dbawel

How to keep GearVR from overheating

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Hello Babylonians,

I have had my GearVR for a while now using both the Samsung S6 and S7, and from the very beginning, the phone overheats within 15 - 20 minutes - making performance practically unusable. As a developer, this is a big problem, as my QA suffers due to the heavy load I need to place on the device for thorough testing. Although as a user, there is little fun in having to shut down every 15 minutes when this is just the time the action in most games becomes most intense, and the experience totally suffers at this point.

So I began looking for solutions for this huge problem, and was able to discover a few "tricks" which I now have almost completely solved the overheating issue. 

I should start from the beginning, as the path to my final solution also might possibly help other developers and users in understanding the GearVR hardware much better in this regard. Firstly, this is not in anyway good for the device to get so hot that it overheats to the point of the CPU performance being so dramatically diminished, that the screen stutters and I begin to see HUGE artifacts in the render, as well as hugely poor sensor and generally all hardware performance. And to actually see this progressing rapidly from 30 fps and downward from there is a bit frightening; as I doubt the hardware will have a very long life under these conditions.

So the first step I recommend is to install a CPU performance app (personally recommend "Performance Monitor Mini Pro" for any Android device. I recommend this app as it has TONS of features, and I'm able to customize the onscreen display and enable it at anytime to display a very small footprint of essential hardware performance properties. I prefer to display Memory Usage, CPU (and config) usage by percentage, Device temperature, and CPU performance averaging all available CPUs (the S6 and S7 are 8 processors averaging between 1200MHz and 1500MHz for most applications. These assist in devloping on any Android device for any application or game in addition to the invaluable use in VR development - due to the heavy resources required for speed and display performance. Once I installed this, I saw an average of 105 degrees F with the phone idle rise to 145+ degrees F in just a couple of minutes - depending on the game and other resources utilized during gameplay. So this got my attention very quickly.

I won't go into the lengthy process of how I got to the rest of my personal optimization solutions, but regardless of the device you're using for development or even only as a gamer, I highly recommend the following (parts of this copied from other sites so I didn't have to re-type):

  • Avoid charging during GearVR use, unless essential - and never use the quick charger that comes with the phones while plugged into the GearVR, as this heats up your phone much faster than a "standard" charger

  • do not attach the rear cover for the GearVR unless you are outdoors - or have a Sun in your livingroom

  • close all other apps

  • Keep Wi-Fi off, or enable it if the game needs it

  • turn Bluetooth on if you have a controller

  • set Android Display, Screen Mode to Basic

  • turn on Do Not Disturb in Gear VR

  • set Gear VR brightness to the minimum comfortable setting (3 to 5 range on S6 or S7)

  • turn Power Saving mode on only if the above isn't sufficient enough

  • turn of GPS

  • disable sync

  • clear storage cache

 

Using the GearVR with all of these changes together might be a bit overkill (and generally is,) however if you are developing using the GearVR, then I recommend all of the above steps to at least test hardware performance prior to releasing any game or graphic app to the public as an initial baseline benchmark. And I do this prior to the "secret" and best solution which I reveal below - since most any user other than you will probably not have figured out the next trick which solves the overheating problem - and overheating on all headsets is such a big problem that you should always test hardware performance under most conditions.

 

And now for the single solution that will solve most any overheating issue and allow you to use your GearVR (as well as Cardboard, Vive, etc.) as long as you wish without worry.:D I highly recommend for anyone developing or using any of these repurposed devices - and this "secret" is to purchase any 3X5 Cold Gel Pack and attach it to the back of the phone after plugging the device into your GearVR or other headset. DO NOT use any adhesive or any other method to attach the Gel Pack to the phone, as this will defeat the solution by a large degree. Simply plug in your phone, and with the phone facing up place the Gel Pack on top and secure in place with your back cover.

 

Thant's it! It solves any overheating issue, and I have played for over an hour at a time (although this will cause eye damage, headaches and vertigo anyway), so this is more than enough time before a break is needed. And if you are hard core enough or simply trying to beat that ONE hellish level before you give up, the Gel Packs are generally sold in packages of 5, which do the math - your battery will not last this long, and I don't personally recommend anything over an hour as there are real health issues to consider.

 

So, I hope this helps, as if you aren't already experiencing this, you will find the overheating issue one of the biggest pains in the butt, as well as horribly bad for your hardware - and I personally don't want to replace my devices before their time, as well as running into serious performance problems that may appear as bugs in your scene. And I and others can tell you that once your device begins to overheat, performance is impacted to the point of the user experience turning very poor very fast.

 

Cheers,

 

DB

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If you are using any smartphone in GearVR, Google Cardboard, Vive, etc. I recommend using 3 X 5 gel packs at room temperature to reduce the extreme overheating which happens on practically every VR device of this nature, and usually within 15 - 20 minutes.

So FYI - I purchased the following gel packs from Amazon - best price and they fit and work really well.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZVI485Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If anyone has any further quaestions, just let me know and I will answer what I can since I've had the opportunity to work for a few months developing on the GearVR, and many years experience in VR and AR including work with Lockheed Martin Virtual Labs over 4 years ago.

Cheers,

DB

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Are there any tutorials on how to setup for the Samsung VR? What camera to use. How to get this to work in inside the Samsung environment. By the way I have to  Note 5 and it, so far, has not overheated. In fact I started with a S6 it did overheat. 

 

 

 

 

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There are no tuturials as far as I'm aware. but if you use the VRDeviceOrientationFreeCamera, you will be able to render for the GearVR with ease. Below is a good example, and I wish I could remember the author to give them credit.

And you can use the chrome browser or any other and use fullscreen if you don't want to use the Oculus app - see the post below:

Or if you want to display any babylon.js scene inside the Oculus app, then the Samsung browser is required - but make certain that WebVR is enabled.

DB

FYI - the Note5 takes much longer to overheat as it has the same CPUs as the S6 in a larger enclosure - with slightly less resolution on the display (ppi), but will still overheat on occasion. Regardless, I would monitor your device temperature, as you'll find it does rise dramatically when using the Ocuus apps, but just below the margin of 145F degrees where the S6 and S7 begin to show noticable overheating and performance drop.

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Managed to solve this by simply purchasing a USB charger 2 port usb output....One port to power fans & the other to charge the phone.

Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/401239462680

Coolreall Power Bank 15600mAh 2 Port USB Compact Portable Charger Ultra High Capacity External Rechargeable Battery Power Pack with Quick Charge and LED Flashlight for Most smartphones and tablets(Black) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B016Y0FO2I/ref=cm_sw_r_apa_WCHGybGCQNQKG

Doesn't fit perfectly but does the job and much  cheaper than alternative.

IMG-20170120-WA0000.jpg

IMG-20170120-WA0002.jpg

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