.

Then my attention got caught by the WiFi. While it was connected pretty instantly, it took a long time to change the icon from its grey “I-am-unable-to-access-the-internet” to the usual blue color. Either way after about one or two minutes into Android itself, it rebooted again. Irritating.

So I was starting to think about odd kernel panics or memory problems.

The furthest I got after that was unlocking (pattern) my display, and it would reboot… Not even making it to the settings pane.

After that, it would just loop-reboot. At first I would still see the lock screen popping up, then only the Android boot animation. And after a while it would just loop the Google name and flick black for a second, and (presumably) start over.

No matter what I did (pull battery, try without battery, get closer to the wifi, recharge battery, connect it to my mac, …) it kept on doing that. I decided to head to bed and left my GN off by removing the battery. But 8 hours of rest didn’t really help my phone. The next morning it was still behaving the same.

I saw no other option that going into the boot menu (holding power button + volume down and up) and doing a factory reset. Wiping all my data (well, mainly just my settings (I am lazy), and I don’t have any fancy apps, but it did delete all my pictures which I hadn’t copied to my mac in a long while).

After the data wipe/recovery, I started reinstalling my apps, reconfiguring, and restoring my text messages backup (best app: SMS Backup+) and everything was pretty much okay. No hardware issue, no more reboots…

Note: those with a laggy Galaxy Nexus, this helped me to improve speeds; but a total wipe brought my GN back to about 90% of it’s 4.1 speed (no scientific proof for that though ;)).

Anyway… All was fine until Thursday night. It suddenly started to reboot again, and random. With intervals of, well, sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes 10. I didn’t get to the reboot-loop yet. Turning off wifi or turning off data didn’t seem to help. I tried airplane mode, but I had to make phone calls/text, so I didn’t wait until/whether it rebooted. I tried getting closer to the wifi hotspot, change rooms (yea, whatever) and none of that helped. It kept rebooting during the night (I reentered the pin code twice when I woke up that night). And it kept doing that in the morning…

And as I stayed a couple of days at my parent’s house for Christmas (where everything was fine), I was starting to think my new apartment/steel-tower was bugged (or the Proximus cell tower in the neighborhood).

At this point I was panicking. Looking for options to buy a Nexus 4 and Googling about this (and well, apparently I’m not the only one having this problem). Random reports pointing to random apps, lock screen, GPS, etc.

I noticed for some reason Latitude stopped reporting my location (I hate when it does that for no apparent reason… Already happened 4-5 times the past 2 years) for this device, turned it back on and since then my device hasn’t rebooted yet…

Haunted shit for sure. Google please fix your crap.

To be continued…

Edit: about 24 hours later it rebooted again. When I attempted to insert my pincode it rebooted again. After that I managed to get past the lock screen. I received Whatsapp messages, Twitter crashed, and it started to update apps. After that it (2-3 minutes after booting) it rebooted again.

Errors Google Software

Android 4.1 IMAP + stock mail bug

On 4.1 (yes, I’m lagging behind with my blog posts) something rather funky happened. And it took my 7 days to notice.

My phone was running hotter and battery life was suddenly crappier than usual. But not really paying attention, until my cell provider (Proximus) texted me I was over my data consumption limit…

As it was the beginning of the month, so that was unusual. I checked data usage in settings, and noticed ~7Gb of traffic by mail app over WiFi and ~3Gb over mobile data.

The day after I noticed the unusual usage (and as I reached 4Gb traffic) Proximus cut off my data connection around 14h00 (leaving me stranded in the middle of Brussels, unable to use my GPS)…After phoning them I got my access back though.

Not sure where to look (some attachment problem? some fucked mail?) I cleared my inbox, and removed all mails from the folder that IMAP syncs on the Android… Still it was downloading continuously. I started to try to debug the IMAP servers, to see what commands my client was sending, but not finding anything interesting there, I started to wonder what to do…

Then I tried something I really didn’t want to try (yea, now that I think of it, I probably should’ve tried that first, and well, something to do with hating to change settings; and it took me 3 days or something before I tried this): I deleted the first of my 2 IMAP accounts, checked back after ~10 minutes to see if data consumption increased, and no, it hadn’t.

Yay. So now I knew the problem was one of the 2 accounts. I restored my mail account (and to my amazement it actually wasn’t that much settings I had to put back) and kept checking on the data. It didn’t increase anymore.

Soooo, oddly enough that solved the issue (remove and readd the IMAP account).

No idea what happened there.

My bill is 145ish euro’s because of this by the way.

Errors Google

Laggy Android 4.2 on Galaxy Nexus? Kill Currents!

I updated to 4.2. Then I wanted a new phone.

4.2.1 came. It solved 5% of the lagginess.

However, it was still unbearably slow. With 4.1 I had an amazing phone, 4.2 made me want to shoot it.

But after 4ish weeks I found something out… Go to Settings and then Sync, click the Google account(s). Disable Google Currents syncing.

Enjoy. You might want to reboot to be sure, but for me this brought my phone back. It’s not perfect, it’s still a bit slowish, but it’s a lot better!

iRail Linux

BeTrains on a watch

using a WIMM One