If like me you were a little pee’d off to see that many of the iPod and iPhone chargers would not work with the new iPhone 3G you may be pleased to know I have finally stumbled upon an in car charger that works with the new iPhone.
Apparently there are a few that work floating around and it is something to do with some using the firewire voltage and some using USB voltage that is the issue.
Up until now I have been using the Power Monkey Explorer and it’s iPod adapter when out and about. It only seemed to last a few minutes but it was enough to top up my iPhone till I got to a plug socket.
I have a solar panel set up I like to use when on a shoot or as I did at the Geeknbury Festival but up until now I have had to use the mains plug adapter with an inverter into the cigarette lighter socket.
Not any more though. Today whilst in Milton Keynes I managed to find something that actually works.
I had popped into town to go to the Apple store but it wasn’t there I found the working charger. When I asked them, they told me that due to the new iPhone 3G not working with any of their previous 3rd party car chargers, they had to discontinue all makes!
Sheesh.. You would think Apple would have thought of looking into supplying a mobile charger for their pride and joy prior to it’s release.
I left disheartened but just a few doors down in the O2 store they told me they had just taken delivery (2 in stock) of an new car charger called the XtremeMac Incharge Auto.
At the inflated price of £14.99 ($30) I still thought I would take a chance and after the other devices I have tried recently, this turned out to be third time lucky.
Although it works, the packaging has no mention of the iPhone 3G, just the iPhone and the iPod like all the others I have tried. Still i’m not complaining. I’m very gratefull in fact, as now I can feed my power hungry iPhone whilst on the move. And Lord know it needs it.
I have been loving the apps especially Life Cast by @SleepyDog but blogging on the move with all the GPS functionality is draining the battery before the day is out.
Forget the new plastic back.. they should have stuck some solar cells on it.
It’s been a real pain in the ass finding this basic accessory for my new phone. I hopes this will assist you if you are having similar issues and should you come across any other makes that work, please leave a note in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
UPDATE: I now use a Griffin PowerJolt with the iPhone 7 & the iPad Pro. It kicks out the amps needed.
David Cullen says
I’m in the exactly same position, my third party USB in car charger will not work. I think you are lucky because I can’t find one that works for my iPhone yet. I’ll have to keep looking. 🙂
Dave Hinett says
After finding this blog, I purchased one of these XtremeMac chargers for my iPhone 3G… and it doesn’t charge it! It does charge up my iPod, and my friends iPhone 2G, so I know the unit itself is not faulty.
What is the deal with the iPhone 3G charging? Surely anything that can supply USB power should be able to charge the phone? Why have Apple made it different to every other USB charged device they make???
Hi Dave, This is really interesting. I use my XtremeMac car charger daily and still find it is the only one that works in the car. To be honest, it has been a life saver. It’s realy strange that yours does not work..
How have you tested it? Could it be old stock and they have currently upgraded it? It may be worth calling the company. The one i bought had arrived in the O2 store that day.
Have you tried in another car and with another 3g iPhone?
Someone with more electrical knowledge than me said that even a slight fluctuation in the voltage supplied and it won’t work. Previously I thought it may be something more to do with the pin configuration of the plug. Baffling.
Dave Hinett says
I’ve checked the charger out on another car, same result. I do believe however that I have old stock – the price I paid is a giveaway!!!
I’ve done some research and found that up until the iPhone 3G all iPods and iPhone 2G could accept two charging inputs – 5v through USB and up to 18v through FireWire. The iPhone 3G however only had a charging path through USB. Most car chargers supply 12v through the FireWire pins in the dock connector because they do not have to step the voltage down to 5v, making the charger cheaper to make.
So… A simple USB charger adapter would work, right?
Nope. The iPhone 3G also needs to sense voltage on the USB data pins as well, making the vast majority of car USB chargers worthless too! I suspect that very soon a genuine Apple charger will appear, at quite a high price…
However, all is not hopeless for me – I’m about to purchase a JVC head unit for my car that has direct iPod control via a USB port on the unit, and this port has exactly the same outputs of voltage as a pc USB port, meaning that as well as controlling my iPhone it will also charge it too.
Great comment Dave, you seem to have solved the mystery and what you said about voltage regularities makes perfect sense.
If apple are not careful they are going to get a reputation for being yet another money thieving corporation.. whether or not they have a few decent designers in their ranks.
Let me know how the JVC head unit goes.
Great, just the information I needed.
Suggest you try eBay, managed to get mine for £8 inc P&P.
Well, the iPhone 3G wall charger definitely outputs 2V & 2.7V on the two USB data lines, as well as the 5V on the USB Pwr pin.
Will add some resistors into a plain-vanilla lighter-socket USB adapter and see if the 3G decides to charge.
Yep, that works, but since the car adapter (plain 12V-5V USB) is plastic-welded I cut up a short USB-extension lead instead to make an adapter cable that goes between the car adapter and the iPhone USB cable.
If you have some electronics experience, follow the instructions below to construct your own charging adapter cable.
If you never soldered before, then don’t try. If you connect things wrong there is the potential risk of damaging the phone.
As usual, if you do make your own cable, you do it entirely at your own risk. If your phone dies, do not blame me. Mine is working fine, so the procedure does work if done properly.
READ ALL STEPS BEFORE STARTING WORK!
The USB has 4 wires:
Red-5V, White-Data, Green-Data, Black-Gnd.
They are numbered Pin1 to Pin4, in the same order, ie Red =Pin1.
1. Cut the USB EXTENSION lead, trim both pieces to a shorter size, but make sure you leave enough length to work with !
2. Cut off the foil-shielding on both pieces, twist the braided wire shielding into a single “wire” on each piece.
3. On the female piece of the lead solder resistors as follows:
R1=2K2; R2=680; R3=2K2
4. Trim resistor legs as short as possible. Make sure you put some insulating tape between all the exposed bits of wire and resistor legs. You want to pack the resistors as tight as you can, and you do not want any metal bits touching!
5. On the male end of the lead, cut off the white and green wires; you DO NOT want to connect them to anything! If they were connected it would feed power back to the car adapter, which could conceivably have those pins grounded as they’re usually not used (hence the iPhone 3G charging problem).
Even worse, you might one day accidentally plug this new DIY adapter cable into a USB port on your PC, and it may take offense at having power coming in on the data lines.
So cut the green and white wires on the male end.
6. Cut a piece of large-diameter heat-shrink and slide it over the male piece of the lead. It should be long enough to later cover the area where the resistors are. Hence the male end of the lead needs to be at least as long as the length of heat-shrink you need!
7. Join the two pieces of lead by soldering the male red wire to the female red, male black to female black, the shields to the blacks.
8. Carefully compact all the resistors together, ensuring there is insulation between adjacent metal parts, and that nothing comes lose. You might need to think about how you want to pack the resistors BEFORE YOU SOLDER!
Then slide the heat-shrink over the resistor assembly until it overlaps the untouched part of the the USB cable on both sides of the resistor assembly.
Heat up heat-shrink to make it grip.
* If the assembly is bigger than the heat-shrink you chose, remove heat-shrink and tightly wrap the entire cable with electrical tape instead. Done!
9. WAIT! DO NOT CONNECT iPhone, yet!!!!
10. Connect your new adapter cable to a car USB adapter.
With a multimeter (and thin probes, or bit of stiff wire soldered to the probe tip) measure the voltages you get on the female end of your new adapter cable.
Put the Gnd-Probe on the plug shield, and be extremely careful with the other probe not to touch both the shield and a pin at the same time.
You should have ~5V on Pin1, ~2.8V Pin2, ~2V Pin3, 0V Pin4.
If you do, Congratulations, you now have a USB adaptor cable that will turn any plain USB voltage adaptor into an iPhone 3G charger.
If you have no voltage, you might have forgotten to solder the shield to the black. Put Gnd-probe on Gnd-Pin4, then measure all other pins and shield. If the pins measure ok, and the shield is still 0V, you are probably ok too.
All other results, and you need to re-do your cable!
11. IF YOUR CABLE MEASURES OK, at your own risk (!) you can now connect your iPhone to the adapter cable, and then into the car adapter. It should now charge.
Note: Apple states that the iPhone should only be connected to authorised chargers,etc. Using the DIY adapter cable could potentially void your warranty.
Great how-to, thanks!
Thanks a lot !
This solves many problems.
Just wished this instruction could be published with some pictures more widely !
Please be careful though :
When cutting an USB extention cable : Do not rely on the wire colours !!!
Mine had red colour connected to pin2, black wire connected to Pin 3, green (5V) connected to pin 1 and white connected to Pin4 (GND)
Measure twice !
Someone should begin manufacturing this adapters and make some money. I’ll be the first customer.
Apparently someone decided to do just that, Larry.
Thanks for the warning Hejo.
The colours I quoted are what most web pages list as the USB standard. Seems some manufacturers don’t care about that or about the general electrical convention of never using green for power.
Let’s hope the mob who made yours don’t make mains voltage cables with green on the active 240V!
Dave Hinett says
I’ve just ordered a car charger from eBay, total cost £4 ($8), okay it’s got to ship from china and it’ll probably break after six months, but I could buy FIVE of them for the price of one of those adapters!!!
Doesn’t take long for the vultures to start circling once a gap in the Market appears does it?
The DLO autocharger works for me. And apparently for alot of other people. When I asked the guy at best buy about a car charger for the 3g, he handed me the DLO. I’ve gone back a few times since I bought it and its been sold out.
Right! , so i have a 2 week old iPhone 3G, and have placed a order with play.com for the XtremeMac Incharge.
Are we saying it will work but i need to start cutting up wires??
sorry just confused with so many people saying it will/wont work
Hi Paul, For me the XtremeMac incharge worked fine without any mods.
Dave Hinett says
Well, my cheap as chips iPhone 3G car charger from eBay arrived today, only 13 days after I ordered it…
… and what can I say, it works! I’m happy, £4 including postage and now I can leave Google Maps on all the time i’m in the car, just for the sheer joy of it 🙂
Here’s the link for UK eBayers, I’m sure USA readers can find an equivalent as well.
dan chen says
alot of older charger has that issue due to the voltage difference, the new iphone 3g and ipod touch 2g required more voltage. inspiretech has a iphone 3g charger for around 8 bucks..
smackmy&!7(!! Up says
I work at a Radioshack in Texas and I have a 1 gen iPhone but some guy came in last with a 3g iPhone and said it’s broke and won’t hold a charge. I tried everything I could do to talk him into selling or trading with me but no so I finally said what the he’ll cuz I knew what was wrong so I tried a universal IGo phone charger with the 1G I phone tip and it worked fine opposed to the wall charger he was tryin to use before. So the IGO UNIVERSAL Phone adapter does charge the iPhone 3g.
Just a note to those wanting to use the iPhone 3G with a head unit in their car. It plays music fine and does control the phone, but it will not charge it. I have a kenwood unit that works well with my old ipod nano and when I place my iPhone on the cable I get the message that it’s not capable of being charged by the unit.
Moto did the same thing on the Razr phones, they crippled the usb so that you would have to buy their overpriced “special” usb cable. The hack is the same, you install a resistor into a standard cable. I believe you can use a standard unmodified cable as long as you’re connected to a pc with Moto’s usb driver installed.
If you need to use an existing built-in adapter, the Scosche passPORT seems to do the trick; it’s a little cheaper than the Ridax and not as error-prone as building your own:
I bought one of these Scoche units from Apples iTunes store to use with the Kenwood deck mentioned in a previous post. I still have to test whether or not it actually charges the iphone 3G, because there is no visual indication that it is charging, while there is no error message that it is NOT charging. However, every time I plug the iPhone into the Passport and connect it to the cable from the deck, the deck gives me an A02 Error message on display and I cannot access any of the iPod functions. If I connect without passport, I get all the iPod functions of the phone through the deck, but no charging.
I just bought an iPhone 3G car charger online, no need for an adapter. They can be had for cheap too!
Certainly you can get a charger more cheaply; this is not relevant, however, if you have an iPod player built into your car and you want it to maintain your iPod’s charge whilst you listen to music…
For the benefit of anyone else interested in the Scosche passPORT, I’ve been using it successfully in my MINI with a new 4G iPod nano for the past couple of weeks.
Great discussion on this blog. I am trying to understand what are the requirements (amps and voltage) for a charger than can charge a smartphone like 3G Iphone . I heard smartphones in general (not just Iphone) need an intial peak amp to let the phone register it’s being charged. Also i heard if you turn on all the apps like Bluetooth, GPS, etc and you want to charge, you need a LOT more power (amps) than the average 2W.
this card charger looks fine.
Great! I followed Michel’s instructions and my car adaptor is working very well.
But, as I have some electronic experience, I decided to put all resistors inside the adapter. So, I opened the adapter and look for free space to put resistors. As the two contacts at the middle of USB connector were already connected to nothing, it was very easy to fix it. Now I have a iPhone-compatible car charger! And with no special cable.
I bought 3 car adapters at Deal Extreme some time ago. It is very cheap (see http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.688). Each resistor cost about 2 cents. I thought I would have to buy new one to work with my iPhone, but now I will just “convert” them.
Thank you, Michel!
Robert Ward says
I also bought a cheap car charger for my 3rd generation iPod touch. This works just fine – as long as the engine is off. It fails when the engine is running and gives an error message “This device is not a charger”. I guess this is either a voltage issue or there is ripple from the alternator or ignition coming through from the electrical system. I am going to try a smoothing capacitor to see whether this sorts things out.
Any further help would be much appreciated.
Interestingly enough, i have found that my iPhone will charge on almost any charger as long as it is off – the phone that is. Which leads mento believe it’s some software that is preventing the chargin. I use a charger for a blackberry with the USB port on it for USB charging ( phone before my iPhone) and would not charge with phone on. So I turned it off for a trip because batt was dead and when got to destination, was fully charged.
I soldered D+ and D- data pins together on a Generic USB Car Charger but instead charging icon, this icon was showing (http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/2003/img0023k.png) and it didn’t seem like iphone was getting charged at all. I thought it was as easy as connecting the 2 data pins, did I miss anything?