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Support Weak/no connection to wifi

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by MrsJennyK, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. MrsJennyK

    MrsJennyK Member
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    Samsung Galaxy S4 SCH-I545
    Android 5.0.1
    Not rooted

    The phone getting a wifi signal and won't connect or won't stay connected to wifi. In my house it will no longer connect at all unless I am standing directly next to the router. This started a few weeks ago and has gotten worse and worse. All other wifi devices connect just fine.

    I've tried:
    rebooting both phone and router (over and over and over)
    Going to various places (other than my home) to test the wifi connection
    Doing a hard reset
    Changing out the batteries

    I used to be able to go anywhere in my house and have a strong connection. Now I get connection only if I'm standing directly next to the router. Once I move about 10 feet away the signal drops to one bar. Fifteen feet away and I have no signal. When the problem first started I was still able to connect to wifi at the library for example, but not as well as before. Now I'm having little success with wifi anywhere

    I find it interesting that the problem has been getting steadily worse. I thought it might be my router, but every other wifi device is still working just fine and getting strong signal.

    Any ideas?

    TIA
    Jenny
     

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  2. Bg260

    Bg260  
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    Hi, you've done everything shy of flashing the stock firmware. I can help you with that process if you'd like. Not a guaranteed fix though. Could be hardware.
     
  3. MrsJennyK

    MrsJennyK Member
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    The more I read and the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it is the internal antenna. I watched some YTube videos (famous last words) and think I could handle replacing it myself. After taking off the casing the antenna is right there - no need to remove the motherboard and so forth. It seems I can get one for about $6 prime on Amazon.

    What is flashing the firmware?
     
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  4. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    I don't know if replacing the antenna would be the fix, it's basically just a piece of inert wire. A more likely issue would be since the S4 model has been around a while, just through normal usage the antenna connector might have become loosened and just needs to be re-seated.
    antenna_connector.jpg

    This link has step-by-step directions on how to access the antenna and connector (pic above is from step 13):
    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Samsung+Galaxy+S4+Motherboard+Replacement/16537
    Ignore the dis-assembly aspect of the article and just focus on opening up your S4 to get to that connector.

    Re-flashing the firmware is a software thing, you'd be rewriting the factory ROM over the original one on your phone. It's essentially the same as re-installing the operating system on a computer.
    I'd be leaning towards the antenna connector as your problem but a re-flash, especially on a dated phone, can often fix a lot of issues.
     
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  5. MrsJennyK

    MrsJennyK Member
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    I'm inclined to open it up and try reseating the connector. The phone has been dropped more times than I'd care to admit and I wouldn't be surprised if everything is rattling around in there.
     
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  6. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    Try re-seating that connector and see if that restores your WiFi connectivity. Also, since you'll be opening up your S4 it's a good time to take a minute and re-tighten the screws holding down the motherboard to the inner frame.
    (Bluetooth uses the same antenna. Have you noticed any issues with using Bluetooth? That would also be an indicator pointing to the antenna.)
     
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  7. Bg260

    Bg260  
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    Good thing we have a hardware specialist. I always seem to have a few extra pieces laying around after I attempt hardware repair. Plus I have big fingers.
     
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  8. MrsJennyK

    MrsJennyK Member
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    LOL - not sure either of those things are a plus!

    I called a local phone repair place and he suggested that it may be an issue of re-soldering the wifi chip back. He said he could do that for $40 but can't guarantee it will work. He gave me the impression that the phone is indeed in self destruct mode and that I should just get a new(er) one. I'm going to try to reseat the connector but I'm shopping Swappa for an LG G4 or Galaxy S6 now.
     
  9. Bg260

    Bg260  
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    Mine is still running strong. I have a few devices, yet I find myself using my S4 the most. Just feels good in the hand and it is nice to look at. I have a couple of modifications though.
     
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  10. MrsJennyK

    MrsJennyK Member
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    Welp. I took the phone apart, only cracked the case a wee bit (!). I undid the connectors and reseated them carefully and firmly. No difference. Le sigh. I'm on Swappa shopping around for an S6 or an LG G4. I called a phone repair place yesterday. The guy was really nice and talked me through some possibilities. He said he suspects the chip is loose and oxidized. He said he could reflow it for $40 but thinks it will end up as a temporary fix. He doesn't really think I should bother. A new motherboard is $130, so that's totally not worth it. I guess I'll go drown my tightwad tears in milk and cookies.
     
  11. Bg260

    Bg260  
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    Too bad it's the WiFi, or you could keep it on as a device only.
    Chocolate Chip goes down the best! :D
     
  12. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    ;)Just in case you're interested, that WiFi radio chip is show here in step 13, outlined in black. Step 14 shows the Bluetooth chip in underneath that same Broadcom chip. Step 15 shows the opposite side of the motherboard itself.
    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Samsung+Galaxy+S4+Teardown/13947

    $40 is something of a bargain for something like this, but yeah I don't know how much money you'd want to even put into your S4 at this point. Don't think of buying a newer phone as an expense, it's an investment in your quality of life.;)
     
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