Fried GPS chip from overclocking?

roscko

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Mar 29, 2010
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Hi all,

I'm having trouble with my GPS getting a lock. Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be thorough in my description and "help you help me" :D

Background
About a month ago, I rooted my Droid, threw the 0.8ghz kernal on it from "Root Your Droid" website, and overclocked it to 0.8ghz using SetCPU. It worked great for a few days, but the back side near the camera would always get warm to the touch if I did anything processor-intensive on the phone.

One day, I docked the phone to the Motorola car dock and used the GPS navigation for a road trip. The car dock was suctioned on the driver's side of the windshield, and since it was a sunny day that day, it had full exposure to sunlight. I also had a car charger hooked up to keep it juiced up.

30 minutes into the drive, the navigation went all crazy. It lost GPS signal, then a few seconds later, it tried to hone in my position to some random location, drifting southeast every second, even if the car wasn't moving. I tried to zoom out, but it kept scrolling the map screen to my "new position". I quitted the Navigation and checked on Google Maps: same thing.

I also noticed my phone was really, really hot. Not painful just yet, but getting there. I shut the phone down, pulled the battery, and let it cool down for 30 minutes or so. When I turned it back on, the GPS was working again, and so was navigation. That whole ordeal freaked me out, so I used my TomTom for the rest of the trip instead.

My GPS continued to function ok for a few days, but I didn't use it too much after that incident. Several days later though, my GPS failed to lock onto my location in Google maps again, and it did that messed up scrolling/false locking thing. At the time, I ignored it, and several days later, it was working fine again. This repeated itself continuously, although nowadays it wouldn't do the scrolling/false locking as much; it just wouldn't acquire a lock.

The Problem and Current State
I have Pete's BB v0.9 ESE53 Android 2.1 overclocked to 800 mhz max, 400 mhz min. Everything on the phone is working fine EXCEPT for the GPS. The GPS fails to lock onto my position, although the cell tower AGPS always gives me a good regional approximation of my location in Google maps and in any apps that uses general geolocation.

The real kicker is that GPS fails like 80% of the time, regardless if the phone is warm to the touch or not. In other words, there's a small chance that for any given day, the GPS would work for some time for that day. When it works, it works great. When it doesn't, it won't lock onto my position and occasionally gives me false positionings that persistently update in one direction or another (as if I'm always movving, even though I'm not).

I'm afraid my overclocking may have overheated the GPS chip and fried it, even though it was at a speed that's informally accepted as (relatively) "safe". Maybe it was a combination of overclocking, being in the sun, and hot battery from being plugged into the car charger that fried it?

Attempted Remedies
Whenever my GPS didn't lock, I did one or more of the following (not necessarily in this order) to no avail:
  1. Factory wiped and restored to virgin Droid ROM, Android 2.0.1
  2. Killed all GPS/geolocation-using apps
  3. Disabled/enabled GPS/geolocation/wireless networks lock settings
  4. Shutdown, pulled battery, left off for 30+ minutes, turned back on
  5. Left Google maps or Navigation app on for 60+ minutes to try to acquire position
  6. Downloaded GPS Status and GPS Test apps. Both would show 2 to 6 satellites, but for the majority would not acquire signal. For when they DO acquire signal, 1 of 2 things occur:
    • It's a good acquisition and it's one of the rare times the GPS works as intended.
    • It's a false position (as described above), and I'm moving 20 to 40 MPH in some odd direction at an altitude of -5km :confused:
  7. Dialed *228 and hit "1" to reprogram my phone, followed by a reboot.
  8. Spun it several times on all 3 of its axes.
  9. Consulted the stars, sacrificed a lamb, and ritualistically danced around the Droid.


Any help would be greatly appreciated! I've scoured the interwebs and found nothing similar to my case (especially with the perpetual false positioning/movement).
 
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R

Roy Aguilera

Sucks I have never heard of this happening. What was your fail safe and charging settings?
Hope they were not 800.
 

p08757

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Things like this are why I choose not to root. If I were you, I would go back to stock. Not sure if you did that yet (long post and didnt read the ejtire thing).

Good luck.
 

Dapke36

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I agree. They should switch it out no problem. I would, however, omit the parts about "rooting" and "in direct sunlight" - some reps don't care about the sunlight overheating thing, but some do, but everyone (is supposed to) cares about rooting.

But yes, get a new one. And if you feel bad about it, think of the exorbitant prices we pay Verizon just for minutes and texting.
 

thebizz

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I'm sorry this happened to you but do you have temp monitor set up what temp did you CPU hit, and did you gave the failsafe profile active
 

PRNmeds

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I haven't had this exact problem, but i'm running 2.1 BB 0.9, and I have been having GPS issues ever since I loaded it up. This has been the one consistent problem every time I've rooted. I will type in my destination, and it will say, "searching for GPS signal" or something along those lines. Sometimes after a minute or so, it'll kick in, and start giving me directions. However, then I'll be at a stoplight, and the gps will still be moving, and like, appear that i'm on the street I had just turned from. Very odd. Frustrating too, no doubt. When I have returned to stock in the past, that has fixed things up, I haven't returned to stock yet this time, but I likely will. Does this sound anything like your problem? (p.s. I'm not overclocking my phone @ current, havent with this root, so I haven't had any heating issues.)
 

thomascj

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Never seen/heard anything like this before, and I'm rooted, running at 800mhz when using the phone.

I have mine set to drop back to stock speed when plugged in. I find that when it's plugged in I'm either not using it, or don't need blazing fast screen switches (e.g. while navigating or being a desk clock).

I'm curious if anyone else has a similar setup? It almost seems counter-intuitive, but I find that when I am carrying the phone around and using it every day scenario's, that's when I want it to run fast, not when it's charging.

One last note, the first droid I had did have some really funky GPS issues (without ever rooting it). It would essentially seem like it lost GPS connection or something, and never find directions, never find my location -- nothin. This was intermittent. Verizon replaced it with (nearly) no questions asked.

I agree with everyone else, roll it back to stock and see if you can sweet talk your way into a new phone.
 

roscko

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Mar 29, 2010
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I kind of guessed I need to return the phone but was hoping someone had a more convenient fix.

I had fail safe mode set to go off at battery temps above 45 deg celsius and set cpu speeds to 550 mhz max, 125 mhz min. I didn't have a cpu temp monitor, but Setcpu's battery monitor said it was around 55 deg celsius (!) right before I pulled the battery for immediate emergency power off.

Oddly enough, the GPS didn't work for most of today, but five minutes ago it worked again (and indoors no less! Acquired in less than 10 seconds >_<)! I just know come tomorrow, it's going to fail on me again. Such false hope...

Let this be a caution and warning to my fellow rooters: overclocking + hot sun + charging the battery + using CPU intensive app = fried Droid! :p
 
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roscko

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I haven't had this exact problem, but i'm running 2.1 BB 0.9, and I have been having GPS issues ever since I loaded it up. This has been the one consistent problem every time I've rooted. I will type in my destination, and it will say, "searching for GPS signal" or something along those lines. Sometimes after a minute or so, it'll kick in, and start giving me directions. However, then I'll be at a stoplight, and the gps will still be moving, and like, appear that i'm on the street I had just turned from. Very odd. Frustrating too, no doubt. When I have returned to stock in the past, that has fixed things up, I haven't returned to stock yet this time, but I likely will. Does this sound anything like your problem? (p.s. I'm not overclocking my phone @ current, havent with this root, so I haven't had any heating issues.)

It's similar, but my problem started only after the phone baked under the sun, so I don't think it was related to BB. Also, I loaded Pete's BB v0.9 AFTER the incident, so I can't help you rule out the custom rom altogether.

You should try some of my "attempted remedies" in my first post. I gathered them from other threads/forums, and they seemed to help fix other people's GPS' quite nicely.
 

roscko

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It's been over a month now, and it seems like my Droid's GPS has improved over time. 90% of the time it acquires a signal within seconds. It almost leads me to think it "healed" itself!

Since then, I've also found out that the Droid's CPU and battery specs allow for fairly high operating temperatures. I don't remember them off the top of my head, but they were above 55 C.

The only unknown factor is the maximum allowable operating temperature of the GPS chip. If it's at or below 55 C, then the extra heat from overclocking could be blamed for the inconsistent GPS readings I had back in March. If, however, the allowable operating temp of the GPS chip was as high as the CPU/battery, then it could be some other factor and not the overclocking.
 

afrozeke

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My Droid got very warm in the same area before root to no ill affects. And it's been on the windshield in direct sunlight for pretty long trips too. I think you just have a defective unit. That's it.
 

abocornwall

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Before trying to get a replacement just install a different ROM and see if it works because the fact that a guy running the same ROM his having the problem but other people overclocked to the same aren't makes me think it could just be a ROM so try that, and just so everyone knows OVERCLOCKING ISN'T REALLY A GOOD IDEA.

But i would listen to roscko.
 
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