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Accidentally plugging iPod into iPad charger?

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories for iPAD 1, 2 and 3' started by MLimtiaco, May 6, 2010.

  1. MLimtiaco
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    MLimtiaco iPF Novice

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    The chargers for iPod and iPad look identical. You have to look closely to read the fine print indicating which charger is for which device.

    If you accidentally plug an iPad into an iPod charger - no harm done, as the iPod charger runs at a lower wattage. But what happens if you accidentally plug an iPod into an iPad charger? Is there some protective circuitry that prevents the iPod from getting fried?

    I've already figured that at some point I'll screw these up - so I put some labels on the chargers just to be on the safe side.
  2. largefarva
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    largefarva iPF Novice

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    All it will do is charge your iPod. It won't harm your iPod one single bit. I use my ipad cable to charge my iPhone all the time.
  3. LeeB
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    LeeB iPF Novice

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    The Apple sales rep who casually informed me that I would need a supplemental charger told me that the iPad charger was 10w - designed for the higher power needs. It will charge an iPad or iPhone, but if you use one of their chargers, it either won't work or will take forever to charge.

    So, unless they're trying to fry all my other stuff, it shouldn't be a problem. (Caveat: I don't have my stuff yet, so I'm only parroting what the rep said ...)
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  4. largefarva
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    largefarva iPF Novice

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    Either he didn't explain it correctly or you misunderstood. You can use the ipad charger and cable to charge an iPhone or iPod with no complications whatsover. It's rated for a higher wattage which means it can supply the higher wattage, it doesn't mean it will force that higher amount of current into a device...it will deliver whatever current the device needs. Watts are the product of volts and current. All of these devices use a 5 volts and the only difference is the current (amperes). The ipad needs 2 amps to charge as normal...iPhones and iPods only need 1 amp to correctly charge.

    Now, charging an ipad with an iPhone or iPod charger and cable which can only deliver up to 5 watts (1 ampere) will cause the charger and cable to heat up because it's being overloaded (can't deliver the 10 watts or 2 amps the ipad needs) and will charge the ipad at a slower rate.

    So no, charging an iPhone or iPod with the ipad charger and cable won't harm a thing. The only limitation would be if the power pins in the 30 pin plug didn't match up...then it wouldn't charge at all.
  5. Seadog
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    Seadog Super Moderator Staff Member

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    There are some pins that are different on the iPad connector as opposed to the iPhone connector, but power is not among those. Think of it as a faucet. If you need to fill a five gallon bucket and you have a faucet that only does .5 gallon per minute, it will take ten minutes to fill the bucket. If you try to fill a ten gallon bucket, it will take you twenty minutes, but if you have a larger faucet that will do 1 GPM, you will get done in ten minutes filling the larger bucket, and can be throttled back to fill the small bucket in ten minutes,
  6. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    An iPod base is 15 watts.
  7. MLimtiaco
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    MLimtiaco iPF Novice

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    I went to the source this morning and called Apple tech support.

    According to them, plugging an iPod Nano into an iPad charger can damage the iPod because of the difference between the power output of the chargers. The USB power cable never came up in our conversation, so I believe it makes no difference at all. Maybe newer iPods can handle that charger output, but maybe not. Let the user beware!

    No doubt there are those who will say that plugging an iPod into an iPad charger really won't hurt the iPod at all - but I won't be taking that chance. I have no interest in moving my music to the iPad anytime soon, so I plan to keep my trusty iPod Nano in good working order.
  8. Gern Blanston
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    Gern Blanston iPF Noob

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    That's a concise answer and although it's incorrect, nothing bad can come of it. In reality, there's no danger in using the iPad adapter to charge an iPod or iPhone. The pinouts for power are identical, as is the voltage spec (5V). There's absolutely no danger in connecting a load that draws less current (i.e., the iPod/iPhone) into an adapter that can source more current (i.e., the iPad charger) because the load will simply draw less current from the source. If you want to split hairs, if the topology of the source is switch-mode rather than linear (which it most certainly is), the larger charger might run at lower efficiency when it's sourcing 1A of charging current to the iPod/iPhone than when it's sourcing 2A of charging current to the iPad. But that's of no consequence to the end-user.
  9. bbell2000
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    bbell2000 iPF Noob

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    I really don't understand the original post. My two chargers don't look the same at all -- the iPod Touch charger is significantly bigger than the other and there's no way anyone could get them mixed up. Older iPod?
  10. Purpleorchid
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    Purpleorchid iPad Enthusiast

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    Absolutely no harm will be done. Don't forget that you can even use the iPad charger in Asia/Europe with no problem. They have 240V whereas here in North America it's 110V. If you read the fine print of the charger, it says 110-240V which means the charger is smart enough to convert incoming electricity. It is also smart enough to convert outgoing electricity, and the iPods ar smart enough to ask for the correct amperage.
  11. mlts0807
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    mlts0807 iPF Novice

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    Aren't the cables the same? It's the brick that plugs in to the wall that is different, and noticeably bigger.
  12. MLimtiaco
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    MLimtiaco iPF Novice

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    Oh, for heaven's sake. Here's a photo of the chargers, side-by-side, labels added by yours truly. The iPod in question is a 1st generation Nano, and its charger looks pretty damned identical to the iPad's, doesn't it?

    Someone has already replied that it's not going to hurt the iPod if you accidentally plug it into the higher-capacity iPad charger, and I have verified that with a third-party charger. However - I did call Apple Support, and they did tell me there was the potential that plugging an iPod into the iPad charger could damage it. Probably CYA, but fair enough. So I've been keeping these chargers separate ever since. For the record, my wife fried our WiFi access point (not an AirPort) by plugging in the wrong power supply, so we are wary of making the same mistake with newer equipment.

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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  13. col.bris
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    col.bris Administrator Staff Member

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    I use only one charger that is the iPad charger for my iPad, iPhone and iPod and have done since I received the iPad some months ago.
  14. SweetPoison
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    SweetPoison iPad Legend

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    Yes it is very close in appearance. I used my daughter's iPod Nano's charger and plugged it into my iPad. It was not easy to get out! It is not a perfect fit to say the least.

    After that I marked hers with her initials.:D
  15. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    I use my iPad charger all the time for our iPhones and iPods.
  16. SweetPoison
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    SweetPoison iPad Legend

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    Do you? Well, I won't use her charger again. I was so scared when it wouldn't come out.:(
  17. gentlefury
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    gentlefury iPad Guru

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    Is it from apple? I have several iPod charger plugs and they look identical to the iPad charger with the exception of the 5 watt or 10 watt label.

    I use ny iPad charger for everything and it works fine.
  18. gentlefury
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    gentlefury iPad Guru

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    Actually all iDevice cables are identical in size. The difference is some have snap clips on the sides and others don't. If you use a cable and can't get it out squeeze the sides to release it. The longer tip ones are like this. The short ones tend to not have the clip.
  19. SweetPoison
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    I knew it. It was too hard to get out. Couldn't have been good!
  20. bbell2000
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    bbell2000 iPF Noob

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    All of my chargers are from Apple and the brick on the iPod charger is significantly larger. As I said in my original post, my iPod Touch is one of the early ones and maybe that's the difference. Either way, I'd have to be blind to get it and my iPad charger mixed up.

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