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Galaxy Note 4 keeps rebooting on its own after a power surge, screen is unresponsive, other issues

Hello Android community! Welcome to another #GalaxyNote4 article and as usual, we’re bringing you different issues and solutions. Don’t forget to visit our main Galaxy Note 4 troubleshooting page should you not find anything useful for you here.

If you are looking for solutions to your own #Android issue, you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page.

When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.

Below are specific topics we’re bringing for you today:

Problem 1: Galaxy Note 4 keeps rebooting on its own after a power surge

Hi, this is my problem. I own a Galaxy Note 4 since some time. The phone is not rooted, nor cooked. The only different thing from plain original phone is the battery, which is a Mugen Power 6640mAh battery with used to work very well for 6 months (approximately November-December).

The actual situation is a phone that does not turn on. What is happening is that, without power connection, the phone keeps rebooting itself and is not starting up. With “rebooting itself” I mean that, when I press the power button, the phone turns on, I can see the “Samsung Galaxy Note 4” and it immediately reboots over and over. (The Samsung logo is the white one that appears immediately after releasing the power button, NOT the animated one with flashing status led).

Connecting the power cord does not help, since the phone goes again into a boot loop but this time it reboots as soon as the battery logo appears. I happened to interrupt this booting loop once and the battery seemed to be able to recharge.

The story of this phone starts a bit far in the past, though. Since December, the phone kept rebooting itself in random occasions and in random ways. I have not been able to figure out “why” it kept behaving like that, meaning that I was not doing the same things when reboot happened, nor I had been using the same applications…it all seemed really random and impossible to reproduce. The only thing that I noticed was that it used to happen more often when the phone hotter, than when it was colder, but apart from that, nothing so common to be identified as the cause of the problems.

The only odd and strange thing that I noticed was that, again on random occasions, the phone was unable to reboot at the first try, but it had to reboot twice or more to be able to successfully reboot and it behaved, again randomly, in some puzzling ways displaying strange things on the screen (blue, green and red pixels spread on the screen, together with the fixed Samsung logo instead of a uniform black background). This was going on since December and apart from the annoyance of the continuous reboots, nothing really happened. (No more signs of hardware decay, no memory problems, no corrupted data, nothing at all).

The only thing that I noticed, because the back cover was not able to stay shut anymore, was a battery swell, that I noticed in the last few days. Today, after the nth reboot, the phone suddenly didn’t woke up at all…it just kept rebooting like said at the beginning of this message. I was not at home and thought that the battery had collapsed and needed to be replaced. (Fortunately I ordered a new battery a few days ago, because of the swell that made me think a near fail). In the meantime I thought that until Friday I could use the old original Samsung battery which the only fault was to have way less power than I needed (I don’t recall issues with that one, even if it stayed unused for near a year).

Once at home, I switched the batteries and really bloody nothing happened. The phone kept behaving like it did with the Mugen battery. This puzzled and frightened me a lot, since I thought that, even if old, the original battery would had solved the problem.

In three days I’ll be able to tell if the new battery solves the problem (maybe I’m only unlucky and the Samsung original battery while in the box developed some problems that I’m unaware of), but in the meantime I don’t know what to do. I’m only 50% frightened of not being able to resuscitate the phone anymore, because pictures and videos were stored on the external SD card (which after the first time trying to start the phone was pulled out to both save her from damage and ensure that it was not the cause of the fault) and backed-up elsewhere, but SMS, WhatsApp and Telegram chronologies as well as some game progresses that are tied to the internal memory were not and only old backups do exist, not to speak about “Samsung memo” files which were not backed-up at all. It would be not deadly but really awful to lose this data.

What I did was the following:

 

  • Remove the battery and tried to start the phone without: No signs at all.
  • Remove the battery for 30 minutes and try to start the phone (both with and without SIM and SD Card): Boot loop like above
  • Start phone in recovery mode: The recovery mode is recognised, a “Android is installing updates” appears, then reboot and boot loop.
  • Start phone in download mode: The download mode is recognised and it starts successfully. I’m able to press the volume up key and go into the next stage in which the phone is awaiting to download something (these are the strings appearing: ODIN MODE: High Speed – Product Name: SM-N910F – Current Binary: Samsung Official – System Status: Official – Reactivation Lock: ON – Knox Warranty Void: 0x0 – Qualcomm Secure Boot: Enable (CSB) – RP SWREV: S1, T1, R1, A1, P1 – Secure Download: Enable – UDC: Start).
  • I did not go further since anything I do, might damage data; the only thing I did was to connect the phone to my PC and notice that the phone was not showing up, even if the driver installed correctly. But I believe this thing to be right, since in download mode only Odin is able to access the phone. I did NOT try to connect to the phone via adb nor know if, via adb, is possible to connect to collect phone data. I don’t think that there is much else to say, apart from an accident the phone had this December.

 

One day, an underground cable broke (the N of a three-phase cable) in the flats of a friend I was visiting and all the 8 apartments got a shocking 380V power surge in the sockets for quite some time. Since the thing was happening the second time, my friend was aware of the problem and when his TV begun to behave strangely, he ran to disconnect my PC and mobile phone from the outlet. The PC continued to work flawlessly, so did the Phone, but from that time on, reboots begun to happen (damaged battery?).

The surcharge for my appliances happened for only 10 minutes because after that they were disconnected (differently from a dvd reader that blew up) but that time might had been not enough to blast the phone to pieces but enough to cause some sort of damage to something I’ve yet to discover. (really light damage if the phone survived for 6 months being still operative, apart from reboots).

If the phone is to be scrapped then this is no big problem. What I need is to be able to do something to start it up and recover some data. From my experience (computer science degree), what is happening might be related to energy supply, having the phone to thing there is no more power, when indeed there is plenty of it. (where does the phone gets this information? it measures the voltage coming out from the battery or it queries the battery for informations that might be wrong, so even if there is power, the battery reports itself as drained?)

But there might be other things to take into account: I asked myself whether the internal storage have become corrupted or even failed completely, but I believe that download mode would not even start in case of a failed flash ROM. (correct me if I’m wrong) Does the phone asks for the battery serial number so it remembers it is faulty and refuses to boot up? Could the phone power management circuitry be broken so that it is unable to distinguish drained from full battery? Could the continuous reboots have damaged the ROM, because one of them occurred when an application was writing on it?

Too many questions but I’m unable to answer. So here is the big one: While waiting for the battery to be delivered, is there something else I might try to revive the phone?

Thank you in advance. — Gabriele

P.S. Tech Specs of the phone are the following: Phone: Samsung Note 4 OS: Android 6.01 with latest security patches applied Root: No Custom Roms: No Battery: Mugen Power 6640mAh HLI-N910XL

Solution: Hi Gabriele. We appreciate the time and effort in giving us a very detailed description of the problem and history that might had led to it. If only most users who contact us are as detailed, it should make it a lot easier for us to identify the issue.

First of all, we want to make it a point that almost all Android issues can be caused by either a software glitch or hardware malfunction. Knowing which is which is always tricky and does not always guarantee a solution that a user can do on his or her end. Although majority of software-related problems are fixable at a user’s level, some may still require intervention from Samsung or carriers because they’re simply way beyond a user’s ability to solve. That said, we usually go through a series of logical troubleshooting steps to help a user narrow down possible causes, especially if they don’t mention the troubleshooting steps they’ve already tried before contacting us. In some rare cases like the one you’re doing here, we can skip the usual troubleshooting steps because you’ve already performed them ahead of time.

For instance, a random reboot issue like the one you’re experiencing here will require checking a number of things such as:

  • the battery (to see if it shows physical symptoms like bloating)
  • the apps (by booting the device to safe mode or doing a factory reset)
  • the bootloader (by flashing it with a stock one, especially if you’re running a non-official firmware, or if you rooted the device)

That you’ve already did these checks ahead of time gives us better insight as to what may be happening.

Secondly, we think that the main problem here is caused by a hardware malfunction. Remember that power surge at your friend’s place? We are almost certain that’s where the problem started. Although power surges happen all the time, majority of them are negligible and most household electronics including smartphones can handle them without incurring any negative effects. However, in some rare cases like the one that happened in your friend’s place, the sudden extreme voltage spike must have generated enough heat within the power IC and the circuit board to cause the problem right now.

Keep in mind that power surges can both have instantaneous and long term effects. In some cases, an affected device may simply fail right away, while in some, the damage won’t really become apparent until at a much later time. Smaller power surges can slowly degrade electronic components, effectively shortening the overall lifespan of a critical parts like the power IC.

We have no way of knowing which of the two is happening on your device right now but we believe that the power IC may have been damaged. This is often the main reason for unexplained random reboot problems in many Samsung devices. There’s been mixed results in replacing the power IC because it’s also possible that other components may be malfunctioning as well. In most cases, Samsung service centers and a lot independent service centers will opt for a full motherboard change instead of spending more time checking hundreds of components individually.

Do-it-yourself repair won’t be of much help either. Unless you’re lucky and the issue is isolated to the power IC only, which is highly unlikely given how you arrive at this predicament right now, motherboard replacement is the only effective solution that you can do on your end. To do that, we assume of course that you have access to needed tools and has the knowledge to do basic electronic stuff. If you think you  can do a motherboard replacement yourself, try looking for a good guide from some websites. iFixit is a good place to start.

Thirdly, no, this is not a battery issue. We don’t think getting a new replacement battery will improve the situation but you can definitely try that. And no, a smartphone like your Note 4 won’t question a battery inserted to it for a serial number. As long as the specifications of the battery connected to your phone match what its needs, there shouldn’t be any problem.

As regards your question “is there something else I might try to revive the phone?” it depends on the extent of damage on the system. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know that for sure. We know that your ultimate aim is to recover your data but again, that depends how long your phone stays on to allow file transfer. Because the issue is a malfunctioning hardware due to unstable or unmet power in the circuit, there’s no amount of software tweaks that you can do to bring everything back in order.

Problem 2: A portion of Galaxy Note 4  screen is unresponsive

Hello. I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 SM-N910F which I purchased 9 months ago. Since the first time I used the device, there was a problem in the screen that a small area of about 1 cm, exactly in the middle of the screen, throughout the width of the screen (from side to side). Is doesn’t respond to finger touches. it responds only to the S-Pen touches. Mainly, when I touch this screen area with my fingers it doesn’t respond, but sometimes it widens the screen or shrinking it. it happens with both applications or internet browsing. It also happens in soft mode. I tried to uninstall the Facebook Messenger but it didn’t help. I tried to Soft Reset it but it didn’t help. when I use the Stylus everything works fine. How do I fix it? Thanks. — Ariel.di

Solution: Hi Ariel.di. This is definitely not normal and the unresponsive portion of the screen may be a sign of a bad digitizer, one of the major components of a screen assembly. Digitizer is the top layer of the screen that converts analog touches into digital signals. Any time a portion of a screen appears to be unresponsive, it’s mostly due to a bad digitizer, which unfortunately almost always require repair. To check if your screen’s digitizer is at fault, do the following:

  1. Open the Phone or dialer app.
  2. Dial “*#0*#” (without the quotes).
  3. Tap the box that says Touch.
  4. Draw a line from top to bottom by dragging your finger. If the portion of the screen you’re having problems with shows a break in the line, that’s proof that you have digitizer issue. You should have the phone repaired or replaced.

If there’s no break in the line and the phone registers all your touches in service mode, the cause of the issue may be due to software glitch. Do a factory reset and see how it works afterwards. Here’s how:

  1. Create a backup of your important files such as photos, videos, contacts etc. You can use Smart Switch for this task.
  2. Turn off the Galaxy Note 4 completely.
  3. Press and hold the Volume Up and the Home keys together, then press and hold the Power key.
  4. When the Note 4 vibrates, release both the Home and Power keys but continue holding the Volume Up key.
  5. When the Android System Recovery shows on the screen, release the Vol Up key.
  6. Using the Volume Down key, highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’ and press the Power key to select it.
  7. Now highlight ‘Yes — delete all user data’ using the Vol Down key and press the Power key to begin the reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, highlight ‘Reboot system now’ and hit the Power key.
  9. The Note 4 will restart but it will be longer than usual. When it reaches the Home screen, then begin your setup.

Problem 3: Galaxy Note 4 can’t receive calls, gets delayed SMS

Samsung Note 4 does not receive any calls. When someone phones, it rings at their end then cuts off. it does not go to an answering machine, just cuts off. My phone does nothing, does not light up, does not say missed call. Nothing at all. I can phone people from it and it works fine. When someone texts me, their text does not come through for hours or until I use my phone e.g. I use my mobile and phone someone and I get the text through and the text sender gets the delivery report for sent text. Could be minutes after they send text or hours. Phone has not been damaged or anything spilt on it. It just stopped working properly. There is no call barring or anything set up on phone to stop me getting calls. Please help. Thanks.  — Feebeedafabriano

Solution: Hi Feebeedafabriano. Your issue appears network-related but if you haven’t tried device troubleshooting at this time, make sure that you do.

The first step that you want to do is to clear the cache and data of your messaging and Phone apps. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings menu either through your notification shade (drop-down) or through the Settings app in your app drawer.
  2. Navigate down to “Apps”. This may be renamed to something like Applications or Application Manager in OEM skinned versions of Android 6 or 7.
  3. Once in there, click on an application.
  4. You’ll now see a list of stuff that gives you information about the app, including Storage, Permissions, Memory Use, and more. These are all clickable items. You’ll want to click on Storage.
  5. You should now clearly see the Clear Data and Clear Cache buttons for the application.

If the problem remains after clearing the cache and data of Phone and messaging apps, do a factory reset. Refer to the steps above.

Should the issue continue after wiping the phone via factory reset, contact your carrier for direct support.

Problem 4: Galaxy Note 4 SD card got corrupted

I was at Disney World with my son when the SD card in my Note 4 suddenly stopped working. I could see pictures in Gallery but I could not delete them or do anything with them. The phone didn’t sustain any damage or anything that I know of. When I got home, I unmounted the card to try to download everything from it onto my iMac using a card reader, but the reader cannot read it and it never mounts to my desktop or shows up in disk utilities. I put it back into the phone and now I get the message “The data on this SD card is corrupt. To use it, it must be set up” and it gives me a prompt to fix. I stupidly did not back up my phone manually in almost a year because I mistakenly thought my pictures were being backed up to the cloud…I have small children so this is a terrible loss for me and I really don’t have the money to spend on a data recovery service. I think there’s a chance that if I allow the phone to go through with the fix on the card it will format and then I may be able to use a reasonably priced recovery software to get my pictures and videos from the formatted card, but I’m terrified to try. Googling this error message is yielding very few results and zero advice, can you please help me figure out what to do? — Barkingkazak

Solution: Hi Barkingkazak. It’s terrible to lose irreplaceable digital memories but once an SD card gets corrupted, there’s very little to nothing that can be done much. For one, there’s virtually no troubleshooting that you can do about it except to try and insert it to another device to see if it will read it. There are no tweaks an average user can do about a corrupted SD card.

Secondly, yes you’ll need a specialized software to recover bits and pieces from a corrupted storage medium. You read that right, just bits and pieces. Software recovery is not perfect and does not guarantee that you’ll get everything back. Recovery software, due to their highly technical nature, are only available for trained professionals. This is why file recovery is expensive and unfortunately, this is the only option available for you. We know it may be an issue for you to pay for it, but you can’t simply will this one.

To minimize losing more data, make sure to unmount the card from the phone. Do not re-insert it to another device unless you’re ready for a file recovery procedure.

 


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