A solution to poor battery life and connected stand-by battery drain

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by kevinlevrone, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. kevinlevrone

    kevinlevrone Active Member

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    Ok, so I solved this issue today (and hopefully at least some of you will solve it too).

    My SP3 (i5/256) suffered from high battery drain while in connected stand-by. Moreover, the total battery life of the tablet sucked, it lasted like 4.5 hours while my SP2 lasted at least 7 hours with light usage. It also charged slower than I thought it was nomal, compared to my old SP2.

    Although when running "powercfg energy" from an admin command prompt the generated report was looking quite good, when running "powercfg sleepstudy" from an administrator command prompt, in the resulting HTML report I always got the information that the device "USB xHCI Compliant Host Controller" was active 100% of the time and the battery drain was listed at about 4.5-5.5% per hour. A large part of the report was red-colored stuff telling me that something isn't right.

    In short, the problem was the Type Cover 3 keyboard which did not have an updated firmware (I don't know a way to display the current firmware of the type cover 3).

    To find out if this is the issue for you, remove the type cover, restart the tablet and then put the tablet to sleep for at least 15 minutes (it seems that it does not register sleep times lower than 12 minutes or so). Then run the "powercfg sleepstudy" from an administrator command prompt and if it looks good (green or orange report section colors and no "100% active" from the USB xHCI Compliant Host Controller) then the type cover is the issue.

    In order to manually install the type cover latest firmware:

    - Go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826
    - Download the "Surface Pro 3 - November 2014.zip" file or whichever is the newest zip for SP3.
    - Extract it, go to subfolder "\Microsoft\SurfaceTypeCoverV3FwUpdate", right click on the inf file and choose "Install". A reboot will be requested.
    - Do a sleep study again (min. 15 minutes) to see that the problem is solved.

    Hopefully this helps some people. If the type cover is not the issue (do the test above) then uninstalling Skype could also solve the problem related to USB xHCI being 100% active during sleep, according to some user reports.

    Some people reported that a Windows "refresh" also solved this problem. This makes sense, because after a Windows refresh the Windows Update service does all the updates again and brings the firmware of all the various hardware components (including the Type Cover 3 firmware) to the latest versions - or at least attempts to do this. But a Windows refresh also wipes all of the installed software, so a manual firmware update is much simpler.

    PS: I cannot assume any responsibility for any issue caused by following these instructions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
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  2. ctitanic

    ctitanic Well-Known Member

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    When you get a new device it's recommended to run the first windows update with the keyboard connected. In that way the Type Cover firmware is updated. Unfortunately this is not mentioned anywhere.
     
  3. ptrkhh

    ptrkhh Active Member

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    I can confirm that neither caused the 100% USB xHCI active time issue on mine.
    I don't have Skype installed, and I don't have the Type Cover as well.

    Whats strange is I did a Windows refresh, and reinstalled the very same desktop apps, with the very same Windows updates, and the problem disappeared. The SP3 has been running good for the holiday
     
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  4. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I suspect with nothing but anecdotal data from this forum and my similar experiences that Windows Update sometimes goes sideways resulting in various anomalous behaviors... OR disk write caching/shutdown/restart timing may be the culprit causing occasional random anomalies... could even be an SSD firmware issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
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  5. ctitanic

    ctitanic Well-Known Member

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    That's the mystery behind Windows Update. A new SP3 needs to download and install about 1Gb in updates. With this amount of data to be installed anything could go wrong. Unfortunately MS is not longer releasing Services Pack installed in new devices like it used to do with XP.
     
  6. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If they are smart they will update the Factory and Downloadable Recovery images at least once a year although quarterly would be better.
     
  7. daniielrp

    daniielrp Active Member

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    That might be good, they could implement it a bit like Apple do, so when you go into recovery, you connect to WiFi and it downloads a fresh recovery image rather than using a (potentially months old) local image.
     
  8. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Or they could offer you a Recovery Image refresh through Windows Update periodically.
     
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  9. ptrkhh

    ptrkhh Active Member

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    Since Windows 8.1 Update 1, you can download monthly update rollups. Think about it as monthly Service Packs.

    And you all can as well use the slipstreamed WIMBoot recovery image that's in my signature :D
    I have slipstreamed August - December update rollups. The updates uncertainty is actually the reason why I slipstreamed it.
     
  10. GreyFox7

    GreyFox7 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    True enough you can roll your own if you have the time, inclination, and skills to do it but that's not the average user; that's who I have in mind. It wouldn't be that much for MS to just take care of it and spare all the poor saps the extra grief and aggravation. :)
     
  11. dooony

    dooony New Member

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    My Device:
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    Hi there, new user here. Wanted to add my solution to the above problem.
    So my Surface Pro 3 was suffering significant battery drain during sleep mode.
    Sleep Study showed around 5% battery per hour and "USB xHCI Compliant Host Controller (\_SB.PCI0.XHC)" being the culprit at 100% active during sleep mode and draining 1800mW per hour.
    So problem solving went like this:
    As suggested, I put on flight mode and went to sleep for 20 mins - fixed the battery drain but it's not a solution. Need Pen/Wifi etc.
    Turned off Bluetooth - yep this also solved the battery drain, but yeah gonna need Bluetooth and don't want to turn it on/off all the time.
    Next, went into device manager and disabled the Marvell AVASTAR Bluetooth Radio Adapter. Did another sleep + Sleep Study and this was still fixing the battery drain issue. Tested the Surface pro pen and it still worked.
    Woohoo! Battery drain fixed and Surface Pen still works. This satisfies me.
    For users with more bluetooth devices, i'm not sure if this solution will affect your other devices. Good luck.
     
  12. ctitanic

    ctitanic Well-Known Member

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    I think the that if you use a BT mouse, this trick will not be of any use.
     
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