Keyboard case not charging (or not working) and a possible FIX for both
#1
Today I received my Pinephone keyboard case and after waiting for it to reach room temperature and then completely charge, I was ready to try it.
The first power up was a nice surprise: it worked perfectly fine with Mobian (on uSD). It also works with PostmarketOS (on eMMC). Great!
But it didn't charge the phone in either OS. Bummer!

To cut a long debugging story short, here's THE PROBLEM:
- the pogo pins on the Pinephone don't all make contact, hence the title.
Quality control on the Pinephone needs to be improved.
The DCIN pin in particular was responsible for not charging the phone.
See attached picture: 01_problem_pinephone_pogo_pins.jpg

THE FIX is to make all the pogo pins make contact.
In my case, just the DCIN pin since the I2C worked fine.
My solution was to use a copper tape which has adhesive (not conducting!) on one side.
However, a piece of aluminum foil/thin copper or other metal will work just as well.

THE EXPLANATION - a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's three more, in order as numbered:
02_explanation.jpg
03_fix_before_application.jpg
04_fix_applied.jpg

And just like that it worked! Charging the phone as intended.

Note #1:
Whatever you use, make sure you:
- fix the metal piece(s) in place firmly with some THIN tape
and
- make absolutely sure you don't short-circuit any pogo pins (with each other)
and
- make sure the fix parts don't touch any metal parts of the phone internals
Just cover any non-contact parts with THIN insulating tape.

Note #2:
An additional explanation for my fix:
The metal is longer in the bent over itself part do reduce the resistance of the metal piece itself.

Note #3:
The proper fix is twofold:
- Pine64 needs to improve the quality control for the Pinephones and make sure all the pogo pins are the same length once assembled
- the keyboard case contacts need to be shallower (less deep) to ensure differences in pogo pins length don't matter as much as now

I hope this helps more than one person with similar problems.

Now, to print some spacers as recommended in another thread and fix the first row of keys...


Updates
-------
In the end I added a plastic shim (0.37mm) under the POGO contact on the lid while still keeping the copper foil patch in place because I was losing keyboard functionality when the processor got hotter.  A slight press on the back of the screen brought it back for a short while (before shimming) and after shimming seemed to work fine w/o any need to do anything.  The shim raised the INT and DCIN pins primarily and all the others by a smaller amount.

It stopped working again once I started pushing the CPU AND at the same time increasing the charging current limit (from the case battery) to 1.5A.
This was done by writing 1500000 to
    /sys/class/power_supply/axp20x-usb/input_current_limit
as pointed out in a number of places, for example in this thread:
    https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?...881&page=2

I have a script which does this and it has to be done after the battery starts charging because the OS will reset the limit to 500mA.
- turn on the case battery and wait for charging indicator
- write the desired limit value
- print the actual value to verify it's still correct
Or just leave running the graphical OS utility which displays live charging info.

Continuing, it was the same behavior as before shimming so I supplemented the shim with a second piece of plastic (0.80mm) and this holds for now.  The original copper patch is still on but the POGO pin deformed it as expected so it's less effective.

For POGO pins shimming I just cut two small rectangles of ~1cm x 0.5cm and pushed them about 3mm under the base of the "U" shaped edge which surrounds the POGO pins piece of plastic on the kbd lid.  I inserted first the slim one then the thicker one by barely lifting the kbd plastic with a spudger (also plastic, but sharp).  This tool was inserted less than 1mm under the base of the "U".
See picture 04_fix_applied.jpg for the "U" I mention.

There is nothing special about the shims sizes or the shim pieces.
They're just solid plastic from product clamshells or any other throw-away packaging you might have around the house at any time.  Just insert the slimmest piece first and don't go too deep.
The technique is mentioned in some other thread I can't find now and also in the kbd troubleshooting table on this page:
    https://xnux.eu/pinephone-keyboard/faq.html


Top row shimming - as explained here:  "PinePhone keyboard number key row issue - solution" needs a safe method to pull the keys w/o damaging them or the silicone membrane below.

  I pulled the keys using a DIY ghetto key puller modeled after a full size key puller.  It's made of CAT3(phone) wire stripped of insulation and some heatshrink (optional).  Not the best material but it fits between keys.  Two loops of fishing line/nylon/thread would work just as well.
Hindsight: if you use wire, size it for the keys before twisting the wires together and make both loops the same size.

To use, slide one loop from the left, the other from the right completely under the key and pull straight up.
See picture: 05_key_puller.jpg

The key shims are a mix of 0.20mm and 0.15mm (I made a set of each) depending on how each key feels.


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#2
(02-05-2022, 07:27 PM)pifou Wrote: Today I received my Pinephone keyboard case and after waiting for it to reach room temperature and then completely charge, I was ready to try it.
The first power up was a nice surprise: it worked perfectly fine with Mobian (on uSD). It also works with PostmarketOS (on eMMC). Great!
But it didn't charge the phone in either OS. Buumer!

To cut a long debugging story short, here's THE PROBLEM:
- the pogo pins on the Pinephone don't all make contact, hence the title.
Quality control on the Pinephone needs to be improved.
The DCIN pin in particular was responsible for not charging the phone.
See attached picture: 01_problem_pinephone_pogo_pins.jpg

THE FIX is to make all the pogo pins make contact.
In my case, just the DCIN pin since the I2C worked fine.
My solution was to use a copper tape which has adhesive (not conducting!) on one side.
However, a piece of aluminum foil/thin copper or other metal will work just as well.

THE EXPLANATION - a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's three more, in order as numbered:
02_explanation.jpg
03_fix_before_application.jpg
04_fix_applied.jpg

And just like that it worked! Charging the phone as intended.

Note #1:
Whatever you use, make sure you:
- fix the metal piece(s) in place firmly with some THIN tape
and
- make absolutely sure you don't short any pogo pins
and
- make sure the fix parts don't touch any metal parts of the phone internals
Just cover any non-contact parts with THIN insulating tape.

Note #2:
An additional explanation for my fix:
The metal is longer in the bent over itself part do reduce the resistance of the metal piece itself.

Note #3:
The proper fix is twofold:
- Pine64 needs to improve the quality control for the Pinephones and make sure all the pogo pins are the same length once assembled
- the keyboard case contacts need to be shallower (less deep) to ensure differences in pogo pins length don't matter as much as now

I hope this helps more than one person with similar problems.

Now, to print some spacers as recommended in another thread and fix the first row of keys...

Thanks on your analysis and just pass back your finding to product team.
  Reply
#3
I'll have to give that a try. Just got my keyboard today and while it otherwise appears to be working it is not charging the phone even after pressing the button on the side.

EDIT: I rebooted the phone and now it is charging from the keyboard. (Shows charging symbol even if the AC power is removed.)

EDIT #2: Although I get the charging symbol on the phone now, the charge level is not actually increasing but it is holding steady. My USB charger (which goes up to 3 amps) is showing a draw of 2.7 amps.
  Reply
#4
(02-05-2022, 07:27 PM)pifou Wrote: Today I received my Pinephone keyboard case and after waiting for it to reach room temperature and then completely charge, I was ready to try it.
The first power up was a nice surprise: it worked perfectly fine with Mobian (on uSD). It also works with PostmarketOS (on eMMC). Great!
But it didn't charge the phone in either OS. Buumer!

To cut a long debugging story short, here's THE PROBLEM:
- the pogo pins on the Pinephone don't all make contact, hence the title.
Quality control on the Pinephone needs to be improved.
The DCIN pin in particular was responsible for not charging the phone.
See attached picture: 01_problem_pinephone_pogo_pins.jpg

THE FIX is to make all the pogo pins make contact.
In my case, just the DCIN pin since the I2C worked fine.
My solution was to use a copper tape which has adhesive (not conducting!) on one side.
However, a piece of aluminum foil/thin copper or other metal will work just as well.

THE EXPLANATION - a picture is worth a thousand words. Here's three more, in order as numbered:
02_explanation.jpg
03_fix_before_application.jpg
04_fix_applied.jpg

And just like that it worked! Charging the phone as intended.

Note #1:
Whatever you use, make sure you:
- fix the metal piece(s) in place firmly with some THIN tape
and
- make absolutely sure you don't short any pogo pins
and
- make sure the fix parts don't touch any metal parts of the phone internals
Just cover any non-contact parts with THIN insulating tape.

Note #2:
An additional explanation for my fix:
The metal is longer in the bent over itself part do reduce the resistance of the metal piece itself.

Note #3:
The proper fix is twofold:
- Pine64 needs to improve the quality control for the Pinephones and make sure all the pogo pins are the same length once assembled
- the keyboard case contacts need to be shallower (less deep) to ensure differences in pogo pins length don't matter as much as now

I hope this helps more than one person with similar problems.

Now, to print some spacers as recommended in another thread and fix the first row of keys...
All the insulating tape I've found doesn't seem thin, so how thin is thin? Also, when you say "Make sure you don't short any pogo pins", how would one do that/avoid that? Sorry, I know these are super basic questions but my keyboard isn't working and I would like to avoid having to shim the back if possible.
  Reply
#5
First, I want to thank everyone for posting to this thread. The post and replies are informative.

Unfortunately, I am also experiencing the issue where not all of the pins on the back of the pinephone mae a connection with the contacts in the keyboard case, which prevents the keyboard battery from powering the pinephone.

The symptom of a lack of connection between the keyboard case and the pinephone include the button on the right side of the keyboard does not change the appearance of the normal battery icon in the upper right corner (Mobian/phosh) to a charging icon.

I can easily confirm of the lack of contact by pressing on the plastic keyboard case behind the phone where the pins are located. I will immediately hear the same sound as when I plug in a charging cable into the pinephone itself. After pressing for about 2 seconds, the charging battery icon will appear. However' as soon as I stop pressing the normal (discharging) battery icon reappears.

I am very disappointed that this issue has emerged because I am not savvy with modifying hardware. The obvious root cause is a flaw in the design of the keyboard case.

The keyboard is still functional as a keyboard; however, the advertised feature of an integrated battery that will charge the pinephone does not apply to my pinephone amd keyboard at this moment.

I hope there is an easy fix. For example, perhaps Pine64 will send me what I need to safely and reliably keep all of pins connected to the keyboard? Of course, I am open to a DIY solution if it is demonstrated to be easy and won't damage either the keyboard or pinephone.
  Reply
#6
It seems to be a random thing due to loose production tolerances. My keyboard battery has been working fine since the first time I rebooted the Pinephone with the keyboard installed. At this point I've removed and installed it several times and power from the keyboard battery still works (phone turns on as soon as inserted, so at least for now. The method of shimming the pogo pins as described above is probably the best option for those experiencing this problem.
  Reply
#7
(02-09-2022, 06:46 PM)Zebulon Walton Wrote: It seems to be a random thing due to loose production tolerances. My keyboard battery has been working fine since the first time I rebooted the Pinephone with the keyboard installed. At this point I've removed and installed it several times and power from the keyboard battery still works (phone turns on as soon as inserted, so at least for now. The method of shimming the pogo pins as described above is probably the best option for those experiencing this problem

Yeah, I consider my keyboard a defective unit. For me, doing my own shim is too risky of permanently damaging the keyboard or pinephone electronics. I have put the keyboard back in the box and won't be using it until Pine64 issues a proper fix.

We can only speculate on the root cause whether it is a manufacturing issue, parts/material selection or design. For me a random issue is worse than a non-random issue because it could be a sign of poor product quality (i.e., random simply means unpredictable; random does not mean occurrence is rare).

Until this issue is addressed by Pine64, I wouldn't advise others to purchase the keyboard unless they are aware of the issue and either willing to fix it themselves or are not bothered by this issue.
  Reply
#8
Hmm....
If I had read some of this first, perhaps I would have been more careful...

I was excited to try out my new keyboard, I just glanced at the keyboard ===> and then snapped it together with my version 1.2a Pine phone.

Except for the otherwise noted firmware problems, the keyboard works as expected. I have removed it and re-installed it, and it still works.

I am not ready to try the keyboard on my new Pro series phone -- Not quite yet, even when working, "they are both in early development".......

< I inserted the corner with the POGO pins first -- if that makes any difference ? ==> When snapping the keyboard to the phone. >
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  Reply
#9
(02-10-2022, 06:12 AM)bcnaz Wrote: Hmm....
If I had read some of this first,  perhaps I would have been more careful...

I was excited to try out my new keyboard,  I just glanced at the keyboard    ===>  and then snapped it together with my version 1.2a Pine phone.

Except for the otherwise noted firmware problems,  the keyboard works as expected.  I have removed it and re-installed it,  and it still works.

I am not ready to try the keyboard on my new Pro series phone -- Not quite yet,  even when working,  "they are both in early development".......

<  I inserted the corner with the POGO pins first  --  if that makes any difference ?  ==>  When snapping the keyboard to the phone. >

I too have tried to insert the pinephone (original) a few different ways.

It might be wise not to insert pinephone pro in the keyboard. Initially, the keyboard was charging my pinephone (original), indicating that the issue might not have existed when I first received the keyboard. I have inserted the pinephone pro in the keyboard. However, it is speculative whether inserting the PPP into the keyboard contributed this issue because my PPP seems to have the same issue (keyboard battery is not charging the PPP).

Of course, I will appreciate if it turns out if I had improperly inserted the pinephone. However, I do not know what this would be exactly.

I do hope that this issue is not random and can be addressed, unless this issue is truly rare. If is not rare, then addressing will ensure that new keyboards produced will predictably not have this issue (i.e., occurrence is rare). Of course, it is up to Pine64 to determine if this issue is or is not rare.

My keyboard will remain in its original box. :-(
  Reply
#10
If you shim your POGO pins your case lid might develop a bulge!

I removed the slimmer shim but at this point I'm afraid the slight bulge I see in the lid is permanent.
Clearly there is more work to be done before these cases are ready for normal use.
  Reply


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