Docking stations ->> disaster for iPods as they destroy your iPod a minute at at a time - iHome, iDock, Bose Docking Station, SoundDock, Shuffle Dock, Sony CPF-IP001, Harman Kardon The Bridge Docking Station for iPod|
All of these things... car adapters, iHome, iDock, Bose Docking Station and the like have a couple of big responsibilities that they don't take too seriously
Let's take the docking stations first.
These come with price tags that are as little as $10 (bought cheaply at Fry's) to several hundred. To the owner, their primary responsibility appears to be amplifying the sound played through the docking port as it rests in the cradle.
In fact their primary responsibility is stepping down the 117 volts at 20 amps the wall receptacle provides to the needed +5 volts the iPod takes in through the USB power connection on the bottom of it. As you look at your "docking device" do you happen to see a replaceable fuse anywhere on it? The answer in *every case* is no. At an added manufacturing cost of maybe 11 cents US they have avoided putting an output fuse on the "docking device" that could have taken the device off-line if the step down transformer's secondary windings had failed. What you get instead is a device built cheaply that throws full voltage at a full 20 amps into the little iPod that needs 5 volts at 500 milliampheres so it can step it down to the needed 3.7 volts for the battery that it draws from.
The failed "docking device" because it's not fused cooks the logic board in the iPod when it goes. Interestingly, the manufacturer will never be held accountable because the only way to test it is to put a perfectly good iPod on it again and see if it takes that ritual sacrifice also.
In most cases the "docking device" will never be revealed as the source of the problem.
The second thing these "docking devices" do is recharge the battery continually. If you read elsewhere on my site about batteries what you learn is this.
1) the battery type is Lithium Ion and the same type is used in your iPod, cell phone, laptop and about every new power tool. it delivers 98% of its max current to the last second so it is a good and stable power source.
2) These batteries reach 100% of their charge holding capacity in just 90 minutes on a charger, every second after that is over charging
3) They permanently loose the ability to store power in an iPod application at the rate of about 30% a year as the temperatures an iPod works at and is stored at change the nature of the battery's chemistry.
4) every moment that a Lithium Ion battery is overcharged it incrementally ruins the battery's ability to hold a full charge. The damage is permanent and it is incrementally additive. If you overcharge the battery by 1 hour one day and another 3 1/2 hours another day, you now have 4 1/2 accumulated permanent damage to the battery. Do this long enough and it doesn't hold a charge at all.
So let's discuss this as it relates to a "docking device". The entire time it's on the docking device it's being "re-charged". Leave it there all day for several days and you get a device with a battery life that is so short ultimately you can't actually use the iPod portably for any real time.
Does it make sense for Apple to teach their customers about Lithium batteries? No, they want to sell new iPods to less knowledgeable customers continually.
Does it make sense for the "Docking Device" manufacturer to teach the new owner the nature of battery types and how it applies to docking station ownership? They probably don't think it's their place and why would they? They don't sell iPods or batteries, frightening off a customer isn't what their stock holders have in mind.
So just to paint it clearly, the concept you hold as the "primary responsibility" for these things is to play stereo music loudly is really their third responsibility
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