Sunday, March 06, 2005

Charging for less...

As mentioned in a previous entry, I recently got an Apple iPod Shuffle 1Gb.
Now, this has a rechargable Lithium battery - to charge it you either plug it into a powered USB port on your computer, or you buy the relevant charger accessory from Apple for (at time of writing) £19.99.
I've found a Third Way! My local branch of W.H.Smiths is having a clear out of selected computer accessories, and in amongst the assorted cables etc., I found a Belkin Powered compact USB 2 hub - 4 USB2 ports and a standalone power supply. Reduced from £22.99 to £8.62
Well, I needed to get something to connect the iPod to the computer - the front USB ports on my Dell are not powered, so it won't charge from them (a common enough problem on most computers with front USB ports), and as the cheapest extension cable online would have cost me about the same (including P&P) I bought this instead, reasoning that it would give me an additional two USB2 ports when the iPod was plugged in, or 4 when not. (The iPod Shuffle is slightly wider than the USB plug, and so prevents anything being inserted to other USB ports next to it!)

When I got home, I had a brainwave - if the Hub is independently powered, then the iPod should charge without it being connected to the computer - a quick test shows this to be the case.
So, if you have an iPod Shuffle, want to be able to charge it from the mains without having to connect it to a computer, and can find a cheap enough USB2 powered hub, this might be your answer! OK, so it won't be Apple White, and you'll still have to connect it to a computer with iTunes installed to upload stuff to it, but it might save you money and may get you out of a 'flat battery' problem...
Next step - to find a cheap alternative to the add-on Battery pack!
(I take no responsibility for any damage caused by this suggestion - you follow it at your own risk - though I seriously doubt that any damage will occur!)