Monday, November 8, 2010

My phone isn't charging! My phone isn't holding a charge! My phone dies fast!


So, your Verizon Wireless phone is having power problems. Maybe your phone isn't charging at all, it isn't 'holding a charge,' it is dying quickly, or your phone goes from a full charge to dead whenever you make a call.

First, we'll assume that your phone has not been physically busted or water damaged. (A future post will talk about water damage).

The cause of your problem could generally be one of four things (or a combination of four things if you're very unlucky). Your battery is bad, your charger is bad, the charging jack is broken, and/or the charging circuitry (the hardware in the phone that regulates charge) inside your phone is bad.

The simplest way to find out what, exactly, is wrong with your phone is to take it into an authorized service center. These tend to be larger corporately owned Verizon Wireless stores. You can search for one in your local area here. Service centers will be locations that list Technician Hours alongside Store Hours. When you get to the service center, you'll want to sign into the queue for service rather than sales. The technician can hook your phone up to a diagnostic machine which will put a load on the charging circuitry and battery and record how the power is regulated, stored, and discharged. This test will help them figure out exactly what is wrong with your phone. 

Stores that are not service centers will not have this diagnostic machine. What do those stores do? Well, a good store with trained employees can usually troubleshoot and 'guess' with pretty good accuracy what the problem is, but you can do the same thing yourself and save a trip to the store (if there aren't any service centers in your area, of course! That is easiest!) It is really a process of elimination. 

Charging Port
The easiest thing to check is your charger port. Look right in there! Is it mangled, has bent pins, or is full of lint? That could be a problem. If your charging port is busted, you'll need to get a new phone.

If your charger is loose when you plug in your charger that can be a big problem especially if you have to wiggle it to get it to charge. DON'T WIGGLE YOUR CHARGER! EVER! (A future post will talk about loose charging ports).

Charger
If your charging port looks good and isn't loose, try a different charger. A bad charger could simply be delivering the wrong charge to the phone; the phone and battery think it’s getting a proper charge but it isn't. If you beg/borrow/buy a replacement charger for your phone, you’ll know your old charger was bad if your phone is working correctly and lasting longer within a couple charge cycles (a day or two). 

Brand new chargers in a store will cost between $20 and $30 dollars depending on the phone's make and model. Be aware that most stores do not stock chargers for older phones. Since most phones all use different chargers, they usually only have stock space for current model phone chargers (if any at all)! You can usually find chargers much cheaper and easier online than travelling from store to store. Just make sure it is an Verizon branded or OEM charger. Some people have had very bad luck with off-brand or after-market chargers. Still, you can find chargers on Amazon for most phone models for much less than a store will charge to ship it to you (when they don't have it in stock). Definitely take the time to search Amazon for cell phone chargers.
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Battery
The next easiest thing to check is the battery. If you have a charger that you know works properly and your phone still isn't holding a charge, then you should move on to the battery. If you take the battery out of your phone and it feels fat in the middle, you have a bad battery. Batteries should be flat. If you're not sure whether or not your battery is fat, place it on a flat surface. If it has a bulge in the middle, you'll notice. It’s bad. If the battery spins freely when you flick the corner, it is fat (and therefore bad). Beg/borrow/buy a replacement battery. If it is just the battery that is bad, your phone should be working correctly and lasting longer within a few charge cycles (two or three days).

Brand new batteries in a store will cost between $30 and $50 dollars depending on the phone's make and model. Be aware that most stores do not stock batteries for older phones. Since most phones all use different batteries, they usually only have stock space for current model phone batteries (if any at all)! You can usually find batteries much cheaper and easier online than travelling from store to store. Just make sure it is an original or OEM battery. Some people have had very bad luck with off-brand or after-market batteries. Still, you can find batteries on Amazon for most phone models for much less than a store will charge to ship it to you (when they don't have it in stock). Definitely take the time to search Amazon for cell phone batteries.http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=verizon0d-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=
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The Phone Itself
If you know you're using a good charger, battery, and charging port, then the problem lies in the phone itself. Some circuitry somewhere has gone bad. There isn't anything you can do to fix this. If your phone is less than a year old and has no physical or water damage, you should be able to get it replaced under your one year warranty for free (longer if you purchased the extended warranty from Verizon at the time of purchase). If it is older than a year and you have insurance on it but no extended warranty, then you can get it replaced for a fee through insurance.


Hope this helped someone!


Tags: bad battery, Verizon Wireless, VZW

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