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  1. #1
    Soundwave
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    Cool New User intro and request for thoughts on wireless issue

    Hi all,

    My handle is a play on a character from Monty Python's "Life of Brian." You can call me Rich if you like.

    It's nice to find a forum devoted to this model. I picked up my first 301T from ebay and fell 'in like' with it right away. I ended up getting 3 more for family member and I have 2 more for parts on the way. I'm a systems engineer by trade and have been taking apart and fixing/hax0ring my devices as long as I can remember. I just picked up a proper solder station with a heat gun so I can do component level swaps on my pads.

    So what I'm getting at here is I'm willing and able to act as "guinea pig" to some extent with this model, particularly when it comes to hardware mods, although I'm certainly not averse to, and will actively be doing software/firmwar/bootloader mods. I've rooted more android devices than I can remember, run custom mods like cyanogen, and generally all around like to tinker with them, break them, fix them, cannibalize them, and especially trick them out so they do things that get oohs and ahhs and jealous stares from regular users because their pad won't do that.

    So if there's a mod of some sort you want to try out but are afraid of bricking your device, I'm probably your guy.

    Now on to a current issue I'm having that I could use some advice on:

    I picked up a 301 really cheap from ebay "as-is" because it wouldn't power on figuring that at least I could use the digitizer/screen and/or other parts as spares. Turns out, the battery was just dead dead dead. So dead that even plugging in a 2A charger wouldn't let the pad power on. However, after I let it charge for a while, I'llBeDamned if it didn't power up and work.

    The only real problem I seem to have with it is that the wireless is totally flaky.

    Basically, I can see networks with strong signal strength, but can't connect to most of them. Please understand that my other IDENTICAL pad can connect to them just fine. At first I thought maybe it was a hardware issue with the wireless unit, but I can connect just fine to certain networks, so I tend to rule that out.

    One weird part that might help - whenever I try to connect to a network that should work but fails(SHOULD because I can connect with my other pad using the same credentials), the signal strength indicator suddenly drops down to a single bar.

    When it shows in the list, it has four/five full bars, but upon connection attempt it drops down to one. As soon as it says "connecting," signal drops at exactly the same instant. Then when it gives up tryong to connect, strength goes right back to 5 bars.

    The pad is running 4.2.1, freshly upgraded. Have tried factory reset, etc. Set the frequencey to auto, but have tried 5Ghz and 2.x Ghz with no luck.

    I've just downloaded the stock firmware from ASUS and was going to try to reload everything from bootloader.

    Has anyone seen anything like this before?

  2. #2
    Soundwave
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    Looks like my last followup got swallowed.

    In short: I think I've narrowed it down to a problem with 2.4GHz channels. Probably a hardware problem.

    I installed Wifi Analyser and noticed that the networks I was able to connect to all had 5GHz channels. The unsuccessful ones only had 2.4GHz.

    The successful ones also all had at least one 2.4 channel available, so I switched my Asus over to 2.4 only and tried to connect. No dice. Even on ones that previously worked.

    Interestingly, I was able to connect to my phone's portable built in wifi hotspot on 2.4, but only by holding the phone directly up to the back of the tablet. As soon as I moved it ever a foot away it would no longer connect. I think that solves that mystery.

    Switching over to 5GHz caused the 301t to immediately connect and work fine.

    Since I originally just bought it for parts, I can live with the limitation, but if there's a way I can fix it that would be awesome.

    Does anyone know where the wireless chipset is located on the mainboard? I'm wondering if there are separate antennae for the 2.4 and 5GHz connections and maybe the 2.4 got munged somehow?

    Anyone have any thoughts?

    Best regards,
    Rich

  3. #3
    Guide Guru & Forum Administrator
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    Welcome to the forum

    Sounds like a hardware fault in the wifi chip to me, but you could always try manually reinstalling the firmware again - there is a guide on that in the Master Help Guide (linked below).

    The chips are not available as replaceable parts - you are likely to only be able to buy the entire main board & that would in all likelihood be cost prohibitve.

    Welcome again

    PLEASE Search for existing threads before posting a new one. Thanks.

    Your opinion matters. But should you disagree - please try not to be disagreeable

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  4. #4
    Super Moderator & Forum Sleuth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggvs_Richardvs View Post

    So if there's a mod of some sort you want to try out but are afraid of bricking your device, I'm probably your guy.
    Great intro, loved ^^^^^^ that line!
    I think Evelyn Knievel started out the same way...hey, if anyone needs a couple buses jump'd over...
    Sorry, can't assist in your problem, but wanted to toss out a Welcome - enjoy the boards Rich, Cheers.

  5. #5
    Soundwave
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    Same wifi issue probably

    Hi Rich

    just took delivery of a second hand ME301T last night and seem to have similar wifi connection problems. Google seems to be littered with forum posts about this so I guess I'll be perusing them to try and find a solution.

    My router has 5G so that'll be the first port of call to see if I can set it up to use that and see if it fixes the issue. tbh I haven't looked thru these forums yet for similar posts but guessing it'll be full of them but thanks for your comments so far.

    merlin2112

  6. #6
    Soundwave
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    Sure thing Merlin!

    Just FYI for everyone - I did a complete fimware reload using the fastboot method and the unpacked blob file from the ASUS website. No dice.

    This appears to be a solid hardware issue. I'll be curious to see if you have a similar result switching back and forth from 2.4GHz only to 5GHz only. If you do find it connecting on 5 but not 2.4, can you do me a favor? Set your (broken)301
    t to 2.4 only and then try to connect while holding the unit right next to your wireless router. Like in physical contact with it.

    I have my android phone rooted and set up as a wifi hotspot. The REALLY interesting thing was that it would connect on 2.4 when I held the phone directly in physical contact with the 301t.

    This tells me that the chip's internal circuits/logic are ok, it just can't get a signal out for some reason. My best hypothesis would be that there are seperate tracers coming off the chip for 2.4 and 5, and that for some reason on some units this didn't get soldered properly or something similar.

    I think it would be really cool to come up with a fix for this, because that would give us a huge pool of defective units out there that could be brought back to life. I have a lab grade microscope at my disposal and will use it to investigate this further when I have a free moment (studying for a final in a grad finance class at the moment).

    Does anyone know which chip on the motherboard is the wireless chip?

    Barring that, can someone with a spare/broken motherboard take closeup pics of all the chips and I will be ahppy to research them

    Thanks,
    Rich

  7. #7
    Transformer Forums Legend
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    There have been hundreds of threads on WiFi issues here for various models of Transformer and the problems are not limited to ASUS tablets. I have a link in my signature to a thread with some suggestions. Unfortunately 2.4 GHz brings the possibility of interference from cordless phones to microwave ovens and the ASUS line (probably due to the WiFi chip), has had issues with working well on some WiFi channels. WiFi analyses should tell you if you have a conflict with other nearby WiFi as well.

    On another forum there also have been issues with specific D-Link routers. You just never know. The best test is to try a public hotspot as almost all of them are 2.4 GHz.

  8. #8
    Soundwave
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    Hi guys,

    Quick update: I got a 301 with a cracked screen for cheap and did a motherboard transplant and now I have a good working unit. I'm still curious though about the WiFi chip problem though.

    Does anyone happen to know which chip on the motherboard is the wireless?

    Santa brought me a proper solder work/rework station with 900 degree heat gun and adjustable temp soldering iron for Christmas. If someone can tell me which chip it is, I will go over it with my lab microscope and see if I can spot a short or open circuit or similar that might be responsible.

    The fact that I can hold my portable wifi against the motherboard and it connects(but drops it again after only a few inches of seperation) tells me that all the logic/software/firmware/etc around the chip is good, it's simply unable to send/receive signal. When I've seen a problem like this in the past, it came down to a bad solder connection to the antenna which is likely built onto the motherboard.

    I normally wouldn't bother with something like this, but there's a guy on Ebay selling 301s for cheap because of the wifi issue, so if we can solve it, we may have a source of discount units at our disposal.

    Cheers,
    Rich

 

 

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