Is my phone's accelerometer broken?
February 6, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

I think the accelerometer on my phone (HSPA+ Samsung Galaxy Nexus) is broken (evidence). Am I right?

I noticed that my phone has difficulty changing from portrait to landscape mode, especially recently. I downloaded an app to read the output from the accelerometer and noticed that it registers a constant 2Gs of acceleration in the Y axis, I think in the downward direction on the assumption that the coordinate system is right-handed (positive X is to the left, and positive Z is to the back of the phone).

What you see in that image is me putting the phone in various alignments and then shaking it vigorously. As you can see, it doesn't show any change in the Y axis. Sometimes when I check it, the Y axis graph hovers around 2G but will show small amounts of jitter when I shake it, and sometimes it hovers around 2G but goes down to one when I put the phone in an orientation where it should be zero.

So my questions are: is this likely to be a hardware problem? It's not immediately clear to me why only one axis would be failing, but I don't know how accelerometers work. My other question is how I can get it fixed. This is the international version of the phone, but I live in the US, and so the US Samsung help line has told me that they can't help me and I'll have to get in contact with the UK tech support. Will I have to mail my phone to a different country? Are there places in the US (or even, with luck, in Saint Louis, where I live?) where I can get it serviced instead? Thanks.
posted by invitapriore to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Do you know that it has a 3-axis accel ? For tilt, you only need 2 axis really. (Can you verify it's 3 axis)

That said, the x and z axis look to be responding to both tilting and shaking.
posted by k5.user at 11:27 AM on February 6, 2012

Ouch, that sucks (when it's such a nice phone otherwise). The accelerometer is three separate (tiny!) springy things (probably all inside one chip), so one channel sticking is perfectly plausible. Where did you buy the phone? If it was a UK retailer then the good news is you probably have at least 12 months warranty (although it will be a pain shipping it internationally).

If it is from the UK, you can get hold of Samsung on +44 1932 454358.
posted by samj at 11:45 AM on February 6, 2012

So, this morning I dropped my phone from about two feet off the ground and now everything works just fine, if not better than before. I guess the spring was stuck and that unstuck it. I'm not sure why it got caught in the first place, but oh well.
posted by invitapriore at 6:58 AM on February 7, 2012

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