My FP2 (running Fairphone Open) used to be able to sense the absolute compass direction. Now it seems not to. I’m not sure when it stopped.
Has anyone else encountered this? Is it likely to be a hardware failure, or a software problem, and if so, is it likely to be worth reporting a bug? (I know the window for this is almost shut.)
It used to be that apps like Sky Map, and the compass-like views in apps like SatStat, would react to the absolute direction I was pointing the phone; now they remain inert. Sky Map’s ‘Calibrate’ screen now says ‘Compass - Absent’.
(Sky Map always complained about accuracy, but in practice it was adequate once I did a fresh wave-phone-in-figure-of-8 calibration.)
Other tilt/orientation type sensors seem to be working fine.
I had thought that the compass might have disappeared when I upgraded from Android 7 to 9, which would be a nice story, but I have a note from 2022-02 when my phone first got the “Enable gyroscope sensor” setting (on upgrade from 21.05.0 to 21.12.0, both Android 9), saying “Skymap and SatStat seem happy enough without” – surely I would have noted if the compass wasn’t working at that point. I’m still running the same OS (Fairphone Open 21.12.0) as I was then.
Is it possible the hardware has stopped working? I can’t even tell if the sensor is enumerated, as I don’t know what I’m looking for. (This teardown says it lives on the core module, which I’ve never replaced, and suggests it is an “AKM Semiconductor AKM8963C 3-axis Electronic Compass”.)
Abridged software history of this phone:
- 2018-04, initially installed Fairphone Open 18.03.1 (Android 6.0.1)
- 2019-03, upgraded from 18.04.1 to Android 7 (19.02.1)
- 2021-07, upgraded from 19.11.2 to Android 9 (21.05.0)
- Still running Android 9 (21.12.0)
(I hope to upgrade to the latest Android 10 build soon.)
I have replaced the bottom module a couple of times (most recently 2021-05), due to broken microphone (unfortunately the microphone is once again broken on my current one).
It has had bad internal connections - with the rear camera (permanently fixed with this tip) and with the screen (ongoing; I periodically follow this procedure, which improves it for a while).
- LSM330D Accelerometer (STMicroelectronics)
- lt1pa01 ALSPRX (Intersil) [“Ambient light level in SI units”]
- LSM330D_Gyro Gyroscope (STMicroelectronics) (unchecking “Enable gyroscope sensor” in “Enhanced hardware features” makes this one go away, but not the next one)
- LSM330D_Gyro Gyroscope Uncalibrated (STMicroelectronics)
- Gravity (QTI)
- Linear Acceleration (QTI)
- AMD (QTI)
- RMD (QTI)
- Rotation Vector (QTI)
- Basic Gestures (QTI)
- Tap (QTI)
- Facing (QTI)
- Tilt (QTI)
- Pedometer (QTI)
- Step Detector (QTI)
- Step Counter (QTI)
- PEDESTRIAN-ACTIVITY-MONITOR (QTI)
- Significant Motion Detector (QTI)
- lt1pa01 ALSPRX (Intersil) [yes, again - this one is “Distance sensor”]
- Orientation (QTI)
- Game Rotation Vector (QTI)
- GeoMagnetic Rotation Vector (QTI)
I don’t know which, if any, of those corresponds to the compass. I assume some are synthesised rather than corresponding to real hardware (particularly some of the “QTI” ones). Not all of them react obviously when I move the phone around.