7 Replies Latest reply: May 7, 2013 7:56 AM by michaelfromeast rockaway
Muriel Areno Level 1 (5 points)

I have a 20GB iPod I bought in 2005 and bought a JBL OnStage speaker dock at the same time. There's nothigng wrong with the iPod, but the speaker's volume sensors are not responding anymore. There is some amplification, but the one volume level is barely OK for indoors, too low for the patio. The folks at JBL tell me it's not fixable and to get a new speaker. But can I? All the speakers I see have the 30-pin type connector, which I understand is the one on the iPhone and newer iPods.

Does anyone know of a speaker dock that is truly universal? I would like to avoid buying a new iPod if possible. I don't want to buy crappy speakers, but I can't afford the Bose, either. The OnStage was great for my needs while it worked.

iPod classic, Other OS
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (33,064 points)

    The 30-pin dock connector is the one that's been on iPods since the 3rd gen iPod (older than you iPod), until recently.  The NEW connector is called the Lighthing connector, and it is much smaller in size.


    A 20GB iPod from 2005 is probably a 4th gen iPod.  Whether a particular speaker dock product works with that iPod or not depends on the product. You should find its specification online and find its compatibility with iPod models.  That's the only way to know for sure.


    Alternately, you can consider getting external self-powered speakers, of the type that people often use with their computer.  It just has a standard mini-stereo plug (same as headphones plug).  They usually have a volume control of some type on one of the speakers.  Some have a separate subwoofer, and even "surround sound" back speakers.  They are often cheaper than iPod dock speakers.  You can just connect it to your iPod's headphones jack, and use your iPod to play output through the external speakers.  You can connect the iPod's dock connector to a USB power adapter, to keep it continously powered.


    One step "more sophisticated" would be a free-standing dock, like the one Apple still sells




    It has a remote control, and the audio output comes from the iPod's dock connector to a mini-stereo jack on the dock.  Connect that to an external speaker system.  There are older or third-party versions of these docks, and they may cost less (but they may not have features like the remote control).

  • Muriel Areno Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you. I thought my old iPod was 3rd generation. The model number is M9282LL/A. I remember seeing the U2 model when I bought it but didn't want to spend the extra $. It's good to know that it can be connected to regular computer speakers.


    I guess my main question was about the connector. The connector on my old iPod is the same width but a little deeper than the connector for my 6th gen nano and iPhone. I assumed that last one was the 30-pin I keep seeing in specs. They look similar but I haven't tried using them interchangeably, in case there was a reason the old iPod's connector was a little taller and there was in fact a difference. If they are all 30-pin, then there are tons of speakers out there and I don't have a problem. Some speakers do say "universal dock" and I thought I was limited to those.


    With the JBL OnStage, I can throw it on a tray with the wine bottle and glasses and go sit anywhere . The key here is portable, so the multi-part setup you mention isn't really what I'm looking for.

  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (33,064 points)

    The 4th gen iPod was the first one with a click wheel.  So if the wheel clicks down at the four spots (as buttons) that is a 4th gen iPod.  If the wheel is "touch" but it has four separate touch button is a row, that is a 3rd gen iPod (the first one with a dock connector).  The 5th gen iPod was released in late 2005, but it started at 30GB.  Since the 3rd gen iPod, the dock connector has been the same on all iPods (except for iPod shuffle) until the recent change to Lightning connector.


    However, having a dock for the dock connector does not mean the product will work with a particular iPod model.  In my experience, the 3rd gen iPod often does not work with docking accessories that need to control the iPod.  The 4th gen iPod is better with compatibility, but it is also quite old at this point, so docking products available today may need something like the 5th gen (video) iPod or later.  As I said, the only way to know for sure is to find the products specifications and look at the list of compatible iPod models.

  • Muriel Areno Level 1 (5 points)

    OK, so it's a 4th gen. The specs don't say, but I'm sure of the model number. It doesn't have the buttons at the top.

    A lot of models just say "30-pin connector" (or not) or they'll say, "works with most iPods", which is vague as ****. I guess I can hunt down a similar speaker to what I now have and hope it lasts... I know some of those had a bad chip and had to be replaced, as mine was at one point.


    I may just email manufacturers before purchasing. But thanks again, it's all very useful information.

  • michaelfromeast rockaway Level 1 (0 points)



    I am dealing with a similar issue (mine will play but wont charge on the JBL dock) and figured out that, the ipod (the black U2 version) will only charge with older docks probably because of the change in pin size.


    It also wont charge when connected to my computer with a usb cord. However, I can transfer songs. 


    Looks like we gotta find an older speaker dock or just use speakers and plug it into the wall at the same time.  Or use one of those other free standing docks as mentioned in a post above, but those gotta go to speakers anyway.


  • Muriel Areno Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you for your insights.


    I have just ordered a newer JBL OnBeat. I'll just make new playlists and use my nano on it, and I'll be ready if I ever get an iPad or put music on my phone. Amazon has some older JBL OnStage docks, but the prices are similar to the newer ones, and I don't want to run into one with a bad chip if I buy a used one.


    I have just seen a 4th gen iPod go for $7.50 on eBay, so I'll just keep mine. It will stay connected to an older Mac I use for music and photos only. I don't like discarding things that still work, but now many electronics are obsolete before they stop working...

  • michaelfromeast rockaway Level 1 (0 points)

    Good idea to go with the new ipod.  I just got an Onstage from ebay and it only works with my newer ipods, not the old one, so def don't go that route.


    I also agree, that if it still works, it's kind of disheartening to discard it. 


    Let the Music Play!