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Topic: Extreme anomaly with iPod Touch battery indicator

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Old 12-30-2011, 03:15 AM
#1
 
Junior Lounger
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 49
Extreme anomaly with iPod Touch battery indicator

I have a 1st generation iPod Touch running iOS 3.1.3. I never noticed a problem with the battery indicator before. After last night, however, there seemed to be a tremendous (albeit temporary) anomaly with the battery indicator. I googled it, but found that most fluctuations in the battery indicator were random and minor compared to what I saw. Some were due to extreme power draw on the battery. None of what I found matched my rather unusual circumstances.

Here are the cirumstances. I live in a noisy apartment building, so I repeated play a noise track on the iTouch to mask out the noise from other dwellings. The iTouch is docked onto a mini boombox, RCA's RCD175i (Products), which charges the iTouch as it plays tracks. I also wear earplugs at night, so I crank the RCD175i's volume to be able to hear the noise track (the iTouch's volume is set to max). This solution is only partially effective, but that's not central to my description of the problem.

Last night, I was particularly anxious about getting rest, so I cranked the RCD175i's volume significantly more than usual. I was shocked to find in the morning that the battery indicator showed approximately 20%, even though the charging indicator was showing. I removed the iTouch and plugged it into the Apple white cable that connects to my laptop's USB, hoping to give it a bit of juice before I took off for the day. Nothing much changed by the time I unplugged the iTouch to leave. At the end of the day, however, the battery showed a full charge.

This anomaly does not fit what I found on google because:
The power draw was no more than usual
It was far greater than the fluctuations I read about
It doesn't happen randomly (never happened before)
It happened when I docked it on the RCD175i and cranked the volume
I have never jailbroken the iTouch

If I had to make a wild guess as to the problem, I would say that the RCD175i's docking interface is improperly designed, which messes with the RCD175i's charging calibration. Having the volume set high might cause noise to propagate through the dock to the iTouch, maybe degrade recharging voltages/currents being fed to the iTouch, or corrupt feedback signals that control the charging (if any are used). These are all wild guesses because I have no idea how the iTouch's charging system operates.

I'd like to ask anyone:
for comments on the above speculation and/or solutions
for other plausible causes and/or solutions
whether they notice a correlation between battery indicator anomalies and docking the iTouch on 3rd party audio systems
whether they use the RCD175i specifically and have the same problem with high volume on the RCD175i
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:43 PM
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Junior Lounger
 
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I'm beginning to notice a pattern. When I plug it in to the laptop USB port or to the boombox iPod dock, the battery charge indicator shows about 20%. I never noticed that before. When I remove the iPod Touch from the connection, after some (yet undetermined) time, it may go back to 100%.

This seems like a recent behavioural quirk, along with another quirk that seems to have come up at around the same time. Whenever I plug the iPod Touch into the laptop USB port, I get an autoplay window coming up, which I just banish. However, it is strange that this has never happened before this strange turn in behaviour with the iPod Touch.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:57 PM
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When you plug it into your computer (or the accessory), is the charging icon animated? It sounds like your iPod is trying to animate the battery icon (which I believe it used to do) but it is getting stuck somehow. The first thing I would do is restore your iPod using iTunes. This will erase absolutely everything on it so make sure all of your photos, apps, music, and video content is stored in your iTunes library. Restoring an iPod fixes the majority of issues out there. Then I would try to replicate the problem with the RCA accessory by turning the volume up over a long period of time. The dock itself may not be adequately powered so that when you turn the volume up, it diverts power to its speakers instead of the iPod. It might use the older firewire charging specs which require more power than the standard USB 2.0 charging specs that accessories (and iPods) use today. Just something to think about.

Have you downloaded a picture from Safari using your iPod touch? Do you have any photos on your iPod touch not synced by iTunes? That tends to bring up the Auto play feature in Windows and is completely normal. I have even experienced it on my iPod touch despite not having any photos on it. I have come across this in Windows XP, Vista, and 7. The auto play pop-up seems to be random if my iPod touch doesn't have any photos on it (other than ones synced through iPhoto) so I would say that is a Windows issue.



64GB iPhone 5 | 64GB iPad mini | AppleTV 2 (2012) | AppleTV 2 (2010) | 4GB 3G iPod shuffle | 2012 15" MacBook Pro, 1TB SSHD, 16GB DDR3 1600 MHz, OS X 10.8.4 Mountain Lion | Apple Lossless | iTunes AAC -Q 68 | iTunes 11.1 | Library size = 1.78TB | Legacy iPods: 3G 40GB, 4G 40GB, 5G 60GB, 160GB iPod classic (2009)
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:34 PM
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I've never seen the charging icon animated during charging. All it shows is a wall plug. I still see that when the iPod Touch is docked onto the RCA and when it is plugged into the laptop's USB port.

I've never reset my iPod Touch before, and I'd like to exhaust all other possibilities before trying that.

I understand that I can try to characterize the problem by doing the volume tests that you described. From the perspective of a former test & measurement engineer, I know that I need a rigorously controlled plan to be able to infer anything from the results, especially when I don't have decent probing instruments. The only measurable is a grossly blunt instrument (the battery level icon). Since I'm swimming in priorities right now, I was hoping to gather anecdotal data by querying "the crowd". Also, I'm pretty sure it's charging because the battery level slowly recovers to 20% to 100% during the day when it is not charging. It doesn't fluctuate randomly as it does this.

I don't really do pictures, though I have podcasts that I rarely listen to. It's basically a tool for surfing, IMAP email, and organization (Outlook contacts & notes).

Thanks for the info on your experience with the Auto Play. The fact that the RCA's dock may not be to spec under some operational circumstances is disturbing. I am hoping to get a speaker tower with a dock, and I'm beginning to see that we are at the mercy of the designers out there. Makes me want to use audio-in instead of a dock, though it would certainly make it much less convenient (another cable to mess around with).

I'll see if anyone else provides anecdotal data before reconsidering a test plan. Ugh. It seems to be a losing game, since you might have to do this for every product with an iPod dock out there. Consumers shouldn't have to do this, that's what the specs are for and what product vendors are suppose to design to.
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Old 12-31-2011, 08:53 PM
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Restoring an iPod (different from resetting it) really isn't a big deal and, so long as you have a modern version of iTunes, really is quite painless since iTunes will backup your device. That means that you can restore your iPod and then sync everything back over from a backup. You won't even notice that the iPod has been restored. That is normally either the very first or second step when it comes to solving iPod issues and it is something that should not be avoided. The first step tends to be resetting the iPod itself. You can do this by either holding down the power button until you see a red button on the display saying "slide to power off" (slide it to turn off the iPod and then turn it back on, this doesn't do anything other than restart the iPod and is the equivalent of restarting your computer) or you can hold both the power and home buttons until you see the Apple logo. Your problem seems to run a little deeper especially since the battery icon is messed up.

You can try resetting your iPod but, if that doesn't work, you should not avoid restoring it especially since nothing else can be ruled out until you both reset and restore your iPod. It would be impossible to determine where the problem is located unless you do that.

Lastly, the amount of iDevice users that visit iLounge (let alone the iLounge forums) represent a very small audience. Most people come to the forums, register, make a post detailing a problem, are given a solution, and never visit again. So the chances of you coming across someone with the exact same RCA unit experiencing the same problem are very, very slim. Hence why you should be implementing different solutions now instead of waiting for others who have had the same issue. Otherwise you might be waiting for 5 years.



64GB iPhone 5 | 64GB iPad mini | AppleTV 2 (2012) | AppleTV 2 (2010) | 4GB 3G iPod shuffle | 2012 15" MacBook Pro, 1TB SSHD, 16GB DDR3 1600 MHz, OS X 10.8.4 Mountain Lion | Apple Lossless | iTunes AAC -Q 68 | iTunes 11.1 | Library size = 1.78TB | Legacy iPods: 3G 40GB, 4G 40GB, 5G 60GB, 160GB iPod classic (2009)
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:29 PM
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Junior Lounger
 
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5 years is a long time. My iPod Touch is already obsolete (it's 1st generation). I just tried rebooting, and will see what happens after tonight. If nothing, I'll do the reset. Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:00 AM
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Junior Lounger
 
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Well, resetting the iPod Touch to factory default, then restoring everything, didn't change anything. I've added an audio cable to my shopping list. No more of this docking to a 3rd party stereo, which may or may not have implemented the iPod Doc interface properly.
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:17 PM
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The device is frakked. Dwindles to zero charge when docked, reboots, then shows some two-thirds charge (but the "white noise" track is no longer playing).

So much for the convenience of iPod docks on 3rd party audio systems.
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