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[Q] "Error while searching for networks" detailed discussion

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By Deviant Ollam, Member on 17th October 2012, 09:14 PM
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I have checked the other threads where people have posted this same error message, but found only a vauge reference to a "flashtool" and some comments about baseband versions. So, hopefully, if i make a greater description in detail here someone might have a few other tips or ideas.

I love the Motorola Defy. I have owned several and found it to be an excellent device. I have tested the ruggedized feature as thoroughly as one may ever imagine and only successfully killed one device (it fell into a hot tub and sat there kind of boiling for a while, ha!)

I currently have two Defy devices. One primary (we'll call this my A phone) and the secondary that i use for dev, testing new ROMs, tweaking, and as a backup (the backup phone's earpiece speaker died so that's why i still keep it around but only as a backup) which we'll call my B phone. Until recently, i was running CyanogenMod 7.1 on these phones.

A few days ago, my primary phone was having network problems. I was visiting rural Iowa, where a buddy of mine (who also has T-Mobile) used to live and he even prepared me by saying "get ready for some iWireless fun!"... indeed, once on the ground out there i constantly failed to have T-Mobile signal, and their roaming agreements with others seem to be a patchwork mess. I could go into...

System Settings > Wireless & Networks: More... > Mobile Networks > Network Operators

...and the "Available Networks" would occasionally show T-Mobile, it would always show AT&T, and sometimes another minor carrier (like iWireless, etc)

I successfully would "force" the A phone to select T-Mobile and it would be happy for a while, then after lots of rural driving it would seem to get lost again. When i flew home back to a proper city, all was well with the A phone again and it remained happy. Suddenly, however, just the other day it lost GSM signal. When i went back to the "Available Networks" screen i started getting the "Error while searching for networks" message. I've had this happen on other drvices before and it would often right itself after a few reboots and i never knew why.

Since i was planning on upgrading my ROM anyway, i took out my B phone (which i use for testing, etc) and fired it up. It was still running CM 7.1 and when i swapped my SIM card over, everything was fine. Just for fun, i made a nandroid backup from this phone (the working B phone) and pushed it onto the A phone. Still the same problem with the A phone... "Error while searching for networks"

I downloaded the latest nightly of CM10 (and i'm ever so distressed to see that CyanogenMod still does not have permission management replaced. How much money someone at Google paid them to take that out we'll never know) and installed it fresh on the B phone. I did a fresh install of CM10 on the B phone and really liked it. After some tweaking, installing basic apps, etc. i was pretty satisfied. I made a nandroid image of the B phone's new CM10 environment and pushed it to the A phone. Still the same problem... "Error while searching for networks"

Now i'm really stumped. These are both running with identical settings, etc...

Model MB525
Android 4.1.1
Baseband EPU93_U_00.60.03
Kernel 2.6.32.9-ga649a2e
CyanogenMod 10-20120924-NIGHTLY-mb525

... and as of just a day or so ago, the A phone had no problems with its radio. It wasn't dropped or otherwise subjected to anything funny. People have made reference in other threads to tweaking the baseband somehow (although this wouldn't seem to be an issue, since both devices show the same identical details when i check the About Phone status) but just in case, i updated my Baseband Switcher and tried to force the A phone to some other setting, then back to the USA setting. Still no joy.

Here's something weird, though... currently the IMEI shows as all zeros on the A phone (the phone with this problem). Is that normal, when the phone is not on a network? What could cause that? Is this perhaps just a fluke hardware problem that i've identified after trying everything else?

I also seem to see conflicting information (or unclear wording) in other threads about the kernel. Is it or is it not part of what gets backed up with a nandroid backup? I would try updating or fussing with the kernel, but as you can see from my text above... even the kernel version appears to be identical between both phones.

So, there you have it. Now i have two phones...

A phone - used to be my primary, until the radio nuttiness and permanent "Error while searching for networks" condition
B phone - used to be my secondary due to faulty earpiece speaker, now my primary so i just either make speakerphone calls or text for now

... and no matter what O/S i run on them (i've tried switching back with nandroid to CM 7.1, CM9, etc etc) they all manifest these same behaviors. Anything else i can try or do you think my A phone's radio is just shot somehow? (Frustrating because it was litterally fine merely days ago. Ah well, everything works until it doesn't.)
 
 
17th October 2012, 09:25 PM |#2  
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"Error while searching for networks" detailed discussion
If anyone out there has some really deep knowledge about what the Android system does when it interacts with the radio and searches for networks, etc... i'd love to know. It's always so disheartening when a non-specific error message appears and you have limited means of discerning exactly what is happening under the hood to cause it.
26th October 2012, 03:16 AM |#3  
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picked up another phone... same problem
on a whim i picked up another Motorola Defy because i utterly love these devices and they are starting to go away... the restore with clockworkmod was perfectly simple and straightforward... but the new phone has the same problem: "Error while searching for networks" and there is no way of connecting to any GSM tower.

this is incredibly frustrating, and i cannot for the life of me figure out what the difference between these phones can be. why would one phone be connecting just fine and the others totally and utterly failing to? they are all US T-Mobile Defys.

i'm going to borrow a buddy's SIM card and see if it will register on any network, maybe my SIM is just doing something loopy.
26th October 2012, 03:23 AM |#4  
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IMEI all zeros
on all of the phones that are experiencing the GSM problem, Android reports the IMEI to be all zeros under "About Phone"

this is also the case with the latest brand new phone that i just purchased. now, i'm fairly certain that this wasn't the case until i put the CyanogenMod 10 ROM on it. how the hell can a ROM foul up a radio so badly? (and how can it happen on just some phones but not others of identical model?)
26th October 2012, 03:36 AM |#5  
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a-ha, i may have discovered something non-symmetrical between these phones after all...

there are slight differences one phone's kernel version data. they are very slight, only pertaining to details after the version number. (which, for all i know is just a checksum or some other value specific to when the kernel was compiled)


Phone #1 (currently can connect to GSM networks)

Kernel version
2.6.32.9-ga649a2e
[email protected] #1
Thu Jan 20 07:50:55 CST 2011


Phone #2 (used to connect to GSM networks but no longer does)

Kernel version
2.6.32.9-ga649a2e
[email protected] #1
Thu Jan 20 07:50:55 CST 2011


Phone #3 (brand new and has never connected to any network under CM10)

Kernel version
2.6.32.9-ga28fcc4
[email protected] #1
Wed Apr 6 15:55:29 CST 2011


... so, that seems to raise more questions than it answers for me. two of them appear to be completely identical, yet they behave differently with the SIM card (Phone #1 sees networks, Phone #2 does not).

the last one, Phone #3, has slightly differing kernel version data but i don't know why. that phone also cannot see networks.
26th October 2012, 03:43 AM |#6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviant Ollam

that phone also cannot see networks.

read this http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1857054 , If you have 0000 as your IMEI, you may have to correct it for it to be allowed to connect by some networks
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26th October 2012, 03:45 AM |#7  
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i'm reading other forums and seeing repeated references to the files...

libril.so
librilswitch.so

... which appear to live in /system/lib

one user on a forum asserts that "These types of bugs are due to mismatched RIL and Radio" but does not offer any information on how one might go about checking this or addressing the problem.

i'm going to try copying those two above-mentioned files from the "working" phone and pushing them to one of my non-working phones. let's see how this goes.

(and, of course, anyone with real knowledge in this area is free to jump in at any time... but for now this is a sort of fun intellectual exercise, just seeing my own process play out in this thread that i alone am posting in. ah well, maybe it will help some future person someday.)
26th October 2012, 03:55 AM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xsenman

read this http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1857054 , If you have 0000 as your IMEI, you may have to correct it for it to be allowed to connect by some networks

thanks! great irony, to see an expert pop up right as i comment about being monologing to no one in this thread, hah. i'll read that other thread right after i try my file copy experiment.
26th October 2012, 03:58 AM |#9  
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i've copied over libril.so and librilswitch.so to the non-working phone's /system/lib directory, but i see that the permissions were altered in the process. i've fixed that (set them to RW- R-- R--) but now i wonder if a chown command is in my future, too.
26th October 2012, 04:24 AM |#10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xsenman

read this http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1857054

upon reading that, i started to follow instructions for repairing a lost IMEI.

one of your instructions in this post is to "Download EFS Folders for modification and restoration My Android Collection" however when one visits that link there does not appear to be any entry (even when you expand all the sub-sections) called "EFS Folders" or anything that makes mention of "modification" or "restoration"

help?
26th October 2012, 04:30 AM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviant Ollam

there does not appear to be any entry (even when you expand all the sub-sections) called "EFS Folders" or anything that makes mention of "modification" or "restoration"help?

sorry its in My Android Solutions and mostly for Samsung , none for motorola, you may need to search google . But mostly flashing the initial STOCK firmware the unit came with would correct it
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