BT headset charging issue

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by jigwashere, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    My Plantronics Voyager Focus headset is having charging problems. I'd appreciate advice on either fixing or replacing my device. It is out of warranty.

    I've really enjoyed using the Voyager Focus for the past 18 months. It fits comfortably over my ears, had extremely awesome battery life, the range was incredible (I sometimes wandered away from my phone while talking and would forgot where I set it down) and people were often surprised when I told them I was talking to them on a BT headset -- the sound quality was amazing.

    Suddenly, the darn thing won't hold a charge. I do have Plantronics Hub installed on my PC, and when I plug it in, it appears to charge. The charging indicator creeps up to 100% over time, but as soon as I disconnect it, it drops to zero, announces that I need to recharge, then shuts itself off.

    I've had 2 occasions where I was able to get it to hold a charge since this started happening. The first time, I let it sit connected to my PC until it showed a full charge, then flashed a firmware upgrade. It held a charge after that and seemed to work normally for a day, but failed again. I haven't found instructions for a factory reset, but tried to duplicate reset procedures I found for other Plantronics headsets (e.g., turn off the unit, press together the answer/vol down and voice command keys for a few seconds.). That didn't work, either, so I let the battery completely drain for a few days. Recharging seemed to work and the Hub app on my smartphone showed I had something like 22 hours. After about 4 or 5 hours, however, it suddenly dropped to 1 hour, then died.

    Google failed to find instructions for replacing the battery, and only one potential eBay source (out of China?) for a battery (the seller responded that they don't have replacement instructions, either).

    I work from home and spend much of my day attending meetings through Skype for Business while dialed in through my phone. It's critical I have a comfortable headset with excellent call quality. While I might use cheap earbuds for listening to music, podcasts, and streaming videos, for phone calls both comfort and excellent sound/call quality is paramount. Even though I pay for this out of my own pocket, I'm willing to spend whatever necessary to meet my need. I just don't want to waste more money basing my purchase decision on reviews that mostly focus on sound/music quality and not voice/call (microphone and monitor) quality.

    That said, I've gone through a number of headsets over the years, only to be disappointed by lack of comfort and complaints from callers about sound/call quality. I've had 2 Plantronics Voyager Legend headsets, various LG Tone headset models, and more.

    I might just order the Voyager Focus again, but those darn things are in the $300 range! :eek:. If they're only going to last 18 months, that's a bit hard to accept. But, if nothing better comes along, I'll do it.
     
  2. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Hi jig. That looks like a great headset. Would be a shame to have to discard it. From what you describe, it seems like the battery is failing. Most consumer devices (except for smartphones and laptops) use simple voltage dividers to measure battery charge, but this is neither an exact nor a reliable indicator. In your case, when connecting the charger the battery will read full charge because it's plugged to the power supply. But a failing battery will not hold charge, that is, the chemicals inside have broken down and no longer support the reactions that produce electricity. Replacing the battery usually is all that's needed, and it may be that an exact replacement is not mandatory. Li-poly batteries all have the same voltages, so you need to get one that physically fits and matches polarity.

    Around-ear headsets usually are disassembled from the earcup side. Your headset seems a bit like my Sony MDR-1RBT headset. In mine, you have to remove the ear cushions to expose the screws that let you remove the cup lid. Try to pull gently on the side of the cushion, often they have an edge that tucks into a slit in the cup and they can be stretched far enough to remove them (I replaced the leatherette cushions on my headset with Sennheiser "velvet" cushions, much more comfortable and will last longer).

    If and after you've removed the cushions, you should see the plastic case holding the electronics. One cup will hold the battery, the other the amplifier and BT board. Usually the cup with the charger port holds the battery, so try this side first. Another tell is that the NFC antenna and logo will be on the cup not holding the battery, but I think your headset does not have NFC. A small set of jeweler's screwdrivers will let you open the cup, but be sure to check for plastic hooks holding the cup together. A flat thin screwdriver should be enough to snap them open (or snap them, period :D ).
    If you're lucky, the battery can be removed without further tools. My headset uses a removable battery, meaning I don't need to de solder wires, just have to pull it out of the compartment. If not, then you'll need a soldering iron. Be sure to check and mark polarity (meaning it's best to have a multimeter handy).

    Hope you can get this fixed. If you decide to try this, please let me know. I may be able to guide you real-time via Skype if needed :)

    BTW, my wife's LG Tone headset (the one that came bundled with my LG G6) just passed the year mark in perfect working condition. Even the teeny tiny springs that reel the cables in are ok. Keeping my fingers crossed. I hope I don't fall into that pit!
     
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  3. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Here's what I've done so far:


    [​IMG]

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
     
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  4. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Another photo:.

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
     
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  5. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Here's the battery:
    Battery - Copy.jpg
    [​IMG]

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  6. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Nice... But it seems you're unlucky, you'll have to desolder the battery wires :) A needle tip 15W iron is perfect for this.

    Does the pouch seem swollen? If you press it, does it feel like it's filled with gas? This is a sure sign it's failing. If you have a multimeter you can test the battery by attaching the meter leads go the battery terminals, then connecting the charger. The voltage should increase gradually as the battery gets charged. A full charge should take a few hours until the battery reaches 4V (may be higher, Li-polys can go up to 4.2V). If the voltage increases too quickly or jumps suddenly, then the battery is surely damaged. You can also measure voltage on the charger port and check against specs, to rule out charger damage.

    The good news is that any other Li-poly battery will do, so long as it fits in the space. Yours is a 310 mAh battery. You could visit electronics or hobby shops, see if they have a battery with similar size and capacity. Then it's a simple matter of swapping batteries and soldering two wires. Be sure to check polarity before attaching the wires.
     
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  7. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Yes, the battery feels swollen. I'm not sure where to buy a replacement locally, so I might have to check around online.
     
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  8. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    If the technical approach ever comes to a dead end, so to speak, just dangle that carcass near the charging base of the new headset so it knows you mean business. :vbeek:
     
  9. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    This approach may backfire... Since it entails purchasing the new gadget, usually dangling the carcass of the previous one will bring it back to full working condition, rendering the brand-new purchase completely unnecessary. From direct observation I believe the probability of this happening is directly proportional to the amount of gloating performed during the dangling and to the price difference between new and old gadget squared.
     
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  10. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Sorry for my rather cryptic posts. I wasn't at my home PC much of the time and was too lazy to write much through my phone. I really appreciate the advice and support, Raspy!

    Dismantling the headset was a bit of a challenge. I put on my most powerful readers that allow me to see very close up (within inches of my face), and started poking, prodding, wedging, bending and prying. The easiest screws to access were on the headband itself, and once I got them, quickly realized that was a dead end.

    I knew I needed to get to the screws behind the earpieces. I removed the cushion covers as you recommended, which I had done before. The foam pads underneath were glued in place. I started pealing one back, trying not to damage it, but quickly decided that wasn't going to get me anywhere. Again, I started poking, prodding, etc., when it appeared I could separate front of the earpiece from the back by wedging and prying a screwdriver in the groove that held the cushion cover. Sure enough, it popped apart, giving me access to 2 screws that held the earpiece to the base. Once I removed the earpiece, I could access the 5 screws on the base. Once I had those screws removed, I had to loosen the wire harness so I could pull the earpiece away from the base and expose the battery.

    Everything was kind of taped and glued together, in addition to any snaps and screws. I think even the screws were glued! Anyway, I'm not sure it'll all snap back together w/o a bit of adhesive, but I'll determine that when I reassemble everything. I'm not too worried about it, and am optimistic about the results.

    I plan to head to a couple of hobby shops today in search of a battery. Approximate dimensions are 1-1/4" x 1-1/4" x 1/8" (30mm x 29mm x 4mm). Batteries for RC airplanes, helicopters, drones and mini cameras should be viable options. I don't have a lot of experience soldering (mostly sweating copper plumbing), and I'm uncomfortable attempting to solder directly to the circuit board. My plan is to clip the leads from the old battery, twist them to the leads from the new battery, then solder that connection. I'll cover my dirty work with a little shrink tubing (which I'll slide on first :)).
     
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