Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 battery woes resurface after August’s firmware update

Kevin Parrish
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 battery woes resurface after August’s firmware update
In August, Microsoft released new Surface Pro 3 firmware to fix an annoying battery issue, but the update may have caused new battery woes for other owners. The new problem stems around units sporting LGC batteries, not Simplo versions.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is facing battery problems again due to a firmware update distributed in late August that was designed to address another battery-related issue. A post recently appeared on Microsoft’s Community Forums with customers complaining that the update caused their devices to not fully recharge when connected to a power outlet. The current problem applies to Surface Pro 3 models packing batteries provided by LGC.

The new problem is similar to what Microsoft faced earlier this year. Surface Pro 3 models sporting batteries provided by Simplo would not charge to their full capacity. Even worse, the devices would shut down right after the battery level hit the 20-percent mark. Some users even reported that the devices would immediately shut off once the power cable was removed.

Related: The Surface Pro 3 can be a troublesome beast, but these tips can tame it

To solve the Simplo battery issue, Microsoft released new firmware on August 29. According to Microsoft, a software error caused the full charge capacity of the battery to be misreported by the device firmware and the operating system. This prevented the Surface Pro 3 from working without a power connection, and prevented the system from charging the battery to its full capacity.

“This update corrects the logic in the firmware component that functions as the ‘fuel gauge’ for the Surface Pro 3 battery, so that the actual battery capacity on devices with this particular part is accurately reported,” the company said. “This allows the Surface to once again leverage the maximum charge capacity of the battery.”

Once Surface Pro 3 owners updated the firmware, the full charge capacity issue resolved itself after several charge and discharge cycles. The device could also operate on its own without the need to be constantly connected to a power outlet.

Now, however, it seems the problem has resurfaced again for another batch of Surface Pro 3 owners.

“Since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, I was not able to turn on my Surface Pro 3 i7 512GB with LGC LGC Battery without having it plugged in with the power supply or docking,” one owner reports. “It always said ’82 percent, Plugged In, Not Charging,’ and would always instantly turn off once I pulled off the power supply tab.”

Owners of the Surface Pro 3 equipped with an LGC battery can submit their problem to the Microsoft’s Community Forums thread and add a copy of the device’s report. To do this, simply open a command prompt with administrative privileges and type “powercfg.exe /BATTERYREPORT” without the quotes. This will produce a listing of the battery’s recent usage, showing the reduced maximum capacity. Some of the battery reports already listed appear to go as low as a 67-percent maximum battery capacity.

The Surface Pro 3 is one of Microsoft’s flagship products. The Surface team previously stated that the included battery has a very high charge cycle, allowing owners to recharge the device five days a week for over 4.5 years and still maintain an 80-percent battery capacity. That may be true, but only if Microsoft can get the Surface Pro 3 firmware problem straightened out.