Sudden battery drain being caused by "phone radio"

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  1. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    I am a pretty light user and know all the battery saving tricks and my phone usually lasts for 2-3 days on a charge, but right now I am not even getting 1 day out of it. This started all of a sudden and I didn't change anything myself. Due to past phantom power problems, I happened to have a battery logger running at the time and I can see that in the morning a few days ago, around 3am the idle current went from 6mA (normal at night) to 45mA and never went back down. However, none of my apps seemed to be doing anything strange. There are no periods of extended awake time or anything either. I installed the Gsam battery statistics app and it was telling me that the "phone radio" was sucking down a vast majority of the battery. But it also says that I am in good signal ranges, 3+ bars almost all the time (I am in the same areas I am always in). The "cell standby" in the phone's battery manager menu (which is probably the same statistic) is also much higher than normal. Has anyone else seen or solved this issue? What else can I do or check to figure out what is going on?

  2. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    Ok, new, interesting, and confusing info. I went to visit family this weekend, I traveled a few hundred miles and when I got there I noticed my phone had returned to a normal battery drain (even with a constant 2/5 bar signal strength). It stayed like that all weekend and as soon as I got back into my home area it returned to draining quickly. What the heck, could this be due to my carrier screwing with their cell network or something?
  3. Digital Controller

    Digital Controller The Real Bass Creator Guide

    Hey there bc1080, sorry no one has responded to this issue until now.

    But i have never heard of this happening. However, it sounds like it could be related to your cellular provider doing something to the signal it is throwing out.

    Maybe you could call them and see what is going on and see if they have done anything, especially on the particular day you started having problems.

    Get back with me if the problem persists, or they don't offer you any more help as to what is causing the problem.
  4. gibbs1984

    gibbs1984 Well-Known Member

    I know you say you haven't changed anything but I thought I'd ask, are you rooted and running a custom ROM at all?

    If so have you changed your RIL, as the radio and RIL not matching can cause battery drainage (albeit generally not that much).
  5. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    Thanks for the concern so far! I talked with AT&T and they said they were not aware of anything that should have changed on the network or of any mass complaints in my area. The local rep did suggest making a call and pulling the battery while in the active call, I have never heard of that, but I just tried it and will see if it makes any improvement.

    I was not rooted at the time that this started, but I did one-click root later to try to and see if that would give me any more capability to diagnose the problem. No luck so far, but is there something I can do to check the RIL/radio? It's worth a shot. Also, I was just OTA updated to ICS, and the battery problem remains.
  6. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    So, after a couple days on ICS, the battery is still draining as before but now the battery stats and Gsam monitor are reporting the major user is now the screen instead of the phone radio. But it is way too high of a percentage. The numbers don't make any sense, it says the screen has been on for 10 minutes over a 12 hour period but used 47% of the battery.

    Edit 10/15:
    After a full charge and more usage the Gsam monitor still showed the screen being the major drainer, but the battery usage stats showed the mix as about normal. After a reset, the battery usage stats also showed the screen as being really high again. I might try another battery monitor to verify.

    Is there any chance this could be a hardware problem?
  7. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    Shame on me, triple post :(, but new info.

    I installed the betterbatterystats app, and while I don't really understand much of what it is showing me. I didn't see anything that seemed to stand out except in the network use tab this was the leader by a huge margin.

    com.motorola.blur.service.blur.Motorola Services

    None of the cumulative wakelocks were longer than a few minutes and the phone was in deep sleep 92.5% of the time. Turning off wifi and data doesn't seem to have any effect on battery use. The phone is still showing the screen as using around 50% of the power, but only having been on for 5 minutes, which doesn't make any sense.
  8. gibbs1984

    gibbs1984 Well-Known Member

    OK, sounds like the screen then. Have you tried putting the phone in Aeroplane Mode which will turn off WiFi, data connection and your phone connection meaning that if the battery is still draining then it's not that which is causing it.

    Try that first, if you still have drain then do a Factory Reset, put it in Aeroplane Mode and don't install any apps.

    If you still have battery drain then I'd imagine it is either a faulty battery or some other hardware issue that the phone will need to be sent back.

    This way you're narrowing down what could be causing the problem.

    Hopefully you get this fixed soon :)
  9. anthocar

    anthocar Member

    GSM is not my area but I know with CDMA phones, the prl has a lot to do with which towers your phone communicates with.

    First, you might want to try an over the air OTA programming to make sure you have the correct prl - which is just dialing *228 (again that's on CDMA carriers. Since you have ATT, it might be something different. Check with custy service)

    Secondly, since you have rooted the phone, you might want to look into "set CPU" to limit the processor at minimum speeds when not in use (like when your phone is sitting on your desk at work)

    Third, I would also recommend V6 Supercharger which maximizes phone to specs. E.g. there is a Battery save mode, a super charged mode, etc. V6 is a little difficult to install, so try the other two above and move on to this step if those two ^^^ don't help.

    Thanks if I helped you!!
  10. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    Last night I tried putting it in airplane mode like suggested and the power usage was 10x lower than than it has been. I am still fresh on my last factory reset other than installing the battery monitor (I checked the drain rate before doing that and it was still high even with nothing installed). Once before I did turn off everything except the basic cell radio and the problem remained, so that indicates to me that it is probably not rouge data activity or wifi or something. The BBS reports that the processor is in the lowest speed like 92%+ of the time, I don't think there is any one unusual process running in the background hogging resources as far as I can tell.

    I tried searching to find an equivalent number code for me to reset the prl, but no luck. Something like that would make a lot of sense if it was screwed up on my phone. I found one unverified source that claimed AT&T phones do "network re-learns" (not sure what context they meant) every time they are booted up, not sure if that is even true. I have actually not been able to find any of the codes that work on my phone except for the *#06# code to get the IMEI number. Also, this weekend I drove about 10 miles out into the county to visit a friend, and my phone went back to normal power use while I was there but returned to high drain when I came home. wtf ????

    I appreciate the continued help guys!
  11. gibbs1984

    gibbs1984 Well-Known Member

    To me then it sounds like your phone signal is draining your battery. Battery being better when in Aeroplane mode and driving to a different area to me sounds like where you are the signal is not good and is causing battery drainage.

    Might be worth speaking to your network provider and seeing what they say.
    OmOs likes this.
  12. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    It happens anywhere in town, the reported signal bars are comparable to before and my office is within 400 yards of a tower. I talked with the local store and they claim nothing on their network has changed in the area and that there are no other people reporting problems they know of. But I am still very suspicious of something on their end. I actually had a similar issue right after I got this phone (on my original unit that has since been warranty replaced), it was draining fast for a week or so even after a reset and then suddenly went back to normal one day. But this time it's going on a month. I can't think of any logical reason that all of a sudden the phone would go from lasting me three days to using 4% of the battery per hour with no reduction even in sleep/standby.

    Just to check, the mobile networks list should have "AT&T US HSDPA" selected, right? What would changing the selected network actually do?
  13. anthocar

    anthocar Member

    Again, I have not had much experience with GSM.

    I know with CDMA networks, the PRL tells your phone which towers to use. If your phone is reaching too far to acquire a signal, it will use more juice. Same as if you have your phone on in an area where there is no signal at is constantly searching and so uses a lot more battery. Either do a little googling or call ATT customer service and ask them specifically how to update the prl on your phone. With Sprint/Verizon/Cricket, its as easy as dialing *228send. It should be pretty easy and will be better than having to go through the warranty process which sucks with every company IMO.
  14. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    I called in and asked about the PRL. The tech guy said he could force a roaming list update remotely. If AT&T has a code for that they are keeping it a secret, the tech claimed to not know of a code for AT&T that was analogous to the CDMA one. However, after I described some stuff the tech started to think it might be a battery issue, and said they would send a new battery. I am getting to the point where I am starting to believe it is a hardware issue since I can't think of any other software troubleshooting I can do and the problem followed me across an OS update and two resets, so I will take any new hardware they will give me. Each time I called in to customer service, the techs were pretty firm that "1-day of battery life is acceptable." Even though I told them that it used to get 3 days, and I only get 1 day if I basically don't use the phone at all, which is not acceptable to me since the reason I bought this phone was for its long standby time.
  15. anthocar

    anthocar Member

    Bummer. Let us know how the new battery works. I'm curious. My bet is you'll end up with a new handset all together.
  16. usman1122

    usman1122 New Member

    i want to know about solution of the problem. Did u get any solution bcz i am facing the same problem.
  17. bc1080

    bc1080 Member

    Hi, unfortunately I've not been able to find any solution or make any real improvement over the situation I reported before. It was not a battery issue as I thought, there is a serious flaw in the software or hardware that is beyond my ability to diagnose and Motorola/AT&T's willingness to pursue the issue.

    On one help call with AT&T, the rep said that there were fairly widespread issues with Ice Cream Sandwich and battery issues, but I am not convinced it is purely ICS that is causing the issue. The only real advice they could give me considering all the troubleshooting I did myself was to try pulling the battery while in an active call (supposed to reset something I guess) and making sure the SIM and SD cards had clean contacts and were seated properly. In my opinion from testing and ruling out, I personally believe there is a compatibility issue with the particular radio in this phone connecting to the networks after some "behind the scenes" change was made by AT&T.

    In my case, I have called tech support a dozen times and spent literally days researching and troubleshooting to no effect. Everyone I spoke to has pretty much told me that 1 day of battery is considered acceptable and refused to admit there could be a legitimate warranty issue. If I was sure replacing the unit would fix the problem, I would do it myself just to get it over with. But without knowing the cause, it's too big of a risk to buy a new phone hoping to fix a mysterious problem. I am just planning on living with it until I am eligible for a new phone in 5 months or so. Hopefully your issue will prove to be something easier to find or fix.

    Just so I don't sound crazy, here are screenshots under the same use conditions.

    used to be:

    is now:
  18. usman1122

    usman1122 New Member

    actually i have desire hd and i am facing the same problem. i have change the radio, installed feroyo,gb,ics,jb but no effect :/
  19. mi_ud

    mi_ud New Member

    Hi, I'm the same kind of user - very light, almost never install or use apps and 3 days ago I started to have exactly the same problem. I had the suspicion that the problem is caused by Phone Radio (drained most of battery) but after a lot of research and puzzles with battery monitors, applications etc. I found the solution that works for me. I had to switch wireless network setting from GSM/WCDMA auto to GSM only. And the problem was gone. I have HTC Wildfire, and can do it under Settings - Wireless & Netwoks - Mobile networks - Network mode. I saw in other forums that you can do it differently.

    One more thing. After I found the solution I called the operator (T-mobile in Netherlands in this case), and explained to them the problem and the solution. They said that the problem is definitely not network-related, but telephone-related. They said it could be either a bug in software (I have pretty old Android 2.2.1) or the battery is bad. So they suggested either replacing the battery or back up your software settings and reset to factory settings. I use the Internet only via Wi-Fi so Ifor the time being I'm happy with what I have now, but if you need Internet via 3G you might try one of this option (probably starting with resetting software).
  20. SkyJackpot

    SkyJackpot Well-Known Member

    Did you have a weak cell network signal when you started having this battery drain?

    Typed out using SwiftKey, only available for Android ツ :thrasher:
  21. Jeffreydp

    Jeffreydp New Member

    LG G3.. I never had a problem with my battery until last week.. then suddenly big battery drain.. I looked at my battery usage and it highlighted Phone radio.. said my phone radio had been on for 10 hours... best thing is I do not have a phone radio!!!! I un-installed the app some time ago.... can it mean something else????? also without headphones plugged in the radio would never work.... still got this problem with my battery.. any ideas.... very frustrated
  22. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon Moderator

    The phone radio on most power displays refers to the thing that lets you make phone calls. Unless you're in airplane mode, it's going to be on.
    electricpete likes this.

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