10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 28, 2008 3:56 PM by Michael72
Michael72 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello all.

I'm hoping someone can help me with an issue I recently started having. Both my wife and I have 5th generation iPods that we bought 13 months ago. We have been using them on my computer on a regular basis since then.

About 3 weeks ago I started receiving the "low battery warning." I charged it successfully from my PC and from a car adaptor and after rebooting the iPod the battery would be close to empty. My wife's iPod had similar issues within a week of my issue.

I took my iPod into my local Apple store and they charged me ~$60 for a battery replacement and replaced my wife's since it was within warranty. I sync'ed my new iPod at home on the computer and had the same problems within 2 days. I then tried my wife's iPod and her's was dead before she even got to use it.

I just replaced both iPods at Apple yesterday and I'm afraid to plug them into my computer now, but an iPod isn't much fun unless it has music! Any ideas? What can I check? (Keep in mind that we've been using this same computer for quite sometime now.)


Home built
  • deggie Level 9 Level 9 (51,185 points)
    If your computer is set to sleep after a period of non-use it may be draining the iPod if it is left connected. Disconnect the iPod at night and charge it with a wall charger.
  • PT Level 7 Level 7 (20,880 points)
    Maybe this page has some useful information for you...

    The iPod/iPhone Battery unplugged . . .

  • Michael72 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I appreciate your quick responses! To clarify, I sync'ed and fully charged both iPods while I was on the computer doing other things so the computer was definitely still running. Is it possible that other applications will "brick" the iPod when running them while also syncing? Can software do that? Or is it possible that the voltage output on all my USBs is frying the iPod battery? Is there a way to check it?

    What's odd is that just after one sync on my computer my wife's iPod was dead. Hold switch, buttons we're completely inoperative. The Apple store could not even get any sign of life out of the iPod when hooked up to any of their power options. It was just dead after one sync.
  • PT Level 7 Level 7 (20,880 points)
    Michael72 wrote:
    Or is it possible that the voltage output on all my USBs is frying the iPod battery? Is there a way to check it?

    Well you can always measure it with a meter, but I am guessing that if you don't know how to measure the voltage on a USB port, that you probably don't have a meter to do it.

    Do other USB devices work ok on the computer?

  • bedell Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    loads of other people are having the same problem. Essentially there seems to be an issue that if 5th gens updated with the latest firmware are connected to a usb they pump power out - more than they receive in - until they run out and end up stuck at the low battery point. It's a firmware issue, so you'll to wait for a new updated version of 1.2.3 firmware and then restore your ipod to fix the issue.
  • danoruk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It might be that there is a driver problem on your PC so the iPod is not drawing enough current to charge fully. Some devices like the blackberry and other mp3 players actually say they are charging when in fact they are discharging! Perhaps you could try another PC with iTunes installed and see if you have the same problem - would at the very least rule out your PC.

    I found this on Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB
    The USB specification provides a 5 V (volts) supply on a single wire from which connected USB devices may draw power. The specification provides for no more than 5.25 V and no less than 4.75 V (5 V±5%) between the positive and negative bus power lines.[11] Initially, a device is only allowed to draw 100 mA. It may request more current from the upstream device in units of 2 mA up to a maximum of 500 mA.

    I've got a blackberry and the charger is rated 5v 500mA. It has a usb connector for the power lead so I just unplug the standard usb cable for my bberry and plug in the iPod cable. This is exactly the same as the £19 AC chargers you can buy in the shops

    Hope this helps.
  • Michael72 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you again for the replies.

    Since I have two iPods to test with I'm going to try sync'ing my wife's iPod to her laptop to see what will happen. If it's a firmware issue I would expect to see the same issues no matter which computer it was sync'ed to. I'm also thinking about downgrading the firmware on the original computer and forcing my iPod back to the older 1.2.1 version.

    I do have a voltmeter. Is it possible to check the USB's voltage output with that?
  • PT Level 7 Level 7 (20,880 points)
    Sure. The two outside pins are the power pins and the two inside pins are the data pins. If you have a spare junk USB cable around, it may be easier to cut one end off and measure at the wires rather than trying to stick meter leads into the port itself (and risk shorting pins together or +5V to the grounded shell around the connector).

    Voltage should be +5V nominal and not much more than maybe a quarter to a half volt away from that.

    Also note, that under some versions of Win XP and maybe Vista, there are settings in the Device Manager for the "USB Root Hubs" that allow the computer to power off unused ports, so you may find them to be off unless you go into the USB Root Hubs and uncheck that box.

  • cottongirl Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    I always charge using a wall adapter and I have no problem.
  • Michael72 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you to everyone who offered help. I wanted to update this post in case anyone is having similar issues and comes across this post.

    The support person at the Apple store offered one more possibility as to why we were having recent issues with our iPods. His suggestion was that it could be one of the car chargers. While I haven't confirmed it by "bricking" another iPod, I have avoided using it and haven't had any issues.

    For anyone out there having similar issues I would strongly recommend checking the pins on your car charger too. Good luck everyone and thanks for the support! (Especially the patient and supportive Genius at Apple!) It's so nice not to have to rely on the radio for good music!