Droid Ultra Speaker Problems

Discussion in 'Rescue Squad Help' started by Fumble Fingers, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Fumble Fingers

    Fumble Fingers New Member

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    My first venture into the workings of this phone.
    My intent was to replace the battery and the charger port.
    Battery = no problem.
    Charger Port = One he!! of a job, but got it done and it's working.

    I put it (partially)back together and charged it. I didn't attach the rear cover for this.
    The speaker won't work (It was fine when took it apart)!
    I've opened that compartment several times to look for problems. Checked all the contacts to no avail.
    The head set works fine.

    Now here are some clues that might mean something to you (but not to me).
    When I power up the phone, the Droid graphic comes up but the familiar "Droid" voice does not sound (ear buds or speaker).
    When I re assemble the back of the case, the screen goes black! It's still running in the background (the vibrator turns when i press the 'Menu' buttons on the bottom of the screen).
    As I remove the case top left (facing the screen), the screen comes back on.

    I'm sure all these symptoms are related somehow but can't seem to find the problem.
    Any ideas?
    Alex
     
  2. Miller6386

    Miller6386 Developer
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    I am not familiar with the inside of that device in any way but my initial thought about the screen issue is the sensor for if it is up to your head. Is that in the ear piece or separate? Could you have that in backwards which makes that sensor go dark as you put the back on?

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
     
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  3. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    Alright, so you have it seems two distinctly different issues, with one being possibly two of their own unrelated issues. The speaker is no longer functioning (and you have some different results coming from the speaker and earbuds depending on whether in the boot process or fully booted), and the display is only working when the case is not applying pressure due to being clipped shut.

    With respect to the sound, that it works with the earbuds but not the speaker suggests a hardware failure, due perhaps to the tiny ribbon cable that connects the speaker to the motherboard or daughterboard being damaged, or damage to the contacts. Do you have a loupe, or other high magnification tool to inspect the speaker's ribbon cable and both cable and board contacts closely? If so, look for any pinching, scratches or tears, or delamination on the cable, and for any contacts that may be bent or offset.

    The ribbon cable should be smooth, flat (except where deliberately engineered bends or curves are), uniform in color and transparency and uninterrupted. The contacts should look uniform like the teeth on a new comb. Sometimes reseating the contacts and opening and reclosing the connectors may resolve this. Also inspect the connector's solder contacts at the boards and look for any tiny cracks in the solder, or possible tears or other damage to the traces on the boards

    Next, since the sound through the earbuds does not work during booting but does otherwise suggests there could be a setting, software or firmware issue. Until you have isolated and resolved the speaker's non-functioning you can't be sure the two issues are related.

    Finally, since the display works while the case, cable(s), and/or connector(s) are not under pressure suggests the issue is almost certainly connection related. It could again be a damaged cable, connector or even a damaged connection somewhere else on the motherboard or on the display itself, where with pressure it causes the connection to break temporarily but once pressure is removed the connection is able to resume and conduct properly.

    As with any component that either works completely or fails completely on an intermittent basis you also want to be sure the power is getting to that component 100% uninterrupted. Since the display both requires power and successful communication of signals to function it means in this case the issue could be either a power issue or a signal issue, both of which travel on the same connections and ribbon cables.

    When I work on these tiny devices I wear high power reading glasses and even sometimes wear two pairs on tandem to further magnify what I'm seeing. I also have a couple different jeweler's loupes to do extremely close inspection of my work. Also bright white, directional light is extremely helpful.

    Some of the issues you're having are unfortunately some of the most difficult to isolate and troubleshoot since they are intermittent. The simplest troubleshooting technique in intermittent problems is to exchange known good parts for intermittent ones to see if the problem is inherent in the parts themselves or on the boards or devices they connect to. This would require you having a second set of working display and speaker.





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    #3 FoxKat, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
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  4. Fumble Fingers

    Fumble Fingers New Member

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    Thanks for your replys, guys.
    I will elaborate a little and say that my reference to the ear bud is for the plugin ones.
    Note that the "speaker" used when 'talking on the phone' works also.
    I will have a closer look at the ribbons on the sister board. I did remove the tape on one of those connectors so I'll look more carefully.

    Guess I'll measure the thickness of this new battery I case that's the spice of the pressure you eluded to. However (and coincidentally) I noticed that the problem (black screen) occurred while seating to upper left corner of the back case. This are is where the audio sister board connections to the mother board reside.
    Can't imagine how that area could affect the screen (unless it's creating a current draining short).
    Any and all opinions welcome.
    Alex
     
  5. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
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    Alex, thanks for the clarification regarding the ear buds (which I understood originally). The critical new information regarding the speaker actually functioning during phone calls assures the problem is signal related.

    Also, your observation about the upper left corner of the case closing affecting the screen operation may or may not actually point to the actual area of the board or cable/connector which is losing connection under pressure and causing that failure. As that last section of the case snaps shut it will likely remove any uneven pressures that the rest of the cover (while twisted unevenly), is imparting on the rest of the phone while not fully snapped and the case back is not comfortably flat. That uneven pressure is temporarily helping make a failed contact electrically conductive until pressure is balanced out again. This means the actual areas of failure could be as far away from that corner as the completely opposite corner.

    Regarding the speaker working during phone calls but not during other sources of audio, this suggests that whatever conductor(s), it is being disrupted must be unique to the audio source(s). In other words, the phone audio likely travels along a different electrical path on the board and/or ribbon cable(s), than the other audio sources. This does prove at least that the speaker itself has not failed. It also almost assuredly proves that the failure must again be conductor related.

    It's not uncommon for electronics to work fine while a case is open, only to fail once the case is closed again, and being related to stresses caused by changing pressure. I've experienced that myself in several electronic devices where the tightening or loosening of a specific screw makes all the difference. This is frequently due to a broken solder joint or cracked board trace. Given that these conductors and contacts are so tiny and fragile, it comes as no surprise to me. It also means that finding the point of failure could be a daunting task, however it may also wind up being rather obvious depending on where and what type of failure it is. Close inspection will hopefully be fruitful.



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    #5 FoxKat, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  6. Fumble Fingers

    Fumble Fingers New Member

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    As it turns out, this was all ONE issue.
    The BATTERY!
    I measured the thickness of the new battery (an OEM replacement btw) and it is 0,030" thicker that the original.
    This, undoubtedly is the reason the screen blacks out when I install the back cover.

    Oddly enough this is also the cause of the speaker problem.
    The sister board, which contains all the audio stuff (there is actually an extra speaker in there which is only active during a phone conversation) covers the top 1/3 of the battery and holds the antenna in place.
    Since this board (and the speaker) relies on a number of spring type contacts to connect to the mother board, the extra battery thickness was preventing some of these connections.
    I simply lifted the two contacts for the speaker and Voila, the speaker works again.

    I'll contact the vendor of the battery but, for now, the phone is in a two piece case which holds it well and covers all the otherwise exposed components and my wife is happy to have her Droid back.

    Many Thanks FoxKat, for your help and opinions. You nudged me in all the right directions.
    Alex
     
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  7. Miller6386

    Miller6386 Developer
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    The Droid Ultra is one of my favorite devices I had. The speaker was awesomely loud!

    Glad you are back up and running.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
     
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