BlackBerry PlayBook battery power charge, discharge characteristics, and guidance on extending battery life

Article ID: KB27705

Type: Support Content

Last Modified: 03-22-2013

 

Product(s) Affected:

  • BlackBerry PlayBook tablets
CollapseEnvironment
  • BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS
CollapseOverview

The BlackBerry PlayBook may come to a power state where it is unable to power on; a Yellow LED may flash in a sequence of 5 flashes, the BlackBerry PlayBook may boot up to the BlackBerry PlayBook Logo and then power off, may not power on at all.

Discharge behavior under normal use:

  • Under normal active use, a battery drained to 10% will cause the device to prompt the BlackBerry PlayBook user (notification and audible beep)
  • Without connecting a charger the device will automatically shut down at 3.53V (0%)
  • Pressing the power button may allow successful boot, but it will turn off again very quickly

Discharge behavior under no use:

  • A device left unused but in Stand By will warn the BlackBerry PlayBook user at 10% (notification and audible beep)
  • The warning may not be noticed and the device will go back to Stand By
  • Letting the device drain in standby mode drains the battery slower, but more completely
  • Device will still shut off at 3.53V (0%), but it less likely to successfully boot afterwards

Discharge behavior under 3.53V (0%):

  • If the device is left to shutoff, the battery will continue to drain below 3.53V due to quiescent current draw from the motherboard and the battery fuel gauge
  • With the battery between 2.7V-3.53V, pressing the power button causes the LED to flash a pattern (1 solid red light followed by 5 yellow blinks)  to indicate low battery (PlayBook Tablet OS version 1.0.5, and above)
  • Below 2.7V there is no activity, or LED pattern displayed


Charge Behaviour:

The provided charger should be used to charge the device. The optional 12 volt rapid charger is may reduce charging times to approximately 3 to 4 hrs. Standard Blackberry smartphone chargers, other AC adapter USB chargers, or computer USB ports are not recommended for the sole purpose of charging the PlayBook as with these methods it may take more that 12 hours to charge the BlackBerry Playbook.

If the battery voltage is below 3.53V(0%) then the charging behaviour is dependent on the software version.  The charging code will limit the charging current to under 400 milliamps, during which time, it may take an hour to reach 3.53 Volts. Once the battery voltage rises past 3.53 volts, then high-rate charging will start. If, after charging the Tablet for 4 to 6 hours still does not result in LED activity, attempt to force power on the BlackBerry Playbook by pressing and holding only the Power Button for only 20 seconds.

Prior to BlackBerry Tablet OS 1.0.5:

  • A BlackBerry PlayBook will never charge while powered off in BlackBerry Tablet OS versions prior to 1.0.5.
  • The device will show a red light when the charger is connected and then nothing more.
  • Repeated connection of the charger can recover the device in some instances. 
  • Once the battery voltage rises above 3.53V the system will boot and the UI will show charging.

Starting in BlackBerry Tablet OS 1.0.5:

  • The device will show a solid red LED, followed by a solid yellow LED as the device boots into charging mode. This is followed by a yellow pulsating LED indicating charging in progress.
  • The time span between the red and yellow lights can be as long as 45 seconds as the device boots into charging mode. 
  • Once the yellow LED illuminates, the device can be started, but it is advisable to let it charge for at least 3.5 hours to achieve a sufficient charge.
  • The device will show a solid green LED once the device is fully charged.

Starting in BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0.1:

  • Once the yellow LED begins pulsating indicating charging mode, if the BlackBerry PlayBook is disconnected from the charger, the following graphic will be displayed on the screen, indicating charging is not complete, and to reconnect the power source. The graphic will be displayed for 20 seconds before the BlackBerry PlayBook powers off if the power source is not reconnected. The same graphic will also be displayed if the BlackBerry PlayBook is turned on and there is not sufficient power to perform the boot process.

  • If the BlackBerry PlayBook is plugged into a power source, and the power button is pressed to power on the device, the following graphic will be displayed if there is not sufficient power to perform the boot process. If this occurs, the BlackBerry PlayBook should be left plugged in to gain enough charge to boot.

Starting in BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.1.0:

  • Once the yellow LED begins pulsating indicating charging mode, if the tablet is disconnected from the charger, a graphic will be displayed on the screen indicating to reconnect the power source.
  • The graphic will be displayed for 20 seconds before the tablet powers off if the power source is not reconnected. The PlayBook is fully charged when the pulsating LED changes to a solid green light. The graphic indicating that the power is source is not connected, may still appear even when the tablet is fully charged. The same graphic will also be displayed if the tablet is turned on and there is not sufficient power to perform the boot process.
CollapseAdditional Information

Turning off the BlackBerry PlayBook and using standby mode.

  • Checking the battery power level
    • On the status bar, tap the battery icon. When the battery power level is low, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will display a notification.
  • Enter standby mode
    • Press the Power button on the top of the BlackBerry PlayBook..
  • Exit standby mode
    • Swipe down from the top frame to the bottom frame
  • Turn off the BlackBerry PlayBook
    • Press and hold the Power button. Tap Shut Down.

To extend the BlackBerry PlayBook battery life, charge it regularly, close unused applications and keep the BlackBerry Playbook out of the sun and other hot places. The following may also be used to extend battery life:

  • Dim the screen
    • On the status bar, tap the Options icon (a gear), select the Screen tab and change the Brightness setting
  • Turn off the screen automatically
    • On the status bar, tap the Options icon, select the Screen tab and change the Backlight Time-out field
  • Enter standby mode automatically
    • On the status bar, tap the Options icon, select the Screen tab and change the Standby Time-out field
  • Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use
    • On the status bar, tap the Wireless icon and set the Wi-Fi switch to Off
  • Turn off Bluetooth connectivity when not in use
    • On the status bar, tap the Bluetooth icon and set the Bluetooth switch to Off
  • Pause apps when you show the home screen or switch between apps  
    • On the status bar, tap the Options icon, select the General tab and set the Application Behavior switch to Paused

With the upgrade to PlayBook OS 2.1.0.1032 the following message may be displayed when connecting the Playbook to a PC using the micro-USB cable:

Unable to charge battery with connected source

This message is displayed because the voltage provided is insufficient for charging. The USB voltage is limited to 384mA even if the maximum tolerance is 500mA. The voltage is limited to 384mA by design to avoid violating the USB specification which states USB devices cannot draw more than 500mA from the USB port.

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