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Fix in coming weeks] Android 8.1 update for 2016 Pixel XL causes a potentially dangerous overcurrent charging bug

In most cases talking, updates take away insects, however on the subject of Google‘s 2016 Pixel XL, a brand new drawback was once presented with the Android eight.1 replace this January. When charging in positive cases, the OG Pixel XL will (dangerously) try to pull as much as 40% extra present than it has negotiated from the charger, time and again coming into and leaving a charging state because the charger shuts off because of overcurrent coverage. So when you’ve spotted your Pixel XL not too long ago flashing “charging unexpectedly” more than one instances after being plugged into the inventory charger, that is why. 

To start with look, the precise cases required to cause the issue would possibly appear not likely, however in case you are the use of the inventory charger, they are assured. All that is wanted is a USB-C PD-compliant charger of the proper wattage (just like the inventory charger) and a sufficiently tired battery. When the Pixel XL is plugged in, it’ll negotiate with the charger to tug as much as 18W (9V/2A), however in truth, it’ll strive to attract as much as 25W (9V/2.8A).

An in depth-up of this symbol supplied within the Factor Tracker. It may be tough to parse, however see how the blue line for amperage just about hits the ground of the graph (over 2.8A) at 14s.

Fortunately, the inventory charger is sufficiently engineered with overcurrent protections that close off when this happens, interrupting charging ahead of the telephone tries once more. This cycle—beginning to rate, pulling extra energy than asked, and disconnecting because of overcurrent coverage—can occur as much as three or four instances ahead of the telephone starts to attract at a decrease price. But when a charger does not have that overcurrent coverage or does not adequately meet different facets of the USB-PD specification, this new conduct within the 2016 Pixel XL might be bad to shoppers.

I’ve suffered from this factor myself over the previous couple of months, and with the addition of charging sounds within the Android P developer previews (by which the issue remains to be provide), it is turn into much more noticeable with repeated “dings” at attach/disconnect each and every evening. However now not everybody at Android Police has skilled this conduct with the telephone. Whilst it is imaginable that now not all gadgets are affected, the precise charger configuration required to cause the issue may well be one cause of the adaptation in revel in.

The originator of the fortify thread speculates (with some supporting proof) that the issue stems from misguided battery rate controller common sense presented with the Android eight.1 replace.

The computer virus was once first of all reported to Google‘s Factor Tracker again in January, and nearly two months on it does not appear to have been resolved. Taking into consideration that an overcurrent scenario like this might be bad with a poorly engineered charger, that isn’t in point of fact OK. We now have reached out to Google for remark, and we will replace this tale if we listen again. Within the interim, 2016 Pixel XL house owners would possibly wish to ensure they keep on with identified just right chargers with overcurrent coverage, just like the inventory one.

On one of the vital fortify discussion board posts associated with the problem, Google‘s head of Protection and Compliance Engineering for Google Client delivered the next remark, which we had been supplied in lieu of a commentary:

Thanks for filing knowledge in this computer virus. Our engineering crew has verified a repair that might be rolling out within the coming weeks to forestall this from going on.

Exams run by means of our protection engineers have additionally showed that despite the fact that a non permanent overcurrent draw of the sort described had been to happen in normal-use prerequisites, it could now not pose a security danger. As well as, Pixel XL was once designed with more than one layers of protection protections to additional save you overheating:

  1. the telephone enter circuit is designed to hold greater than the noticed stage of present;
  2. each the battery and the telephone have more than one layers of coverage to keep away from battery and contact overheating and overcharging;
  3. the in-box charger, in addition to any 3rd celebration chargers that meet protection trade requirements (UL and an identical), have overcurrent coverage.

John McNulty
Head of Protection and Compliance Engineering for Google Client

It appears like Google is taking the problem critically. Even though it will have taken public consideration to get a repair, no less than one is coming, despite the fact that Google is making an attempt to decrease the perceived threat of overcurrent scenarios. The chance, on this case, effects from the use of chargers that can now not have good enough or correctly-implemented overcurrent protections—a scenario none of Google‘s protection protections, on this case, mitigate.

As ahead of, watch out with the charger you choose till that is mounted.

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