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[Q&A] WiFi stuck on turning on; MAC 02:00:00:00:00:00; G2 G3 G4 G5 Nexus5 Nexus 7 etc

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By NimbleWeasel, Member on 31st August 2016, 04:15 PM
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Hi!
If you are reading this now, you are probably one of the unlucky fellows who's WiFi (and Bluetooth) stopped functioning, and if so, you are probably deperately searching for a solution/fix. I might have something for you, but first:

*** DISCLAIMER/WARNING ***
You yourself are exclusively responsible for whatever may (or may not) happen to your mobile device, to yourself or others. I am only giving hints/advices here that *MAY* help, but I will not take any responsability, nor will I provide any support, in absolutely *ANY CASE*, including, but not limited to: your problem not being solved or/and your mobile device becoming partially or completely broken. Let me be very clear: If you do anything to your device rendering it useless, destroying it, seriously or fataly injuring you or others, and then come blaming me or/and cry for help, I will point my index finger at you and laugh at you. Period.

If you are a impatient person and want to get straight to the point, jump right to section 6.

Table of Contents
0. Foreword
1. Description of the problem
2. Urgent advice
3. Things that didn't work
4. There is little hope
5. My most obvious advice
6. LET'S GET SERIOUS!
6.a Sellotape / Scotch tape
6.b Refrigerator / Freezer
6.c Oven

0. Foreword
Two or three months ago, one fine morning, the WiFi/BT of my LG G2 suddenly stopped working. Initially I thought this would be only one stupid annoying minor thingy, that I’d be able to solve it fast. I was wrong.

1. Description of the problem
When turning on the WiFi, it would just stay in "Turning on..." forever. Similar thing for Bluetooth: It would stay on for a few seconds and then turn itself off again after. (But then, who needs Bluetooth anyway, WiFi ist probably 100 times more important...). I have thoroughly searched the internet, and I found quite some videos with exactly the same problem (remove the two blanks from the links to watch):
h ttps://w ww.youtube.com/watch?v=fRGnQz1zUmw
h ttps://w ww.youtube.com/watch?v=4W8YJMDFM88
h ttp://w ww.dailymotion.com/video/x2cuyjt_nexus-5-turning-wifi-on-frozen-problem_tech

2. Urgent advice
I want to prevent you from wasting countless hours searching for a solution - I wasted so much of my time already, no need for you to repeat that. Therefore: *Please* be aware that there is a VERY HIGH PROBABILITY that this issue is being caused by a hardware defect. I can not speak for all devices of course, but keep in mind that the main reason I wasted so much time, was me beliving it was some software issue! See the next section for a glimpse of stuff I have tried without any success:

3. Things that *DIDN'T* work
01. Restarting WiFi/Bluetooth several times
02. Rebooting the phone
03. Turning airplane mode on/off several times
04. Slapping/hitting the phone (this was indeed suggested in a forum)
05. Using WiFi-Fixer apps
06. Resetting to factory settings
07. Upgrading to newest Android version
08. Fully drained the battery and left it uncharged for several hours
(Rooted the phone)
09. Deleting the /data/misc/wifi/wpa_supplicant.conf
10. Deleting the whole /data/misc/wifi folder
11. Creating a file named ".bdaddr" in /persist/bluetooth containing a MAC-Address in hexadecimal format
12. Creating a file named ".macaddr" in /persist/wifi containing a MAC-Address in hexadecimal format
13. Flashing several custom ROMs to it (CyanogenMod, ParanoidAndroid, ...)
14. Going back to stock ROM
15. etc. etc. etc.
16. Several combinations and permutations of the above

4. There is little hope
Again, as the cause of the problem is most likely a hardware issue, I don't recommend going through all the steps as described in the previous section; however, though none of the steps worked for me, this doesn't mean that none won't work for you neither; you might be luckier than I was. In that case, enjoy your restored WiFi and be happy.

5. My most obvious advice
You need to replace the motherboard (main board) of your device.
Honestly, if you can afford it and it doesn't cause too many inconveniences to you, you'll be better off by simply buying a new device. If you don't want to buy a new device, send it in for repairs. If you don't want to do that as well, you'll have to fallback to a DIY solution:
I. Buy a new main board for your device. Be careful to get exactly the right component for your specific model. If you dont find any shop selling those, there are plenty of individuals out there that own devices with broken displays. You dont need the displays, you need the motherboard. Buy one such broken device, and you'll have your main board replacement.
II. Replace your main board or let someone else do it for you

Continues below.
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31st August 2016, 04:19 PM |#2  
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continuation
6. LET'S GET SERIOUS!
If you are reading this, you either didn't read or you decided not to follow my most obvious advice in section 5. So be it. If you want to carry on from here, be sure to re-read my disclaimer at the top of my post.
There are 3 DIY possible fixes for the WiFi problem - none is guaranteed. I will describe them from the most harmless to the most kamikaze/deadliest. All of them will require you to open your device; if you are not careful and damage any of the components inside, you will end up with a worse device than before - but hey, don't say I didn't warn you.

At this point we assume that the cause of the problem is a faulty solder joint of your WiFi IC. The goal is to try to restore that solder joint. To do that, you will have to:
I. Open your device
II. Find your main board and separate it from all connected plugs
III. Find / identify the WiFi IC chip on the main board. I recommend searching for a service manual for your device, or/and searching for a disassembly video for your device; you need to know which one of the chips on the main board is the WiFi one.

Once you have identified your WiFi chip, you have 3 options, which you may combine with each other, but I recommend to try them out one-by-one as follows:
6.a Sellotape / Scotch tape
You need to make sure that your WiFi chip is pressed against the main board (ideally, this ensures the broken contacts touch each other, solving the problem). The best way to achieve this, is to attach a series of tape strips on the top of the WiFi chip, causing it to be pressed against the main board by the surrounding cover/hull once you reassemble/close the device. The tape strips are just a suggestion, do whatever you find convenient as long as you ensure that the chip is pushed against the board at all times.
This method may solve the WiFi problem already. When you turn your device back on, give it some time (5-10 minutes) and reboot it a few times if the problem still persists. My own WiFi didn't function right away, but after a while it finally recovered - hurray!
6.b Refrigerator / Freezer
Instead of using the tape as described in 6.a, you may first try to put your motherboard in a fridge for a few hours/days. But make sure to put it there in a plastic bag, and avoid moisture as much as you can, specially when taking it out of the fridge. Make sure its completely dry before reassembling your device!
By the way, try the refrigerator option BEFORE you try the freezer option!
6.c Oven
If everything else fails, the oven might be your last chance. This is not a joke, but as you probably can assume, it is "All-In" i.e. highly risky. The theory behind this is that high temperature will cause defective solder joints to reflow, reconnecting and thus fixing the problem.
You should only try this as a matter of last ressort. Be warned that you may fully destroy your main board, and there is a high chance that you will. Also, you may cause serious injury to yourself or others. Make sure you make backups of your data first. DO NOT BAKE THE WHOLE DEVICE, ONLY THE MAIN BOARD. DO NOT BAKE THE BATTERY!!
If you are still reading:
I. pre-heat your oven to 385° Fahrenheit (196° Celsius)
II. put your main board in the oven, bake it there for 7 minutes
III. remove from the oven, let it cool down until every component of the board has room temperature
Finally, here is a video of a guy doing a similar thing, but with a heat gun:
h ttps://w ww.youtube.com/watch?v=A4n0j3uaS7E

Ok, this is all, I hope I could help you.

Good luck!
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6th September 2016, 08:47 AM |#3  
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Summary
Hello all,

first of all, I want to thank brysclar and xbing6 for their valuable feedback! Thanks a lot guys!

Now, in an effort to update this thread and in an effort of trying to summarize it in fewer words (my disclaimer above applies!):
- The described problem seems to affect mainly (all kinds of) LG devices
- The issue seems to be caused by a defective soldering of the Wi-Fi chip on the main board
- The defect seems to be induced by dropping or/and overheating the device; recharging the battery, big/long app or android updates or the flashing of custom roms could cause excessive heating
- brysclar pointed out that replacing the battery might solve the problem (I haven't tried this out myself, so I can neither deny nor confirm this)
- My recommended solution is 6.a - applying pressure on the Wi-Fi chip, pushing it against the main board, using tape stripes
- There is a video of a brasilean guy doing some similar, but using pieces of an old credit card instead of tape strips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJkdva2iOag BUT PLEASE NOTE THAT HE IS APPLYING THE PRESSURE ON A RANDOM SPOT, NOT DIRECTLY TO THE WIFI CHIP! It *may* work for you, but if it doesn't, find/identify your Wi-Fi chip and apply the pressure there
- If everything else fails, and only as a matter of last ressort, you may try what I have written in 6.c

Quote:

So... this thread has over 500 views, but not one single reply.

Guys... what has your experience been? Have you tried anything out from the posts above, and if so, what was the result? Did it help you? Do you recommend anything? Has something else, not written here, worked for you?

There are a lot of people out there having the same problem. It would be great if you could give any feedback, share anything that helps the community.

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6th September 2016, 03:58 PM |#4  
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I honestly didn't see this post before. You really covered every detail very well. So far, returning my G3 to stock and replacing the battery has fixed it for me. Weird. I know. I did try 90% of the things on your "things that don't work" list and you are correct. They don't work.
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8th September 2016, 12:10 PM |#5  
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wlanmac 02/00/00/00/00, Bluetooth is OK
8th September 2016, 10:02 PM |#6  
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Hey, i just got an LG LS990 with same Wifi issue and i'm ready to try so WITNESS ME!
Thanks for an amazing and detailed post lml
10th September 2016, 01:49 PM |#7  
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Simply awesome.

I have similar issue with my Nexus 5x. It is QCA6174 hw 3.2 chip, lspci does not detect this chip any more. I am going to do a little bit investigation from device driver (cnss) perspective. It enables one GPIO to provide power to this WiFi chip, I will try read back this GPIO status to see if it is enabled. I do not have the schematics, I do not know how to check if power is supplied to this wifi chip.

lspci used to show below:
$ ./lspci
00:00.0 PCI bridge: Airgo Networks Inc Device 0300 (rev ff)
01:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. Device 003e (rev ff) (this is qca6174)

If kernel driver investigation does not reveal anything helpful, I will ask other guys to replace the chip.

I thought it is because of vendor partition is accidentally wiped out, maybe it is unlikely.

---------- Post added at 08:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:40 PM ----------

As Bluetooth can not be turned either, I am tending to think this is hardware related as well. As described previously, I will see if I can check that gpio status.
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12th September 2016, 07:27 PM |#8  
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investigating
Quote:
Originally Posted by xbing6

I have similar issue with my Nexus 5x.
(...)
I am going to do a little bit investigation

Hi xbing, and thank you for your feedback!

I am really curious and looking forward to hear the results of your investigation! I believe that in your case, too, the Wi-Fi/BT chip is not being supplied correctly due to a defective soldering. Note that I don't think that the chip itself is defective, only the contacts between the chip and the main board. So, before replacing the chip, I'd recommend to first try what I've written in 6.a (or check my update/summary above).

Keep us posted about everything you find out!
14th September 2016, 05:27 AM |#9  
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Sprint declined to fix my LS990 due to "water damage" being the reason for it not working, and wanted to charge me a $150 deductible for a $100 phone. Shimming the WiFi chip against the metal covering with some thermal pad I had lying around and adding a bit of sticky foam on top of the ribbon cable for the camera worked great! Much thanks!
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17th September 2016, 07:20 AM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomcat5

Sprint declined to fix my LS990 due to "water damage" being the reason for it not working, and wanted to charge me a $150 deductible for a $100 phone. Shimming the WiFi chip against the metal covering with some thermal pad I had lying around and adding a bit of sticky foam on top of the ribbon cable for the camera worked great! Much thanks!

Any idea if thermal paste/grease could work?
17th September 2016, 07:27 PM |#11  
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unlikely
Quote:
Originally Posted by NavHur

Any idea if thermal paste/grease could work?

Hi NavHur,

since the problem is mostly caused by a loose Wi-Fi chip, respectively a defective solder joint, using thermal paste or grease is unlikely to help; again, what you need to do is to have your Wi-Fi chip pushed against your main board. You can use your imagination on how to accomplish this; what Tomcat5 described he did ultimately led to exactly having his chip being pressed against the board.
Of course you are free to try whatever you want - if you find new solutions please post some feedback.

Good luck.
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02:00:00:00:00:00, blinking, flashing, lg g2, wifi & bt not working

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