Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems

Motorola Droid X Battery Life woes may not mean a defective battery

Posted by Admin • Monday, July 26. 2010 • Category: Reviews

Last week my wife replaced her Blackberry Storm2 (9550) with a shiny Droid X, and was relieved to find that the Droid kept up with her insane usage load just fine - whereas the Storm2 would lock up every few minutes (probably memory or garbage collection issues). That's the good news. Unfortunately, the X introduced a new problem - battery life. With her usage, it lasts 4 hours. The Storm2 lasted 24 or more. Granted it's a bigger display, but the specs promised ... well, a lot more than 4 hours.

We theorized that it may be runaway processes and excessive number of apps, or defective battery, but as it turns out it's neither. This is what I did:

After the Droid finished charging its battery, I yanked it out and checked the voltage: 3.92V. Now if you know anything about Li-Ion or LIPO's - that's not full (unless it's a special military version, which I'm willing to bet this is not). OK this could still be the battery - maybe it doesn't take charge properly.

Next test: I attach it to my trusty Mystery B6 and run a full discharge (to 3V). I get 1100mAh out the cell rated at 1550. That's pretty much inline with how full 3.92V is, but i doubt that the phone will let it go that low, so in practice that implies that the battery is probably 50% usable.

Next test: I let my B6 charge it up - massaging it up to 4.20V, as it should be. 1800mAh went in, with efficiency losses that's about right.

Next test: We run it in the phone. Guess what? Phone lasts all day!

Conclusion: phone isn't charging it fully. I have no idea why, maybe buggy firmware, maybe hardware (mis-calibrated A2D converters?), but I have a feeling we're exchanging the little (not so little) bugger.

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