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4.4-based ROMs cause the Galaxy Nexus to overheat. Can we fix this?

OP Shidell

3rd September 2014, 05:41 AM   |  #1  
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I have perpetually experienced overheating issues while using 4.4-based ROMs; typically while using Navigation as part of Google Maps and while docked in the Galaxy Nexus Car Dock.

My frustration lead to inquiring with some skilled members of the Galaxy Nexus community, including @Ziyan, @freshgiammi, and @aosp. They have indicated that 4.4-based ROMs seem to be afflicted with this problem, but that it might also be tied to the kernel being used.

I have two phones; one running stock 4.3 (Sprint) and another running CM11 M8 (also Sprint).

Testing Setup:

I have Google Maps (and all other software, including Google Play and Play Services) completely updated. The screen brightness is set to auto. I've tested using Navigation initiated by WiFi, and then disabling the cellular radio (to ensure that the overheating is not being caused by radio activity.) I checked OS Monitor by switching through recent apps mid-testing; this gave me a snapshot of system temperatures and a glimpse of CPU usage.
  • Stock - Worked perfectly. Navigation, at any time of day, seems to work wonderfully. I do notice that the phone does get warm, and using OS Monitor, can confirm that it reaches 47 degrees C (and holds), never exceeding it. The phone continues to charge without issue. OS Monitor cited CPU usage of 29% at the highest (note that this does not indicate that Maps never used more than 29%, just that 29% was the most I witnessed while checking 15-20 times over the course of 10 miles.)
  • CM11 - Phone overheats within minutes of starting Navigation, reaching temperatures of 53 degrees C--and as high as 58 degrees C. The phone stops charging as soon as the system registers an "overheated" state. OS Monitor's highest CPU usage was 52%, which is almost double as high as I saw under the stock firmware.
IMGUR link of screenshots while Navigating, idle temperature, overheating, etc.

So far, it appears when my phone has been asleep or idle, it's operating at 29-35 degrees C; so it's nearly doubling it's temperature when Navigating. Additionally, this behavior occurs at night, when the sun (and warmer temperatures) are no longer a factor, which seems to rule out the idea that the environment is a major contributor.

I have a good friend who also as a Sprint Galaxy Nexus running CM11; he is a Waze user, and is experiencing the same issue.

Is this a known issue/problem with 4.4-based ROMs? This has been speculated in other threads, but perhaps a more definite answer/explanation is warranted?

Might this be related to the kernel in use, and the thermal throttling limits? What would be the best method of testing such?

What tests or other steps should I take to gather more information or test more factors?

EDIT 1: At @aosp 's recommendation, I'm looking for thermal throttling capabilities via the Kernel Tuner (2014 beta) application. The "Thermal" button is available, but grayed out. Is it safe to assume that means the kernel I'm using has no thermal throttling capabilities, which would (probably) explain how the Galaxy Nexus seems to be able to work itself into an overheated state?
Last edited by Shidell; 3rd September 2014 at 09:33 PM.
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3rd September 2014, 06:54 AM   |  #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell

I have perpetually experienced overheating issues while using 4.4-based ROMs; typically while using Navigation as part of Google Maps and while docked in the Galaxy Nexus Car Dock.

My frustration lead to inquiring with some skilled members of the Galaxy Nexus community, including @Ziyan, @freshgiammi, and @aosp. They have indicated that 4.4-based ROMs seem to be afflicted with this problem, but that it might also be tied to the kernel being used.

I have two phones; one running stock 4.3 (Sprint) and another running CM11 M9 (also Sprint).

Testing Setup:

I have Google Maps (and all other software, including Google Play and Play Services) completely updated. The screen brightness is set to auto. I've tested using Navigation initiated by WiFi, and then disabling the cellular radio (to ensure that the overheating is not being caused by radio activity.) I checked OS Monitor by switching through recent apps mid-testing; this gave me a snapshot of system temperatures and a glimpse of CPU usage.

  • Stock - Worked perfectly. Navigation, at any time of day, seems to work wonderfully. I do notice that the phone does get warm, and using OS Monitor, can confirm that it reaches 47 degrees C (and holds), never exceeding it. The phone continues to charge without issue. OS Monitor cited CPU usage of 29% at the highest (note that this does not indicate that Maps never used more than 29%, just that 29% was the most I witnessed while checking 15-20 times over the course of 10 miles.)
  • CM11 - Phone overheats within minutes of starting Navigation, reaching temperatures of 53 degrees C--and as high as 58 degrees C. The phone stops charging as soon as the system registers an "overheated" state. OS Monitor's highest CPU usage was 52%, which is almost double as high as I saw under the stock firmware.
IMGUR link of screenshots while Navigating, idle temperature, overheating, etc.

So far, it appears when my phone has been asleep or idle, it's operating at 29-35 degrees C; so it's nearly doubling it's temperature when Navigating. Additionally, this behavior occurs at night, when the sun (and warmer temperatures) are no longer a factor, which seems to rule out the idea that the environment is a major contributor.

I have a good friend who also as a Sprint Galaxy Nexus running CM11; he is a Waze user, and is experiencing the same issue.

Is this a known issue/problem with 4.4-based ROMs? This has been speculated in other threads, but perhaps a more definite answer/explanation is warranted?

Might this be related to the kernel in use, and the thermal throttling limits? What would be the best method of testing such?

What tests or other steps should I take to gather more information or test more factors?

EDIT 1: At @aosp 's recommendation, I'm looking for thermal throttling capabilities via the Kernel Tuner (2014 beta) application. The "Thermal" button is available, but grayed out. Is it safe to assume that means the kernel I'm using has no thermal throttling capabilities, which would (probably) explain how the Galaxy Nexus seems to be able to work itself into an overheated state?

IMHO, handling of thermal throttling in 4.4 should be secondary thing to investigate about.
Shouldn't we first think of why for the same application, CPU is hogging this much?
Is it that CPU is not offloading its tasks to GPU which is supposed to happen, and happening with 4.3?

Good thing is that you have two tuna phones available to test out various scenarios.
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3rd September 2014, 08:54 AM   |  #3  
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If you use a ROM's stock kernel, thermal throttling is enabled correctly.

Give Omni and Trickster Mod a try. Omni is more stable & bug-free than CM, and Trickster will show you your CPU temps, as you only posted your battery temps - which are way too high! How the hell did you reach it? Even if I do some antutu, mine never reaches more than 40 C. 58 C is either a sensor misbehaving, or you put your phone in a jacket, lol, as it's far enough from the CPU to not heat up.

Post some Omni & Trickster temps with it's stock kernel something must be wrong, as I didn't notice anything like this on my maguro.
Last edited by Ziyan; 3rd September 2014 at 09:30 AM.
3rd September 2014, 09:49 AM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziyan

If you use a ROM's stock kernel, thermal throttling is enabled correctly.

Give Omni and Trickster Mod a try. Omni is more stable & bug-free than CM, and Trickster will show you your CPU temps, as you only posted your battery temps - which are way too high! How the hell did you reach it? Even if I do some antutu, mine never reaches more than 40 C. 58 C is either a sensor misbehaving, or you put your phone in a jacket, lol, as it's far enough from the CPU to not heat up.

Post some Omni & Trickster temps with it's stock kernel something must be wrong, as I didn't notice anything like this on my maguro.

My battery goes to about 44 degrees C when watching Netflix and charging and about the same during navigation and charging. Only time it's gotten hotter than that is due to environmental issues (such as very hot car interior before ac cools down). I run cm11 and faux123 kernel. Looks like OP is having some kind of hardware issues.
3rd September 2014, 11:14 AM   |  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell

I have Google Maps (and all other software, including Google Play and Play Services) completely updated. The screen brightness is set to auto. I've tested using Navigation initiated by WiFi, and then disabling the cellular radio (to ensure that the overheating is not being caused by radio activity.) I checked OS Monitor by switching through recent apps mid-testing; this gave me a snapshot of system temperatures and a glimpse of CPU usage.

  • Stock - Worked perfectly. Navigation, at any time of day, seems to work wonderfully. I do notice that the phone does get warm, and using OS Monitor, can confirm that it reaches 47 degrees C (and holds), never exceeding it. The phone continues to charge without issue. OS Monitor cited CPU usage of 29% at the highest (note that this does not indicate that Maps never used more than 29%, just that 29% was the most I witnessed while checking 15-20 times over the course of 10 miles.)
  • CM11 - Phone overheats within minutes of starting Navigation, reaching temperatures of 53 degrees C--and as high as 58 degrees C. The phone stops charging as soon as the system registers an "overheated" state. OS Monitor's highest CPU usage was 52%, which is almost double as high as I saw under the stock firmware.

I think it would be helpful to try to narrow down where the heat is coming from. Some possibilities:
1. Mobile data or LTE - a likely suspect, but you've already eliminated this one.
2. GPS - set Google Maps aside for a bit, get an app like GPS Status and Toolbox, set it to keep the screen on, and see if this still causes the heating issues.
3. GPU (or lack of proper use of GPU) - If Google Maps overheats the phone but GPS Status does not, it could be how CM is handling the display for Google Maps.

I got a chance to do some testing yesterday afternoon while driving. Toroplus on Page Plus, OmniROM 8-31 nightly, NukedTrinity kernel (was running it to test something else, will test stock kernel today but I fully expect results to be the same). Mobile data off as always. Started GPS right after a 15 minute phone call, battery was at 40 C. Hooked up the charger and ran GPS Status for 5 minutes, battery temp went up to 44 C. Ran Google Maps for 15 minutes (had previously downloaded offline maps for the area), still charging. Battery temp had gone back down to 40 C.
3rd September 2014, 07:22 PM   |  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sdobron

My battery goes to about 44 degrees C when watching Netflix and charging and about the same during navigation and charging. Only time it's gotten hotter than that is due to environmental issues (such as very hot car interior before ac cools down). I run cm11 and faux123 kernel. Looks like OP is having some kind of hardware issues.

Can you provide me with a link to the exact kernel you're using? I'd like to test it as well. Thanks!
3rd September 2014, 07:24 PM   |  #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shidell

Can you provide me with a link to the exact kernel you're using? I'd like to test it as well. Thanks!

http://faux.romhost.me/tuna/kk44/tun...el-039m-sr.zip
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3rd September 2014, 07:28 PM   |  #8  
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Thank you. I'll test with this shortly as well.
3rd September 2014, 09:21 PM   |  #9  
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@Ziyan

I agree that these temperatures are way too high; as you'll see below, though, my phone is reaching 46 degrees C simply by using GPS Status! I don't know what to make of that.

@musical_chairs

Thank you for testing as well. I agree that your hypothesis about separate testing is sound, and so I've been testing using GPS Status. I've tried @bsmitty83 's kernel, FancyKernel v56, and Laux123's kernels--all provide slightly different results, but to varying degrees of bizarre behavior using GPS Status.

Stock 4.3 works very well; it determines a bearing indoors without GPS fix and maintains it, with almost no change over a 10 minute period of time. Also, 4.3 warms up, but it never exceeded 44 degrees C.

CM11 w/ Laux123, Fancy Kernel and bsmitty83's all exhibit strange heading behavior. If you'll watch this youtube clip I uploaded (2:45), you'll notice that the phone is laying flat on a wooden table, and yet the Heading will change by 15 or more degrees on it's own. Later in the clip, I move the phone manually to force it to readjust, and you'll see that finds a new bearing from the beginning.

Laying both phones down next to one-another, stock 4.3 indicated the bearing was approximately 219 degrees. In this video clip (FancyKernel r56), my phone believes the bearing is 285 degrees (to begin with) and 260 degrees at the end.

Might GPS be the problem? I suppose I should flash Stock 4.3 to my phone, to make sure it does not continue to behave this way and rule out hardware problems/failure, right?

This just seems really bizarre. Especially that using a GPS fix application can ramp up the temperature so quickly, and so dramatically. Perhaps is the driver/kernel making too many callbacks, causing an escalation in CPU use and heat?

Finally, where can one find the CM11 M8 kernel (indivdually)? I'd like to re-flash it and compare it as well.

Thanks for the continued help in troubleshooting what's happening, everyone.

YouTube CM11 FancyKernel r56
Last edited by Shidell; 3rd September 2014 at 09:32 PM.
4th September 2014, 10:36 AM   |  #10  
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@Shidell just download cm11 m8 and pull out the boot.img so you can fastboot flash it

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