Pick Up a Speaker, Alarm Clock, or Boom Box with a Dock Connector

If you have an old iPhone or iPod with the 30-pin dock connector, there are some real deals out there for charging on the cheap.

Such a Deal!

iHome clock radioI was in a thrift store last year and found an iHome i40P clock radio with an iPod dock. For $4.00, I couldn’t resist. That’s cheaper than a 30-pin cable at Five Below, and my iPhone 4S fits right into the recess with the dock connector.

If it did nothing more than give me one more way to charge my 4G iPod touch and my iPhone 4S, it would be worth $4.00. It can wake me up from radio or a playlist on the iPhone/iPod. And to set the time, all you have to do is dock your device and push the sync/set button on the back.

I don’t even use it as an alarm clock. I have it in my office as one more charging option.

I also have an iLive boom box at work that I can use for listening to music and charging my iPhone – more on that later.

Look Around You

If you have an iPod or iPhone with the old 30-pin dock connector, look around to see what you can find in thrift stores, outlet stores, and yard sales. Apple moved to the Lightning cable with the iPhone 5 in September 2012, and it discontinued the iPhone 4S and 160 GB iPod classic, the last models with the dock connector, in September 2014. (The 4G iPod touch, the last iPod touch with a dock connector, was discontinued in September 2012.)

Outlet stores may still have a fair bit of “obsolete” inventory with the dock connector. I was in one yesterday, and car chargers and USB cables with the 30-pin plug were in abundance – and cheap.

When You Find One

Just because a device has a dock connector doesn’t mean you can plug everything into it. iPads won’t fit into most older devices, and sometimes the connector is recessed. The one on my iHome clock radio takes my iPhone 4S and 4G iPod touch, but my iPhone 3GS is too wide to fit. One solution to that is a 30-pin male-to-female cable, another is a short extender that may not support your device well.

Another issue you may run into with really old dock connector gear is that the dock connector has changed over time. The plug and port are the same, but in the early days – like when the 3G iPod introduced the dock connector in 2003 – you could charge devices via 12V FireWire, which made for faster charging than 5V USB. There were two different wires for charging, and over time the FireWire one disappeared, newer devices didn’t even look for FireWire, and although the devices may fit, they may not charge. Check it if you can before you buy.

Devices made since 2008 do not support charging via FireWire (the original 2007 iPhone is the only iPhone that does), so old devices that only use the FireWire pin for charging cannot charge these devices.

iLive IBCD3816DT boomboxMy iLive IBCD3816DT boom box is from that era. It worked great with my old iPods, but it wouldn’t charge my iPhone at all.

The solution was to buy a dock connector charging converter (do a Google search). The one I bought was the Schosche iPod & Iphone Charging Adapter for Home Docks, which I found online for just $5.00 many years ago. I had to remove it from its plastic enclosure, and it’s a tight fit in the iPod/iPhone bay on the front of the boom box, but it works.

Here are some current options:

You might also run across discontinued devices such as the Griffin Charge Converter. eBay can be a great resource for finding discontinued product at good prices.

See what you can come up with in a dock device and, if necessary, and adapter. There are also adapters to convert the 30 pin dock connector to the new Lightning connector for your newer devices.

Further Reading

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