Unable to charge battery

Hi,

I have been having significant issues with charging my FP3 (2 months old) for the last week. I have submitted a request in the troubleshooting section of the website but am told it could take up to 10 days to get a reply and currently I cannot use my phone at all! On top of this, the telephone support lines have been closed for the last 2 days. I don’t understand how fairphone think this is an acceptable level of customer service and I certainly don’t think it’s very “fair”. I am turning to the community in the hope that somebody else may have had this issue and could help. I’ll copy and paste what I sent to fairphone below. Thanks.

My phone was previously working well and charging with no issues. Suddenly it stopped charging last week. It will occasionally charge while the phone is switched off, but more often than not it will wake the screen as if charging, but then continue a cycle of screen waking as if persistently rebooting, but not actually charging.

I have confirmed that my cable is still working and was working well with the phone before. It is quick charge enabled. I have tried other certified cables but am unsure of the brands - they also failed to work. There are no other issues with the phone or battery.

I have not tried a factory reset and believe that it is likely a software issue. At the moment it is dead and I am totally unable to charge it! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to the community forum.

Without a factory reset there is no likely or unlikely here, only guessing.

Have you tried a different charger or charging on a USB port of a computer?

As for things you could try yourself right now:

  • Disassemble the Bottom module (which includes the USB port) from the phone and assemble it again. Here’s how … https://support.fairphone.com/hc/en-us/articles/360032260272-Replace-a-Fairphone-3-module .
    If you’re feeling confident, you could try to carefully clean the connector contacts in the process with some cleaning alcohol.
    (If you happen to have #fairphoneangels in your vicinity, perhaps they could help out, with some luck there could be somebody with Fairphone 3 or general electronics knowledge.)
  • There are universal smartphone battery chargers.
    Try to find one which fits the Fairphone 3 battery to be able to charge it outside the phone as a temporary workaround.
    I just checked the universal charger I have for my Fairphone 2 batteries, and it doesn’t fit, the contact slots of the Fairphone 3 battery are too narrow for the contact pins of the charger.
    So being able to have a look at the piece beforehand in a shop should be desirable.
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I’ve also recently had issues charging. The most likely culprit seems to be dirty or loose contacts. If you want to try to clean them, it cannot be stressed enough that you need to be extremely gentle and careful.

Thanks for your help! Tried a fastboot and disassembled the bottom module. Contacts all looked clean but it has decided to start working again and kept working perfectly through 3 restarts and test battery drains. Hopefully it stays this way but I would be skeptical.

I’m having the exact same issue but trying all of the below has not solved it :frowning:

  1. Fastboot
  2. Factory Reset
  3. Reset battery (30 mins out of phone)
  4. Remove bottom module and clean contacts

I’ve ordered a replacement bottom module and hopefully that will solve the problem…

As an example, this universal smartphone battery charger here works for the Fairphone 3 battery:

It works because the 2 contact parts are thin enough and stand out enough.
So, even if this particular charger might not be available somewhen somewhere, if anybody is in need, just look for universal chargers with similarly shaped contacts.

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Hey, I did all of those bar the factory reset. As I said above, it sort of just started working again after about 2 weeks of no use. However, now I have a lot of software issues.

It will often tell me it is charging a device via USB, despite there being none connected. As well as this, my screen will occasionally become unresponsive and start behaving erratically, pressing random things, switching on and off WiFi, Bluetooth etc by itself. Also turns on the torch itself too which flashes instead of being constant. Torch will also only flash even if I turn it on myself now.

It has been moved up the line in the tech support team and I’m awaiting a reply. The reply to my initial problem took 16 days. But my phone is now useable which is an improvement at any rate… Hopefully yours will semi-fix itself too!

Disappointed with the level of support and their repair centre is closed now due to covid. Let me know if you manage to get it sorted. I will do likewise. All the best.

It is unlikely to be the problem but have you made sure the screen is completely dry? Random touches happen to basically all capacitive touchscreens (all smartphones) if the screen is wet (due to wet/sweaty fingers). Just a little bit of sweat is enough to make a phone go crazy in my experience.

If you meant everything but a factory reset I would highly recommend updating to the latest software version (if it isn’t running the latest version yet) and doing a factory reset. Make sure to backup any data on the device before doing so.

Thanks!!

I should hopefully have a new bottom module tomorrow to see if that is the culprit.

As a contingency I’ve bought the Bilora LCD Li-ion universal charger and that should arrive soon after. At least it can charge my camera batteries on holiday if the bottom module is the culprit haha!

I am just assuming all this is faster than asking Fairphone for help at the moment… I assume also that there is some form of warranty that I could claim under should it be more than the bottom module. I don’t mind buying the bottom module off my own back, it’s a good
company to invest in :slight_smile:

Battery can now charge!!

I can now charge and use my phone as normal after replacing the bottom module. I had however previously factory reset my phone, no other issues to be found :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the update. Glad to hear it’s working again for you!

Hi so I’m in Canada and have the same issue but ordering from Germany seems silly if I can order from North America. Could someone confirm that this charger won’t damage my battery? (I think in my case I damaged the batter using a cord that wasn’t the proper specs. I’m getting a new fairphone3 bottom module as well as charging cord to be safe but it’d be nice to be able to charge it externally too so I could have a backup battery while the other is in the phone.
https://www.batterycanada.com/universal_lithium_charger.asp

The original amazon.de one isn’t available anymore.
Any alternatives (or something better?)

I am currently searching for a universal external charger that ideally would fit all four Fairphone batteries (FP1, FP2, FP3 and FP4). I think I have found one or two (currently available) candidates by the company Ansmann. However, what keeps causing me headaches is Fairphone’s requirement (both in the FP3 support article as well as in the FP4 support article) of a “Minimum output of 1 ampere (1A, 1000mA)” – the external chargers usually seem to actually just max out at 1000mA (if you’re lucky) or even lower.

Now should I expect actual damage to a FP3 or FP4 battery if I used an external charger with less than 1000mA – or is it just that I will need a lot of patience to charge the battery?

I doubt that charging the batteries slower will do any damage and I see no reason why they would not charge at all.
If you connect your phone to a PC USB port, it might supply as little as 200mA (at 5V ~= 1W) while an external charger that can supply 1000mA in the 3.7 - 4.2V range would be between 3.7 and 4.2W.

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You are unlikely to find a charger than does less than 5V output as in a PC USBA port.

At that voltage 5V for a 4.4V charge rate a 3000mAh battery will take more than 3 hours. 3 x 1000mA.

The older PC USBA version 2 only provides 500mA so the same battery would take at least 6 hours if not 7 or 8: but the lower rate ‘arguably’ will benefit the longevity of the battery.

I have some real trouble following your reasoning here.

There are plenty of chargers that have less than 5V output. And if you are going to directly hook a Li-Ion battery up to it, they better do, as charging them at 5V would kill them.

I have no idea what you are saying here.

USB 2.0 provides 500mA max, that is correct. But it can be as low as 200mA by default.
You cannot directly conclude that charging a 3000mAh battery from USB at 500mA would take 6 hours because those things happen at different voltages:

  • USB: 5V
  • Li-Ion battery: around 4V give or take, depending on the details
    • FP3/4 batteries in particular: nominal voltage 3.85V, max charging voltage: 4.4V

Let’s assume about 3.85V for the battery, so 3000mAh would be roughly 11550mWh of total capacity.
To provide that amount of energy from a 5V USB connection (ignoring losses), you would need a minimum of roughly 5h.

  • The user requires a USBC I’ve never come across a USB capable charger that gives less than 5v

  • A 5V supply will, given the phone’s control will likely give a max of 4.4V(fairphone) A 1000mA charge rate would take 3 hours to charge a 3000mAh battery, without losses

  • True it would take longer at 200mA but the rest of your last para js the same. Sure you may get it done in 5hours not 6, without losses

  • It’s an indication of what may happen. I have a 5.1V 2.4A supply and it still take 5 hours as there is no QC3 com

Anyway, I’ve risked it and ordered one. Will report back when it’s here and after I have tested it. :slight_smile:

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As far as I understood @urs_lesse, the point was to charge the batteries outside of a phone, so the 5V USB input does not apply in that situation.

Still not. USB delivers 5V, maybe slightly less under load. But the charge controller in the phone will never ever pass 4.85V into the battery as this would surely kill it. Check the label: Max charging voltage for the FP batteries is 4.4V. The capacity of the battery is based on its own voltage profile that is independent of the voltage and current delivered via USB because it is converted so that the battery can actually take the charge without being damaged.

The exact timings are speculative of course and only useful as a rough guide. My point was to illustrate how one would make that (educated) guess more or less correctly based on the data known.

Anyway, I’m interested in hearing how well that charger actually works. :slight_smile:

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