Strange charging behaviour of Sony Reader

Despite pretty impressive battery life – which is btw *nowhere* in the range of advertised 7500 page turns – over period of few months I have noted that the charging of the reader behaves kind of funny. Sometimes, even after being plugged-in for 24 hours, the battery indicator stubbornly stays on two squares out of four. Other times, right after connecting, it jumps right to full charge.

It is hard to really measure these things as the battery depletion is very slow on reading and I do not really listen to music on this device (that’s what iPods are for). I am not the only person who noticed this behaviour – Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte, who enhanced my favorite podcast Security Now!  to be an unofficial eBook Sony Reader news exchange 🙂 have seen the same thing (search for Sony). Btw, Steve and Leo – thanks for doing the eBooks plugs – I appreciate that a lot …

One possible explanation is that the problem is more in indication, not in charging. The software running the Reader (Linux) may get confused about what is the actual state of the battery – because even if the charge shows one half, it does not seem like the battery was indeed half empty.

Maybe what would help is to create few charge-discharge cycles by running the MP3 player which should use the battery in matter of hours, not days. I will try it out when I get to it – unless the next software update fixes the flaw (if it indeed is a software problem).

20 Responses to Strange charging behaviour of Sony Reader

  1. stephen says:

    have had charging problems had reader plugged in all day but it has not charged or at least shows no charge? and is now stuck in the warnig! message and i can do nothing with reader seems like it is frozen? help!

  2. McKay says:

    I’ve noticed the same problem … did you ever find a cause / explanation / resolution?

  3. Vito says:

    I have the same problems with my PRS-600.

    I’ve left it connected to a mini-USB charger and after about 10 hours I found the battery completely drained. The same happens if I connect it to my computer’s USB port.
    Now, with a PSP-type charger, I can get the battery to charge to 3/4 but I cannot get a full charge.
    What’s the problem with these devices? Is Sony no more capable of making a simple battery charger circuit?
    I’m very disappointed.

  4. Francisc says:

    I run into this problem. I’ve connected the reader to USB but led indicate no charge. Did you tried to reset it. Connect the reader to USB and while is connected do a reset. I found the answer here:
    A reset seams to solve the problem. Right now the reader is charging. Hope this help you.

    • Kaya K says:

      Same thing just happened to me after 1 month. That document worked for me! Follow all the steps! Thanks Sony (I think….a product that just plain old works would be nice, too, of course). And thanks Miro/Fransisc!

    • AB says:

      Hi , This link is most useful!! Thanks. My reader was not starting up and I was having charging troubles. I followed the steps in the link and it worked.

  5. Randy says:

    I have tried two USB wall chargers and both of them drained the battery, instead of charging it. I am able to charge it only by using my computer’s USB, which would be a problem when traveling. I wonder if Sony didn’t follow the USB wiring standard.

    • Rembrandt says:

      I have also had my reader drained while using wall chargers. What is the problem? Anyone know?

  6. Twanda Gut says:

    While I wasdoing some browsing and noticed your blog appears a bit messed up in my IE6internet browser. I think I’m the only one still using it….

  7. MB says:

    I had the same issue, tried charging through usb on my windows vista machien where I have the reader software installed didn’t worked. Use a usb charger (2 in fact) that plugs directly into the wall as well didn’t charge.

    Finally, I was able to charge it by using a usb cable connected to my linux machine… Not sure if that will help a lot of people but surely something is wrong here. Pretty sure I tried with that cable on the vista host, but will try again next charge cycle.


  8. Rembrandt says:

    I charged my reader with a wall outlet for USB and rather than charge, it completely drained the battery. I recharged it on the computer. I later tried it with another USB wall charger and it also drained the batter completely. Can you explain why this is happening?

    After a long discussion of how the Reader holds a charge perfectly and how it charges perfectly when connected to the computer, I finally got them to understand that when connected to the AC Outlet USB charger that rather than charge the battery, it drains the batter. I mentioned that others are experiencing the same problem. I then received this reply: They gave me a link to a page which tells how to charge a SONY product in a foreign country. Did I miss something here? I responded to SONY that I did not need information or charging a Sony product in a foreign country and commented that I assumed they have no idea why the AC USB adapter is draining the battery of the Reader. Oh well, it was only 30 minutes wasted. Oh, they closed out by telling me that my chargers were not recommended by Sony. I made one final attempt to get them to tell me why this is happening but they had no answer. In other words, they are not going to tell, do not know, or do not care, or maybe like SONY has been doing since the days of BETA tape for video recording, they want to force you to buy their accessories. Their final line: “It is recommented to use AC-S5220E AC Adapter for the Reader.”

  9. Rembrandt says:

    CHARGING THE SONY READER – one final note. I was digging through my bag of chargers, wires, etc, and found my old PSP charger. Low and behold, it outputs the exact same voltage as the charger sold for the SONY Reader. I plugged it up (not in the USB jack of course but in the power jack) and it began to charge beautifully. In addition, I can have it turned on and in use while charging. Perhaps some of you have that old PSP charger around and it will work for you.
    WARNING: I do warn you to look up the specs for the charger SONY makes for the SONY Reader and be 100% sure the specs are identical for output voltage as that on the PSP charger that you may own. I am still not sure why the AC USB Adaptor does not work with the Reader, but Sony will never tell us. With my PSP charger working, I am content.

  10. Andre says:

    I had the same problem, where the battery would be dead after only 2 or 3 books! That’s maybe a few hundred page turns. The Sony’s repair team told me there was a faulty battery assembly, and replaced it. Now it does other random things like taking up to 20 minutes to load, even though new content was not added, random huge (2GB) files appearing with weird names in the files list, not loading collections, etc. It seems to me this device needs some time and fixing before it becomes reliable.

  11. Don says:

    I have a problem, with the Sony Reader touch PRS-600.
    When charging, from either computer USB, or an external kensington battery pack. The charge reaches halfway with the red LED showing. Then the reader turns on, showing ‘USB connected’ and the charging LED goes out.

    Happens every time the charge in the reader gets to halfway charge point. The problem is I don’t know for sure if it is continuing to charge or not.

  12. Rick says:

    When left plugged in for more than 2 hours on charger or 4 hours via computer, the reader goes into battery (overcharging) protection mode as the battery is “new battery technology” according to my somewhat recent conversation with one of thier csr’s. Apparently even though we have charged the reader overnight more times than I can count with no ill effects, the reader automatically discharges the unit to protect the reader and battery. Since this started happening (about 3 months ago), the reader has never fully recovered but it does last a several days before needing recharging. Sure enough though I forgot to unplug it and it was dead again and I’m back to the drawing board getting it to hold a charge.

  13. Peter says:

    I have the same problems but I think this is because the i-reader only charges from my pc when the pc is active. If I go away and do something else, and the pc goes into its usual power-saving hibernation, then I think it stops charging the battery.


  14. Keith says:

    On a number of times my PRS-650 has indicated very low charge. By experimentation I found that when I plug a USB charging cable into a USB 1.1 socket (an older hub) it would not charge however a USB 2.0 charged it properly (I thought they were power compatible). Same when I use the USB cable into a wall charger … it would not charge … there is definitly something different in the type of USB sockets

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