*MYSTERY - NEED HELP!!!* iPad mini retina phantom power drain in car

Discussion in 'iPad Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Apple!Fre@k, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Apple!Fre@k macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2006
    Hey guys, I've got an iPad mini Retina plugged into my car semi-permanently.

    Here's the problem:
    The iPad's battery can be at 50% when I turn off my car and then when I go into my car 24 hours later, the iPad is totally dead and the big battery symbol is displayed that the iPad is discharged and needs charge.

    Don't understand how that's possible, considering the iPad should be good for upwards of 30 days on standby.

    FURTHERMORE, when I turn my car off, I also turn the iPad completely off. But I've found that when I get back into my car, the iPad turns on as though just the display was asleep. That's led me to suspect that I think my car, with all of its enormous amounts of electronics and programming, maybe the car powers on its own electronics at set intervals (say every few hours) to just run a systems check and check the status of the car, and when it does that it's providing power to the cigarette lighter for a split second and the iPad receives that signal and powers on (since the iPad will always power on automatically if it's off when you plug it in to charge).

    So that would explain why the iPad's battery would be slightly lower when I return to the car (since my car turns the iPad back on), but does not at all explain the enormous power drain and the fact that it can lose 50% charge in less than 24 hours while the iPad is sleeping.

    On top of that, the iPad seems to be draining my car battery quite a bit. One time I started it up for the first time in 4 days and a message on the dash popped up and said "Low Battery Protection Active - Power Sockets Deactivated." So somehow the iPad is rapidly discharging itself and my car is trying to charge it back up, but the iPad is discharging itself at a rate more rapid than my car can sustain and the process continues until my car senses low voltage and disables the power socket that the iPad is plugged into in order to preserve the battery and allow the car to still start.

    How it's connected:
    Apple's Lightning to 30-pin adaptor > 30-pin adaptor to Kensington USB and line-out audio. And I have the USB plugged into a USB cigarette outlet adaptor and the line-out cable plugged into my car's AUX port.

    Does anyone have any theories as to what would be causing the iPad to rapidly drain its battery?

    Is it possible that since the audio cable is also plugged in via line-out that somehow that is causing a constant drain that would be equivalent to if it were playing music the whole time, even though no music is being played?
  2. csixty4 macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2010
    Somerville, MA
  3. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2006
    What makes you suspect that and where could it be? Wouldn't the only place be the cigarette socket of my car that it's plugged into, since that's the only thing that needs to be grounded? Is it possible that they improperly grounded that socket at the factory? The car is only 6 months old.
  4. ugcop macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2012
    Traveling @ Warp Speed ...... USA
    Are you sure the lighter plug goes off with the ignition? For instance GM cars stay active. I have had two corvettes that you could not leave anything plugged into the lighter even the phone charger plug with no phone attached as it would pull the battery down over several days.
  5. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    My first question would be what's the weather like? Excessive cold or heat will cause discharge and charging issues!!
  6. swordfish5736, Feb 27, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014

    swordfish5736 macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    have you tried unplugging the iPad when you leave the car overnight? Perhaps your mess of adapters is causing a drain somewhere. You could try just using the 3.5mm cable from the headphone jack to aux port on your car and a lightning cable for charging.

    Some german cars also leave there accessory/cigarette outlets active after the car is off. Until the battery is low enough then it will cut power to it.

    How cold has it been getting where you live? If all else fails just bring the iPad inside overnight. Leave it on in standby mode and see how much the battery drains.
  7. Apple!Fre@k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2006
    I'm sure. When I turn the ignition off, the charging icon on the iPad goes away.

    Not weather related as it's been about 60-70F.

    Yes, I just tried unplugging it. It MUST be something with the iPad itself. Is it defective?...

    I unplugged the iPad from the power socket and didn't drive my car for 2 days. It had 19% battery when I unplugged it. 2 days later it was fully dead. The iPad mini should DEFINITELY be able to survive 2 days on standby with 20% power!

    One thing I didn't do though was unplug the audio cable. I left that in. No audio was playing. I guess the next thing I need to test is unplugging that, too. Then if I find the iPad doesn't discharge after it's totally disconnected, I should probably leave the audio unplugged and plug the power back in and see if it still doesn't discharge. If it doesn't and holds charge, at that point it must be the audio cable that's somehow discharging it.

    Next time I'm in the car I will unplug the audio cable so it's totally disconnected and put the display to sleep (but not turn it off, since standby should be fine). I'll report back once I'm able to test that for a 24 hour cycle!
  8. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    Is the audio cable connected through the lightning port?
  9. carjakester macrumors 68020


    Oct 21, 2013
    unrelated but do you have a picture of what it looks like? i saw one of your threads from when you started it but never got to see any final photos.

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