broken phone

[Note: I have no internet connection right now (Tuesday the 13th); this post was composeded offline in open source QTM and uploaded later.

Midmorning Sunday I noticed my Verizon LTE data went out. It happens sometimes at that location because it’s only 1 bar in the best of times on that ridgeline. This time, though, it showed two bars but an X where it usually shows LTE.

I assumed Cloudcroft had a mad rush of tourists who were closer to the tower and sucking up all the bandwidth. Monday morning I checked and it was still the same. Hmmm, tourists should be gone. I rebooted the phone, powered it off, reset the cellular network info, etc. Nothing helped.

I wondered if the tower in Cloudcroft had a technical problem. So I picked up camp (placed the stepstool in the van!) and headed into Cloudcroft for lunch and a couple cleaning items from the local dollar store. Same lack of data. Hmmm. I did a load of laundry at the ‘mat and headed out.

While driving I remembered sometimes SIM cards can need a cleaning and/or reseating in the phone. I took the case off the phone and noticed the back panel of the phone had come slightly unglued. I pressed it back into place and it pulled open again. The back of the phone is rounded so it took me a few moments to realize the internal lithium battery had swollen. It had pushed the rear components outwards, tearing the delicate antenna ribbons. This explains the failure of LTE.

Note: swollen [non-LiF3PO4] lithium is a Bad Thing. It means the cells have outgassed and catastrophic (read: fiery) failure can result.

My now-hosed Verizon phone, a Nexus 7, was out of commission and it’s the only Verizon phone I have. :-( I have a beater backup phone that I carry around with me but it’s GSM not CDMA like Verizon. I

I was near(ish) to Ruidoso so I stopped in their library’s parking lot to borrow their wifi. I read the specs for Verizon and picked up a used Motorola Droid Turbo, a 2014 vintage, for $50. I’ll throw the SIM in it when it gets delivered to ELP.

I ended up near the 9600’ firewatch tower place. It’s abandoned on weekdays, which is how I like it.