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iPad car GPS charging?

Discussion in 'iPad 3 Forum' started by Allgoodpeople, May 20, 2012.

  1. Allgoodpeople
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    Allgoodpeople iPF Noob

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    I'm running a New iPad, a Bad Elf GPS unit, and Navigon car navigation software. I'm powering this set up using a Kensington PowerBolt Duo.

    In this configuration, the iPad indicates it's charging, but I can watch the battery percentage slowly decreasing during long drives. It seems to me this should not be happening. I know the New iPad draws a lot of power, and when you add in the Bad Elf and the navigation software it's drawing heavily, but I would expect that at least the battery level would be static, if not adding charge.

    I have tried three different 12v chargers and the iPad loses battery charge with all three. I'm out of ideas. Any suggestions? A 12v USB charger rated for 2.1 amps and 5 volts output ought to be sufficient.
  2. scifan57
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    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The charger that came with your iPad is a 10 watt charger rated at 5.1 volts and 2.1 amps.The problem is not with your charger,it's the GPS app you are running.Using GPS is one of the most battery intensive things you can use your iPad for.That's why your battery percentage continues to drop when using your iPad.
  3. iDuffer
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    iDuffer iPad Fan

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    I can just about get my ipad3 battery level to remain static (when using the internal GPS/Nav) if I turn the screen brightness as low as possible
    and turn off Wifi/Cellular. I'm guessing your Bad Elf unit is pushing it too far. Maybe seek out a charger rated at 5 volts / 3 amps? Do some research on this first?!
  4. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No point in doing that as the iPad won't draw more than 2.1 amps.
  5. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you paying attention to screen brightness? Also, I have the dual XGPS150 and it has it's own power, so the iPad is not having to power it as well. Now, since I have the 4G model I have not used my dual with it, but my iPad can maintain a charge off the car charger. I've driven up to an hour like this with 100% charge on the battery at the end of the trip.

    Remember, if you turn the brightness up to max on the new iPad, you can get it nice and warm on the back, indicating that losses in the battery are impacting performance too (it gets warm mostly in one spot rather than across the entire back side. I got mine up to about 116 degrees in 36 minutes, with the screen on max brightness.
  6. iDuffer
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    iDuffer iPad Fan

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    Maybe it will draw the max with a Bed Elf attached? Is it a pass through connector on the Bad Elf, or does it draw power else where?
  7. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My understanding of the Elf is that it plugs into the 30pin connector on the iPad...so that implies to me that it is drawing power from the iPad. If that is so, that means that the total power the iPad is using is greater with the Elf than it would be with the Dual, for example. So, the Dual when used with the iPad should mean the iPad is using less power. Now, without numbers it is difficult to say how this impact overall battery drain, so we can only speak in hazy terms here.

    Also, as I see now, the Elf has a means to plug into power, so that means the Elf is inline from the charger to the iPad. So who knows what the Elf is outputting to the new iPad to keep it charged. The design might have between tweaked to work well with the iPad 2 but might not work well with the new beast, the iPad 3, as the iPad 3 burns more power.

    Best use: Watch the screen brightness. It would be nice, to have a sun guard to shade the iPad's screen when is use inside a vehicle. That way, there is less need to turn the screen up. What I do is plug the 3.5mm jack into my sound system so the directions coming from Navigon comes out through my car speakers, so I can hear them clearly over music or audio books that I have playing at the same time.
  8. Allgoodpeople
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    Allgoodpeople iPF Noob

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    I tried running the screen at a lower brightness, but in bright daylight I can't see it well enough for it to be useful as a GPS. Shutting off wifi is a good suggestion though, which I hadn't thought of. Thanks.
  9. Allgoodpeople
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    Allgoodpeople iPF Noob

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    Yes, this is also a good point. The power flow is: 12v charger to Bad Elf via USB, then Bad Elf to iPad dock connector port (it can be plugged directly into the iPad, but I'm using a Cable Jive dock extender female to male for the connect, which I don't think should be relevant to power issues. It's just a dumb pass through cable.)

    I think the relevant question is exactly how much power is the Bad Elf outputting to the iPad once it takes it's pound of flesh first to power itself. I'll shoot them a note to see if they have any insights.
  10. Allgoodpeople
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    Allgoodpeople iPF Noob

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    Here's the Bad Elf FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions - Bad Elf

    According to the FAQ the Bad Elf passes power through directly to the iPad, then draws power itself from the iPad.

    I'm leaning heavily towards concluding its just drawing too much power to maintain battery level when running on 12VDC. I guess the next experiment would be to run it while it's all plugged into the original Apple AC wall charger, but I'm not hopeful that even that will provide sufficient power.
  11. AQ_OC
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    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Then that means that the iPad is supplying the power, so the iPad is powering itself (including the screen) and the Elf. It's an extra load. The Dual *might* work better, in terms of power, since it would either run off its battery or from power from the 12V charger.

    I know...it kinda sucks.
  12. richgalen
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    richgalen iPad Fan

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    I just drove from DC to Ohio & back. iPad3, LTE using Co-Pilot Premium. Over the past couple of years I've learned to charge the iPad all the way up before starting up, then using the AC power plug and an adapter in the 12v outlet. The iPad will lose power, but very slowly. Ended up at about 60 percent power remaining after a five hour drive.

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