SmartSDR Affects Surface Pro Battery Charging?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
This is a real head-scratcher...

I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 running SmartSDR (latest version) for my 6300.

Believe it or not, running SmartSDR affects the battery charging.  If I minimize SmartSDR, the battery icon in the system tray shows, "Plugged in, Charging".  When I maximize SmartSDR, the battery icon shows, "Plugged in, Not Charging."

I have already received a replacement Dock from Microsoft, thinking that the Dock was faulty.  This morning, I replicated the problem without being connected to the Dock.  Every time I minimize SmartSDR, the Surface Pro 3 charges, as normal.

The Surface Pro 3 has all of the Windows Updates applied.

What could possibly be causing this? 

Does anyone else have a Surface Pro 3 that is having this issue???

Thanks in advance.

Cliff (N4CCB)
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  • very confused

Posted 3 years ago

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Richard Clafton W4/G7EIX, Elmer

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I have a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10 and don't have this issue. Are you on Windows 8? I could I suppose do a refresh of the OS back to stock Windows 8 to try it - I use it only for SDR anyway. If I get some time later and this has not been answered I will give it a go.
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PERRLA, LLC - Agency

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Hi, Richard.

That's a very generous offer of your time!

Yes, I'm using Windows 8.1 Pro.  Did you ever run SmartSDR on your Surface Pro 3 before upgrading to Windows 10?

I'm really hoping to get this figured out as I'm hoping to take my 6300 to our local ARES group Field Day.

Thanks,
Cliff
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Richard Clafton W4/G7EIX, Elmer

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I did run one of the previous versions when I first got it and that was running on 8.1 - and I do not recall any issues.   I have the standard dock and PSU.    I upgraded it pretty quickly to Windows 10 as a test mule for my development work.  

I have a 6500, but I doubt that is any part of the problem.   Very strange!

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Richard Clafton W4/G7EIX, Elmer

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As a side note, I also turn OFF all power saving as I leave it plugged in 24/7 - apart from the odd hour or so laying in the hammock playing with SDR.
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k3Tim

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This sounds like the charging current is only strong enough to run the device when SDR itself is running.  Minimizing SDR would reduce system usage and hence the DC current demand on the charger allowing the battery to commence changing again.

It would be interesting to measure the current draw on the charger with and without SDR running.  If I might suggest reducing SDR to a bare minimum, slow refresh and a small panafall (without the fall) to see if that helps.

GL @ FD.

k3Tim
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Mike

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Cliff: I run a Surface Pro 3 with the dock and a 6300. I have never noticed the behavior you described. I will check tonight. I do know that I have left things on for many hours and never had a discharged battery. I use the power supply that came with the dock. 
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Bill W2PKY

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Perhaps try unplugging and plugging the charger back in when SSDR is maximized.
Wonder if the unit is charging anyway; Does the computer actually run out of battery when running SSDR?
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Doug K0DV

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Cliff,  I have SmartSDR running on my Surface Pro 3 and I went through the exercise of minimizing/ full screen while on battery and also when on line power and the charging indicator seems to work fine for me.  I'm using Win 8.1.
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Thanks for the replies so far.

@K3TIM - thanks for that.  It makes a difference. See below.

Bill, I usually don't leave SmartSDR running overnight.  This morning, it was low on battery power and it actually did shut down the computer while running SmartSDR while plugged in to the charger.

Mike, if you don't mind, please try an experiment for me... crank up the FPS in the Display menu and see if that causes the charging to stop.

If I reduce the FPS (frames per second refresh rate) to about 10, the charger kicks in.  If I crank it up to 15 or more, the charging stops.  If I minimize SmartSDR, the charging starts.

The power supply provided with the Surface Pro 3 is rated at 4 Amps.  I've salvaged the cord from the old Dock and cut it to put the Surface Pro 3 on an Ammeter.  With SmartSDR maximized, the current is measured at 2.17 Amps.  With SmartSDR minimized, it's drawing 1.9 Amps... not much of a difference and it shouldn't be a strenuous load on a 4 amp power supply... if the Microsoft 4 Amp power supply is really capable of 4 Amps.

Very, very strange...

Cliff
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Cliff Batson

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For anybody who reads this... I think the problem is in the Surface Pro 3 internals. It's not drawing enough amps for it to be the power supply, and I've recieved the same results with two power supplies.

I think something within the Surface Pro 3 is keeping the charging circuit from being active when video performance crosses some unknown threshold. It could just be a defect with my Surface Pro.

For now, I can run the software at lower resolution on an external monitor with the FPS reduced to 15 and be happy.

Cliff
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Bill W2PKY

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I used a Pro 3 for some time with a 4K monitor attached.
Ran SSDR and several instances of JT-65 along with PSKReporter, HamSpots and more.
Ran for days without any problems..
Have you tried the online M.S Support? 
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k3Tim

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The amperage readings, 2.17 Vs 1.9 seems to indicate the magic threshold is at 2.000 AMPs.   That might be a clue.  USB high power current limit is 2.00 amps.
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Ed - NZ1Q

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Funny, I ran into this just recently. However, I am using a 10 yr old HP notebook with Win7. It was in the "not charging" state regardless of SSDR.

I found the following that solved the problem in 5 minutes by recalibrating the charging circuit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lx62t6qZ34U

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PERRLA, LLC - Agency

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@Bill - I have seen many people with this issue but they seemed to have had their issue resolved from a firmware upgrade last year.  My firmware is up-to-date.  I'm next going to try a USB powered hub to see if my peripherals are contributing to the problem. (Rigblaster, FlexControl, and Logitech mouse/keyboard wireless dongle)

@K3TIM - I may try connecting my USB devices into a powered hub (although the Dock's 3 USB 3.0 ports should constitute a powered hub I'd think).

@Ed - That seems like a good thing to try but, to gain access to the battery of the Surface Pro 3, I'd have to remove the screen and electronics.  It's above my pay grade!
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Simon Lewis

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Surface Pro 3 here (i7 - 256gb) doesn't do the same here sorry 
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Thank you, Simon.

@K3TIM - I powered my peripherals from a powered USB hub and it didn't change the results.

I left the Surface Pro 3 on overnight without SmartSDR runnning.  When I came into my office, the screen saver was running and the battery showed 17% capacity.  It wasn't charging until I woke it up.

I think I've just got a wonky Surface Pro 3... time to call Microsoft again.

Many thanks to everyone who replied to this thread!!! :-)

Cliff (N4CCB)
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Mike

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Cliff: Tried my Pro3 last night (i5, 4Gig RAM last night. opened up 2 panadaptors, sped them up all the way. I even tried running on remote to increase draw on Surface battery. It took a while for unit to come off "Charged, 100%". When it finally did, it was always charging. I think wonky is the correct term. --Mike, WV2ZOW
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Thanks for running that test, Mike.  Hopefully, Microsoft will make it right.

Cliff (N4CCB)