iPad 3: Beware of third-party docking cables

iPad 3: Beware of third-party docking cables

Summary: Third-party dock cables can be wonky with the iPad 3's new power demands. Mine, which worked fine with an iPad 2, only charged my iPad 3 up to 85 percent then stopped.


Beware of third party dock cables with the iPad 3 - Jason O'GradyI noticed something weird last night.

I plugged my iPad 3 in to charge after using it extensively (it had reached around 5% battery remaining) and this morning when I checked it, it had stopped charging at around 85% and was displaying "not charging" by the battery icon.

I unplugged it, replugged it, and although it briefly reported that it was "charging" again, it stopped shortly thereafter.

Although I was using a genuine 10w Apple OEM power brick, I wasn't using an Apple OEM cable. I was using a third party cable because it's slightly longer (70 inches) than the (ridiculously short) Apple docking cable (which is about 39 inches long).

I'm not certain where I purchased it (probably Amazon) but it has the following markings on the side "AWM E164571 2725 VW-1 80 C 30V" and "BizLink Technology." It's relatively heavy in gauge (and thicker than the Apple cable) and it always worked fine with the iPad 2.

I replaced the third-party cable with the Apple OEM cable and it charged the rest of the way, or so I thought, without issue.

Ray Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation, explains what might be happening:

I've now heard from several people regarding this issue. One person told me they traced the problem to their Griffin cable and "tossed it."

The charger itself says 5.1 volts 2.1 amps. That is a fair amount of current. For a short cable thinner wires won't make a difference, but on longer cables it will. Also, the new iPad does draw more power from the AC adapter than the iPad 2.

According to the Apple website the "not charging" icon appears when there is insufficient power from the charging source. This can occur under many circumstances: you are using an iPhone charger or non-Apple charger that has too little power. They might be ok for the iPad 2 but not for the bigger power needs of the new iPad. You can also get this if your computer USB port doesn't have enough power or you are using a non-Apple USB cable (which supplies also supplies the power) that is too thin or too long because of the power losses involved in the cable. Finally, do not use any aftermarket adapter that speeds up charging by exceeding Apple's maximum charging rate of 2.1 amps at 5.1 volts.

You can read more about this issue in Soneira's excellent iPad shootout article, especially the sections on display backlight power consumption and running time on battery.

Topics: Telcos, Apple, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Networking

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  • Alternate theory

    Apple is detecting non Apple cabling and making things not work. I wouldn't put it past them.
    • Like flies

      I think you're a paid spokesperson for the Microsoft Corporation. I wouldn't put it past you.

      Or them.
      Robert Hahn
  • Same Problem with 4S

    I installed a iSimple IS75 Polywire iPhone cable on my Harley-Davidson which worked perfectly with my iPhone 3G. With my new 4S, it will route music to the stereo but does not charge/power the phone - THAT ticks me off!
    • Worse yet...

      I cannot believe I just read that its quite possible that "You can also get this if your computer USB port doesn???t have enough power". Now I can understand if its a situation where someone is plugging into some computer that is 5 years old or more, but I would seriously have to question why Apple would bother with a USB capable charging system on the new iPad if it turns out some reasonable number of modern computer USB ports cannot provide the power needed. I wish that point was made a little clearer because its a rather striking issue for anyone hoping to charge a new iPad by way of USB port on some regular basis for some reason.
  • Thick cord does not mean thick copper!

    I have after-market cables which work and others which do not.
    I bought two identical non-oem cables last week and with both I experienced the 'not charging' problem with my iPad '3'.
    I cut open one of the cables and found that whilst the cord seemed thick, the copper conductors were very insubstantial, and also looked to be of poor quality metal: the surface was mottled and dull even within freshly-stripped insulator.
    The price of copper is very high just now and I think that explains a great deal.
    My frustration is in trying to find a reputable product inbetween eBay trash and Apple arbitrage, as a quality lead can surely be sold profitably for no more than 1/3 of what Apple charge...