Monday, December 6, 2010

Why I don't throw things away...

What are you keeping that for?

When will you ever use that again?

Isn't that junk?

Why don't I throw things away?  Because you never know when you'll need that thing-a-ma-whatsit to fix something.  The defining difference between the average person and myself is, I tend to break quite a bit of stuff.  And so I generally find myself fixing more things than most people do.

The amazing part is, that invariably when I need something the most, is right when it will decide to flake out.  This weekend was no different.

I've had this handy little iPod/iPhone interface cable from iSimple Solutions in my car for some time.  It connects directly to your car's 12V to provide power for charging, while also pulling out line out audio (and video) to bring into your car stereo.  All through the one 30-pin cable.  Nice and clean, the way I like it.

Perfect setup with the iOS4 multi-tasking.  I can listen to Pandora, run Trapster in the background to alert for police, navigate with mapquest, all while keeping my phone charged along the way.  I really haven't had a good road trip in my car recently to be able to use it.

I have plans to drive into Baton Rouge for work this Monday.  'Perfect!' I think.  Finally get to geek out on the way using all the whistles and bells on my phone with the car.  

So naturally, when I got in the car Thursday afternoon ........ audio is working, but the phone wouldn't charge..  


Check the usual low hanging fruit... loose wires, fuses, etc.... no such luck.

Time to dig a little deeper, as in inside the cable.  Theres a typical enclosed section on the cable where any circuitry and chips would be... time to crack it open and check it out.

The cable should be taking my cars 12V in, and putting out 5V for the iPhone charging.  Quick check with the meter shows me 12V in....... 12V out.   Sigh... I guess I should be glad the phone was smart enough to not try and charge itself with 12V.  Well I'm not going to able to 'fix' the on board voltage regulator.  But... I do have old spare automotive USB charger cables.  All USB 2.0  puts out 5V for charging.

Remember that part about not throwing anything away.

Grab one off the shelf.  Clip off the USB plug, strip back the wires, and jump them onto the output side of the charging circuit, solder them on, then back to the car to give it a test.............

Let this part be  a lesson, never seal something up thinking that it's done and finished without first testing it.

It wasn't working?!  Why's the meter showing 0.5v output.... ?!   Ahhhhh right... Red + / Black -.   I know this, but apparently flipping the little circuit board over to read the labels caused too much confusion for my little mind.

Back to the bench, un-solder, re-solder, re-test, WHALLA!

Now just a little super glue and a clamp, and I'm ready to go for my trip in the morning.

Isn't that just junk?....... Pffft!  That junk saved me $50 !

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