Moto X Android cell phone camera problem.

Hi Experts.

I have a Moto X First Generation, model XT-1053 in excellent condition. I take all updates for OS and apps.  I now have only one non-standard app called Photo Editor that is only a couple weeks old.  For my cameras I use the Motorola Camera app.  About last April, after a trouble-free year, with KitKat OS, I lost the ability to use my main camera with flash that faces away from me.  My selfie camera still works.  The first time I noticed this, I was trying to change from selfie cam to main cam and the cam swap button that comes up in the camera app was missing.  I sort of remember a camera error message that I clicked through in a hurry before that.  Definitely saw error reported prior to losing swap button weeks later, after Motorola returned phone to me.  Reportedly on the internet this problem is fairly common.

I reset and factory reset and could not get it back.  No solution found on internet.  I contacted Motorola support and eventually found someone that got to do a different style of factory reset that was more thorough and the camera swap button was available again.  I thought I was done.  It lasted about three days.  Then swap missing again.  Motorola didn't know what to say.  I shipped phone to repair and they had it a month and wanted to swap out for new second generation MotoX.  I asked for my phone back.  Got it and swap button still missing.  Factory reset got the swap button back again.  Then it disappeared again after about two or three days.  Then factory reset got it back for one or two pictures only.  Tried two or three different camera apps from Google Play Store and they reported an error and then ran selfie camera without swap button, just as Motorola app did.  What I remember about the error reported from Motorola app and others was Camera "busy" or "unavailable" depending on which app does reporting.  A few days later Lollipop available.  Installed Lollipop and swap button reappeared for about two pictures I think.  I gave up in mid-May and now was looking into it again as I use it a lot and need to do something.

Someone that repaired phones for US Cellular said on a thread somewhere the camera failure can be a loose connector or failed silicon, and sometimes fixed with new camera and ribbon cable part.  Found my part at ebay $6 and at Amazon $20

through US Cellular and called US Cellular today.  US Cellular Tech support said this came up a lot and is the same frequent failure on MotoX second gen and other Moto models.  

For the price of the part, I will probably try replacing the camera part hoping it is a silicon failure and maybe get another year of use before failure.  Before I do I wanted to ask you all:

1.  Have any developers heard of this issue and can you say anything helpful about it?

2.  Is it likely the OS?

2.  Since Motorola likes open source, I went to to see if community has any info.  Under "known issues" there is a camera issue on Samsung.   Is it man-months of effort to patch code,  Wouldn't someone want to do this and sell the fix to Motorola if it is a software issue?

From searched community for "camera" and got ...

Looking forward to your response.  If you just want to joke about it I could use that too.
Christopher Jay WolffWiggle My Legs, OwnerAsked:
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Chris Harte2015 Top Expert (Most Article Points)Commented:
The symptoms you describe are hardware failure. Working for a short while after an OS change was coincidence. When silicone fails it is a steady progress. (I once watched a high end video card become an ash tray over the space of about three months. It started with tearing through missing pixels to text mode only). If you have the time and the ability to fix it, do so.

1. I have a moto g, trouble free so far.

2. No.

2 (?) I would have thought a fix was straight forward, assuming it can be fixed in software, which I don't.

To see if anybody else is having an issue, try the bug reports

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Christopher Jay WolffWiggle My Legs, OwnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks!!  It pushes me to organize my time to get this done.

I don't think tech support at US Cellular mentioned the G.  Only Moto X 1 and 2 and Moto M.  Maybe you're in the clear, but you could see if your cam part is the same.  If I can get this done and I remember, I will let you know.

Thanks again.
Jesse MoraNetwork AdministratorCommented:
I agree with Chris comment. This is definitely a hardware issue and somebody that does cellphone repairs locally can fix this. I use a Moto X 1st gen for work thru Verizon, the main issue is with battery not lasting more than half a day with just email and WiFi connected. We had a similar issue like the one you describe, we took their offer of "free" replacing the phone for the 2nd gen Moto X and it works flawlessly.
Christopher Jay WolffWiggle My Legs, OwnerAuthor Commented:

Yes I was leaning that direction also.  Have now purchased a toolkit with heatwrap (iopener) to get cover off phone.  It arrived a few days ago and I have to get time to work on phone now.  My hope is dropping the phone last year started working the camera connector off the board, and it finally worked loose and I lost use of the camera.  Plan to do it in next 2-3 days.  I'll post.
Christopher Jay WolffWiggle My Legs, OwnerAuthor Commented:
For readers of the thread,  I had some time about 10 days ago to sit down with my new iOpener heat pad and disassemble my Moto X XT-1053 to see what I could see.  The first thing I noticed is the camera's FFC ZIF connector was slightly awry due to the someone's previous error or over-exertion.  Some of the tiny little whiskery wires that are part of the connector clamp mechanics on one end were a little mangled.  The person who last had the phone open (could have been original assembly line) had somehow managed to get the clamp back in enough for the camera to work from the time it was new.  When gently trying to open the clamp to let loose the camera cable, it came off the connector.  I tried to replicate the wedge-like repair to no real satisfaction.  I assembled the phone and it went back into normal use again without the main camera as before.

Camera ZIF connector with clamp that came off nearby.

Camera cable ZIF connector showing clamp fell off.
I decided to order the replacement camera anyway for $20 and see if I could get it to make contact.  I had no proof the original camera was bad yet, but didn't want to waste even more time with a questionable part.  I received my replacement camera from in the mail about three days ago.  I installed it and tried to wedge the clamp back into the ZIF connector as best I could.  Then I applied small pieces of fiber tape across the clamp.  The first piece of tape to hold the clamp on, and 3-4 more little pieces stacked on top to make a slight thickness that would contact the opposing chassis area of the phone and use it to compress the clamp a little once the phone is assembled.  No go, so no proof of anything yet.

Very expensive multi-layer PCB, but seemingly low rep ZIF connector quality for the main camera.  Some ZIF connectors are rated at high reps for multiple changes.  Typical cell phone wouldn't get opened or maybe once, so we see these sometimes.  Not unheard of for these low rep ZIF connectors to break on first reuse.

If I do more I'll post it.

I may use the phone as is until I buy a new one.  It still works great and looks new and the selfie camera works.
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