Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The strange yet true case of the fast draining battery on two relatively new cell phones

The players:

  1. An LG Optimus V, Virgin Mobile (Sprint 3G), less than one year old. 
  2. An LG Optimus Slider, Virgin Mobile (Sprint 3G), less than one MONTH old.

The stage:

A Faraday Cage dwelling, which sits right on an overlap between two cell towers. Between this overlap and the metal in the walls, it screws with both cell traffic and WiFi.

The normal behavior:

The two cell phones work perfectly anywhere except at home. At home they work OK as long as you don't stand in the dead spot between the two cell signals. As a norm you can have anywhere from three to five bars depending on where you are standing. I can have 5 bars in my master bedroom and in my home office, some other areas of the house may get as low as three but still usable. There's only a couple dead spots in the house.

The problem:

Suddenly the two phones would drain their batteries with no use and within 8 hours, and we had close to no signal strength anywhere in the house. The phones would also get hot whenever plugged into the charger.

This only happens at home, as soon as we are on the road, we get full signal pretty much anywhere in North Virginia.

I tried to tweet Virgin Mobile, but the dumbasses were in flowchart mode and kept insisting that they needed to check my account, even if I kept explaining to them that the problem was that one of the two cell towers that hit my house was either dead or running in some kind of degraded service mode. Virgin Mobile is customer friendly like no other, but this insistence on following the fucking troubleshooting flowchart without using their heads was infuriating.

After a couple days, I noticed that the phones were once again getting all five bars, and they were not draining their batteries within 8 hours, so I imagine somebody with half a brain figured out what the hell was the deal with the tower.

Note to Virgin Mobile USA: If your customer tells you that the phone works perfectly anywhere else but at home, and the work WAS working at home until the last couple days, the problem is not the damn phone. Especially when the problem has been recreated with two different phones.