FP3 charging unreliably, USB-C connector broken?

A couple of weeks ago my FP3 stopped charging in the middle of the night. I first thought it was the charger or the cable, but it wasn’t. The problem persisted with all cables and all chargers that have perviously worked well. I noticed that if I applied slight pressure on the USB-C connector when it was connected to the phone, it charged the phone. Sometimes it helps if i pull out the connector half a millimeter or so. Sometimes it helps if I turn it the other way. But no way is reliable and the phone can stop charging at any time. With time, this has become worse and I’m worried that it’s just a matter of time until I can’t charge my phone at all.

I have cleaned the USB-C connector in the phone with compressed air, but that didn’t help. Is there anything else I can do? Or do I have to replace it with spare parts?

(I opened a support ticket with Fairphone but unfortunately they’re not very quick to respond, so I feel the need to ask the forum for help too.)

You may well be able to buy a new bottom module and replace it.

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You may well be able to buy a new bottom module and replace it.

I suspect as much. I just want to exclude all other possible explanations. Like that all my chargers and cables all stopped working at the same time.

If there is any other FP3 user or Fairphone Angel nearby, you could first test if their FP3 bottom module works in your FP3.

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That can cause debris to just be pushed in further. Have you tried looking into the connector to check if there’s anything to see? Try to carefully remove some dirt using a (not too pointy) needle or similar tool that fits into the connector.
Have you cross-checked with another USB cable and charger? After ruling this out, there is pretty much only the USB-C connector left and you might have to replace the respective module. If you have some way of trying another known working module either privately or through a #fairphoneangel, I’d suggest doing that before ordering a replacement part.
Another point to consider: Is your phone still under warranty? In that case it would be better to let Fairphone figure it out, but it might take some time, of course. :frowning:

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Nothing visible. Didn’t dare using a needle or anything metal, but tried a toothpick. Couldn’t feel anything either.

I’m pretty sure it’s the connector. I’ll give the support staff a few more days, then I’ll order a spare part. And a new cable, just to be sure…

Before you use a metal needle you would be wise to remove the battery, then there shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you have a good magnification way of seeing.

You can of course remove the module before cleaning.

A toothpick??? Wooden ?? Too fat and flaky. Maybe a plastic one ??

Have you check out if there’s a #fairphoneangel near than may assist??

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Have you check out if there’s a #fairphoneangel near than may assist??

Yes. I live in the northern parts of Sweden. Nearest is in Oslo, 847 kilometers away… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

A toothpick??? Wooden ?? Too fat and flaky. Maybe a plastic one ??

Wooden. Sharpened to reach the bottom of the connector bay. All I see at the bottom is plastic. All i can touch with the toothpick is plastic at the bottom. Sure, I can have another try this evening, but I suspect I’ll end up with the same result.

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That probably means you also don’t know any person close by that could switch bottom modules with you for testing? Depending on warranty status the only solution might be to order a new module, indeed.

Unfortunately, I’m the only one I know with a FP3 among my friends and acquaintances. But I can always ask around. Thanks for the suggestion!

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The advantage of buying a new bottom module is that it is the most likely module you will replace without a screen ‘accident’

They have been out of stock on occasion so you would be able to sell a spare if you don’t want it.

It could be a quick solution

Just looking at my ‘port’ I can see debris could collection is a small recess at the bottom, this could buil and move.

Debris can have oils etc. from wood fibre, wood dust etc. smoke and so on. Oils will not only adhere to any more solid debris but alone can coat the contacts. Given that most oils are drying oils of varying degrees it is inevitable that some may eventually inhibit good contact.

Do you have another device to test the combinations of the above. Equally if you have a couple of other cables lying around they may be duff.

Still the suspect is the port and it sounds like you have tried just about everything.
As you say support lags and then they will ask you do do lots of checks, so buying a bottom module would be an idea.

When did you buy the phone? It may still have a warranty, if bought after less than 2 years form when you first contacted support about the issue, so always good that you contacted them first .

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I have submitted the first batch of standard checks from Fairphone support but that was more than a week ago. Unfortunately, i bought the device just a little more than two years ago, in March or April 2020. So it’s just out of warranty.

And yes, the cables I use, I use with all USB-C devices, and they work well. So I guess I’ll just go ahead and order that bottom module, because the problem is getting worse. This night, I had to put my wristwatch on the connector to bend it slightly downwards with just about the right force – but it still stopped charging while I was asleep.

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I had this kind of issue recently.

1st I managed to clean the connector with a wooden toockpick soaked in alcohol.

That made the connection much more reliable, however not all cables worked the same and not all chargers.

I realized the charger that I had been using for 1 year without issue was now useless. It was a very compact 1A HTC charger. This was quite surprising since the same charger worked fine for a long time.

I also realized that the “battery saver” feature seemed to interfere with charging. I am half sure this was fixed during an update. But I would try turning it off/on during charging tests if I had trouble again.

Also I noticed the best looking and expensive cable I had did not fit well on my FP3. It is about 0.5 mm too deep for my phone. I tried several cables and found 2 that work reliably. They are cheap ones from a 3-pack of different sizes bought at Mediamarkt.

I found out by leaving them charging for 1 hour and noting the battery level. With bad charger/cable connection the charge never reached 100%.

After cleaning connector and finding a working charger and cable, I found other seemingly battery related issue: the torch blinked visibly. I captured it on video for FP support team.

Finally, during troubleshooting I fully dismounted the phone guided by Fairphone support. It might have had an effect on the position of some connector, who knows. And we had some software updates. The issues kept me worried for 2/3 months and now it seems gone for as long.

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Hi and welcome to the forum and thanks for the story. :slight_smile:

All the best.

I had the same issue.
After doing all the checks with support I send the fp3 to have it checked qnd they found the botom module to be broken.
Which was already expected but happely they had a replacement module which was sold out in the webshop at that moment in time .
But needed to use different phones for 1,5 weeks

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Hi. I had a similar FP3 issue with the charging cable not being retained. I think some grains of sand may have got in. I tried cleaning with a pin - no improvement, so I’ve ordered a new bottom module
In the meantime, the problem has gone, so I assume the sand has disintegrated or fallen out.
Barry

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Received a long reply from Fairphone support which basically said “you can send it to us for repairs or fix it yourself”, so I’m ordering that bottom module…

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Replaced bottom module with a little help from FixIt and everything seem to work fine. Comparing the new and the old bottom module, I could see significant wear on the USB-C connector. An the connector actually fits tight instead of being loose and wobbly.

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You may want to consider a magnetic cable in future where the small bit stays in the phone. I’m about to buy 10 and pass them around to family and friends.

From a company allegedly started up by some former Fairphone employees using the same Fairtrade gold etc.

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Fair enough.
But if you don’t want to wait for the new product, and as you have working cables it seems, magnetic adapters to use with your existing cables have been around for years, you might want to consider giving them a try. They can keep the port from deteriorating.

https://forum.fairphone.com/search?q=magnetic%20adapters%20order:latest

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