February 2013

Fender USB Stratocaster Guitar: Broken oddball cable connector

fender_usbstat_HA153The Squier by Fender USB Stratocaster Guitar is unique among Fender’s legendary guitar series for a couple of reasons:

1. It has a USB interface that lets it work with the iPad and iPhone.
2. It is only available through the Apple Store.
3. It has an oddball Apple 30-pin connector to mini-USB connector cable.

This last item has caused a bit of grief for a good friend of mine who is notorious for taking meticulous good care of his gear. This is the only 30-pin to mini-USB cable I’ve ever seen. So, if it breaks, it is difficult to replace (aside from using a Rube Goldberg collection of adapter cables). And, break is exactly what it did for my friend. You can see his photo below. The mini-USB connector completely disengaged from the cable.

Fender no longer even features a product page for the guitar. So, one has to wonder what is going on there. However, it is still listed as available through the Apple Store. So, my friend’s next step is to contact Apple and Fender to see if:

(a) This cable breakage is covered by some kind of warranty since the guitar was only introduced in November 2012 and my friend bought his a few months after that.
(b) If a replacement cable can be found anywhere.


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Nexus 4 charges wirelessly just fine with Energizer Qi charger


The Verge reported that the wireless inductive charger accessory for the Nexus 4 (which became widely available just recently itself) is now available for $59.99. I was giving it some thought as a possible purchase when I remembered that I had an Energizer Qi-Enabled 3 Position Inductive Charger (Amazon link) that I used tested with an iPhone 3G a couple of years ago. The Nexus 4 also uses the Qi wireless charging technology. So, it seemed like it should charge using the Energizer product.

Initial testing indicates that it does. Placing the Nexus 4 (in a case) on top of one of the two Energizer Qi pad’s charging areas started charging the phone after waiting a few seconds. You can see in the photo above that the Nexus 4 indicates it is, in fact, being charged while sitting on the Energizer Qi pad. The current Amazon price of the Energizer Qi pad is $68.24. So, it is $8.25 more than the custom dock for the Nexus 4. However, it can charge two Qi devices at the same time. And, it is not limited to the Nexus 4 form factor.

Disclosure: Energizer provided the charger, a charger case for a BlackBerry, and a charger case for an iPhone 3G for evaluation.


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