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I have been handed an H801+ Android phone, where the rear (main) camera has stopped working, and I have been trying to fix it without much success. I am looking for ideas as to what to try next.

The phone has been obtained from eBay and seems to be of no-name Chinese manufacture. It has 2GB of RAM and a 4-core CPU. It has three SIM ports, two cameras, a 2800 mAh battery, and all the usual wifi/bluetooth/GPS/gyro interfaces. The screen is approximately 6 x 2.5" in size and supports full HD. It is running Android 4.2.1 (I believe this is Jelly Bean).

I am told that the rear camera used to work, but now no longer does - I am wondering whether my friend received an Android update via her provider, which stopped it working. The front camera seems to work, although (since I am not used to large-screen devices) it seems to be permanently auto-focusing and clicking every few seconds. I don't know whether this is a feature or a fault!

Having done some research, I believe a "swirl" arrows icon should appear superimposed on any live camera image to toggle between camera devices, but I cannot see this anywhere. I have tried the following apps:

  • Camera (stock app) - front camera works fine, no way to switch to rear camera
  • HD Camera Ultra - crashes
  • Camera (downloaded) - only front camera
  • Dual Camera / Double Shot - crashes

Both of the crashy apps seem to have a lot of Play reviews, so I am minded to think there is a problem on my device specifically, rather than just that these apps are of low quality.

I notice that if I put Camera (the non-stock version) into Panorama mode, it tries to connect to the rear camera, whereas for movie and pictures it uses the front camera. However it seems to fail to connect to the rear camera:

Camera error

Can't connect to the camera.

I suspect this is a good sign - it is perhaps "half connected"!


I wondered if it just needed a factory reset, so I have done one, taking it back to "here's a demo of your device" state. However this hasn't made any difference.

My thoughts on the reasons why I cannot get this to work:

  • The rear camera has developed a hardware fault
  • The whole phone is fussy about what version of Android it uses and/or — given that it is unbranded — has not been tested as well as it should have been
  • The front camera is stuck repeatedly auto-focusing and as a result does not give the rear camera an opportunity to initialise (update: I don't think this is the case now; if I hold the phone far enough away, and focus on something in good light, the focus box goes green and the front camera stops auto-focusing)

There are a few things that might be worth a try:

  • Find a test (camera) app to give me techie info about the devices the phone can detect. I have looked for such a thing but cannot find one
  • Do a hard reset with a pinhole switch, though I cannot find one, and presume this is not an option
  • Downgrade Android an official way (using my SIM). This might bring the camera back to life, but possibly it may be overwritten when my friend puts her SIM back in
  • Upgrade Android the approved way. Using my SIM I have searched the Play store for "upgrade Android" but cannot find anything useful. I believe (from material on the web) there should be an upgrade option in "About this phone" but I don't seem to have that
  • Root the phone and try a later minor version
  • Root the phone and try a later major version

I haven't asked whether my friend would mind me rooting the phone, but I am given to believe it is safe these days. What do you suggest?

  • Can you enclose a picture of the device in question or a linky? Its hard to tell from the question above? If its faulty and is a no-name chinese phone, there is a very good chance that there is no known update either, or that your friend got ripped off? – t0mm13b Mar 10 '14 at 23:20
  • Thanks @t0mm13b, link added (obtained just via a search, so not sure if it is exactly right, but at least it matches the model number). It's possible that it was a rip-off, but the spec of the rest of the phone seems genuine, there really is 2G of RAM, the screen is great, and general responsiveness suggests a pretty decent CPU. – halfer Mar 10 '14 at 23:24
  • Interesting spec, just spoke to someone about it - a HTC One clone! Uhmmm... might be best to get an RMA on the device and return it back to get that camera fixed? – t0mm13b Mar 10 '14 at 23:30
  • That might be the only option, @t0mm13b. I am told the sellers are not responding via email, though I suspect if it is indeed an eBay special, eBay may be willing to help. I will try to persist via a technical route first, and if that fails will return the advice with "get yer money back" advice. In the meantime, is it possible to force an upgrade to the latest minor version of 4.2? I feel that is worth a go, but haven't ever done that before. – halfer Mar 10 '14 at 23:33
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    Google will not deliver automatically via their updater found in Settings > About Phone > Update - that only applies to Nexus series only. – t0mm13b Mar 10 '14 at 23:56
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This is a common problem with this unit. I contacted the manufacture about it (http://www.orientdeal.com/orientphone-one-max-5-inch-1080p-screen-quad-core-1.5ghz-2gb-ram-32gb-rom-android-phone.html) and was told that due to the heat that builds up around the camera the modules fail. They recommend replacing the entire camera module. My unit they told me was under warranty and the work would be completed without cost, IF it was returned to them in China. I sent the unit off and many months later it was returned as "Undeliverable" I contacted them again and they re-confirmed I was shipping it to the correct address and had no idea why it had been returned. I sent the unit back again (At another $14 cost!)and once again after many months it has been returned as "Unclaimed" This time the manufacture will not return my emails or chats and I am beginning to question their honesty. For purchasing a brand new phone, I have now had to buy another to have one that works. I recommend looking at Elephone, quality is good and so far they stand behind their products. I am looking into replacing the camera module myself, but I doubt I would ever buy Orientdeal products again.

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    Thanks for your feedback on this, and sorry to hear of your own woes! I would agree that there is a risk in purchasing a product where only overseas support is available, that the warranty is likely not be honoured in practice. I don't know if the one I had was from the firm you mention, but given that I did not know how to proceed last year, I had to give it back to the owner unrepaired. – halfer Oct 5 '15 at 21:08
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Success, after a very long time researching this problem I have found the answer!

It appears that the camera's sub-mini connector is very poorly soldered to the main board. With vibration it starts to loosen until eventually it comes completely apart sticking into the camera's connector. The bad news is this is an extremely small multi pin connector and requires special soldering and precise alignment. Even with soldering paste and a precise heat gun I doubt if a repair can be made successfully. Perhaps knowing what the problem is though, a local repair facility with the proper surface mount equipment might be able to attack it. The best news is that there is another way to repair it. Ali-Express carries an exact replacement board with the camera connector attached for $55.70 to 59.79.

Store: Cyberezone-China Professional Accessories Supplier "Original mainboard 2G RAM+32G ROM Motherboard for Mlais MX59 MTK6589T Quad Core 5.0 inch FHD 1920x1080 Free shipping"

Yes it says Mlais MX59, but it is the actual board as used in the H801+ also. They also carry the replacement camera, but I am sure my camera is still good. Just pull out the embedded connector and plug into the new board. I wish I had not spent all the money waiting for Orient Phone to honor their warranty. This is a quicker fix and in the long run costs less!

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