Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

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Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

Postposted on Sun May 01, 2011 6:30 am

I have an inverter for my car that not only has outlets but also has a USB port. When I plug my iPhone 4 into the USB port it notifies me that charging is not supported on the port. WTF? When I plug the iPhone into the power outlet using Apple's USB to Power adapter, the touchscreen on the iPhone goes bonkers and doesn't register inputs correctly, essentially making it useless (and probably damages it). I'm guessing that the DC inverter isn't regulating the current of the car's electrical system as well as it should.

Has anyone else had this experience? Why does it happen? Is there a way around it? Are there DC inverters that actually regulate current properly? Thoughts and solutions (that don't involve spending $30 on Apple's overpriced accessories), please...
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Re: Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

Postposted on Sun May 01, 2011 6:48 am

I'd guess the usb ports you've got only support the standard 2.5W output of the original USB spec and the iphone will want a lot more than that to charge with. 2.5W is probably less than the phone needs to run while the screen etc are on!

Also, dredging up memories of electrical engineering... the AC supply in your home has a sine wave, inverters do not. They have lots of noise which the filter in the mains charger can't cope with, so yes it's probably very bad for the phone.

I'm sure there are non apple 12V => USB adaptors available that support the kind of power a modern phone needs to charge.

EDIT:
Here's one on fleabay for $2.75:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Universal-USB-Car-Charger-Adapter-iPhone-iPod-Black-/170623094689?pt=Other_MP3_Player_Accessories&hash=item27b9edcfa1#ht_1189wt_936
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Re: Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

Postposted on Sun May 01, 2011 3:49 pm

In my casual looking I can't find a DC inverter that will explicitly claim to provide the requisite power. Come on, really? Time to delve deeper...

EDIT: It looks like the only units that provide iPhone-style power are massive units that need to be mounted permanently in the car and connected directly to the battery. Is it really that hard to power an iPhone?
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Re: Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

Postposted on Sun May 01, 2011 7:30 pm

FireGryphon wrote:EDIT: It looks like the only units that provide iPhone-style power are massive units that need to be mounted permanently in the car and connected directly to the battery. Is it really that hard to power an iPhone?

No. Sounds like you stumbled across a cell phone booster, which you probably don't need.
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Re: Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

Postposted on Sat May 07, 2011 3:14 pm

I think you need to look for the USB ports being able to supply 1A of current, which newer inverters claim to support.

But you know what they say, you bought Apple, you are out of luck if 3rd party stuff does not work. Go get your "approved" accessories that cost at least twice as much as a generic. :P
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Re: Can't charge iPhone in the car?!

Postposted on Sat May 07, 2011 4:06 pm

Flying Fox wrote:I think you need to look for the USB ports being able to supply 1A of current, which newer inverters claim to support.

But you know what they say, you bought Apple, you are out of luck if 3rd party stuff does not work. Go get your "approved" accessories that cost at least twice as much as a generic. :P


Nevermind 1A; Griffin accessories say they provide 2A, so I'm guessing that's what's required. Theoretically 1A should work, but it would take longer to charge. Apparently Apple doesn't want you making the battery last longer by slow charging at anything lower than 2A.
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