OpenPandora (type 1002) doesn't turn on anymore - What to check? How to repair?


porg

Active Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
792
Location
Vienna, Austria
Last used my OpenPandora about 1 year ago.
Wanted to use it again recently: No longer goes on: No screen, no LEDs. Nothing.

What I tried without success
  1. Power cable permanently plugged in.
  2. Both power sockets: Dedicated power socket, USB power socket.
  3. Tried different AD-DC power adapters.
  4. Plugged in for multiple hours (to rule out a "battery recovery" scenario).
  5. Battery out and power plug only.

Questions
  1. What else can you test as a normal user?
  2. What can you test as a somehow tech savvy user?
  3. Does OpenPandora GmbH still service the device?
Note: Sent an email on 2022-09-28 and never got an answer, hence I ask here.
Update: Possible explanation: 2022-10-08 news about EvilDragon's shop had to deal with biz/legal issues, just in the timeframe I emailed.

My OpenPandora 's lifecycle
  • 2022-09 Pandora does not start anymore (type 1002, serial n° 1200020003xx)
  • 2021 winter Last time I used it. Worked normally. Put it aside afterwards. Stored indoors, normal room temperature. As always. Never was a problem.
  • 2012 autumn Purple Tint of Death, received repaired or better Pandora (type 1002, serial n° 1200020003xx), kept same battery (serial n° 16xx).
  • 2011-05 Received original Pandora (serial n° 0900010020xx)
  • 2008-11 Ordered OpenPandora at GP2X.de (order n° 28xx)
 
Last edited:

EvilDragon

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 4, 2003
Messages
29,924
Age
45
Location
Ingolstadt
Sorry for the lack of replies, I'm still trying to catch up with things everywhere, I'm in urgent need of multiple cloned copies of myself :)

I'm afraid there's not much that can be done though :(
If the unit doesn't even show any reaction, it needs some low-level checking of what the issue could be, and we never were able to provide that.
It can be that the soldering failed over the ears, it could be a defective chip (which would be even harder to find).

So apart from what you tried, I have no other means to fix and repair your Pandora :(
Sorry for the bad news.
 

b_o_b

Advanced Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2010
Messages
1,473
Hi @porg too bad you have these issues.

If ED says there is nothing to be done, that is probably the case - so feel free to ignore my comment - but it does look similar to the issue I have with one of my Pandora's. I have quite a few and they all have their own peculiarities.
One of them has a major problem with charging batteries. Once a battery is flat on DC nothing happens, on USB nothing happens and the only way I can get it to work is by connecting them both. Might be that you already done that with attempt 2?

What sometimes also seems to help is first charge it a while (while DC and USB are connected) and then remove the battery for a second and place it again. I just remove the battery cover and tilt the battery a bit and place it again so it connects (with DC and USB still both connected).
It seems like it jumpstarts the battery then and the charging LED lights on and charging starts. Even if I've charged it 24h before only after that action the charging really starts (mini menu shows 0% battery).

If that doesn't help it would be interesting to see if a fully charged battery will be able to start your Pandora. ED still sells them for a very low price so you might try that and ask him to fill it up and test before shipping. I've received one battery from him that was DOA. For this test you need to be sure the battery is not the issue.

I have a few batteries left and wouldn't mind helping out a fellow Pandafe enthusiast ;) but I don't think is allowed to ship Li/Ion batteries internationally as a private person (at least not outside of a unit). Feel free to discuss via the board or PM if you think this is an option.
 

porg

Active Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
792
Location
Vienna, Austria
Hi @EvilDragon
1) forum email notification did not work. Nothing was in my spam folder. I disabled and re-enabled email notification now globally, and of also the specific options. Hope I will get notifs for anyfurther replies here on this forum thread.
2) Although bad news, thanks for the answer nonetheless.

Hi @b_o_b
1) If the battery is outside and I then plug in DC or USB, isn't the Panda supposed to go on that way too — AFAIR I operated it like this for a session once. This time it did not get it to boot up.
2) Connecting both cables at once while the battery is inside — an idea I did not yet come up with — I will try that as my last resort.
 

b_o_b

Advanced Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2010
Messages
1,473
1) If the battery is outside and I then plug in DC or USB, isn't the Panda supposed to go on that way too — AFAIR I operated it like this for a session once. This time it did not get it to boot up.
2) Connecting both cables at once while the battery is inside — an idea I did not yet come up with — I will try that as my last resort.

Some Pandora's can indeed work without battery - if you had one of those and it is not working anymore I think your chance of success becomes a lot lower :( Doesn't hurt to try though.. and don't forget to try the 'jumpstart' method after charging for a few hours. Connecting USB/DC at the same time only isn't working for me on a totally flat battery.
 

TeDaDeS

Hardcore Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2004
Messages
1,759
Location
The Netherlands
Website
Visit site
Some Pandora's can indeed work without battery - if you had one of those and it is not working anymore I think your chance of success becomes a lot lower :( Doesn't hurt to try though.. and don't forget to try the 'jumpstart' method after charging for a few hours. Connecting USB/DC at the same time only isn't working for me on a totally flat battery.
I haven't checked other threads to see if you added more details there, I assume you just had your Pandora and this thread is to state it's not working anymore while it use to work before.
I also assume others with more experience know best, but as it otherwise would mean it could be a lost cause I rather provide some suggestions for possible next steps.

As you mentioned the power LEDs don't light up: You could check if the connectors (power-plug) is still connected properly. If you have a multimeter you could measure voltage on the pins of the battery, if there is nothing measured maybe a connector or trace is damaged (or resistor/capacitor etc). Also measure the power sources you're trying to use, I once assumed my chargers would work but they were somewhat broken and provided hardly any charge.
 

PowerGod

Forum Addict!
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
4,245
@porg : I have nothing to add except that I feel you, happened the same to me with a 1 Ghz, except that a minute before it was working and then nothing... luckily I still have another one but it's less powerful.

You gave a lot of good directions to help improving the usability of the device in the past, so it's a sad tale what happened.
 

HelenF

Very Active Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
610
Location
UK
If the bootloader is corrupted it doesn't turn any LEDs on, so you could try the recovery card.

What sometimes also seems to help is first charge it a while (while DC and USB are connected) and then remove the battery for a second and place it again. I just remove the battery cover and tilt the battery a bit and place it again so it connects (with DC and USB still both connected).
You shouldn't insert the battery with external power connected, it can break things.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rSl

b_o_b

Advanced Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2010
Messages
1,473
You shouldn't insert the battery with external power connected, it can break things.

It is the only way for me to use one of my Pandora's - been doing that for a couple of years now. Jumpstarted it dozens of times and still working fine. If the alternative is not working at all (what ED already mentioned), I'd say go for it. Can't get any worse...
 

porg

Active Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
792
Location
Vienna, Austria
@PowerGod Glad that my UX contributions to the project are still remembered in the community! Thanks for the compliments! Warms my heart. Yes indeed a bit sad to have a hardware failure. Especially without any outside impact I'm aware of.

@all When the Pandora was introduced, AFAIR it was advertised as an OpenSource device, also in respects to HW (with limitations, yes, but to a large degree). To me this somehow carried the promise that skilled people could possible self service, at least simple / common issues, avoiding "yet another piece of e-Waste" too soon. That was among many reasons what attracted me and what among many other reasons also justified a higher price. Now when that moment of truth in long term support came, there are some self-service infos:
  • Hardware schematics, so that I could bring the device to a local HW tinkering club or generalist electronic repair shop, to at least some steps to try out.
  • Hardware troubleshooting checklist what to do in case of HW failure. Nothing like this existed on the wiki so far, hence I created that page.
    • I filled it with what I knew so far. Please you guys fill in the blanks and correct any wrong information.
    • @b_o_b and @HelenF would be appreciated to see your particular hints integrated!

@HelenF I have the same two SDs inside as I had always. The bootloader and the OS are both on the internal NAND AFAIR.
1) How to determine a broken bootloader?
a) In my case no status-LED is on at all. Neither SD access, nor power-LED. AFAIR the power-LED is hard-wired and would got on regardless of any software and regardless where in the boot sequence. Correct? If not, can this be the symptom you experience with a broken boot loader?
b) The screen is completely off. This is different to having a black screen (no pixels, but backlight is on). Could this totally inactive screen be a symptom in case of a broken bootloader? Or not?

2) How to fix a broken bootloader? With which recovery card?
a) Which software image must be on such a SD card? (names/version and/or links please)
b) In which SD card slot must it be?
c) Any keys (sequence) one must press while booting to get into a "bootloader fix mode"?

I appreciate instructions! If you could, please add them under your name to the Hardware troubleshooting wiki page ( with this wiki editing key ) so that it's available centrally. If that is too much efofrt or not possible for you, no worry: I'd copy it over on your behalf.
 
Last edited:

b_o_b

Advanced Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2010
Messages
1,473
Hi @porg Helen F is referring to this:

You need a working battery though. You could test that with a multimeter if you got one.
 

porg

Active Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
792
Location
Vienna, Austria

TL;DR : It was a broken power adaptor! Panda up and running again :)

  • Measured battery voltage: 2.53V (both when measuring pins "+ to t" and "+ to -")
  • Connected broken DC adaptor for 2 hours.
  • Screen and LED completely off.
  • Stopped charging. Measured battery voltage. Again 2.53V.
  • Battery voltage unchanged. Highly suspicious already. But not yet a definitive answer by itself.

  • Measuring DC adaptor: 0 V
  • Aha the adaptor is broken!
  • Trying my multi-voltage DC-adaptor: Setting it to 4.5V. Measuring 4.8V.
  • Connecting to DC-in of the Pandora.
  • A few moments later the Pandora turned on.

Nevertheless now I was again gently reminded of all the HW deficiencies that the Pandora had:​

  1. Battery never charges fully. When it gets closer to the end it prematurely stops charging. Never liked that. Was never fixed in firmware. Also happened now:
    • Left it plugged to charge. With the lid closed. When returning the battery was at 76% of full (68% of design), no more charging, already discharging.
    • Re-plugged cable. Started to charge again. Left it unattended with lid closed. Watched power-LED here/then. As soon as I noticed power-LED off again, battery was discharging and at 86% of full ( 77% of design).
  2. Internal WiFi never worked in practise (many had this).
  3. Ergonomics not the best. I get cramps in the left hand, where the palm touches the corner.
    • Are there any modifications to this?
      • 3d printer soft edges or bumbers?
      • Filing off the edges (the panning axis is perfectly round already, but the tilting axis has no rounding yet) How thick is the plastic there? How many mm could one put off with a file?

Nevertheless I still am in love with it ❤️

  • Was such a great undertaking! First crowdfunding I ever participated in.
  • I look at the repo and see there are still new releases.
  • I look at the store and see still batteries for sale.
  • Asked for support in the forum, and still got it, for an electronic product shipped 11 years ago.
  • So the long term support promise seems to have held up.
  • Great work!

Curious: Which of my 3 forementioned HW issues have been improved with the Pyra?​

  • Ad 1: Battery charging to full?
  • Ad 2: Internal WiFi useable?
  • Ad 3: Ergonomics - I see that the Pyra case has not changed too much, rounding still only around the corner but nor around the edges.
 

TrashyMG

Sarcasm Dispenser
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
11,294
  • Ad 1: Battery charging to full?
  • Ad 2: Internal WiFi useable?
  • Ad 3: Ergonomics - I see that the Pyra case has not changed too much, rounding still only around the corner but nor around the edges.

1). Haven't had issues so far, but that said I haven't had too much trouble with my Pandoras in that aspect.
2). Much more so, stable connection and decent speeds.
3). Some what better, the thickness to me makes it easier for game play with the D-Pad and game buttons, The keyboard buttons are easier to push, however it has way more keys, thus smaller/tighter spaced key buttons which are not as easy to use as the Pandora without some extra practice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rSl

PowerGod

Forum Addict!
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
4,245
About the mentioned issues of the Pandora:

1) The battery not charging to full was actually a fix to solve the chubby battery issue (overcharging). Most recent devices do the same, but report a fake 100% charge.
2) It goes super fast for me, no issues at all. I had some speed and connection issues in the past, but turned out it was the router fault. Anyway for some reason, with the lid closed the connection is even faster.
 

b_o_b

Advanced Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2010
Messages
1,473
  1. Battery never charges fully
  2. Internal WiFi never worked
  3. Ergonomics not the best.

Using my Pandora almost daily, an amazing versatile device but It is certainly not perfect. The biggest issues I have with it is the overall built quality - especially the shoulder buttons and nubs but I can live without them as well. No problems with cramps during use, Pandora usually rests partly on my belly (lying) or on my upper legs (sitting) so i don't have to continuously lift the weight.
WIFI is on some of my Pandora's bad or non functional, but a WIFI dongle is an easy fix.

I don't mind that much that batteries are not always fully charged (at least according to the OS) as long as it works for hours. The battery life is still one of Pandora's best features. Maybe a new battery will behave differently. The Pandora I currently mainly use has a recent battery I purchased from ED and charges up to 100% so it doesn't affect every battery/Pandora.

Personally haven't pre-ordered a Pyra. I have a backlog of thousands of games from C64/NES/SNES/MAME/GP2X/Pandora etc library and the Pandora (in combination with Pandafe) does exactly what I need. Adding even more systems via the Pyra would only increase the backlog. More recent games are certainly not (always) more fun and I've got already enough for a few lifetimes so why add more. Currently doing an online study, received it on paper as well but use my Pandora primarily with Xournal for annotating pdfs, works great!

That said, Pyra would be nice for better screen, internet browsing and backlit keyboard.
 
Top