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iPhone Hardware and Accessories Discuss iPhone hardware

4s Charging Issue - On and Off and On and OFF in Vehicle


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MJG196

 
Member Since: Feb 14, 2009
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Here is a really bizarre issue that sprang up today:

When my iPhone 4s is plugged into my car's charger [hard-wired into the vehicle after I purchased the car] it will be fine for about 2 minutes and then will stop charging for three seconds/charge for 3 seconds/not charge for 3 seconds/charge for 3 seconds...making the charging sound every time it "re-charges." It is a precisely 6 second cycle!

Has anyone ever run into this? I've had the car for a couple years, and this is completely new.

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osxx

 
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I would say if it charges normal at home then the auto charger or cable is defective.
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MJG196

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osxx View Post
I would say if it charges normal at home then the auto charger or cable is defective.
You may be right. Some additional info:
  • The charge/not charge cycle on my 4s is 6 seconds. It is 12 seconds on my wife's 4.
  • There is no sound interruption when music is playing
  • Although there is no sound interruption, there is still the recharge beep (or vibrate if set to silent)

Very, very bizarre.

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"This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it." - Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak
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MJG196

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osxx View Post
I would say if it charges normal at home then the auto charger or cable is defective.
OK, I have done enough investigating to decide that this is very likely NOT an issue with the car or the charger. I also see other people around the Internet have had the same issue. This is an iPhone issue.

In a little more detail, here are the issues and my efforts thus far:

My 4s beeps continuously in 6 second cycles when plugged into the cable. It will show the charge "lightning bolt" for 3 seconds, followed by the "battery icon" for 3 seconds, then beep upon the lightning bolt's return. My wife's 4 does this in 12 second cycles. My son's 1st gen iPod Touch does not do it at all.

Some other quirks:
  • There is no sound interruption when music is playing - it plays continuously, even though you can hear the recharge beep.
  • When on silent, the phone vibrates with the same regularity
  • Once my phone hit 91% charge, the charging cycle became less frequent

Today I charged it to 100% before driving to work...and not a single beep. Lastly, I should add that this has never happened before - and I have had this cable for two years, and this phone for 6 months.

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pendlewitch

 
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It could be the car. Auto-Electrics can be very aggressive and your iPhone has a charge protection circuit which will be uber-sensitive to any under/over-volting occurring.Throw in a dodgy alternator, or a battery with an intermittent short,or a poor earth connection and things can go a bit strange. What sort of charger connection is it..12V lighter sockets can be very temperamental ?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pendlewitch View Post
It could be the car. Auto-Electrics can be very aggressive and your iPhone has a charge protection circuit which will be uber-sensitive to any under/over-volting occurring.Throw in a dodgy alternator, or a battery with an intermittent short,or a poor earth connection and things can go a bit strange. What sort of charger connection is it..12V lighter sockets can be very temperamental ?
Agreed. The clues are there too.....

Quote:
Lastly, I should add that this has never happened before - and I have had this cable for two years, and this phone for 6 months.
Quote:
The charge/not charge cycle on my 4s is 6 seconds. It is 12 seconds on my wife's 4.
So it happens with two different phones/different models but didn't used to happen. There's little chance that both phones would start having the same issue at the same time. It seems far more likely that the charging circuit in the car has developed a fault in that it's not smoothing the current supplied to the phone charger.

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My new SUV has a built in iPhone charger and aux connector and when I plug my iPhone 4 into it, I get the single charging beep or vibrate and it stays that way until I turn the car off and on again or unplug the phone..

I really doubt this is an iPhone issue but rather the cable installation was done poorly to a power source that is alternating for some reason or not..

If you have the tools and skill, plug in a volt meter to the charger cable and turn your car on and see if the current is constant or alternating..hopefully you don't need to put a load on the charger before it actually starts to supply power..

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MJG196

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raz0rEdge View Post
If you have the tools and skill, plug in a volt meter to the charger cable and turn your car on and see if the current is constant or alternating..hopefully you don't need to put a load on the charger before it actually starts to supply power..
That's a good idea. I have an iSimple cable hard-wired to the car.

I wanna repeat though, that this does not affect my son's iPod.

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It is possible that the iPod (depending on the generation) perform less handshaking and take whatever power is given to them..I know the iPhones have specific handshaking that they do to get into the right state for charging and sync'ing and other things..

It is possible that the iSimple cable is having a hard time with that and basically the cycles you are seeing is the phone going through the handshaking over and over again..

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MJG196

 
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The assistance here is much appreciated. The Apple Discussion forums are almost worthless - I never receive a response!

Wouldn't it be great if there was an app to test the voltage flow/handshaking?!

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The issue with the USB stuff is that it's entirely proprietary, thus the lack of being able to sync with an iPhone on Linux. You need iTunes to do the right kind of talking so Windows and OS X are fine..

Apple doesn't use the normal USB profiles or end points for the communication, so they are using the USB cable but doing very custom talking that hasn't been deciphered yet to make an alternate to iTunes for sync'ing..

All of the third party applications that allow you to explore the iPhone do so by using libraries made available by iTunes to handle the actual communication..

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MJG196

 
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Slight update:

So, I am fine with it - definitely not worth a couple hundred bucks for a new cable/iSimple system. What I have learned though, is that if my phone hits about 91% charge, then the cycling stops and everything is cool. At that 91%, something in the phone commits to the handshake with the power source. I really wonder if Apple didn't tweak something in 6.0.1 that dealt with that "handshake" and is now causing this.

Oh, well. Thanks again, everyone. I would NEVER have received this level of assistance in the Apple Discussion forums.

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I do not think it is a "car" problem. It is an iPhone hardware or software issue. I suddenly experienced this issue with my iPhone 5 last Friday, in BOTH my cars, whereas I have never had it before. Not only did I suddenly experience the off/on cycles of charging in my Kia, and in my Volkswagon, but I also experienced sudden, rapid draining of the battery, and the on and off did not recharge my battery at all. It cut my work appointment short, as the port no longer reliably recognized my electronic key fob I plug in to unlock lockboxes (I'm a realtor).

A quick trip to the Apple Store gave me a new phone, but they warned me I may need to reset to factory standards, as I may have downloaded software/apps that could be causing the issue. I think they may be correct in that, as I have started to experience the issue again on my new phone.
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