Archive for the 'frustration' Category

11
Apr
13

Part 1: XRF, Bee Adapter v1.4 and Arduino

Trying to slowly assemble the hardware to build a quadcopter (sigh), I got myself a pair of Ciseco’s XRF modules and a Xbee USB Dongle (Bee Adapter v1.4).

XBee Adapter Back

XRF and XBee Adapter

(You can read more about the XRF modules here: http://www.ciseco.co.uk/content/?p=1738)

The Ciseco XRFs are nice little buggers, they work at various frequencies, in the 1KHz range. I find this great because it’s far away from the 2.4GHz noise (microwave, wireless phone stations, wifi and bluetooth). Sure, it may be illegal or require a license in your country but who cares? (Actually, readers that live in more developed and orderly parts of the world, YOU should…)
The XRFs are very nice, since they have the form and pins of the Zigbees (Xbees, whatever), so you practically can use one wherever you’d use a Xbee. Just for a much lower price and various frequencies.

Since my project involved sometime being able to use an Android Phone with the XRFs, I bought the Bee Adapter from DX.com, which has serial and usb access. The Arduino I had bought a while ago, just upgraded it with a prototyping shield.

Notice something is missing? Yeah, it so happens that I completely forgot that to do anything with the modules, I’d need to connect the TWO of them. But I only bought one adapter. Genius, right?

Even so, they finally arrived. Shipping from the UK to Brazil is actually quite fast. From HK or US it’d probably get stuck in customs for a while…

The Bee Adapter was a bit different from the picture at DX, though seemed legit. Got two toggles that let you choose between High/Low, which seems to be power consumption, and 3v3/5v.

XBee Adapter Back

XBee Adapter Back

So! Let’s connect’em… Power levels fail via usb… power status led barely shines with the XRF module… Hmmm, XRF module must be using a lot of power! (shouldn’t but who knows..) So I plugged it in my newest Prototyping shield, wired up the serial connectors and blam… It worked fine with the Arduino. Tested it for the +++ command which get’s it to enter the config mode, it sends OK.

XBee Adapter Back

Arduino with Prototyping shield, Xbee Adapter and XRF module.

Great little adapter doesn’t work via USB… I’d guess it needs a current limiter, didn’t care to debug it…

Aaaaand there was the need for the other adapter more than ever, specially because the Xbee modules pins are not breadboard compatible…yay…

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10
Dec
12

The Galaxy S3 faults and problems

I’ve had the Samsung Galaxy S3 now for a few months and am somewhat satisfied with it. Even more since I previously was using that XT300(and still am as a secondary phone) which is far from the leading phones.

So, as I said, I somewhat satisfied. The 4.1 update was nice; project butter, the more complex notifications and Google Now are interesting features which make Android a better OS.

The problem is that with new features there are always unexpected/undocumented/unwanted features, aka. Bugs. One of the most annoying is that now it takes a while to wake the phone, pressing home or power, a few seconds, just to make one of the strongest phones in the market appear to lag. Also now when waking up the phone with the home button, it actually does go to home, forcing you to go to the app that was in foreground at the time once more.

Since the last update the phone has been freezing and rebooting automatically more than I’d like, I’m thinking of wiping the phone and seeing if the problems continue. Starting of having thoughts of flashing another rom. I don’t really want that since new problems normally come up, like instability, bad hardware support(slow video playback, camera stops working and such problems) and recurrent rom changes until I finally find one that works more or less.

I’ve been having problems with my SanDisk 32GB Class 10 U1 microSDHC card, which was slowly dying on me. It started with my netbook (Asus Eee PC 1005HA) having problems writing to it (I/O problem with something about cluster chain). On the phone it worked fine for a while but I started noticing that the card kept remounting (notification icon flashing) whenever I woke the phone. After a while it started claiming that I had a blank card and would not mount.

My computer displayed only sdb and not sdb1, fdisk and mount complained that /dev/sdb had no medium.

Keeping it off for a few days and plugging the card back in fixed the problem for a few hours, after that the same problem occurred.

I’m currently in contact with SanDisk support and seems I will get replaced, perhaps. I bought the thing on eBay  from a reputable seller, but you know… they say EVERY memory chip on eBay is counterfeit.. hehehe.

I’m using a 1 GB just for kicks that I had lying around and the remounting problem does not occur with it. Hopefully it doesn’t die on me also.

I found an interesting post regarding a similar issue. I do not know if it is really true or not, and probably will void your warranty..

XDA:”SD Card Unexpectedly Removed” hardware issue solved

Other than that, I still have a few rants complaints about the casing and screen. I keep my phone almost always in my pocket and on the table. I hate those protective screens and cases. The make the phone bulgier and the touch screen gets a plastic feeling. Unfortunately the back cover of my phone has already a lot of small scratches which make a few spots already seem dull, instead of the reflective “pebble blue”. Around the headphone jack there are bits chipping off. And, of course, GorillaGlass 2 is not up to it’s name. There is already a small nick on the screen.

There is one thing that surprised me a lot in this phone. The GPS. It’s one thing I can’t complain about. Together with GLONASS, the lock on is very fast and works (somewhat) indoors too!

Here is a comparison of the Galaxy S2 and a Galaxy S3:

S2 vs S3

S3 on the left and S2 on the right

It’s not that I regret having paid a lot of money for the phone ( about $900 at the time), tough I’d thought I’d have a better experience with it.

Maybe next time I’ll learn and buy an iPhone 😛 not a chance!

That’s it for my rants… I have to get back to posting useful guides/texts.

08
Sep
11

Failed 1005ha battery mod

In the end of 2009 I bought my Asus Eee pc 1005ha netbook. It’s pretty good for what it is designed for. Have no complaints, just that the cpu could be a newer Intel Atom model.(Which would support 64bits OS’ and some virtualization options.)

Having used it heavily for more than a year and not really trying to save my battery life, the same has gone down the drain. From the advertised 8 hours, 6 hours good use to now less than an hour. Time to buy a new one.

I saw some batteries with 7200 mAh at eBay. Almost double the power my original battery had, which was 4800mAh. And they were sold for $40! I ended up buying one.

After receiving the battery I plugged it in my netbook and turned it on with the power supply connected.
Weird. The charging light(orange) flashed but stayed off. The BIOS froze at ‘Checking NVRAM’ for some time, but eventually continued. Ubuntu and Windows XP did not recognize the battery.
First thought: defective.

I browsed to the manufacturers(AGPTEK) website and voila, the battery shown in the site was different than mine! Did not have the logo, the battery text was upside down, and the voltage should be 10.8V instead of the 11.1V my new battery had.

I contacted the seller and, of course, I would have to send the battery back, which would cost the equivalent of $30 for a $40 refund. Of course I didn’t. I ended up loosing the dispute date in eBay, or else I would have disputed the payment.

Meanwhile, I decided to buy one from Amazon. Same price, same manufacturer. Should be safe.

Nope, I was wrong. Exactly the SAME battery arrived. And with the same behavior. Now I had two paperweights which I could not really use to power my netbook.

I gave up and put up a bet, all or nothing. I would replace the cells from the old battery with the ones from one of the new batteries. If it worked, I would have a working battery with huge capacity, or else I would have no working battery at all.

After finally managing to open the cases of the two battery packs, which were by no means designed to be opened ever again, I finally dis-soldered the cells and swapped the 6 pack for the new 9 pack. Put it halfway together and inserted it into the netbook while connected to the power supply.
(I recommend using a drill and CAREFULLY cutting into the edges of the battery that have been sealed, or use a heated knife.)

YAY! The charging light turned on! Thats a good start. I left the netbook charging for a bit. I kept checking the

/proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
/proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/info

files for any changes or status indications. Nothing.

I disconnected the power supply to test the battery. And my netbook powered of instantly….
I tried it again and got the same effect. The battery was not giving any juice. CRAP.

I looked it over to check if I had done something wrong or if there was some kind of sensor which had been triggered. Nada.
Oh well, time to put my old cell pack back into the battery.
After re-soldering the contacts and sticking the heat sensor back to one cell I tried it….
The same. No power.

YAY. No working battery. I wrapped both in tape to keep the pieces together and put the away. Had no more patience to keep fiddling with them.

OBS.:
It could be that without charge the circuit looses it’s memory or locks. If someone should try this, keep the circuit charged at all times, connecting the new battery pack in parallel first and then removing the old one.

Since I still had to use my netbook and did want to have a little liberty of mobility, I ended up plugging the second battery pack into it. Would have to find a work around with the BIOS issue.

So I was using the netbook for a time and noticed the charging light was ON. Rebooted, still had the BIOS issue and the charging light was off.

I insisted using the new battery for a time, and it ended up working perfectly after a while. Has a very good duration!
I was very confused about the apparent symbiosis the battery made with my netbook.. seems they take a while to understand each other.

Pictures:

Comparison of the old/original and new/chinese(lol) battery casing.(Obviously the old one has ASUS written on it).

The cells from the original battery.

The cells from the Agptek battery.

Front of the new Agptek battery control circuit. Casing below is from the new battery as well.

Back of the new Agptek battery control circuit. The heatsensor can be seen.

Front of the original battery control circuit connected to the new batteries cells.

Backside of the original battery control circuit

My original battery put back together. Purple wire is a substitution of the sheet/slab which I had to cut.

Sorry if this post seems heavy. Open the images in a new tab and you’ll see why.

Hope this helps someone who had the same problem/idea as I had.

12
Jul
11

And there goes my new N1…

A friend of mine was in the US and I ordered a Nexus One through eBay which he brought back. I spent USD$270 on the N1, which is less than I spent on my XT300. (Great…)

First experience was AWESOME. Having a phone with android 2.3.4, faster and smoother experience than the XT300, no more that tiny screen, far better camera(5MP) than the XT300 3MP with flash and autofocus.

Of course, first thing I did was to unlock the bootloader through fastboot and flash the Clockwork recovery mod onto it. The mod even supports the N1’s trackball!

Then cyanogenmod 7.10-RC1-N1.

So, I was using the phone happily but had been noticing that sometimes the touchscreen hick-upped and I had to turn the screen off and on again to fix it. Nothing serious. Until it got worse, that is.

The first, say, 3-5 touches go correctly… then it all goes downhill. Using the Nexus live wallpaper, which lights up when it’s touched, I was able to track down the discrepancy of the touch. The faulty touch gets detected 2-3 cm above the lower screen end, but just height of the position is affected, the horizontal position continues to be acquired correctly.

First I thought it could be the cyanogen mod, so I switched to the 7.0.3 stable version. At first it was less frequent but then it got worse again.

Then I tried the stock, which is 2.2.1(FRG83)
The problem also got better than worsened as before.
After the OTA update to 2.3.4 nothing changed.

I’ve read that using the phone with low brightness helps somewhat.
Powering it on, I can unlock it. I go to a blank screen, and start playing with the nexus’s live wallpaper.
The third click goes to 2-3cm above the lower bar. For a time I the clicks register at the right place. Then the desktop tries to change screens, flickers.
The most annoying problem is that this happens while I try to use the back button, or select something from a menu and it simply registers my click with the wrong height.

Now I’m trying to get someone to fix this.
Since I don’t know if the problem can be fixed simply by replacing the digitizer(capacitive sensor), I won’t do it myself(digitizer could be bought at eBay and youtube shows how to replace).

I didn’t find any seemingly reliable repair shop that should be able to repair the phone.

I emailed my country’s HTC, they told to contact Google. In the htc’s international website it says that they would provide customer service. They say they are not responsible for hardware not sold in my country.Great.

The eBay seller is not able to ship it Brazil(my country, yes). I have no one that is going or coming back from the US to perhaps make the switch for me, and even if I were able to get a replacement phone from the seller, does not mean it would not present the same problem.

I was thinking of sending it back for a refund. Pity I don’t have the box anymore, just the accessories…

All in all, the thing I learned was to never buy a frigging HTC phone again. Having high hopes for the Nexus Prime. It’s not that I don’t like the phone. I find it very comfortable to hold and nice looking. The gray, which I thought would bother me, does not. The trackball is great for navigating in the Clockwork mod recovery.

UPDATE:
As it stands, I will try to send it back to the seller, with all accessories I have. He will send a new phone to a friend of mine in the US. Let’s see if this works out.

25
Apr
11

My Phone Is Back From Repair!

As some might have noticed, I ended up bricking my phone after I tried to replace a lib with a similar one from a HTC phone, where the adreno renderer was enabled.

Why brick with something to simple? Perhaps I wouldn’t have if I knew somethings I know today, like the superoneclick tool which can give you adb root shell.

My problem was that without the graphical interface working(the new lib did not work at all), the superuser app could not grant super user for my su in adb shell.

I ended up trying to restore my system partition(tar to yaffs2) back to my device, but got stuck in bootloop. GREAT!

Frustrated, I erased everything on my phone(as in boot partition went bye bye). Thus I discovered that the bootloader resided in the boot partition. GREAT²!

Apparently it works similarly to the droids mbmloader scheme. In short, I had only the usb interface to the mbmloader(?) which said ‘MSM7225 Flash’ and I did not have/find any driver to. And so I took it to the technical assistance.

After 20 days I finally got a call that my phone was back, ready for retrieval. Managed to get there in the same day still, was promptly served at the store and got my phone back.

I turned it up, noted that it didn’t ask for my Google account. So I reset it and booted again. I turned up fine. So my problem had been fixed! Finally! The wait had not been in vain.

Upon arriving home, I started setting up my phone again to an usable state, like disabling the APN connectivity which my phone account is not activated for. To login to my Google account and configure the phone I would have to connect to my WiFi network. I configured it and… it did not connect! WHY?

I erased the connection and tried again. No success… I went to advanced settings, and noted the Mac Address: 11:22:33:44:55:66! That is NOT normal, for one, the first byte should be EVEN! 11 is not a valid first byte for a normal devices mac address. And 11:22:33 is not even Motorola’s mac address range. GREAT³!

I checked the /etc/wifi/nvram.txt file which configures the devices mac address, it looks fine…

And so it will come to pass… that I will have to go to the store againCRAP…


Details:
The XT300 came back updated to Baseband version: A306_U3_01.72.0
And version: SESLA_U3_01.72.0

AFAIK, the update is available in motorolas crappy website. Moto Helper/Motorola Software Update.

And z4root does not work anymore. Superoneclick does(tested).

I heard that the new version is faster. Would have to remove phone portal and flashback to confirm 😛




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