Wondering about my iPod's battery

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by yamadataro, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. yamadataro macrumors 6502

    I'm wondering about the battery of my iPod recently.

    - The battery runs like 4 hours, instead of promised 10 hours. I've had the first iPod model with me since around its release date. So I guess, the battery is a little bit tired by now. BTW, does Apple replace the battery for us? How much time you iPod owners can get out of a single charge?

    - Does iPod consume battery while it's not in use, like a Palm??? I'm under the impression that it does. That's because it dies after leaving it for a couple of weeks...

    - I've installed that battery amount display patch, but it still jumps from full charge to out of battery in like a couple of min while playing music. I've had dead iPod many times at the *BEGINNING* of my long trip!!!!

    Well, anyway, I'm curious about what you guys are experiencing, since it's been a while since the birth of iPod.
  2. iGod macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2002
    Yes, I have this problem too. I've had my 5GB iPod since Jan 2, 2002 and now the battery runs for about 1-3 hours max. If I leave it unused for two days a full-charge becomes a half-charge.
    I read somewhere that the iPod is guranteed under the 'accessory' clause of an apple system's AppleCare...so maybe they'll replace the battery? Let me know what you find out.:confused:
  3. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    I don't think Apple can just replace the battery because of how iPod is assembled. Maybe I'm wrong about this... I think iPod is just like cell phones. When it's broken you need to exchange it with a new unit.

    Ordinary Li-ion battery lives for about 500 charges. I wonder what Apple would do when many iPod batteries start to die.

    I was wondering about the same stuff when I bought a Palm V (internal Li-ion) years ago. But needless to say, I've switched to other Palms before I find that out. With Sony Clies NXs and NVs, you have the official service and assemble structure to get it replaced. iPod should be like that.
  4. djkut macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2002
    I believe that the iPod's battery is Lithium Polymer which has a longer life-span than Li-Ion.
  5. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oh, that I didn't know. Thanks for correcting me.
    Just googled and you are right. iPod has Li-Poly.

    They say that Li-Poly lives twise as long as Li-ion. Which makes it 1000 charges?
    All right, so if you charge it once per every day, it will last for about 3 years. If once per two days, it's 6 years?

    It's long enough, but it still has the potential to die while the rest of the iPod parts are in OK condition.
  6. imgonephishin macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    Replacement iPods at Apple Stores

    Hi everyone,
    I've never posted here before, but I saw this message and just had to respond. I too have a 5 gig iPod. So does my dad, and brother, and sister. Anyways, my dad, brother and I all got ours on the first run of the 5 gigs, and we all ended up having the same problem with the battery life (4-5 hours, battery indicator jumps from full to empty etc...). Well, my dad took his pod into the Apple store near here (Oakbrook store right outside Chicago if anyone is wondering) and the guy at the Genuis Bar admitted that this is a problem and he replaced my dad's iPod on the spot! Haha, when I heard that, I immediately went to another Apple store near us and presented mine with the same problem. The guy I got at the bar seemed to downplay the problem. I persisted, however, and he finally agreed to charge it up overnight and run a test on it in the morning. I got a call the next day that they would replace it. No joke! Exact same model, but hey, one year less wear and tear!
    FYI, the only difference I can find is that my old model said it ran .5A max circuit, whereas my new one says 1.0A max, so maybe it was some faulty circuity that caused the battery decline... who knows! Anyways, the guy who gave me my new iPod said that Apple had shipped them some iPods for this very purpose because so many people have been complaining! I was within my one year warranty, but I don't know if you need to be. If you take a hard line with them, and emphasize that this is not a problem that could arise in a couple of weeks, but rather has taken months, I bet they would relent! But yeah, sorry about the first lengthy post, just wanted to spread the news! Two replaced iPods in my family. I suggest you try it to if yours are acting up! Best of luck!

    P.S. the guy also admitted that the battery CANNOT be changed on the first run iPods, hence the full replacement instead of just taking it in for repairs. A little foolish, if you ask me, but yeah, that problem has been remedied too, apparently.
  7. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Re: Replacement iPods at Apple Stores

    Wow, imgonephishin, thanks for the good info.

    I actually got a replacement because mine went dead 3 month after the purchase (and the release date). But I guess it was too early to get that new circuit one you were talking about.

    Mine is outa warranty, but I'll contact Apple and see what they would say about it.

    So the newer ones can get the replacement battery through Apple???
  8. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    apple usually doesnt fix the ipods, they just send you a new one. apple will fix it for free if you are still under the 1 year warranty. if you bought the ipod with a mac with applecare on the same receipt it will covered under those terms. those terms only, apple will cover anything apple branded under apple care as long as it was purchased with a mac and applecare at the same time on the same reciept.

  9. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    I noticed that my 10 GB iPod will occasionally turn itself on. I'm not sure what to think of that. Although I haven't had 10 hr battery life, it has been usually above 5. If it is turning itself on and off when not in use, this might explain why the battery doesn't seem to last a full 10 hours.
  10. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    AppleCare: They fix whatever you have for free if they are aware that certain products have serious defect, even after the 1 year warranty.

    For example I personally got a 5 replacements of AppleVision 1510 display a while back. I recently got my AirPort Basestation replaced for free (at least a year after the warranty expiration). These products both had serious problems and Apple decided to just fix it for free. So they have exceptions. Another one I can think of is the infamous PowerBook 5300 series.

    They don't publisize these defects, but if you call them up, they usually tell you they are doing free repaires for these.

    So I'm hoping Apple will replace my 5GB iPod for free (which is out of warranty).
    Oh, and Apple Japan charges 33000 yen (=about $280) for iPod replacement! It should at least be half the price of the new one!!!! Too expensive.
  11. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Anybody actually getting close to 10 hours of usage on iPod?
    Apple says TiBook runs for 5 hours on a single battery, but it actually runs like 2 hours+ on OS X. So I figure, on iPod, it's like 50% of what they state = 5 hours?
  12. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    I think the hardware issues have been covered.

    I also have a 5GB iPod, but I have not experienced any of the preceeding hardware issues. Battery issues have been more so with the iPod software and common usage.

    To save a couple of hours on battery life, I would recommend the following:

    #1 Reduce the contrast on your iPod. You didn't buy an iPod to stare at what song you are playing, right?

    #2 Turn off the equalizer. When the equalizer is enabled, the iPod has to integrate each frequency setting appropriately, taking up battery life. Besides, I know a pair of $50 Sony earplugs that sound like listening to a mini-sub system and don't drain the battery.

    #3 Do NOT use the clock function on the iPod. Even after a full charge, your iPod's battery will loss all of its power in less than a week. To turn the clock off, since there is no on/off setting, let the iPod's battery completely drain, or restore the factory settings through the iPod Firmware update from Apple's website.

    #4 Compress your music to save battery life. iTunes has a smart encoding feature for 64Kbps mp3 compression, which converts the audio to MPEG-2. iTunes and your iPod can play and read MPEG-2 audio.

    #5 Do NOT constantly run the Hard Drive to transfer songs. If you start up the Hard Drive somewhere in the middle of the playlist, do not keep switching back and forth through songs. Also, once you do select a song in a playlist, do not select a song in front of the current selection until the Hard Drive has shut down (wait 10 seconds).

    #6 If you encode songs at a high bitrate, do not play songs over the limited track time the iPod will allow, as there may not be sufficient amounts of RAM to handle certain lengthy tracks. The Hard Drive will keep spinning and your iPod may only get a few minutes of life.

    #7 Avoid constantly skipping through a track, as the iPod has to consume more energy to match your skipped position.

    #8 Try to keep track of how many minutes of music your iPod can transfer to the RAM from the Hard Drive in one spin of the Hard Drive. For instance, at 64Kbps MPEG-2 encoding with Maximum VBR enabled, I can achieve 40 minutes of music (an entire short album) with one spin of the Hard Drive. So if I want to create a favorites playlist, I may want to transfer 40 minutes of MPEG-2 audio to the iPod.

    #9 If you have more songs on the playlist, which will require an additional Hard Drive spin-up, the Hard Drive will actually spin up a few seconds before the last RAM-allocated song has ended (occurs with iPod OS 1.2.x). If you decide to scroll through your iPod at that point and start playing songs in another playlist, you have just wasted a whole spin-up of the Hard Drive.

    #10 Keep track of the lastest iPod software and hardware issues and solutions to each, as well as the latest available firmware for your iPod. I also recommend restoring the iPod, once in a while, to refresh any junk you want removed from the iPod, as well as give it a fresh start.

    Your iPod's battery will improve, most likely anywhere from an hour to three extra hours, depending on how well these suggestions are followed. I can achieve a solid 6 hours of battery life from the iPod. But considering there may be an update to iTunes and possibly an update to the iPod to enable MPEG-4 AAC, I wouldn't go about encoding all your music to MPEG-2 a few days before the expo. :)
  13. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Wow. OK, King Cobra! That's some serious info you've just put up there.
    I'll try to follow some of your instructions and see what happens. Turning off EQ doesn't sound too good to me though :(
  14. imgonephishin macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    iPod turning on randomly

    I've been having the same thing happen to my iPod that some of you mentioned. I mean, everyone figures out soon after they get their iPod that it will lose battery life over the course of a single week. Anyone know if this a direct correlation to the fact that it turns on randomly when its off? Sometimes I'm laying in bed, and the backlight on my pod turns four or five times in thirty minutes :confused: This has happened ever since the 1.0 software. I thought they'd fix it with firmware updates, but no.
  15. RBMaraman macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2002
    Prospect, KY
    I thought something was wrong with my 10gig iPod's battery, so I called the Apple help line. Here's how to test your iPod's battery:

    1. Fully charge the iPod using the wall-plug charger.
    2. Put one song on repeat.
    3. Have the song play over and over again until the iPod battery is completely drained.
    4. See how long it took before it was drained.

    The Apple tech's told me to do this, and my battery (which I thought only lasted for 5 hours) didn't drain for 9 hours and 57 minutes. I was skipping around songs WAY too much, and that was causing my battery to drain. According to Apple, if you turn on the iPod, and let it randomly play, it should last for approximately 10 hours.
  16. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    I finally understand how iPod's battery works. It seems like mine is fine then. I always skip around so much. I didn't realize that hard disk spin was causing a lotta drain...
  17. imgonephishin macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    iPod battery test

    Hey RB,
    Yeah, that's the same test that Apple told me to run, and mine cut out after 4.5 hours. The Apple store didn't believe me about this, so they kept mine overnight and ran the test too.
  18. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    Re: iPod turning on randomly

    That's nuts.

    Have you tried turning the iPod off and then pressing the Hold switch on the top of the device? When was the last time you did a factory restory from the firmware updater?

    Try it with the hold switch on. This disables all iPod controls (when the iPod is active, a small lock symbol will appear to the right of where the play arrow would normally appear, and you can see it) whether the iPod is on or off.
  19. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    Not just that, but every full spin of the Hard Drive takes away about 40 minutes of your music time. Even better, when you unplug your iPod from your computer, the Hard Drive continues to spin, collecting data and such. You can lose a whole hour of music time from the point at which you unplug the iPod to when the Hard Drive shuts down. Also, you should charge the iPod often, especially when the battery life is within the first 3/4 of charge, because the iPod charges faster for up to a full hour when the iPod's battery is barely at 4 bars.
  20. imgonephishin macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2003
    Yeah, I've tried everything. The hold button on, and off, factory reset, reinstalling nearly every version of the software.

    I've only found one solution, if I turn it off by holding the play button, then it won't turn on like that, but since I often just let it turn off on it's own to keep a song in place, the backlight turns on. To clarify, the whole iPod doesn't turn on, just the backlight with a blank screen. I'm not sure if the HD spins because i've never listened. Also, I've turned the backlight off, and it doesn't come on, but for all I know it could be doing the same thing, just without the backlight.

    No tech support has been able to answer this one yet! But yeah, it's not a huge problem because I've gotten into the habit of just plugging it in at night. I was just wondering ;-)
  21. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    I think you have a hardware issue, since you tried all software solutions. Then again, I only leave the iPod on as you do if I forget, or if a song puts me to sleep 'till morning. :cool: In other words, is it really a big deal to hold down the play button?

    I also think at one point or another you may have damaged the iPod, either by dropping it, etc., which may have loosened some circuitry deep inside the iPod.

    Looking through the Apple Kbase, I found this article, but I don't think this will work: Link
  22. Omad0n macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Ahh yes the old "my battery doesn't last as long as the compan says it should" sort of thread. I've been seeing these a lot lately in the tech boards I visit. And King Cobras right, it's just cause you're not using the battery inthe most efficient way. But if you used it in a very specific way, the way they test these things at a company, you'd get about their results. It's all a part of marketing. Which sounds better, 10 hours of play or 5? Also if you guys liek the iPod I think some of you should take a look at MiniDisc sometime. I think it's great, but I also live in a house where a roomie has an iPod, it's great for otehr reasons. Anyway i'm digressing so I shall stop by litttle speech.

  23. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan

    I just got a 5gb iPod for Christmas, it should be ok right? I left my iPod off and there was an alert symbol and a picture of the battery. I charged it up overnight so it is fine now. And remember in 1 hour he battery charges 90% and in 4 hours it is fully charged it says in the manual. I love it :-D
  24. melchior macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2002
    yeah, md is a good technology, but it doesn't suit me any longer.

    i have a netmd recorder (no mac support) and last years sony player only and about 100 md's. but with a growing collection of music (massive) i need more flexability. ipod can do that.

    i would love to see ipod battery life, physical dimensions and weight approaching that of md. and these are the things holdtng me back from the ipod.

    i have been spoiled by a device of true convenience
  25. yamadataro thread starter macrumors 6502

    Yeah, I was guessing that somebody must have had this sorta thread before.

    But you know what? The whole reason why this repeats itself is Apple doesn't inform users well enough. I've never had any music player devise which makes a difference in battery life like this!

    Thanks guys for clearing my battery frustrations up. I'm a happy iPod user now again.

    And MD? No thanks. I've used them since around the time Sony released a frist brick model in Japan in 1992. I know about the NetMD stuff, but you still have to carry disks around. No way I'd go back to MDs!!!!

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