So you've received this notification on your beloved iPhone 3gs, "Charging is not supported with this accessory". I did recently. Soooo annoying, and the most irate part about it all was receiving that message when I plugged the oem chord into my phone via the wall charger.
I upgraded the iOS to 4.3.2 and shortly thereafter the problem started to emerge. Now my first thought was clean datdemderrrsonabitch out yo. I mean it had been two years of pocket lint and who know what else dwelling in that charge slot. So I blew out everything I could, then used a soft toothbrush for the stubborn stuff. For further measure I used an alcohol swab and made sure all of the contacts got a good rub and let dry. I plugged it back in... Yahtzee! It worked.
All was well in my world. I was getting the juice I desperately needed from the plug, and I could carry on playing Angry Birds and logging long bike rides again. Bliss.
Some time had passed, and poof like that it stopped charging itself again. And there I was... looking at that stupid yellow exclamation point again. I picked up the other phone and called Apple... Right after hearing that first automated voice system, I hung up with Apple. I shrugged off their Apple protection plan 2 years ago when I purchased my phone. I was already formulating my own CS talk track for genius bar repair...
Next thought was that it was software related as I had physically cleaned it and then had tried all sorts of different power plugs with no success. Frustrated, I left it alone and I started to research the webz about iOS power management and my ageing device. Nothing really good came up except people experiencing this same issue, a seemingly prevalent one.
This is when I began to think my phone was really on the verge of death. So I synced my phone immediately and then nervously started exploring contingency plans like buying another phone or upgrading my plan... but none of those options made economical sense with the new phone about to come on the market.
I hit the home button on dat weezing, coughing, stuffy, achy, iPhone and... Wait WTF? the yellow exclamation sign was still there but the charge was slowly taking, and my battery level was up a few percent. Certainly... A hardware issue.
Going for broke...
I was going to tear this iPhone apart and make it work. And that is exactly what I did.
Using this great tutorial on iFixit's website, it showed me how to disassemble the iphone 3gs step by step and safely remove the dock connector assembly from the phone.
I purchased another dock assembly connector from Amazon which actually was from this company Zeetron. The part was $11, and arrived pretty quickly as they were based out of New York. Now upon inspecting the new dock connector assembly there are markedly some differences between the two. The snap connector on the left of the assembly is different, and there is a sticker indicating it's made from somewhere, not present on the OEM part. The solders seem to have this white plasticky stuff on the chips, not nearly as clean as the oem circuitry. See picture below:
I swapped parts and then carefully reassembled my phone and powered it back on. As soon as my phone was ready I tried the wall charger and the little iPhone made that happy chirp when it's drinking tha' juice!
My signal was significantly weaker. Yep. That shitty non oem part was messing with my reception. Where I would normally have 2 bars I had zero, and sometime the bars would just fan if I was in an area that had high reception, and then switch to the edge network. Ugh.
I did a little bit more research and determined that the ribbon adhered to the back of the dock connector assembly is the gsm antenna for the device. -So very dissatisfied with my reception in this new non oem part which now powers my device, but cripples it at the same time... needed to be swapped with the OEM antenna which I then removed from the old dock connector. Be careful doing this because there is a little contact where the screw sits that seems fragile.
I opened my device up again and surgically removed the logic board and other components to be able to remove the new dock connector assembly and carefully peeled away the ribbon antenna and swapped it with the oem one. Twisted down the screws, made all the necessary connections, reassembled my device, powered dat pig up and shazZaam!
I can power my iPhone now and it has the same great reception!
In conclusion. Don't let AT&t, Verizon, or any ebay customer try to sell you another device or contract. Get the part and make the swap, it's pretty easy if you have the right tools. And save yourself the trouble by swapping the antenna if you suspect the part might not truly be oem.
Oh yeah anybody notice how Refurb'd 3gs' are available for cheap now?