Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pocket PC Things: Charging via USB Weirdness

Not long after I set up a Cingular 8125 PDA Phone for a user, she took it home for a weekend. From her experience, we learned quite a bit, namely that having a lot of task and calendar reminders, not charging for a whole weekend, and having the phone set to vibrate instead of make noise can be a combination that results in a phone that is useless by Sunday. She had so many reminders popping up that it quickly wore her battery down. When the user got into the office Monday morning, she wasn't able to charge the phone using her USB sync cable; from this and my subsequent Google search, we also learned that USB isn't going to charge her phone when it is flat*. I had suspected as much before the link to the forum confirmed my suspicions; a former Dell Axim X5 user, I'd quickly learned that my USB charger wouldn't top off the battery if I got below a certain percentage (which was something ridiculous like 85%). Since no one knew where my user's external adapter was, the news presented us with a bit of a problem, but her office wasn't far from my home, so I got my own power cable and let her use it to get charged up enough to where the USB could take over. When we finally got the device to power on, the poor thing pretty much went berserk vibrating with over 60 reminders, so, of course, we killed the task reminders and vibration. Since I was new to the whole GoodLink support thing, it took me a to figure out just how to do that. Sometimes we have to learn how to do our jobs while we're doing our jobs, but hey, it makes life interesting!

I usually charge my Sprint PPC-6700 PDA Phone at night while I sleep, but I forgot to Thursday night. Friday morning, before I left home, I was able to the phone on, so I wasn't worried. However, when I got to work, the darned thing wouldn't come on. After trying a couple of things, I plugged it onto the USB cable on my desktop PC, and the phone powered on. A quick look at the battery level told me what I didn't want to know: it was flatter than a steamrolled Razr. I left it on the cable, but given my prior experiences, I didn't expect much. Imagine, then, my elation when I discovered a little later that it was, indeed charging, and I wouldn't have to go without my precious all day! In 3 agonizing hours, I was at 100%.

So what gives? Why did my HTC Apache (better known as the Sprint PPC-6700) charge from the USB cable, when the HTC Wizard (better known as the Cingular 8125) did not? Could it have something to do with the fact that my user has a Dell laptop, when Dell portables aren't known (in my experience, anyway) for having robust USB? Or could my little Apache have an advantage over the Wizard in that regard, when most people would grant the Wizard superior ratings because of its slightly larger keyboard, and lack of a chunky, black antenna?


*Interestingly enough, blogger Steve Holden found that his 8125 wouldn't charge from the AC adapter when it went flat, but charged just fine when connected to his Tablet PC.