Pinebook doesn't charge anymore
#1
Dear folks,

my Pinebook won't charge any more; there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the charger brick though. I followed the advice on this forum for battery problems but that only made things worse but I did discover that indeed its the charger circuit.

For the battery reset, i had to unplug the battery cable while the mains was on but this instantly gave a power loss to the machine so no power was arriving from the power cable and it was just running on fumes so to say of the little that was still in the battery although it showed 0% power. The situation is now that it runs on the fumes but at the same time reports there is no battery :-S

Is this charger part replaceable and what PCB is it? The USB connector on the PCB with the power plug and the SDcard is in working order so i doubt its the cabling between the PCBs. Can I order a new side PCB or do I need to replace the main PCB?

With regards,
Reinoud Zandijk
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#2
(08-20-2020, 05:40 AM)Reinoud Wrote: Dear folks,

my Pinebook won't charge any more; there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the charger brick though. I followed the advice on this forum for battery problems but that only made things worse but I did discover that indeed its the charger circuit.

For the battery reset, i had to unplug the battery cable while the mains was on but this instantly gave a power loss to the machine so no power was arriving from the power cable and it was just running on fumes so to say of the little that was still in the battery although it showed 0% power. The situation is now that it runs on the fumes but at the same time reports there is no battery :-S

Is this charger part replaceable and what PCB is it? The USB connector on the PCB with the power plug and the SDcard is in working order so i doubt its the cabling between the PCBs. Can I order a new side PCB or do I need to replace the main PCB?

With regards,
Reinoud Zandijk

You can try the charge from the USB port A port (same side as power plug) can check whether able to charge up. The charging circuit locates at mainboard, changing side board doesn't help. Using multimeter to check your power supply, may be DC jack plug broken.
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#3
(08-23-2020, 06:31 PM)tllim Wrote: You can try the charge from the USB port A port (same side as power plug) can check whether able to charge up. The charging circuit locates at mainboard, changing side board doesn't help. Using multimeter to check your power supply, may be DC jack plug broken.

I've checked the DC jack and its OK and the right voltage; I can't seem to find an adapter to charge the laptop using the USB port A. but I doubt its going to matter but I'll keep searching.

So I guess that unless I find the adaptor, and try to charge it over USB, I'm destined to get the new boards as on the store. It does tell its 'Out of stock'! Is there any indication on when it comes back in stock?

With regards,
Reinoud
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#4
Regretfully the board i need is out-of-stock! Is there any idea as when or if it will come back? Should I try to upgrade it to a pinebook-pro internally? Is that even possible?
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#5
Chiming in here as I had a similar problem. I hadn't used my Pinebook in probably more than 6 months, and then I could never get it to actually charge for many months after that. I gave up on it, and threw it in a drawer. Whenever I discovered it in my drawer months later, I'd try to charge it again with no success. Green light just blinks on and off. Nothing charges, and it will not power on or boot up.

I work a lot with 18650 Lithium cells and decided to pop open the Pinebook. I unplugged the battery pack from the main board and put a multimeter on it. ZERO volts. It was deader than dead, which is usually not good for a Lithium power cell.

Here's my theory at this point. I think the circuitry in the Pinebook checks the voltage on the battery to see if one is there or if it is lower than acceptable levels. If it is low or like in my case 0 volts, it assumes theres a faulty battery or one not present, and doesn't charge it at all.

So I rigged up a few pins to a charger that I could put on the + and - leads of the Pinebook battery pack. I let it charge at 5V/1amp for about 10 minutes just to bring the voltage on the pack up beyond 3.0 volts. Tested it and it was around 3.5 volts. Should be good now. This essentially was a way to "jumpstart" the lithium pack to a state so the Pinebook would see the battery again and start charging.

Sure enough, soon as I put it all back together and plugged in the charger, it started charging the battery and I was able to boot the laptop up successfully!

If your Pinebook isn't booting anymore and won't charge... you may have a depleted Lithium pack that was the result of leaving the Pinebook in hibernate mode and never plugging it back in for long enough for it do drain beyond normal limits. I don't know how this happens exactly. Most electronics that manage lithium packs are smart enough to disengage any load on the pack if it drops below 2.8-ish volts. But maybe there's a condition or situation on the Pinebook where that doesn't happen, and a full drain can occur.
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