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Charges great at home, but only intermittently in the car

This is a discussion on Charges great at home, but only intermittently in the car within the Amazon Kindle Fire General Discussions forums, part of the Amazon Kindle Fire Forum category; Just installed new radios in both our cars to play the Kindle over the radio. It's great, but it doesn't charge out there. It won't ...

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  1. #1
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    Charges great at home, but only intermittently in the car

    Just installed new radios in both our cars to play the Kindle over the radio. It's great, but it doesn't charge out there. It won't charge off the USB connector from the radio, and it won't charge from the car charger ... and we have a 6 hour trip coming up. We need a charge!

    Symptoms:
    + It plays great in car #2, so we're happy, but it won't charge. No biggie.
    + We bought a new car charger (2.1 amps, 5V)
    + In car #1 it plays and charges just fine for a half hour ride.
    + Then in car #2 it won't charge at all, even with the new charger
    + The new charger works just fine with my BlackBerry
    + We go back to car #1 and it charges great ... until we turn the car on, then the charger quits working
    + We've not gotten the charger to work in either car any more
    + We came back inside and plugged it back in (we're at 4% charge right now, so it's needed)
    + The indoor charger doesn't work at first, and we panic, but we let it sit. After about 30 seconds it starts working
    + The indoor charger's working fine now, but we're worried about taking it back outside.

    The cigarette lighter on car #1 was at 12.5 volts when off then 13.7 volts when running, but the charger should be smart enough to regulate that to a clean 5.0v I'd think.

    Any ideas?
    Last edited by codepoke; 07-16-2012 at 07:37 AM. Reason: Added notes the charger works with my BlackBerry

  2. #2
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    Amazon.com: Customer Discussions: Kindle Fire USB Charging

    Bruce Boyle's comments are to the point.

  3. #3
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    The amps are the problem, not the volts. Most tablets need 5 amps to both charge and run and the iPad needs a whopping 10 amps.
    I use a 110v to 12v power invertor and plug my home chargers into it.

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    A Rezound phone was used for this Tapatalk post

  4. #4
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    AAAAArgh!!!

    Thank you for your suggestion, MountainBikerMark. We just bought exactly that same arrangement ($25), and it charges wonderfully. But when we plug in the aux line to transmit to the radio, it picks up a huge buzz. It sounds like we'll be trying shorting the #2 and #3 lines or buying a much higher-end inverter.

  5. #5
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    OK. The final solution worked.

    Here's the scoop. The Kindle Fire is one of the many devices that identifies the difference between a PC USB port that might be limited to .5 amps and a 120V AC adapted USB port that can certainly supply 1.8 amps or more by examining the data wires in that USB connector. If the data wires are usable or "open," the KF assumes the USB supply is limited to .5 amps and refuses to accept a charge from it. If the data wires are shorted together or "closed," the KF assumes this USB supply is 1.8 amp capable.

    I took a normal car adapter with a normal USB wire (type A connector on one end, KF micro USB connector on the other) and shorted the data wires together. I did it by opening the main wire, pulling the 4 tiny wires out, cutting the green and gold (or white), stripping the insulation off the side of the wire that actually goes to the KF, twisting the exposed ends, and soldering them together. The ends that go to the charging adapter I just taped off separately.

    The hacked cable works perfectly every time.

    I can't recommend everyone go out and do this, but it worked for me. Check out Wikipedia on the USB standard and the links I gave above if you need information (which is courage.) Also, this link was very informative.
    How USB charging works, or how to avoid blowing up your smartphone | ExtremeTech

    BTW, cheap inverters don't work because they create a square wave instead of a clean sine wave. Loads of RF interference, and bad for many different electrical devices.
    Last edited by codepoke; 07-16-2012 at 08:00 PM. Reason: typos

 

 

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