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Battery life is horrible

Discussion in 'Droid RAZR' started by jjcisn82, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. jjcisn82
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    jjcisn82 New Member

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    So I am coming from an iPhone 4 because of ICS. I have my razr updated already. However the battery life is horrible. There is no 4G in my area and won't be until later 2013 according to Verizon. My iPhone could go a full day without needing to charge and that's even using 3G to stream pandora and checking facebook and about half an hour or less of gaming. The Razr on the other hand can't even handle half a day. I have tried everything I can think of (setcpu, kill app application, ristricting data connections, using only wifi) and nothing seems to help. I am thinking of switching back to my iPhone and selling my Razr. I do like ICS and droids, I had a Droid X before my iPhone and a Droid before that. But battery life is a big factor. Anyone have any suggestions on how to improve battery life?
  2. wdprice3
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    wdprice3 New Member

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    This is a Razr and not Razr Maxx? How long have you had the device? Task/app killers don't really help to improve battery life (in certain instances they do, but task killers are usually not used properly by the vast majority of users) so I'd stop with that.

    It is possible that the battery has gone bad. A family member's Razr did the same thing and won't hold a charge for more than a few hours now. Try going back to your carrier and swapping devices/getting true tech support. Jumping ship is a knee-jerk reaction and often the wrong choice.

    Best advice? Get a Razr Maxx :p
  3. jjcisn82
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    jjcisn82 New Member

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    Yeah I know its not a Maxx. Its a brand new phone. Just barely a week old. Well I thought I wasn't doing something right other than the app killer. I guess I will see what Verzion can do for me. Thanks for trying.
  4. wdprice3
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    wdprice3 New Member

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    Interesting. Have you given it a few long charges (6+ hr)? Are you running GPS, video, etc. constantly/a lot?

    VZW used to, and may still, tell customers to download and use task killers (hopefully they are no longer though); however, that is horribly bad advice as Android is coded to kill processes (apps/tasks) as needed. There is no need to manually kill apps unless you are troubleshooting, an app is experiencing problems/won't close, or you are certain that there is no reason the app should be running. Android starts and ends processes based on need, resources, and usage patterns, so manually overriding interrupts that process, potentially causing increased battery and processor usage because Android will restart those process it needs or thinks will soon be needed (thus worse battery life and a slower device).
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  5. FoxKat
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    FoxKat Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Let me guess...either you picked up the phone at the Phone Center Store and it was handed to you with power on and fully activated, or you received it in the mail and the first thing you did was power it up and start activating and using it. If so, that was the start of your "battery" problems.

    Before you give up, humor me for 2 days and do the following:

    Tonight before you go to bed...
    1. Turn power off - press and hold Power button, then select "Power off" from the menu
    2. Plug the phone into the STOCK Motorola cable and STOCK Motorola charger block, and plug it into the wall.
    3. Your phone will self-boot, first into the red M logo, then it will show a large battery icon (Green for Gingerbread, Blue for ICS), and a percentage of charge indicated.
    4. Allow it to charge in that state for a minimum of 3 hours (RAZR MAXX - 5.5 hours), or until the phone displays 100%. To check progress briefly tap either Volume up or down. The screen will wake up for about 10 seconds and display the battery and percentage of charge.

      (Note, there is absolutely no benefit to charging for longer than the 3 or 5.5 hours for the RAZR or MAXX. Once the battery reaches 100%, the phone shuts down charging completely. Still, there is very little measurable detriment to leaving it plugged in for extended periods of time infrequently.)
    Next, remove it from charge, power up and use normally, but pay attention to the battery levels as you get close to 15%. Once you reach 15% (not before, but when the phone notifies you of a "Low battery" with a pop-up and "Bong" sound), power the phone off as above.

    Now repeat steps 2 through 4 above.

    Once done, you should see significantly better "battery life".

    This procedure should be performed every 2-3 months.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  6. wdprice3
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    wdprice3 New Member

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    ^great post. Not sure why I didn't think of cycling the battery several times... heck I do it often with my Li-Ion tool batteries. :)


    but wouldn't you want to cycle it all the way down, until it won't even power on? that's what I do with my cordless tool batteries and they come back to almost new every time (minus whatever little deterioration is permanent).
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  7. jjcisn82
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    jjcisn82 New Member

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    Actually I charged it up full. It was at 60% when I got a week ago. I have done the steps you suggested above, just this morning in fact but I haven't had a chance to play with it and see how the battery holds up now. I plan to test it out tomorrow.
  8. FoxKat
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    FoxKat Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    That's a great question. In power tools, that practice may work well, since there isn't really a "Low battery" indicator, but what is obvious about power tools is they run fast and hard for a long time, then begin dropping off - first slowly, then so quickly they won't even turn a screw for instance. In power tools, they pull HIGH current over relatively short periods of time, so the batteries get exercised and the discharge curve is very easy to identify.

    In contrast, our phones are designed to run for 15-30 hours (RAZR/RAZR MAXX), and so the discharge curve is MUCH MORE muted. It's very difficult to tell when the battery in our phones is reaching the point where a charge is needed, since the phone will continue to operate at the same speed, same brightness, same sound level...essentially identical at 1% as it will at 100%. This is in stark contrast to a motorized device where the speed of the motor is directly corresponding to the battery voltage at a particular charge level. For this primary reason, these phones have a very sophisticated meter (or battery health) system, which combines metering of voltage and current with health tests to determine the battery's viability.

    When you discharge the phone, the voltage drops VEEEEERRRRRY SLLLLOOOOOWWWWWLY over the widest part of the discharge cycle - from about 80% charge to about 20% charge. Once it hits about 20% charge, the voltages begin to drop a little faster (similar to the motor beginning to slow down on your power tools - a clear indication that the drill is about to die). It's this increased voltage dropping at about 20% that tells the phone that the battery is nearing the end of its remaining charge. At 15%, the manufacturer has decided that's the most appropriate time to begin charging again, but they give you that last 15% to give you enough time to end whatever you are doing and either power off till you can get to a charger, or simply plug in immediately.

    It's BAD PRACTICE to discharge your phone much below 15%, as confusing as it may seem. The reason is that the batteries in our phones actually suffer "stress" when discharged below about 15%, and likewise suffer stress when charged to 100% and remain there for extended periods of time. Over time, this "stress" contributes to shortening the battery's lifespan. It's designed to last the "target lifespan" of the phone, about 2 years, and if cared for properly will last that long while continuing to provide power to last throughout the day.

    To keep things simple, use your phone's battery meter similarly to how you would use your car's gas gauge. Would you let your car's gas tank run to 0%? Well, no, not unless you enjoy walking a few miles each way along the interstate to retrieve a gallon of gas when your car stalls in 90+ degree heat in the middle of the day, or when it's 20 degrees out and pitch black at night. It's common practice (and for good reason as described), to start looking for a gas station as your car's gas gauge nears or reaches "Low fuel" and that annoying light appears. Well, the "Low power" pop-up on the screen of your phone is the smartphone's version of your car's "Low fuel" light on the dashboard.

    Another thing - off topic...most people don't realize you'll actually get better overall gas mileage with your car if you don't fill the tank every time, but instead "fill as you go", adding $10 or $20 per day depending on your distance of travel. The reason, gas weighs 6 pounds per US Gallon. A 20 gallon tank holds 120 pounds of gasoline, or another passenger. An empty car takes less gas to move than a full one, so with each passenger you add, you reduce gas mileage. Same holds true with the gas tank. By not filling the tank, but instead maybe running in the half-tank range, you'll increase gas mileage by removing the weight of about 1/2 of a passenger. My truck holds 29.5 gallons, so that's about 180 pounds...the weight of a typical adult.

    So all you people who need to top off your tanks, then complain you are getting terrible gas mileage, give this a try...don't fill the tank.

    Well, as it turns out, phone batteries also give you better "lifespan" if you don't "top them off" frequently but instead "fill as you go". Adding a partial charge, such as from 30% to 70%, is actually better for the battery long-term and your battery will last longer over time. Looks like my car analogy wasn't so far off-topic after all!
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  9. FoxKat
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    FoxKat Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Well, you are the rare breed, for sure. Good! So charging it BEFORE activating is what the manufacturer actually says in the documentation, and so the phone at least got a good start. You've already performed the charge to 100% with power off, use to 15%, charge to 100% with power off? Great! So now the only thing left is to give the phone a chance to "settle in". When a phone is new, it will go through a period of heavy data use, high CPU usage, and a lot of internal configuration. Over several days, it can seem to be sucking the life out of the battery. This will subside.

    In 3-4 days to a week, the phone will have populated all the caches, prepared any swapfiles on the internal ram, and just about everything will be configured to work out of the gate with no added effort by the phone. That is when the battery life will appear to have "improved". Call it the reverse honeymoon! No fun till AFTER the honeymoon! :biggrin:

    The Droid RAZR and its bigger baby brother the RAZR MAXX are two of the best phones on the market, arguably two of the top 4 or 5 at their introduction, and still considered one of the top 5 or 10 depending on what reviews you read. But don't expect the RAZR to give you a day's long use if you use the phone for data intensive applications, communication over the internet, videos, games or other screen-intensive applications, and reading books (believe it or not, a huge power draw since most eBooks are black text on a white background, with white screens being the biggest power suck.

    The MAXX on the other hand can certainly go the distance and leave you with power to spare.
  10. jjcisn82
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    jjcisn82 New Member

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    Well I gave the ICS update some time to settle in and training my battery did nothing. I then tried the Eclipse ICS rom. A world of difference that made! I now have the kind of battery life I was looking for. After a full eight hours of work I have dropped to 80% with wifi off, data off. I did turn data on a few times during breaks to surf the web. Whereas before on the stock ICS update I would have been around the 40% range under the same usage. I am hoping with Jelly Bean's source code out now that will start to see some awesome roms for our razrs.
  11. Caesars
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    Caesars Well-Known Member

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    As someone who has had multiple iPhones and Androids, with MY PERSONAL usage patterns, a normal Android (no battery saving apps) would never come CLose to my iPhone battery. Of course i have a maxx :). If you're still able to swap out, you may want to get a phone with a removable battery. Honestly no Droid (besides the maxx) should have a non removable battery


    When Apple goes to bed at night, it checks under the bed for the Samsung monster.
  12. ocramavaf
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    ocramavaf New Member

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    I beg to differ in the no DROID are I mean the samsung DROIDs usually have good battery life compared to an iphone and the RAZR while not as good is decent I mean i practically live off my phone as my laptop just died so data wifi gps and sinc are always on and i am constantly thumbing it, I would say I am a moderate user and i can get about 13-14 hours before my low battery saver mode kicks in from smart actions which triggers at 20% so while its no where close my old nokia N8 which used to go for a full 24 hours and change with similar usage i would say as far as droids go its pretty neat, surely better than my mothers desire HD and my dads Sensation XEBONS
  13. ocramavaf
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    ocramavaf New Member

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    That was sensation XE my self correct kicked in
  14. Beckeramos
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    Beckeramos New Member

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    Curious if anyone has the same battery issue..My battery voltage charges to around 4260 with the phone off and charges to 4354.with phone on...anyone else noticing that with theres?
  15. FoxKat
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    FoxKat Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    I had started to answer this earlier but never completed... This is a work in progress so until you see "In closing...", it's not done.

    Battery charging is a strange animal, because it's not just voltage but also amperage (or current) that together comprise the battery's capacity. Voltage and current are hard concepts to explain, but I'll try to give it to you in layman's terms.

    Voltage is sometimes described as pressure (or as I like to say, desire to flow from point to point). Current or Amperage is described as the volume or rate of flow. Sometimes it is described as the water pressure in a hose. With the hose closed, the pressure is the desire for the water to flow out of the hose through the closed nozzle. Once you open the hose's nozzle, then the water starts to flow, and then the rate of flow (gallons per minute), would represent the amperage or current. You can have voltage (pressure) without current (flow), but you can't have current (flow) without voltage (pressure). If there were no pressure (voltage), the water wouldn't flow (current), yet there can be measurable pressure (voltage) even when the nozzle is closed and there is no flow (current).

    When charging a battery two things happen. First, the voltage being pumped into the battery is higher than the voltage the battery is at when its discharged, and even slightly higher than what the nominal charged voltage for the battery is when fully charged. Without a higher voltage, the battery wouldn't charge, since there would not be pressure to force the charge into the battery. In other words, a 3V battery level wouldn't take a charge from a 3V charger, but would begin taking a charge if the charger were 3.1V or more.

    Second, there is the amount of current allowed to be forced into the battery. For us, it's limited to 750mAh, but on the chart below it's showing 1A (1,000mAh). Also, you'll notice the charging voltage starts down around 1V (as represented by the voltage legend on the right), but for our batteries, it starts at about 3V, so once again the chart is somewhat of a misrepresentation of our batteries.

    While there is still more than enough capacity to take the full 750mAh of current, it will continue at that level. Meanwhile, the voltage is slowly rising. Once the battery reaches the nominal charged voltage (around 4.2V), the battery is now beginning to "fill out", and so what happens is the amount of current it will allow or absorb starts to decline (the line that slopes downward). With our chargers, the "Stage 1" charge portion is very long, since it's charging slower. Stage 2 is rather short by comparison. So somewhere near 90% of capacity, the charger steps down the voltage and slows the charging rate to allow the battery to gently fill the last 10%.

    Eventually as the battery nears current draw that represents about 3% of capacity (even a fully charged battery will draw SOME current), meaning the battery is approaching 100% full (1,750mAh at about 4.2V for the RAZR, 3,300mAh also at about 4.2V for the MAXX), the charging system shuts down completely and then remains in a wait state until voltages drop to about 90% of maximum, indicating a partial discharge, at which point the charger kicks in again and "tops off" the battery back to 100%.

    In all batteries that are being charged, once the battery has stopped charging, there is a period of "settling in" where the voltages will stabilize and reduce or "roll off" slightly. This isn't the same as self-discharge which happens over longer time-frames, but could be compared to the balloon relaxing a slight bit from right after it's having been filled. The pressure inside the balloon will drop slightly as the rubber relaxes and "gives" a little more. It's not a fair comparison but an analogy that can help to make sense of this. What really happens is some of the excess voltage helps the current to "settle in" and gives of itself in the process. It's small but enough to see.

    View attachment 52715

    The question was, why does the battery seem to reach a higher voltage with the power on than with the power off. I can't say for sure, but this likely has to do with the "parasitic load" of the phone. Since the phone is also drawing current, it has the tendency to "fool" the meter into believing the battery is a bit larger than it really is, so the meter will allow the charger to continue charging at the higher voltage of Stage 1, rather than stepping down the charge rate to Stage 2, perhaps causing the voltage of the battery to rise beyond the 4.2V nominal that it's pegged to stop at. Another possibility is that even though it may have switched into Stage 2, it still doesn't see the signature 3% current draw that signals a full battery, since the phone is pulling current too, so the battery is unfortunately being over-charged as a result.

    I've said it before, the most accurate way to get 100% charge is to do so with power off. This will allow the charging circuit and meter to accurately determine charge levels along the way and switch from Stage 1 to Stage 2, to Stage 3 (waiting), without risk of either over or under-charging the battery. Still, charging with power on isn't going to substantially over-charge the battery and so it's not going to place the battery at substantial risk of long-term lifespan reduction.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  16. jtc303
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    jtc303 New Member

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    Which is why you didn't spring for the Maxx? :p
  17. jjcisn82
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    jjcisn82 New Member

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    I didn't get my phone from a Verizon store. I got at Walmart and funds were a little short to go for a max and I wanted to hurry up and lock in my lower price and unlimited data before Verizon switched to the share everything plans.
  18. bacK_N_87
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    bacK_N_87 New Member

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    I wonder if your phone is constantly searching for the mystery 4G service? I heard that could drain your battery.
  19. jtc303
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    jtc303 New Member

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    Just messin witcha
  20. Beckeramos
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    Beckeramos New Member

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    Foxkat thank you very much. Had to take a deep breath there but certainly some very good information. Some very interesting analogies there.
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