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Apple battery charger troubleshooting

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Apple now sells AA rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. The batteries and charger are supposed to be much better than other rechargeable batteries, in various ways (follow link for details).

I picked up a couple packs of these a while back. (Each package contains one charger and six batteries.) This morning, after a bunch of frustrating attempts to get my Bluetooth keyboard to connect to various things, I finally decided to try swapping out the batteries in it for Apple batteries.

(Side note to Apple: When your only indicator is a single LED, it's awfully hard to communicate much information. Why not include a battery-charge indicator on your battery-powered devices?)

(Side note to the battery industry: When there's no indicator at all, it's awfully hard to communicate any information. Why not include a battery-charge indicator on your batteries? I've seen various attempts to build in battery testers, but none of them worked well.)

Unfortunately, the keyboard still wouldn't pair. So I decided to charge my Apple batteries; they've been sitting in a drawer for a long time.

I put two of them into a charger and plugged in the charger, and the LED on the charger started blinking red.

I wasn't sure what that meant, so I Googled it.

There's a page on Apple's discussion forum that allegedly discusses this issue, but Apple's discussion forum is down today, and Google's cached copy of that page contains nothing about blinking lights.

So I went and searched Apple's support site.

It turns out that when a company's main products are electronic devices that have built-in rechargeable batteries, and each such device has a power cord that can act as a battery charger, trying to find information in their support site about a product called "Apple Battery Charger" is just about impossible. Putting the term in quotation marks does not help.

I ended up doing a Google search that led me to the actual About Apple Battery Charger support page, which includes exactly the information I wanted:

It turns out that the flashing amber light (it looks red to me, but I'm partly color-blind) means there's something wrong with the batteries or the way you put them in.

So I unplugged the charger, took the batteries out of the charger, brushed off the contacts in the charger, put the batteries back in, and plugged the charger back in, and voila! It works now. (Steady amber light, which indicates that it's charging.)

So why am I telling you all this?

First, because the information is really hard to find, and I'm hoping that if I post it in a blog entry, complete with a link to the canonical page, people will be able to find it more easily.

Second, as an object lesson to people naming products and building support sites. If you don't provide an exact-string search function, and if one of your product names is extremely generic and all the words in it apply at least as well to a better-known product of yours, and if that product isn't listed in the support site's list of “all” products your company makes—well, it's going to be extremely hard for any of your customers to find support information about that product.

1 Comment

Precisely the info I needed - THANKK YOU!

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