Nokia Lumia 800 Battery Issue

, posted: 17-Apr-2012 12:39

In previous blog entries, I have shared my experiences using the Nokia Lumia 800 to gain an advantage over a busy day or schedule. As had been previously mentioned, I found the battery life to be remarkably less than the advertised expectation. In this blog entry, I have decided to deal with what is actual fact regarding this battery “issue” and how to work around this, if at all possible, if it at all exists – I haven’t ruled out my tinkering yet.
 
Sticking to Facts
When calling any support line, remember some of the questioning routines are designed to correlate with a flowchart that leads to a specific solution. For this reason, presenting subjective information usually results in incorrect fixes or wasted time. When I called the Care Centre, they had a lot of questions and tasks I needed to follow on the handset. As I found myself scrambling to get the information from the handset while on a call as much as struggling to remember when events occurred, I decided to retreat, hard reset the handset and start the battery investigation from fresh.
 
So you know: As a worst case scenario, as with any purchase, if returning the item is the last option, it won’t be a supported move without proof and fact, so starting again, but logging the errors and events over a few days means I will have a specific record of facts to either help work the problem out or present for comment from any parties involved.

Diagnostics and Battery Cycling
Using the Nokia Diagnostics application (dial ##634# from the phone application), I have ascertained the battery uses between 200 and 300mA during the course of the day, while 'awake'. A quick survey between mates and other Geekzoners showed that their Nokia Lumia 800s were using between 70 and 90mA at this time. I recall the battery seemed to get better with each recharge and decided to work in this direction. As the battery is built in and there is no way to test the battery myself without buying some fancy screwdrivers and voiding a warranty, I decided to cycle the battery and try again with more conservative settings.
 
This next step wipes the Nokia Lumia 800 out, all data, all settings. Be sure you have taken your data off the handset before proceeding.

I hard reset the handset from the Settings, About and Reset menu options. Then, ignoring all prompts to setup or install anything I downloaded “WP Bench”, a free application from the marketplace. I only had to sign in to the marketplace, all other prompts are optional. WP Bench sports a battery timer utility which I drained the battery with. The half or so battery that was left took 2 hours to run out completely and I put the handset directly on the supplied charger for 7 straight hours. I used the Telecom XT network to get the WP Bench software as I had not setup any other connection or setting, just the bare factory defaults. for the record, my software levels are:
 
OS 7.10.8107.79
Firmware 1600.2487.8107.12070
Radio 1.6.00.24
 
The charger disconnected, I started the WP Bench utility up again and drained out the battery from full, this took about 4 hours. I then repeat the discharge, recharge cycle until the Diagnostics application showed no new charge being taken. I then made a note that the battery draw had settled to about 80mA after a few minutes, ruling out a hardware alone problem. Then, one by one, I re-enabled each service and installed each application as the handset was before, checking the battery drain between each step. This process identifies the application or service that tips the battery usage up significantly.

In Summary
After adding all the features and accounts to the handset I had before, I was amazed to see that the power drain fell to about 85mA after a few minutes of ‘settling down’. I watched the screen for some time and noted that the battery drain would climb and fall occasionally as email was checked, for example, but after a few minutes, would fall back to 85 or 90mA.

So it seems this is how the problem is solved? Possibly? Certainly, in my case. Unfortunately, this is not a very scientific test, but none of these steps would void the warranty and apart from a day or so of cycling the battery, there is nothing to lose. It may have been the case that cycling the battery has made a difference, it may have been the case that adding my applications and customisations, under scrutiny has lead to a better installation than before, no way to tell for sure, but this process may help you identify if you have an actual problem or not.
 
Best Use Hints:
  • Check the userguide of any new electronic device to see if there are special charging procedures (camera’s, mobile devices, even remotes, anything that takes batteries).
  • Check the manufacturers website for newer firmware or release notes that highlight your problem if you are having one.
  • Always use the supplied charger and accessories if in doubt.
  • Always use the recommended battery type if your device has replaceable batteries.

Pros:
  • Apart from the time taken to prove this test, the result exceeded expectation.
  • Nokia came to the party, did a follow up call and sent me a courier bag to have the phone sent to Auckland at their cost to be tested.

  • Cons:
  • Losing two days of use to test the battery was better than sending the phone away for a few days, but still takes a lot of time to prove a point.
  • Nokia Care Centre operators in other parts of the world are still struggling with technical terms and issues, try to call the Auckland Care Centre directly in office hours.

About the author:

Hi, my name is Gund Wehsling (gundar on Geekzone). I am a freelance ICT contractor in Hamilton. I also share the care of my two year old twins out of work hours and support local community groups with the little spare time I can find. I have had several smart phones over the years and find them to be very helpful when used as a business tool. My expectations of the Nokia Lumia 800 are high given the hype and fanfare that was the launch. In my blog posts I will share experiences using this mobile phone as a tool in a busy and demanding lifestyle. Meanwhile, if you need some experienced long or short term ICT help, my contact details are here: www.arcainsula.co.nz

Other related posts:
Kids and the Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Lumia 800 as a Remote Office
Nokia Lumia 800: People and Messaging hub






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Telecom Tech is a different type of blog. We're sponsored by Telecom New Zealand, but most of the posts here are from every day users like you.

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