Google (LG) Nexus 4 – Red flashing light unusual behavior.

I recently came across a Google (LG made) Nexus 4 phone with a very, very strange problem.

The symptoms were a couple of un-commanded shutoffs, when playing Candy Crush, where the phone just turned off but didn’t show the “shutting down” egg timer screen.

Then, after doing that a couple of times, the phone refused to turn on.
Eventually it started flashing the indicator light with a red colour. Pressing the power button would do nothing.

This supposedly indicates exhausted battery but some websites also claim it indicates some sort of software corruption.

We tried a lot of things including leaving the phone on charge for a couple of hours. This changed the symptoms a little bit and the phone started showing the standard black and white charging symbol for a few seconds followed by a blank screen and then, a few seconds later, the charging symbol. It would repeat that endlessly.
This would have me believe that the battery in the phone isn’t charging or there is some issue with the charger (we tried multiple) that we were trying to use.

I tried playing around and found out that if I booted the phone while holding down the volume down button I would be given the diagnostic / boot loader screen. This screen would remain on and static for as long as you left it! However if you removed the charging lead from the phone the phone would instantly power off. Yet another vague symptom that might explain a failed or discharged battery.

This is where it gets strange.

If, once in the boot loader screen, I told it to load Android (pressed the power button while the box at the top showed Start), it would get part way through the boot process and then power off without warning. Often returning to the red flashing light problem.

But…. something made me plug the phone into a computer.
This is where it gets really strange:
The moment I plugged the phone into a computer with the phone doing the strange “red flashing status light” it detected as a USB device on the computer. As an HID (Human Interface Device)! (Similar to a keyboard or a mouse).

28/12/2015 02:26:15 (This was while in the red-flashing light mode)
Driver Management has concluded the process to add Service HidUsb for Device Instance ID USB\VID_05C6&PID_F006\5&4EC4A96&0&2 with the following status: 0.

28/12/2015 02:26:15 (This was while in the red-flashing light mode)
Driver Management concluded the process to install driver FileRepository\input.inf_amd64_neutral_fccb715ac7d8c66d\input.inf for Device Instance ID USB\VID_05C6&PID_F006\5&4EC4A96&0&2 with the following status: 0x0.

28/12/2015 02:26:16 (This was while in the red-flashing light mode)
Driver Management concluded the process to install driver FileRepository\input.inf_amd64_neutral_fccb715ac7d8c66d\input.inf for Device Instance ID HID\VID_05C6&PID_F006\6&34675BCC&0&0000 with the following status: 0x0.

28/12/2015 02:27:24 (I presume this is where the Android operating system got partially through or completed its boot process)
Driver Management has concluded the process to add Service WinUSB for Device Instance ID USB\VID_18D1&PID_4EE0\01C99BE35D9233A5 with the following status: 0.

28/12/2015 02:27:24 (I presume this is where the Android operating system got partially through or completed its boot process)
Driver Management concluded the process to install driver FileRepository\android_winusb.inf_amd64_neutral_bd75d06c56998078\android_winusb.inf for Device Instance ID USB\VID_18D1&PID_4EE0\01C99BE35D9233A5 with the following status: 0x0.

That doesn’t really make much sense to me. Why would a seemingly exhausted, of power, phone detect as an input device over USB.
Supposedly the PID F006 is “Qualcomm modem mode” and maybe the computer installed the incorrect driver?
Maybe the phone is in such a low level mode it has passed the GSM chip right through to the charging port on the phone?

What is more strange is shortly after – the phone just started booting on it’s own. Booted into the Android operating system without issue and stayed on. However upon boot it did the “Optimising applications” and went through the 100+ applications installed on the phone “optimizing” them.
I’ve only ever seen this happen when a phone operating system has been applied.

The date on the phone had gone back to defaults too.

And……. crucially… the operating system reported the battery to be around 65% charged! Which doesn’t explain the strange battery symbols and flashing red light!

I’m thoroughly confused.
a) Why the strange symptoms as if the battery is depleted?
b) Why change symptoms only once plugged into a real computer instead of wall charger?
c) Why detect, initially, as a USB input device (keyboard or mouse) on the computer while the phone isn’t booted / “on”?
d) Why then run application optimisation as if the operating system had been updated (when the operating system had not changed)?
e) Why does the phone then instantly report that the battery is not depleted and not even close to being depleted.

I’m not sure why I’m posting this really. I don’t expect anyone to have the answers but given that the VID and PID strings in the logs above are only found on two other sites on the internet (both forum posts asking what the heck the devices are) I thought it might be useful to post as much information as I had.

Edit: 5th Jan 2016 – I had this exact same thing also happen with an Alcatel tablet (that did have an entirely flat battery this time!). Plugged it in and, with no activity on the screen or charging symbol, the tablet detected as a human interface device until it, a few minutes later, started booting android as normal.

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