Thursday 13 October 2011

Fixing an Xperia Play Smartphone

On 10 October I awoke in  the morning to a grisly find. An Xperia Play that had frozen.
The Android Phone in the 6 months that I have had it has become indispensable. I use the Android Blogspot App to blog from (and occasionally the Wordpress App), the Jorte app organises my life and Thinking Space gets all my ideas down so I can revisit them and work them into something else later. That's of course not to mention all the Android games downloaded from the market (Battleheart; Zenonia 1,2,3 and more) that I use for entertainment. So a potentially broken phone is a major irritation at the best and a serious disability at the worst.
Hopefully in this post I'll be able to impart some knowledge and resources that helped me to fix the broken phone before I had to send it back to Vodafone.

My first indication was when the alarm went off at 6 (some Katy Perry song, Big Headed Alien or some such) normally I'm quite good at quickly waking up and turning off the Phone's alarm, but this morning I though that I'd hit the wrong button as the alarm kept on going off, and thanks to the latest Uk firmware update that boosts the speaker volume the entire house was soon awake!

Going downstairs later I found that the touchscreen was unresponsive. It does sometimes happen so I was unpanicked , the normal solution is to turn the phone off, which if the touchscreen is not working can only be done by removing the xperia's battery. This done , most web sources say to leave the battery out for between 15 to 30 seconds. I did this , but this time the phone even failed to turn on! Now panic and desperation was starting to set in. Despite this casualty life still had to go on , so leaving the ,possibly, broken phone in my pocket I set off to work, hoping that the Android os would sort itself out.

Arriving at work the phone was still showing what I refer to as the grey screen of death- the Sony Ericsson logo comes up in grey but nothing further happens.

The next idea was to leave the battery out for a longer period of time, this time I left it out for over half an hour. On turning the phone on nothing had changed.

Returning home for a short tea break I decided to put the phone on charge , in the hope that this would jolt it alive. Removing the battery and turning it on seemed to get some sort of result as the phone actually managed to turn on, but still the touchscreen unresponsive problem remained.

I then left the phone on charge for a couple of hours whilst I returned to work. the next step I knew would be to consult the internet for Android Help Forums and Xperia Play Help sites.

Lunchtime came and went with no progress, I did learn though that a further solution would be to take the battery out as well as the sim card and memory card and reinsert them after the obligatory 30 seconds. however this too failed to produce results.

In the evening after work I turned to the internet to research more deeply what steps I could take to fix the android phone. The symptoms so far were an unresponsive touchscreen coupled with a failure to turn on unless connected to a charger. Looking on the Sony forums the touchscreen problem does seem to crop up, but as for the not turning on unless a charger is connected it seemed to suggest a battery problem. At one stage , very briefly I was elated as the touchscreen started working again for all of five minutes. But then became unresponsive again. I of course cleaned the screen properly but this had no effect.

I then started up the Sony Ericsson Pc Companion to reload the firmware. however the catch was that even though the PC could pick up the phone , without the ability to tell the phone to connect I was getting nowhere. Rebooting seemed to be the only solution, but the only way to reboot an Xperia Play with a frozen screen was by going on to a Sony site that would do a hard reset. The other solution  would involve doing a reset from the phone itself-but this would mean that i would need a working touchscreen , which I didnt have.
After about half an hour I had redownloaded the firmware and got it onto the phone via the USB cable(no interaction on the handset was needed for this solution)
And the hard reset worked.... for all of five minutes until the touchscreen became unresponsive again! I even cleaned the whole phone in desperation as the touchscreen can lock if the proximity sensor is dirty, even this lateral solution didn't work.
Finally I decided that the phone was beyond repair and phoned Vodafone Customer Services who sent me a prepay envelope and said a repair would take up to seven working days.

Waiting for the return envelope to arrive I took the battery out and the simcard was put into a younger family member's HTC Wildfire( and that experience is a blog in itself!).

The envelope arrived today and I tried the phone again( you never know!) and guess what? The Xperia Play is working again!(so far let's hope it carries on !)

Miracle Android Handset Cure: By any means possible!
So what finally fixed it, the phone was undamaged, but the only possible solution I can think of is that perhaps some moisture got into it and by leaving the battery off and the innards exposed for a long period of time got the handset working again, Hopefuly the problem is now resolved, and I've learnt some valuable Android lesson which I'll share in other blogposts. I also hope that this post gives you some idea how to fix an Xperia Play phone, or fix any other Android phone. Now let's get gaming!