Plausible: iPod kills car battery?

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.)

I know if I leave my ipod in the cold car, the battery discharges, so it would seem plausible.

go to autozone or something and ask them for a free battery test. If it indicates a fault in your battery, tell the dealership to replace it.

Wait, you leave it in the car?

Not like, take it out after you come home?

Thats just a bad idea, period. You can kill the iPod that way.

kill it how?

It will die of loneliness you cold hearted bastard.

Electronics don’t like extreme cold. Plus, condensation from super cold then warming up, cold then warming up, can create shorts.

Sorry for the ninja edit—in normal use (ie when it’s not brutally cold) the ipod doesn’t constantly charge when the car’s off.

Okay, well, if it’s charging off the battery while the car is off, that could certainly kill the battery. A car battery gives a good, big discharge, but it doesn’t hold much juice.

OK, so I’ll unplug the ipod, and blame you lot if my car won’t start again. (I keed, thanks for the responses.)

Now I have to go back to the primitive technologies of CD and FM modulation? How 1985. At least the temperature here will only be low until… April. Sigh.

Take it down another notch to cassette tape. You’ll really be reeling in the analog goodness then.

Let’s secretly install an 8-track in his car to really throw him for a loop.

You still ought to get your battery checked. It’s free, and it will give you peace of mind.

Or, just take out the iPod when not in use?

And to Kong; what Guapo said.

Also; Belkin makes FM transmitters that plug into the headphone jack of most MP3 players. Thats what I use when I want to listen to my iPod in the car.

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.

What’s a “cassette deck”?

The dealer told me to buy a trickle charger too.

Get off my lawn!

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.