12 Jan 2008 14:05 Subscribe

Fixing a broken N810, or… A new way to freeze a device

Finally I ordered a Nokia N810 with my discount code provided by the Maemo project on Tuesday. It arrived Thursday. With all my tenseness and pleasant anticipation, it looked and felt great while having a quick glance. But the disenchantment followed right away:

Huh? What's that? It doesn't power on after shutting it down the first time. Putting in the charger doesn't help. Removing the battery and putting it back doesn't help. "Charging" it several hours (without any sign that it does so) doesn't help. Removing the battery for several minutes doesn't help. Checking with a original Nokia battery and charger from a colleague doesn't help. What to do? (Already really frightened of having received a broken device…)

In the evening, I decided to remove the battery and put it on the balcony. On the balcony? Why that? It only was a very vague suspicion…it's currently winter in Europe, you know ;-). Waiting…(and maybe praying) about another 30 minutes. Device was cold now. Inserting the battery, pushing the power button, and voila! The N810 turns on and powers up properly. Happy about thinking that this was only a temporary failure, I tried again some minutes later and the device kept silent again. What a mess! Next day, another colleague came to me telling me that he has exactly the same problem. And I already had a temporary solution for him…(Skip the next paragraph if you want to read it immediately)

Yahoo'ing around, I found out that this is a well known problem, at least for the customers, I don't know how it behaves to the Nokia company/manufacturers. There are plenty of reports for this issue. On Internettablettalk and even in the Maemo bugzilla known as "N800 Power up Drama". Interestingly, the problem seems to also be present on N800 devices. But only the new and recent ones. So it seems that some electronic parts like capacitors installed in recent devices (N800 and N810) are causing this issue. I tried everything people are suggesting, waiting a specific period of time before switching it on again, making sure that everything fits properly, enabling r&d mode, and so on. Please don't tell me "Just don't power off the device", because that's what I'm generally doing, but that's no choice when you're on the road running out of battery. And you sometimes need to power down the device for development, too.

The only thing that seems to help:

  1. Switch the device off
  2. Remove the battery
  3. Put the device to a fridge (without the battery) for about 30 minutes. If you are impatient like I am, put it into a deep-freezer for about 10 minutes to get it cold. Hint: Use a plastic bag to protect it from moisture, and more importantly, don't forget about it while doing something else ;-)
  4. Take it out and insert the battery
  5. Turn it back on, you'll see that it works

This procedure was already verified on two devices.

Strange, I currently know of five people having a N810, with two of them showing this issue. This is really bad percentage. I already fear that this is like the issue I encountered with my N800 and the display issue where the right side of the touchscreen became more and more unresponsive. Also widely known. To that time, I returned the N800 back to Nokia, and it lasted solid 6 weeks until I got a repaired device. I do not want to repeat that! I do not want to develop inside a scratchbox without the possibility to see the outcome on a live device. But the most frustrating thing I encounter these days is that there is no official statement from Nokia about this issue. There's still not even one for the display issue with the N800. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The only thing which keeps me alive ( ;-) ) and which prevents me from returning the device immediately is the hope that it can be fixed via software. I just hope that there will be a statement by the Nokia or Maemo people telling me: "Be patient, we're working on the issue with high pressure and we think it can be fixed with a firmware update". If it really is a hardware issue, I at least hope that the issue is handled as "we've sold broken devices, process returned ones with high priority!".

Getting away from the bad news, if there wouldn't be those, I would really be amazed by this gadget! As long as it's on, I just have fun with it. I'm just very frustrated.


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