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My Nexus 5 has burned in a few times over the past year, which is very unusual since I never leave it on when not in use (30 second dim time), but today I finally noticed the trend.

When I charge the phone with certain chargers, they cause the screen to become fuzzy and distorted, with a colored tinge (what I thought was a burn-in). This is 100% reproduceable.

I've used a few chargers in America, 1 of which resulted in this, so it is not a problem native to Australia.

Here in Australia, I use the following Samsung charger, which works perfectly:

Model: EP-TA10HWE
Input: 100-240V~
       50-60Hz 0.35A
OUTPUT: 5.3V === 2.0A
S/N: SE2FB04YS/B-E

The bad one I used today, which triggered the problem again was also from Samsung:

Model: ETA0U10HWE
Input: 100-240V~
       50-60Hz 0.15A
OUTPUT: 5.0V === 0.7A
S/N: DK3G904HS/7-E
                      N363

Here are the symptoms:

  1. Plug the phone in, as per normal, with the screen off. Location, WiFi, BlueTooth, etc don't matter. (2 hours will do this - a full charge is not needed to replicate it.)
  2. The screen gets a blue tinge, and duller colors. This worsens the longer it is charged. The tinge is noticeably less present at the edges of the screen.
  3. Once unplugged, the screen will still get worse over time. This is especially true when using it - an hour of activity on the phone will result in....
  4. Very dulled colors, barely distinguishable, a fuzzy screen, and shadow images left wherever objects move. Vertical lines trail behind in these shadow images. Screen is completely white when viewing it from a 45 degree angle.

Image album of the screen distortion as the phone charges: https://imgur.com/a/8a554

Facts and other info:

  • At the top of the screen, there are small parts which are somewhat immune to the blurring and fading. I have scribbled the bits out in this image: https://goo.gl/M7lbwJ
  • There is no image burned into the screen. It is only a blurring, fading, colored tinge (the color has been green, blue and purple so far), and shadow image (very noticeable dragging a white box across a black background. Dragging the box left means vertical black lines on the right side of the box).
  • It is impossible to see anything except white when the screen is viewed from a 45 degree angle.
  • I once cracked the screen (not badly), and had it replaced. It was at a relatively cheap store ($150 AUD), not by the manufacturer. I can't remember if the burn ever happened before the replaced screen.
  • This has happened about 6 times. Each time I solved it by leaving it on with the "Screen Burn-in Tool" overnight, on maximum brightness. It seems to take about 12 hours to fix it fully.
  • The phone behaves as normal once recovered - no one could tell the difference between my phone and another. Battery, brightness, etc, are all normal.
  • It always charges at the expected rate in all chargers. Nothing remarkable about the power graphs, or power usage of apps. The "bad" chargers work normally for other phones.
  • I've always had the phone in a case, and only ever dropped it that once. I take care of my stuff.

UPDATE:

It happened with a USB cable plugged into a laptop today. What's weird is that I've used this cable with this laptop about a dozen times before (it's only a few weeks old), but it hasn't triggered the effect in it before.

There could be some kind of connection to heavily using the phone while it's charging, or right before charging it, as several of the times that this has triggered, I've been recently using my phone heavily (thus why it needed charging).

For example, the other times I charged my phone (using the same cable and laptop), I'd only been topping it up, or charging it at the end of the day.

UPDATE 2:

Today I got a brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 for use at work. It came with a brand new charger and brand new cable too.

Last night I plugged the new charger into the same wall socket as my old one usually goes in (it was in my luggage), with the new cable, and charged my Nexus 5. Today, I noticed the tint was coming back very slightly, but didn't realize why. When I charged my phone this evening, and it was 100% blurry and tinted, I realized.

Everything about the actual charger is identical, except the S/N (Serial Number), and the country of manufacturing. Comparison: https://i.imgur.com/ovJr09i.jpg

If we assume that the chargers are the same (it was plugged into the same wall socket), then that must mean that the cable is what's doing it to the phone, since the cables are very different.

The new one has the text:

E321011   ЯJ   AWM   STYLE   21104   80°C   30V   VW-1   23AWG*2C   LUXSHARE-ICT   NON-PVC

The old one has the text:

E102671-0   ЯJ   AWM   21445   80°C   30V   VW-1   23AWG*2C   30AWG*2C   KAYANG   [5]   HX   NT   NON-PVC   NON-P

UPDATE 3:

Using my good charger base with the new cable didn't cause any problems.
Using my new charger base with the good cable __________. (testing now)

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This is a really rough guess, as that has to be one of the strangest symptoms I've ever seen from a bad charger. Here's what you need to do.

You have 2 of every piece in play here. Test both phones with different combinations of chargers and cables. If only the Nexus is affected, there's an issue with the phone's motherboard causing background noise on the screen under certain conditions. If both are affected, one of the charging components are bad and you should throw it away.

Yes, you should be able to use the chargers interchangeably unless the Samsung's has a fast charge system.

  • Yeah, I was going to, but it's just so time consuming. Still, I feel like I should solve this issue before I get the Pixel in a few weeks. My gift to anyone who ever encounters this strange issue on such a great phone. – Addison Sep 20 '16 at 4:14
  • Oh - just re-read this. It's definitely not faulty chargers. It's more like... Incompatible chargers? Certain random chargers/cables cause my phone to do this. – Addison Sep 20 '16 at 9:04
  • @Addison it is probably a hardware issue within your phone, but this allows you to know exactly what causes it. – Ethan Z Sep 20 '16 at 11:17
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I have the same issue while using the original charger. When I use an older stronger charger the screen is fine. It reverts to the correct colors in time, in about 24 hours.

In fact I just checked the charger information and it is the very same one that is giving you the trouble. So I suppose that charger is of a bad design.

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