Level 2: Rookie

Bigpond / Telstra Advanced II - 790S - charging firmware is idiotic

I bought a Telstra 790S off ebay, and found so many USB charging issues, I sent it back to the seller, believing that the modem was faulty.


A month later, I got a Bigpond one off ebay, and found that it had all the same charging problems. I greeted the firmware update with glee, only to find that it did almost nothing for the group of obvious faults. It did change one small thing, though. When the modem went into an overcharged state, it no longer showed a red [ ! ], instead showing a calm blue empty battery. I now have a second Bigpond one, and that seems to have all the same faults.


There are about 10 bugs in the charge software, but it's difficult to count them, due to the complexity of the buggyiness. So, I will confine my complaint/query to the problems that make this modem unusable for an "always on" connection.


The newest firware seems to have about 3 problems. If you set it charging, it will at some point, complain that the battery is fully charged, and implore you to remove the USB charger. This is unusual for any battery hotspot, but it gives a clue to the sickness of the design of the modem. At the time it tells you to remove the charge, it's actually not charged at all, and is still sucking in at least 0.40A.


Say we then leave the modem on charge, because we dared to be out of the room, and not babysitting it all day. What happens then? One of about 4 random things happen.


- it will show a grey plug (top right) for a while, which seems encouraging, but then changes its mind

- it will actually reach a charged state at about 0.15A, and stay that way, while saying 100%

- it will say 0% and then, later, crash

- it will start to discharge, and you might later find it saying 70%, with no clue as to when it will start charging again.


In the previous incarnation of the firmware, it had a charging while off mode, which showed blue blocks. This decided that the battery was charged, when it was about 60% full. If you turned it on, it would resume charging, until about 80%, and then say it was charged, until it hit 100%, and then the bugs and crashes would start.


Folks on Whirlpool forum said that you can easily run the modem with the battery out. What I find is that it works fine in 3G mode, but crashes as soon as you move to 4G. With Telstra Band 28, it waits until you start seriously downloading, but with Virgin 4G, it crashes immediately you wifi to it, or put it into 4G mode. It doesn't get better with any other USB plug pack. (As I said, I have tested this on 3 modems, and will have a 4th one by end of week.)


I have bitched about this on the Netgear community forum, and got no response so far.


I wouldn't mind so much if I was a Telstra customer, because at least Telstra allow you the freedom to use any other modem, like the excellent MF91. Bigpond's current range of modems is the 320U or this stupid 790S thing. How they expect you to use it for an always-on connection is mystifying.

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