Having got to the point where my N900 had become completely unusable, over the past week I’ve been on an enlightening spree (mainly centred around maemo.org) to see if there was anything I could indeed do about it before I declared my ‘precious’ officially dead.
Having used a number of handsets since my N900 started playing up, I have been left feeling unsatisfied and had reached a point where I would try anything to resuscitate my good old stalwart, my trusty N900.
So the problems I was facing were threefold:
1/ The USB connection appeared to be faulty
2/ The battery wouldn’t charge even when I managed to get the USB connection to be stable
3/ When in operation, the phone had become laggy to the point of being unusable
After playing around with the charging situation for quite some time (on and off over a few months) I realised that something deeper was going wrong. When I got the phone to recognise the USB connection, the orange LED was lighting up constantly for quite a while and then going off. Then the screen would light up for a few seconds but then go back to this constant orange LED glow. After an hour like this, the phone would still not power on so obviously the battery wasn’t charging up like it should.
After reading more into this at maemo.org, it appeared that the battery may have become completely discharged which was why it wasn’t charging at all. The answer was to buy an external battery charger + battery in case the original battery had become irreparably damaged, which I did from ebay.
So the charger/battery came yesterday and I immediately put the original battery in the charger and booted up the N900 with the new battery.
The next issue I came across was that (even with only one homescreen and having deleted loads of surplus apps/messages etc) the phone was so laggy that I really couldn’t use it.
So the next challenge was to try and fix this by getting the latest Maemo 5 Community SSU edition loaded: http://wiki.maemo.org/Community_SSU. Again, from reading around, it appeared that this might hold the key to my ‘laggy’ issues which seemed in the main part to be brought about by a bottle neck in the memory management causing the phone to be virtually unusable.
After a few hours of fiddling around and eventually getting the new Community software loaded on (I ended up having to do most things through terminal as the App manager had become so slow and was giving out error msgs about dependencies), I now appear to have a fully functioning N900 back in the house!
Even the original faulty USB connection seems to be working as long as I pick the right cable (for some reason an HTC one works the best!) and make sure to angle it slightly.
So having not used her for a few months, here’s a quick list of all the things I missed/don’t miss about the N900.
1/ Obviously the keyboard, kickstand, camera protector, unlock slider
2/ FM transmitter
3/ TV out
5/ And of course the endearing nature of the N900, which makes you think anything is possible, but for the layman, making you have to work hard to get it!
What I haven’t missed:
1/ The outdated processor/memory (most of the time, not acceptable for eg. streaming video)
2/ The lack of key software support (There are a few holes here, for example, I haven’t found a good twitter client yet that works – any suggestions gratefully appreciated!)
3/ Old hardware protocols (eg. No 4G LTE, old BT etc – but still more than usable!)
4/ A few eccentricities eg. saying the USB cable is plugged in when it isn’t making it impossible to use the FM transmitter until rebooted; the battery will suddenly go from around 1/3 to nothing stating it needs recharging.
Other than that, my N900 has been rejuvenated, reborn, is more than usable and furthermore is now my perfect companion until I get the new Jolla handset into my hot hands and even then will be the perfect backup handset. :-)
Are you still using an N900 as your main device and if so do you have any tips/tricks that you find helps keep your N900 running optimally ?