RTL-SDR may burn a phone

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Vampik
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:46 am

RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by Vampik » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:21 pm

Hi.

I've recently bought RTL-SDR v3. I had successful reception of FM stations using SDR# installed on my notebook. However HF reception completely failed. I wasn't able to receive a local MW station, not even talking about SW. I thought that it may be due to the high noise generated by PC, power supplies etc. So I connected the dongle to the Android mobile phone via USB OTG.
Unfortunately after some minutes of usage my phone was damaged. The power controller on the phone mainboard has burnt, and the phone is not repairable now. It needs a mainboard replacement, but the price of the new mainboard = price of the new phone, and low level repair is also not possible, this is a Samsung's policy.
Please make a warning so that another customers don't repeat this ever.

dlritter
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:08 am

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by dlritter » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:02 pm

Wow, my V3 only pulls 120 ma.. I wonder what yours was pulling?

rtlsdrblog
Site Admin
Posts: 1668
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by rtlsdrblog » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:07 am

Hmm we've never seen anything like this before, and there are many thousands of people using RTL-SDRs on Android phones for many years now. Damage shouldn't be possible unless the power board on your phone was faulty. What phone model did you have? The RTL-SDR draws about 300mA in quadrature mode, and 120mA in direct sampling mode. Most newer phones can provide this current, and should be able to provide up to 500mA. The USB spec if properly implemented should limit any higher current draw via a resettable fuse.

BTW, for HF mode were you running in direct sampling mode? You must enable direct sampling to be able to receive HF signals. See the guide at www.rtl-sdr.com/V3.

Vampik
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:46 am

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by Vampik » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:28 pm

My RTL-SDR v3 dongle draws 280-300mA in quadrature mode and it seems that it was too much for the phone. The phone model is Samsung J5 2016. It worked flawlessly for a year (including USB OTG for flash drives, keyboard. mouse) until I connected the dongle.

Yes, I was using Direct Sampling (Q-Branch) for HF reception. However I wasn't able to receive anything at all.

rtlsdrblog
Site Admin
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Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by rtlsdrblog » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:11 am

I've seen people using the J5 with RTL-SDRs and the V3 in the past successfully. 300mA current draw shouldn't be enough to kill the phone.

What antenna did you have connected for SW?

Vampik
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:46 am

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by Vampik » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:41 pm

I used 1m telescopic antenna from your new antenna kit. I know that it is not designed for AM, but I should have been able to receive at least a local MW station.

rtlsdrblog
Site Admin
Posts: 1668
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by rtlsdrblog » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:13 am

1m might not be long enough to get anything that low in some cases. The length should be 5m or more.

dlritter
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 1:08 am

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by dlritter » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:27 am

OK.. I stand corrected..
Wow, my V3 only pulls 120 ma.. I wonder what yours was pulling?

I did not bring up sdr# and start the RTL.. 290 ma.. so the 120 ma was the static draw with no app addressing it..

Conundrum1859
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:42 pm

Re: RTL-SDR may burn a phone

Post by Conundrum1859 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:46 pm

Thats most unfortunate.

I've seen the latch-up "feature" on my old dongle before but usually this just causes it to go wonky and stop receiving over 1 GHz, sometimes works better on USB3 than USB2 (far more stable) maybe regulator dropout?
I would be intrigued to see the damage on your board as it can sometimes be a bad USB connector: changing it can fix the problem without replacing MB.
Also replacing the regulator is a well known method of repairing dead phones and I am in the process of doing this on a completely dead Samsung J3? (smaller than an S3 Neo) here as they want the data off it ideally.
Incidentally :mrgreen: some Note x phones are known to have glitches with large pendrives leading to data corruption (2 casualties
so far) and could be battery voltage related.
Can you use a bare IC as I have a pile of defunct phones here so it could be worth a transplant from a known good board with a different fault.

I can be contacted on here but am on Reddit as well with same username.
Kind regards, 802701

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