Griffin PowerJolt for iPhone 3G

A few people have been asking me about car chargers for the iPhone 3G so I thought I’d post a quick note about what I’m using.

First of all, be careful what you plug your shiny new iPhone into! Plenty of things are meant for iPods only and can actually fry your iPhone. Many iPod accessories do work with iPhones but unless you want to try out the warranty replacement program, do a quick google search about whatever device you are hoping is compatible. You’ve been warned!

Secondly, many old iPod accessories (and some 1st gen iPhone ones) use firewire as their method of powering/charging. Apple switched to USB power fairly recently so this is why many of these older devices won’t work with a newer iPod or iPhone. You will most likely get some variation on this message “This accessory is not compatible with your iPhone”.

You should be able to use any USB based car charging device – basically it’s a cigarette adaptor that has a USB port on the end. These tend to come with many gadgets these days – one came with a kit for my Nintendo DS, another with my GPS, etc. Simply plug in the USB cable that came with your iPhone 3G and you should be good to go. I didn’t want to have to lug that cable around so I simply picked up the Griffin PowerJolt (version 2) on my last trip to the Apple Store for $20. It comes with the USB plug and a black USB to Dock cable.

Griffin PowerJolt
The ring around the USB port lights up green when powered.

Griffin PowerJolt
and red when charging.

Griffin PowerJolt
and here it’s connected in the car to my iPhone which is sporting my new green Speck PixelSkin cover and sitting in my Palm ‘Universal PDA holder’ which previously held my Treo 650.

So far so good…it completely charged my iPhone while driving home tonight.

Update: The PowerJolt works fine with my iPhone 3GS.

9 Comments

  1. Michael Kwan says:

    Griffin also has the PowerDuo Universal, which includes both the PowerJolt and a dual USB wall charger. The kit doesn’t include the cable, however.

  2. Sweet! Thanks for the tip John! I’ll see if I can find one of these at a local future shop or best buy I guess.

  3. Cecilia Takein says:

    Hey John — where did you get that nifty green case? You mention its a Speck Pixel skin. I love that color!

  4. John says:

    I got it at the Apple Store…cost $25 and it comes in a bunch of different colours. Pretty sure it would bounce if I dropped it – it’s very NERF like and soft.

    Speck PixelSkin

  5. John Kauble says:

    Hi, I just purchased a PowerJolt V2 for the iPhone to use with my new iPhone 3G…

    Although it does seem to charge the iPhone 3G if the phone is in standby, when I used for a 5 hour trip using the GPS the phone steadily discharged and then died at about the 5 hour mark.

    I also notice that the light on plug never changes from Red/Amber to Green. I even tried using the PowerJolt when I knew that the iPhone 3G was fully charged and it still had the Red/Amber light…

    Hvae you noticed any of this??? I have the 2.1 version of the firmware….

  6. John says:

    I’ve used mine in the car on a roadtrip and haven’t had any discharge issues like you described.

    The green/red light doesn’t seem to change with any consistency and certainly not when done charging….saw this today while driving home.

  7. Daniel says:

    I purchased a PowerJolt V2 before my trip to San Francisco and Hawaii. I’ve never been to either location so I used the GPS all the time. I experienced the exact same issues as John Kauble experienced. From what I have read the PowerJolt V2 will only put out 500mA if everything on the iPhone is active (i.e. GPS & 3G) the phone needs more current and the phone will slowely discharge even though it is connected to power. 3 times on the trip my phone died while it was connected to the charger. I’ve also read the older PowerJolt for iPod/iPhone would put out 1000mA and works fine.

  8. Ford says:

    I have this charger and have tired it on my 3GS and it comes up with a warning saying “this accessory is not made to work with the iphone” when i choose to not turn on flight mode it starts charging but seems to turn off the sound of the iphone…have you had this issue?

  9. John says:

    Ford: I haven’t had that issue…perhaps you have a slightly different model (older/newer)?

    I have seen sometimes when plugging into any dock cable or device, if you don’t do it straight on, sometimes that message pops up – I suspect it’s a pin touching another briefly when connecting and basically causing a false error message. Simply reseating the iPhone fixes everything.

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