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Microsoft Releases Surface Pro 3 Firmware Update with Battery Fix

Back in July, users in the Surface forums, on the Microsoft Community, started reporting issues regarding battery life rapidly depleting on some Surface Pro 3 devices. A forum participant, Kridsada Thanabulpong, described a fully charged battery degrading by 80% just within a few weeks of charge. Of course, this got me quite concerned, since I am a proud owner of a Surface Pro 3 device myself. It is quite normal for battery life to eventually loose charge over time, especially taking into account normal usage and recharge cycles. In the case of this particular Surface Pro 3, battery life should not degrade only after one year of use.

Battery Life on Certain Surface Pro 3 Devices Rapidly Depleting

Quite a number of users are reported similar behaviour with their Surface Pro 3 devices. SIMPLO, the manufacturer of the battery cell used in the in the affected Surface Pro 3, seems to be at fault.

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A full charge capacity has degraded by over 80% in just few weeks and continue degrading. I tried to "recalibrate" the battery by doing full charge then full drain multiple times, and it didn't helped. Talk with Microsoft via chat support and they insist this was a software problem and reinstalled the driver and asked me to wait few days to see if things improve. Not only it didn't improved, but now my Surface can only last 30 minutes.

Few days after chat (today), I called Microsoft support and they were being extremely unhelpful. Insist that this was a software problem (which the chat support person already did) and it's "perfectly normal" for battery capacity to degrade. I insist that I've already done the software "fixes" and it didn't work and tell them this is definitely hardware problem, but the person on the phone tell me there's nothing I could do except to order the out of warranty exchange (which cost about $560 in my local currency). Source

 

battery degrade.PNG

Thankfully, not all Surface Pro 3 devices use the same brand battery cells. You can check your battery manufacturer by running the powercfg /batteryreport command. Press Windows key + X, click Command Prompt (Admin), type powercfg /batteryreport at the command prompt then hit the Enter key. The report will be saved under C:\Windows\System32 as battery-report.

battery degrade 2.png

Lucky for me, the battery in my Surface Pro 3 is manufactured by LION. So that’s one less thing to worry about. Unfortunately, for Surface Pro 3 owners with affected batteries, whose device might be out of warranty; it will cost more than $500 to fix.  

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Today, Microsoft released a Firmware Update with a fix for the Battery problems.

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Symptoms

A limited number of Surface Pro 3 owners find that their battery can no longer hold a charge, and it looks like the battery capacity has diminished. With the power plugged in, the Surface Pro 3 is fine, but the battery will run out quickly once it's not being charged.

Cause

On a limited number of Surface Pro 3 devices, an error condition occurs that causes the full charge capacity of the battery to be misreported to the operating system and device firmware. When this condition occurs, the system no longer charges the battery to its full actual capacity, and the Surface is unable to function on battery power.

 

Think of this like a fuel gauge in a car, where the car looks to the fuel gauge to determine how much to fill the tank. In this case, if the fuel gauge isn’t working right, the car would also not be able to fill the tank—even though the tank is fine.

Resolution

An update is now available to correct this issue. This update corrects the logic in the firmware component that functions as the “fuel gauge” for the Surface Pro 3 battery, so that the actual battery capacity on devices with this particular part is accurately reported. This allows the Surface to once again leverage the maximum charge capacity of the battery.

Once this fix is applied to a Surface Pro 3, the reported full charge capacity will self-correct over the next several charge and discharge cycles. Surface Pro 3 devices that previously experienced the problem can now operate on battery power, and the issue won’t occur on devices that haven't experienced the issue. Source

 

Affected users can grab the firmware update from Windows Update.

The Surface Pro 3 is a great device, but it’s not without its troubles. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a power cord power cord recall program for Surface Pro 3. This was due to the neck of the adapter being prone to wear and tear. I experienced a bit of difficulty qualifying for the program since Jamaica is not a supported region. A friend in the US was able to help me out and had it shipped to Jamaica.

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