It’s cold here in the Great White North. Damn cold.
Yesterday my car wouldn’t start, would start with a jump. Since it’s under warranty I called the dealer to make an appointment to have the battery, etc, checked out. They asked if I have any devices plugged into the car, and I mentioned that I have an ipod connected (it lives in the trunk, connected to the cd-changer wiring, which keeps it charged too). “Certainly,” they said, the ipod drained the battery, just unplug it and I’ll have no problem.
Does that make sense, or should I just replace the battery as a preventive measure, or what? My probably ignorant guess is that it could make sense: as it gets cold, the ipod thinks its battery is dying, so it draws more power. It never succeeds in getting the amperage up because it’s damn cold, so it keeps on drawing power, eventually draining the car battery (the interval between last use of the car and failure to start was about 60 hours at a temperature of about -20C). Does that make any sense?—it also seems to me that a car battery ought to be able to charge an ipod for a very long time, so I’m not sure. (It’s sat for 10 days or so without any problems at higher temperatures—the thingie that acts as an interface between the car and the ipod is supposed to keep charging the ipod when the car is off only until the ipod is fully charged, an hour maybe, so it’s not supposed to kill your car battery by constantly presenting a load.)
My commute is 10 minutes, so it’s not worth opening the trunk at both ends of the short journey and connecting/disconnecting the ipod. I had an FM transmitter previously, gave it away as it didn’t work very well. Maybe I’ll just run a wire from the trunk into the cockpit.
If you don’t live in a very cold climate, and if you have a car which is factory wired for a trunk mounted CD changer, I highly recommend getting the interface thing. Mine is called a Denison Ice-link, although I think now the same thing is made by another company. You see the track/artist on your receiver display and can control the ipod with the receiver or steering wheel audio controls. I got it for $60 on Ebay.
I will get the battery checked. No problem today as it’s only -15C, bloody balmy.
They sell these things that look like cassettes with a wire and jack attached for like 5 bucks. The cassette part goes in your cassette deck and the jack goes in your ipod. No signal loss (like the FM transmitter), works great. You can just leave it in there and attach the jack to the iPod when you drive. That’s what I do.
A ten minute commute can cause your battery to evantualy discharge. Starting the car draws a lot of power, coupled with radio, heater fan, headlights etc… The alternator doesn’t have enough time to fully charge your battery and eventually there’s not enough juice left to start it. Try driving your car for at least 45 minutes every couple of days, or get a cheap trickle charger.
Say what? How can something give off a big discharge, but not hold much juice? Besides, it’s not a capacitor. The average car battery has 500 amps of power available, and some are as high as 1000 amps. This is why you have on average 75-90amp altenators to drive the electric systems of the car and recharge it in a fairly decent amount of time.
You can technically weld with a car battery, and not just spot weld once and that’s all it has in it.
I am not buying the whole “iPod drains a car battery” answer. Remember there are other components in the car that constantly draw, and draw more than that. Things like your car stereo keeping time, and the computer remembering Problem codes and so forth. If a 1230mAh battery can power an iPod for 8 to 10 hours, a car battery should be able to power and recharge it for weeks.