Battery goes dead when flying my little plane. - Don't think it's a roaming issue.

Discussion in 'Droid RAZR MAXX' started by SammyQ2, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. SammyQ2
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    SammyQ2 New Member

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    I have been loving my pricey new Droid Razr Maax. I recently upgraded from a Droid X2. With the exception of this odd issue, the battery life has been great, however...

    I am a private pilot. On four occasions now I have flown with my MAAX and when I got down the battery was totally drained. DOA. Kaput.

    So, I figured it must be that I was high in the air and the phone went into roaming mode and the battery drained. That's what I figured the first couple of times it happened and I was making longer trips at altitudes >5,000 ft.

    But, last weekend, I made a short hop at a low altitude, about 1,500 feet AGL. I flew over the Mississippi river and wanted to use the camera, but the phone was now dead. At this point I couldn't have been in the air more than eight or ten minutes. It didn't make sense that it drained so fast. The other crazy thing was the phone was cool to the touch. All my other experiences with rapid discharge of batteries has been that the device generated a great amount of heat.

    More crazy stuff to follow.

    When I got on the ground for breakfast at a neighboring airport, I plugged my dead phone into a charger. I got the usual battery charging icon that said the battery was <5% charged. The screwy thing was, I checked on it about 30 minutes later and it was apparently fully charged!.. I would expect a dead phone to charge up in three or four hours. Not 30 minutes.

    At this point the phone seemed fine and fully charged. I resolved to remind myself to always turn the thing off before aviating. Naturally, 15 minutes later, when I departed to head home I forgot to turn the phone off. I guess I better incorporate it in my engine pre-start checklist.

    My destination was literally 5 minutes away from the time I lifted off. (my aircraft cruises at 170 mph). Let's say 6 minutes in the air, allowing time for the landing phase. I wasn't any higher than 1,000 feet agl. On landing the phone was completely dead, and was cool to the touch.

    The following Monday I called Verizon, and explained the problem, much as I explained it here. They didn't know what to make of it, so they sent me a replacement phone. A replacement phone with an intermittent speaker (addressed in another thread).

    So, what do you guys think? What killed the battery so fast?

    Sam
  2. kevins686
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    kevins686 New Member

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    That's plain weird,and I wouldn't know what to suggest, really. Do you suppose something in your avionics might be messing with it? Maybe roaming is more seriously affected when you're not only between towers, but above them as well . . .
  3. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    It does sound like a battery meter problem... That the battery would read 100% when it may really only be 10%. I wonder if altitude would affect that in some way but doubtful because the same would happen when ppl fly. Except usually they would have their phone in airplane mode.

    It will also cause excessive drain if the phone is trying to connect to towers or repeatedly switching between towers. But that the phone reported 4% to 100% in such a short period of time points to the battery meter being off.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
  4. aarong03
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    aarong03 Member

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    When ever I fly, I put my maxx in airplane mode, and never drop more than 6% on 4-6 hr flight. I would suggest you put in the airplane mode when flying. Unless you're already doing that.
  5. 94lt1
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    94lt1 DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I wonder if your radios are chewing through the battery looking for a signal...

    Like suggested above, try putting it in airplane mode and see if that changes anything...
  6. GoBears
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    GoBears New Member

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    If any app or hardware would have been using battery at that rate, the phone would've smoking hot to the touch. I agree with the above poster that suggested something in your avionics was interfering with the phones ability to measure the battery. Either that or it was just defective. Anyway keep sending them back until you get a perfectly good device. That's what you paid for and that's what you should have.

    GoBears and FU Apple
  7. 94lt1
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    94lt1 DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Bermuda triangle stuff lol
  8. SammyQ2
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    SammyQ2 New Member

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    Thanks for the comments.

    As I said in the original post, I have sent that phone back, so it's a little too late to try anything else. I should have consulted this board first. :hail:

    My replacement phone has an intermittent speaker, so that is getting returned this week. Once I finally get a decent phone, I will calibrate the battery. After that is done, I'll take it flying with me again and see if the problem comes up again and report back to this thread.

    BTW, my wife has a Droid Razr (no MAAX) and she is having all sorts of batter issues. I'm in the process of trying to do a meter calibration on hers.

    Thanks for the help.

    Sam
  9. 1coopgt
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    1coopgt New Member

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    You should have checked to see what was using up your battery.

    ForumRunner_20120826_221346.png
  10. TheDroidURLookinFor
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    TheDroidURLookinFor Member

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    I think his phone was afraid of heights and it literally scared the battery out of it. :icon_ goofy:
  11. SammyQ2
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    SammyQ2 New Member

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    Air Sickness Follow-up

    I thought I'd post the results.

    Verizon issued a replacement phone. It takes quite a while to get it set up the way I want it, but it seemed fine. I even upgraded the new phone to .215. So far, so good.

    So, today I took it flying again, just a little hop. The phone was all charged up and I was only going on a 15 mile flight. The top speed 165 mph , the highest altitude was about 1,500 ft. above ground level, and I was in the air about eight minutes. Like I say, just a little hop from one airport to another.

    When I got on the ground, the new phone was deader than a door nail. Nada. Kaput. Zero. :icon_evil: And again, the phone was completely cool. When I pressed the power button, nothing would happen. Nothing.

    I needed to make a safe arrival call and I had a charger with me, so I went to the pilots lounge and plugged it in. The M came up, then the 0% charge, then in a few seconds the 5% charge indicator. Then I pushed the power button and it booted up normally.

    Then something screwy; the GSam Battery monitor said I had about 89% charge! I then unplugged the charger, and the charge remained at about 85%. It was plugged into the charger for perhaps three minutes.

    I have been using the phone for the past seven hours, and it has been just fine, still reading 65%. :blink:

    So, I think there is some sort of logic that tells the battery to shut down and for the phone to go dead and that battery is indeed fine. Maybe it's something installed to force phones to quit when flying in airliners. Maybe it has something to do do with being at higher elevations, but if this was the case, I would think that the phones wouldn't work well in mountains just above cities. 1,500 ft isn't all that high. Maybe it happens when it's in some kind of roaming situation. BTW, this is in downstate Illinois, lots of very small towns and two towns with a combined pupulation of 50,000, so it's not exactly an intensely congested area.

    When I first reported the problem, the tech suport at the Big V had no idea what was going on, so I suppose it's their secret.

    Going forward, I'm just going to consider this a characteristic of the phone and learn to live with it. I guess I will add "Turn off phone (or place in Airplane mode)" in my pre-flight checklist. One more thing I could try, is to plug the car charger into my plane's electrical system and see if that makes any difference. I do like to text my wife when I'm in the air to keep her informed of my position.

    So, strange, eh?
  12. FoxKat
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    FoxKat DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Following this story it seems to jump around a bit...or perhaps that's just the way I am reading it. Still, let's clarify.

    You've had 2 identical Droid RAZR MAXXs and both have exhibited this apparent failure to remain powered up with plenty of charge available and seem to "drain" for no apparent reason and with no physical symptom of heat, and they also fail to boot once they've shut down on their own. Then you plug them into a charger and suddenly, after only a few minutes they have some 85% of a charge. Then using the phones on the ground (no matter what relative altitude), the phones function normally. Strange is too kind a description. To have one do this is extremely strange, but two in a row...remarkable. Most would say it's too much of a statistical odds to be the phone considering how unique the symptoms, and would say the only other variable is the user (no insult intended).

    Well, I would point first to the metering system. The batteries don't "work sometimes and not others", and they are not altitude sensitive to the degrees you are using them. They are temperature sensitive but again not within the ranges of "comfort" you are likely flying in. They will supply the power they have and when they're discharged, they are discharged and must be charged again to replenish their charge. The chemical reaction taking place inside isn't concerned with whether you are at sea-level, 1,000 feet up on land, 5,000 feet in the air in a private plane, 10,000 feet up on a mountain, or 35,000 feet in a commercial jetliner.

    The chemical reaction that stores the power and the reverse that releases it is an exchange of negatively charged Ions within the Lithium Dielectric paste (hence the name Lithium Ion Battery), and it is inside a sealed containment so it's relatively free from climatic changes. The ions move from cathode to anode internally releasing free negative electrons during charging which then move from the anode externally through the wires to the wall adapter and back to the cathode where they meet up with positively charged ions internally to start the process over, and from anode to cathode internally releasing negative electrons which then move externally from the cathode through the device being powered and back to the Anode to join up with positively charged ions internally during discharging. They don't leak out or become less effective at these altitudes, it's technically a closed system.

    Such extremely different readings, and then going from dead to 85% in just minutes points to serious calibration issues with the meter. I would follow the recommendations of the other members here in the forum, do the meter training and make sure you complete all three cycles, charge with power off to 100%, use to 15%, charge with power off to 100% using the STOCK WALL ADAPTER and STOCK CABLE. Report back here in a few days after you've had a chance to give it the full run-through.
  13. SammyQ2
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    SammyQ2 New Member

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    When I mentioned higher elevations, I wasn't talking about the effect of altitude on the battery itself. I was thinking perhaps if the phone senses something like too many cell towers it shuts the phone off. Therefore, if airline passengers forgot turn their phone off, the software would do it automatically for them. Feasible?

    I am about 12 hours into meter calibration right now. Maybe I'll go flying this weekend and see if it had an effect.

    Thanks!
  14. Ophus
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    Ophus New Member

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    You battery is freezing. I have experienced it before, that's why after a few minutes charge you are back up to high percentages, it thaws, so to speak. I asked a pilot about it once and he told me that is why my battery stuff would be dead after a flight. He also said, they claim it won't hurt the battery, but I had one that was frozen several times, to have it's life shortened. This does not affect them in the cabin of commercial airliners, since they are pressurized. I assume your small plane is not, if it is, then disregard what I just wrote.
  15. SammyQ2
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    SammyQ2 New Member

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    Freezing? That's not really true, or at least, not an accurate description.

    The altitude is low, about 1,500 feet. I think it is unlikely it makes any difference to the physical uncharacteristic of the battery, more likely it has something to to with the cell towers.

    Cell towers broadcast line-of-sight. If you are up in the air, you are exposed to a lot more cell towers, since the line of sight is so much further. I am speculating that this increase in a wider coverage may be confusing the phones' operating system and shutting it down. Just a guess.
  16. Ophus
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    Ophus New Member

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    It is not a cell tower problem from being up in the air. I have flown in private jets, with my phone on for 3-4 hours at a time. The impact on the battery is minimal, no different really, than being in an area without service.

    I agree, that freezing is not a good term, it's more of being very cold and as you know, a cold battery either works poorly or not at all.
  17. mountainbikermark
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    mountainbikermark DF Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Is the plane environmentally controlled where your phone is at?

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    A Rezound phone was used for this Tapatalk post
  18. SammyQ2
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    SammyQ2 New Member

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    Cockpit temperature was probably about 75 deg. F.

    Warm sunny day in southern Illinois.
  19. Ophus
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    Ophus New Member

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    It's the rapid pressure change, not the cockpit temperature, that is the problem.
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