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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    2012 Prius 3/Solar roof.

    FYI iPhone4 will not do internet access via Bluetooth, only if it is plugged in via USB port. Android and Blackberry phones can do internet via Bluetooth. That's an Apple crippling the iPhone issue not a Toyota issue.

    Problem is the Toyota USB port is underpowered and my iPhone case which includes a booster battery (Mophie and CaseLogic make them) gets an error from the Prius "USB using too much power will turn off" and it shuts off the USB access. My Ford Escape Hybrid USB had no such problem.

    Would this be a setting in the Prius computer that could be programmed to accept the iPhone battery case power draw? These are all to computer USB voltage/amperage standards so it is purely a Toyota issue in underpowering the USB port below industry standards.
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    macman408 Devil's Advocate General

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    I wouldn't be surprised if the case maker took some shortcuts in implementing the USB spec. It's also possible that they're designed to different versions of the spec, though I think in general later versions are designed so that devices won't cause any trouble when plugged into devices designed to earlier versions of the spec.

    To be more specific, USB allows a device to draw 100 mA when it's first plugged in; to get more, it has to communicate via USB to the computer, and ask for more (500 mA, on a typical USB port). It's possible that the case isn't asking for this extra power. Some USB ports and the iPhone charger can actually give up to 1 A, so it's also possible that your computer is capable of supplying this, but the car isn't, and the car is detecting that the charger is drawing too much power when it tries to suck up as much as possible. The iPad charger can go even higher; 2 A.

    As far as why it won't connect via Bluetooth, at least for straight internet access (e.g. for a laptop), the iPhone can tether via Bluetooth just fine, in addition to USB and Wi-Fi. And I know I've played games that work by sending data over Bluetooth, so apps can access Bluetooth too. So it's not like Toyota (well, Denso, I assume?) had no way of making 100% handsfree work...

    In any case, there's probably not much you can do about it, unless you want to get creative. (e.g. rig up a crazy cable that grabs power from a dumb charger on the power port, but sends the USB data to the USB port, leaving its power unconnected. No guarantees that'd work, or that it'd be safe for either the car or phone, though.) Or, you can remove the case, find a different case, etc. Some such cases have a standby switch - if yours does, will it keep the case from charging itself, or does that just prevent the case from charging the phone?
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    Muzzman1 Junior Member

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    Hello,
    On my 2012 Entune 6.1 Nav unit, I am able to "tether" my iPhone 4S to my car via Bluetooth. I have a tethering plan. Whenever I make an internet request on the car, it creates a connection with the phone while in my pocket. They connection remains until I turn the car off.
    Once the connection is made all internet based features (traffic, pandora bing etc) all function through the Bluetooth WITHOUT the Entune app on the iPhone.
    Also, then I plug my iPhone into the port directly, it does in fact charge. If I turn off the tethering on my phone I do get internet on the car via the cable as expected.
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    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I get the same error message on my Android Galaxy S.
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    The Ford Escape Hybrid USB had no issues with the identical USB iPhone case.

    Mophie had never heard of the problem before so it must be new to the 2012 Prius. Mophie took my case back to look at it to make sure it is not defective. The new CaseLogic had the same issue. It would seem that Toyota USB is not up to USB standards since the iPhone batteries work with all laptop USB's.

    Ford no issues, Macs, Netbooks, Laptops no issues. Toyota...issues.

    On the iPhone's not connecting via Bluetooth, it states that in the Entunes and Toyota manual, Androids and Blackberry's connect to the internet via Bluetooth but the iPhone requires the USB.

    As Muzzman1 notes, this is likely an Apple/ATT scheme to force customers to buy the Tethering plan from ATT while the Bluetooth and Android phones let Bluetooth connected users just use their data plans vs. paying twice for the same data connection which is what Apple/ATT are doing.

    But since the iPhone will allow internet access connected via the Toyota USB it really comes back to Toyota causing issues with a likely substandard USB or a computer program that shuts off the USB, likely when it get the signal you mention that the device wants more than 100mA and Toyota incorrectly shuts it off.

    A slight work around. On the CaseLogic, if I turn off the "Charge Phone from CaseLogic battery", the Toyota does not give the "Too much power warning".

    Or I can go Muzzman1's route and purchase the tethering.

    Thanks to you both for good answes.
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Now that is interesting. Per Toyota, the Androids should be able to connect via Bluetooth.

    In your case, you could charge the phone via a cigarette lighter powered USB port and use the Bluetooth internet connection.

    Will the Android Galaxy connect the Toyota to the internet via the Bluetooth connection?
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    iPhone by itself via USB does work as advertised. It is the extended battery pack cases (Mophie, CaseLogic) that cause the Toyota to say "USB drawing too much power".
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    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I'm sorry I should have been more clear. I can connect through Bluetooth. I get the power consumption message when I try to connect the Android phone via USB. Entire is rather finicky so I often cannot even connect to the Internet and thus cannot use Pandora. I think I am figuring out the routine required to make it work, however.

    This includes turning off Bluetooth prior to entering the car. Then trying to shut down Entune app on the phone. Starting the car than turning on Bluetooth and starting the Entune app. Then I pray.....
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    macman408 Devil's Advocate General

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    One thing I've learned about electronics is that when somebody (e.g. a case-maker) doesn't follow the spec, it still works most of the time with most devices (e.g. an Escape). But, sometimes, it doesn't work with another device that is following the spec (e.g. the Prius).

    I'm not saying it's not Toyota's fault, or that it definitely is a problem with the case - though I would expect Toyota to have many more engineers working on this sort of thing than a case manufacturer would. I just don't think that there's any certainty that it's a problem with the car.

    Of course, then there are the times that, even when two manufacturers follow the spec absolutely to the letter, their devices still don't work together, because the spec is fundamentally broken. That happens too. Then everybody gets really angry and argues over who is right and who is wrong. Hilarity ensues.
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    If you are connecting the phone directly to the Prius via USB, not using one of the extended battery cases, then there is definitely a problem with Toyota's USB not being to USB specifications either hardware wise or software wise.

    I'm thinking it is more of a software issue. Likely the Toyota computer gets the standard signal for additional power from the USB devices and instead of providing more power or simply ignoring the request, the Toyota computer freaks out.

    And it does freak out. Mine will cycle all over the place, shutting off the USB, turning it back on, asking for instructions like "Use your phone for internet", turning the audio off and on, generally going haywire, working fine and then shutting off with error messages, then repowering.

    There are other issues, the XM Traffic overlay for the nav is not working. XM, looking at the radio remotely said that Toyota have to do an upgrade to allow the XM traffic to work on the radio.

    When I get that fixed, I'll ask them about fixing the "error message" about power on the USB.
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    In this situation, the case(s) work with ALL other USB devices EXCEPT the Prius so it would seem most likely that Toyota is out of spec vs. the world.

    Also we see examples of some other phones getting the same USB error message without using the battery cases.

    It also sounds like a new problem only seen on newer Prius's with the different system. Also pointing to a specific Toyota product that has a problem.
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    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I am using a simple USB to mini cable. I receive the message about power consumption but that is all that happens. The phone continues to charge and everything seems to work but I need to double check that it is not switching to Bluetooth when that happens. I'll turn Bluetooth off and try it again on Monday.
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    PlasticHead Junior Member

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    This is no doubt exactly the case. Toyota chose to limit power draw to something like the 500ma Macman proposes and they won't allow you to draw more. They've decided for reasons of the circuit the USB port uses or size of wiring or whatever that the most your going to draw is what a iPhone 4 or whatever draws and that's it, your battery case draws more than that limit and the car blocks it.

    I'll bet if you hook an iPad up to it it won't charge it either, if I remember I'll try tomorrow.

    Bill
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Be interesting to see what happens with the iPad. It doesn't say it is a limited USB port. Even if Toyota wants to limit the power draw, then just limit it vs. shutting the whole system down.

    It's only really an issue with iPhones since they can't use the Bluetooth internet connection and must use the USB. Then only an issue with subset of users with iPhone battery packs.

    If not for the Apple or ATT or Toyota issue of limiting the iPhone's Bluetooth capability vs. Android or Blackberry's, it would be a non issue. Just plug the iPhone with booster case into a 12V power outlet/USB adapter and let it talk Bluetooth to the vehicle.
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    macman408 Devil's Advocate General

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    It's not really "limited". The original USB spec in 1994 said that devices could draw 100 mA, and could request up to 500 mA in 100 mA increments. The device supplying the power did not have to be able to provide power, however, and is allowed to decline the request. Some devices, like unpowered USB hubs, will never supply more than 100 mA.

    These days, it's a lot more complicated - "normal" ports still go up to 500 mA, but some devices can also have a "charging" port that supplies 900 mA during data transfer, 1.5 A without any request for extra power, and 5 A maximum (though that's rare). When a device draws more power than the host can supply, the host is allowed to disable the port.

    Apple is pretty notable at stretching the specs a bit; they make devices that comply to the spec, but also provide provisions outside the spec to allow for extra power when plugged into a USB port on a Mac that can supply the extra power. (For example, the MacBook Air can power a special Apple optical drive from the USB port, but no other computers - even other Macs - can.) They're also generally very good at making sure that their devices still adhere to the spec when connected to non-Apple products, though.
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    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Not an Apple issue since the iPhone by itself works fine via the Prius USB port. No doubt the iPhone battery cases ask for more power but that is not a problem on other car USB ports or any known computer or vehicle just Prius and apparently just more recent ones. Fine if Toyota wants to limit the power to 100mA but Toyota should not go haywire if devices ask for more power as it is part of the USB standard.

    So the USB power is definitely on Toyota.

    My workaround was to enable Tethering/Personal Hotspot on the iPhone via ATT ($300 a year) and now the Prius and the iPhone do the Bluetooth internet connection without having to take the iPhone out of its case or plug it in to USB.

    Still having issue with Toyota not being able to read most of the iPhone Phonebook contacts.
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    psusi Junior Member

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    It's the case. I'm sure they just tapped the power line in the USB port and pass the data lines directly through to the phone. That means the phone is only asking for as much power as it is going to draw, and the case steals some more. This is a violation of the usb spec, so the prius shuts it down. It works in most other hubs because most don't bother to measure how much power the device is *actually* drawing and shut it down if it takes more than it has been authorized to.

    Can you try to fully charge the case ( but not the phone ), then plug it in? I'll bet that works, since it won't be stealing extra power.
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    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    This is the way USB limits power to a device that tries to grab more current than it is allowed. The port gets shut down. If the host tried to throttle the current without shutting down the port, the supplied voltage would fall below spec and cause additional problems.

    Several of my home machines predate the USB Power spec, and don't hesitate to shut down offenders that draw excess current without asking.
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    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    There are 12v powered USB hubs that can be interposed between your Prius and the offending USB devices.

    JeffD
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    sharol46 Junior Member

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    I get the same message with my Sandisk Fuze mp3 player. It isn't a crippling problem because I can use the audio port, but I'd like to be able to charge the player using USB. Oh well.

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