Thursday, December 08, 2011

UP from Jawbone - Design flaw preventing charging?

I recently received an UP from Jawbone. It is a neat device. However, I don't think it beats the simplicity and convenience of the FitBit.

I like the reminder vibration you can program in to the UP. However, I have found problems getting the UP to sync with the iPhone app. It repeatedly comes up with SYNC Failed.

After a week of use the UP needed charging. This means you need to use the provided USB cable that connects to the UP. So I got the cable out and attached it to my MacBook and left it to charge. After an hour. No change in the charge level of the App. You have to plug it in to your iPhone and sync in order to find the charge level.

I tried moving the USB Cable to another machine and left it to charge for 3 hours. No change. Hmmmm.

So I went on line. It seems I am not alone. There are a number of people with UP Charging issues. 

I think I have found a reason. 

I put the UP and the USB charging cable back on to my laptop and I was looking at the UP. There were no lights to indicate it was charging. so with my laptop on my  lap I had the UP dangling. I pulled on the UP so that instead of being a circle it resembled more of a spiral. When the pressure was applied to put the UP in to a spiral shape the charging "flower" started glowing. I put my iphone on the UP so that it applied pressure to force the spiral shape and after 20 minutes I removed the UP and attached it to the iPhone and tried a sync. The normal sync failed but by going to change the activity alarm and then syncing I was able to get it to sync and it therefore told me the charging level upon completion of the sync. 

Yes, by applying pressure to the UP to make it a spiral shape the device would charge. You see the flower glowing as it charges.

Applying the same pressuring strategy when syncing with the iPhone through the headphone socket does not appear to make a difference.

It looks like the people that are experiencing issues with UP charging that there is a design or assembly issue. There must be a loose internal connection. One that only works when the band is put under pressure in a spiral shape.

It looks like UP may need to recall the initial batch of devices and reissue with a revised design that is more reliable,

To finally address some of the questions I have seen form people diagnosing the charging problem. I wear the UP with the end up on top of my wrist. I have not lost the cap (many people apparently do lose the cap - it is easy to displace when you are charging the UP.

If you are having trouble charging the UP try an experiment and connect the UP to the charging cable and apply some pressure s that the UP forms a spiral . Let me know if you see the flower light up and start glowing as it charges. I find that putting my iphone in to the spiral applies sufficient pressure to keep the spiral shape and allow charging to happen.

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