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Cell Phone Charging

January 14th, 2007

I am ready to smash my cell phone to pieces, and despair at the thought of having to wait a year or more for an iPhone. The reason: charging the damned cell phone. The phone I have now and the last one I had (the only two I have ever owned in fact) were very different models and designs, but they both shared the same flaw. You put the cell phone in its charging cradle, and nothing happens. You try again, this time pushing it down. Nothing. Wiggle it around, pick it up and breathe on the contacts to moisten them a bit, and then maybe, if you’re lucky, the charge light comes on.

But it gets worse. Half the time, the charge light starts flashing on and off, meaning that it’s got a contact, but for some reason, is not charging correctly. So you go through the process another 2-3 times until you finally get a solid light, and the phone’s LCD screen says that the phone is charging.

But even then, you’re not home free. All too often, the phone says it’s charging, the charge light stays on for a while then goes off, just like it does with a successful charge–but then, when you pick it up and open it, you see that it has not charged at all. And you usually find this out just as you are ready to walk out the door, and discover that you now have no cell phone for the day.

Is this just me? Am I incredibly unlucky and almost no one else gets this? Because it is driving me up the frakking wall.

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  1. matthew
    January 14th, 2007 at 11:00 | #1

    That is a new one for me. My wife and i have never had such a problem. I would take it to a main shop (not one of those branch stores that sell every brand) and show them the problem. Your charger may be a dud.

    Also, as for au and softbank you can charge your phone by unplugging the charger and plugging directly into your phone–the jack is the same. DoCoMo–I have no experience.

    I was curious about your enthusiasm for the iphone. Other than screen size and touch pad I dont see anything above and beyond what we already have here in Japan. Plus it wont come until 2008. Just imagine what advances another year or so will make to the Japanese cell phone world. Add to that the BIG price tag and I think I will take a pass.


  2. January 14th, 2007 at 14:04 | #2

    I love how “frakking” is becoming the easy way to identify people who watch BSG heh.

    As for the phone, I would have had some suggestions, like seeing if a store could try a different cradle, but the fact the light is coming on and NOT charging leads me to believe it’s the phone. I have had a ton of phones and never seen anything like this, so I’m afraid it is your luck.

  3. ykw
    January 14th, 2007 at 14:33 | #3

    This should not occur. The problem could be the phone, the battery, or the charger. If you press somewhere and the light goes on, and then stop pressing, and it goes off, and you can repeat this w/ the same result; then you have a bad contact where you are pressing. Perhaps cleaning the contacts w/ alcohal would help. Metal pressing against metal should make a connection. My LG cell phone has 3 large contacts with which it makes contact w/ it’s power craddle, and that seems to work ok. I’ve definitely seen batteries that go out, and seen connectors that wear out, yet I’ve never seen the exact problem you are having.

    p.s. my father read some of your blog today and noted, “this guy is a modern day philosopher” !!

  4. Paul
    January 14th, 2007 at 15:19 | #4

    You’re just unlucky. My suggestion would be to buy a different type of phone, one that doesn’t use a cradle but uses a plug-in type of charger (plugs into the phone end, I mean).

    My Razr uses a USB charger, which is nice because USB has become so ubiquitous over the past few years.

    Of course, the iPhone is the way to go.

    Seattle, WA

  5. Luis
    January 14th, 2007 at 18:50 | #5

    Thanks, everyone. That kinda confirms what I thought. The thing is, this is my second cellphone, and both have had the exact same problem. Of course, both were the same type–resting on a cradle and not plugging in, which would almost be guaranteed to work. I don’t have a choice with the model I have. Maybe taking it into the shop would be a good idea–sometimes shops like that give you free repairs/replacements outside of warranties so as to help customer loyalty, which I am sure they value more than mere hardware…

  6. bluebottle
    January 15th, 2007 at 11:27 | #6

    It might be a case of designed-to-fail, as so many (all?) cellphones seem to be. Helps the bottom line, after all. If the contacts are a different metal to the pads on the phone, there could be galvanic corrosion going on. I don’t know about the design of your cradle, but you might like to try wrapping a shred of aluminium foil around/over the contacts, or if they’re sprung contacts, bending them out a bit more with some needle-nose pliers.

  7. margo McAuliffe
    February 2nd, 2007 at 11:07 | #7

    Hey Luis,

    Do they have different cell phones in Japan? I just plug mine into the wall. Even in Kenya there was no problem. Looks like you and Sachi will have to move back here so you won’t develop cell phone rage!

    I’m at your folks house. We’re having crab for dinner! Your dad has just gone off to Cook’s to get it. Lucky me!

    Thanks again for all the help you gave me with MSW. Blessings to you both.


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