Thursday, February 25, 2016

Samsung Galaxy Phone Shuts Down After Taking Photo

I have a Samsung Galaxy 3 android phone and noticed something odd recently that had happened a few times. After taking a photo, the camera would immediately shut down. Sometimes I could get it to start up again using the power button, and sometimes I had to take off the back panel and remove/re-insert the battery to get it to come back to life.

I figured out the following regarding this issue:

  • It only occurs when I use the flash
  • It only occurs when my battery life is low (about 30% or less)
  • It only occurs if I use the stock photo app that comes with the phone (which is what I normally use by force of habit, even though I have some better photo apps installed)
  • It started occurring when I purchased a spare battery from a third party manufacturer
  • Alas, when the phone finally comes back on, the picture that I took when it shut down did not get saved
  • When the phone comes back on, it still has the 30% charge (or whatever it had before the incident)
I believe what is causing this issue is that the phone has a mechanism that shuts it down when the power gets very low (usually below 1%). This is a safety feature so that it shuts down gracefully rather than abruptly when the battery dies completely. I think when the flash picture is taken, the phone is somehow confused for that moment and thinks it is very low on battery even though it is not. Hence it implements the emergency shutdown.

The workaround to avoid the issue is:
  • Do not use the third party battery, except in an emergency when the primary battery is dead and re-charging
  • Do not use the flash when battery life is less than 30%


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