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FP1 prone to humidity?

Hi everyone,

I have been using my FP1 for over two years now. I used the dual SIM option many times so far and it has always worked out perfectly. I also checked this feature after the upgrade to Koala Nut. I am also using the dual sim option on a business trip in SouthEastAsia for data roaming purposes right now. I had all sensors and functionality activated as I had to navigate and I did not care about power consumption at that point, means WiFi, Roaming, GPS, …is switched on.

After two days some troubles began, as the area around the SIM card slot #2 got very hot. The display hangs and I cannot enter my unlock pattern. Sometimes the touch screen was reacting, sometimes it just hang. I decided to let it be and try it the next day. After having it fully loaded I could access it once in the morning, but since then I tried rebooting it several times trying all combinations of inserted cards: no cards, just SD, one SIM, two SIMs…none of them worked so I assume the behavior is purely processor or display related.

Did anybody encounter such an issue before? I want to fix it by trying all software related workarounds. How can I access the phone without using the touchscreen at all to switch off sensors, clear cache and check system current consumption?

all the best,
Bernd

Hi Bernd

I had a similar problem with a normal working SIM card that I changed to a other mobile phone (that was more robust for a sahara travel) and the SIM card was becoming hot in the “new” phine.
The support from my telecom provider explained to me, that a lot of SIM cards have small errors, and some phones compensate some of theses errors, and some phones were blocked from these errors.
The only way to resolve this problem was to change the SIM card

Best regards
Bobby

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Hi Bobby,

I already tried all combinations of cards including no SIM card at all. If the SIM card itself was the root cause, then the phone would not become hot if no card was inserted. However the problem still persists :disappointed:

However, thanks for sharing your experience!
Bernd

The best way to access the system without touchscreen would be using ADB. You need to activate the Developer Tools in System Settings (Remote Debugging). I do not know if that enables you to switch of sensors etc.

but I can only activate the Developer Tools System Settings within Android, which means, that this is only possible via the touchscreen, right?

Yes, i am afraid it is. So you phone would need to run for at least some minutes.

Have you checked your problem is not related to a faulty battery (See here)?

You could try to reset you phone using the build in recovery. Download an Fairphone OS image for manual install on you sd card using a PC,
boot to recovery, clear all caches using recovery and install the download zip. This should be the equivalent to a factory reset.

However, if you phone get’s hot while in recovery too, it is likely not software related. You should probably contact support and send you phone in.

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Hey! I changed the category from Repair to Help because it is not about the process of repairing hardware parts.

I was also thinking this might be a virus of some kind, but if you try a phone reset then that should also clear any viruses.

If that doesn’t help then the likely cause in my opinion is indeed some hardware issue. You can send the phone back for diagnosis and repair. I had a cracked screen once (dropped it on bathroom tiles), and the process for sending it in and getting it repaired was very smooth and trouble free.

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Hi all,

thanks for your valuable hints. Unfortunately it is not a software related issue, which would have been quite easy to get rid off.

The area also gets extremely hot while charging, even if the phone is not switched on at all. I tried to backup my data via the recovery tools, but the battery cannot supply enough energy until the end of process, as most of the power is converted into thermal energy.

In the next step I want to open up the phone and search for the error on my own rather than buying a whole new mainboard.

Is there any circuitry, pin assignment, BOM or expected voltage on certain test points available, which could help me finding the bad boy?

greetings and thanks again for all your help,
Bernd

Weren’t the first Fairphones shipped in december 2013? So 2 years warranty isn’t over yet right?

From what you told us your problems are not a result of you using your phone irresponsibly so I’d just send it in for repair as I believe it will be covered by warranty.

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Hi Paul,

good point! I don’t know why, but I added a year of usage in my mind. Good that someone recognized it, before I screw my warranty :wink:

greetings,
Bernd

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Hi all,

I am a little disappointed about the return policy right now and I would like to hear your opinions a technical insights. The repair service tries to tell me, that the error is due to several drops and misuse of the phone. It is true, that my phone fell down a couple of time during last years usage, but up to this point I did not see any housing gaps or injuries, which could cause internal damage…that’s what I thought until the customer service reported their findings of investigation:

Your phone has been assessed for repair. It needs a replacement of the
motherboard. The repair center found various traces of the phone
falling, loads of dust and a big dent on the motherboard from bumping
into something during the diagnosis. If you zoom in on the photos on
the website you can all see this very clearly.

As the diagnosis states the damage is caused by falling, bumping into
something and dirt in the phone, the repair is out of warranty.

Fact is, that I did not drop my phone in the Philippines at any time and I did not expose it to water or extra humid conditions at any time. Looking at the attached picture it states, that the high current draw is caused by the dent of the left sided metal shielding but in fact the area around the right side metal shielding marked with “t” gets hot. Looking at the motherboard and the messed up contacts I assume that it is a clear humidity contamination problem but I have problems to prove it, as the device is now out of my reach.

Has anybody encountered similar problems or am I the only one who obviously suffers from insufficient sealing of the device?

greetings,
Bernd

Hello Bernd.
I am dealing with the same problem of a not responding touch screen.
First it appeared on a camping tour. After two days it started working normally until now.
I am in East Africa at the moment. after one day, the screen stopped reacting again. I restarted many times, peeled of the display protection foil but it did not work. In the past two years I dropped my phone not more than 3 times.
I think, the fairphone is just not working under humid conditions.
Did you find a solution in the meantime?
Greetings,
Bertram

Hi Bertram,

I did not further investigate on the real root cause yet. However, as I am still not very satisfied of how I was treaded by the customer service I want to give you a hint of what you could do better.

Before you send in your phone for warranty replacement, make sure that you clarify with customer service the conditions under which the mainboard is being replaced. If they still exclude humidity based system breakdowns from warranty then I suggest, that you buy a motherboard and replace it by yourself. I had to pay additional 70€ for repair and handling which I could not claim back! You could save this amount of money by clarifying upfront. A motherboard costs around 90€.

I hope I could help you with that answer. I will let you know, once I had the time to tear down the electronics to hunt the broken parts. It would help a lot if anybody had a schematic of the motherboard. Otherwise it will be a hunt with a shotgun.

Best Regards,
Bernd