PBP Battery issues. Drainage on load with external accessories
#1
As the title suggests my PBP just died on me. I was really happy with it and worked with it  for several weeks without any hitches. I took it to a conference and worked with it there with a USB3.1 Dock attached and all was fine until the display started flickering and the machine shut down. I tried to restart it and it got stuck with the green PowerLED on but did nothing. I tried a hard reset, but it did not react to keyboard input. Not even the on-off switch. After a while it switched off and now it’s dead. 

Any suggestions? Will there be replacement PCBs available?

Cheers,
WhiteDragon
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#2
Is it possible that it is simply a battery problem?

Possibly try a long charge using the barrel charge connection?
Possibly try booting from an SD card?
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#3
Thanks for the suggestions. Booting from SD-Card would not have been an option, since the machine wouldn’t turn on. However I tried to boot it with the battery disconnected and the overwrite cables engaged. And lo and behold it bootet. So I guess your assumption was correct. Tried it again with power and battery connected and after two attempts it worked. Battery shows 0% charge. So it’s either faulty or my 20W power supply was not strong enough to power the dock via USB without draining the battery. But since that did not occur the day prior, I would think it’s a faulty battery. I‘ll try charging it over night and we‘ll see what happens.
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#4
So... I was able to reproduce the issue! The key to the PinebookPro "dying" on me was simply that I was using it with some load and an external accessory over USB3.1.
Thus the energy consumption exeeded the recharging load of the battery, which caused the battery to drain while being charged and thus not resulting in any form of notification.

The root of the problem is that the PBP does only rely on the external power supply but only drains the battery, which in turn is recharged at approximately the same rate as drained. This design is prone to the type of issue I experienced. So if one is running load on the PBP, one should NOT use external accessories such as USB-C docks.
The issue could be mitigated by using powered accessories, but that somehow beats the point of an ultra portable device.

So maybe the power routing could be redesigned in such a way, that it is possible to use more than 3 Amps and the SoC being powered directly and the battery be charged with access power and not the other way around!

cheers,
WhiteDragon
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#5
(12-30-2019, 06:05 AM)WhiteDragon Wrote: So... I was able to reproduce the issue! The key to the PinebookPro "dying" on me was simply that I was using it with some load and an external accessory over USB3.1.
Thus the energy consumption exeeded the recharging load of the battery, which caused the battery to drain while being charged and thus not resulting in any form of notification.

The root of the problem is that the PBP does only rely on the external power supply but only drains the battery, which in turn is recharged at approximately the same rate as drained. This design is prone to the type of issue I experienced. So if one is running load on the PBP, one should NOT use external accessories such as USB-C docks.
The issue could be mitigated by using powered accessories, but that somehow beats the point of an ultra portable device.

So maybe the power routing could be redesigned in such a way, that it is possible to use more than 3 Amps and the SoC being powered directly and the battery be charged with access power and not the other way around!

cheers,
WhiteDragon
Thank you for the clear description of the problem.

One note, you can still use external USB accessories while under higher loads, but they should be self powered. Annoying, but it's a possibly work around. My USB-C dock does have external power in, and can supposedly charge my Pinebook Pro. (Note we need to make sure we don't supply power from both barrel jack & USB-C at the same time...)
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#6
@Arwen
Perhaps a warning could/should be listed in the Pinebook Pro wiki about being careful when adding powered devices.
Running alone the PBP runs fine and for a long time.
But there seem to be a lot of trouble posts that are related to drawing to much power,
Some seem fairly obvious, but perhaps some of the same cause are more obscure. ?
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#7
@bcnaz, I've added the first note about USB high power devices. It's probably not the only place we need it mentioned, but it's a start. Here is a link;

Wiki - Pinebook Pro - Expansion Ports
--
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
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#8
Thank you @Arwen! Maybe it will be possible to add some sort of power management circuitry to the main PCB, so that the device could reasonably be powered with, say, maybe a 10 Amps power supply and the battery be charged with exess current. That would totally mitigate the issue and would make a „refit“ for existing books a possibility.

Cheers,
WhiteDragon
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#9
The Pinebook Pro is built for the user to 'Tinker' with it...
Your idea may be a good modification, especially for your case scenario.

However Remember this is an "inexpensive" laptop, so while the modification may be really good for some, changing the production model that everyone purchases would drive up the price everyone would have to pay.

That said... Maybe, "Do It Yourself" upgrades may be a good addition for the wiki under such a title ? ?

Possibly even talk TLlim into carrying a power upgrade kit in the store...?

Curious,
What were you running that would require 10 amps of power ? The Dock itself ?

I have an old HP desktop replacement Laptop that has the huge external battery that it sets on top of....
That battery only came with a factory charger of 65 watts.

Perhaps an external battery would satisfy your requirements ?

In other threads we have been discussing shortened battery life when an M.2/NVMe drive uses more than 4.5 watts,
10 amps is a Lot of power
especially in a low power laptop.
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#10
My battery does not charge, or slowly drains when chrome has a bunch of tabs open. This is while powered. The battery should never drain while powered.

Is this problem larger than inadequate power adapter?
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