Bluetooth Headsets

Today (1 July 2008) California finally has a law on the books requiring the use of hands free devices when using a cellular phone and driving (rather than relying on the “distracted driving” law that has never really been enforce).

Since most of us responsible people have used hands free devices for years, and switch to Bluetooth for even greater safety and convenience as soon as phone were plentiful (and affordable) it doesn’t effect us.

However, since most Bluetooth headsets use non-replaceable Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Ion-Polymer batteries there is a problem that effects us.

Lithium-Ion batteries have a limited life; and unlike Nickle Cadmium or Nickle Metal Hydride the life of a Lithium-Ion batters is established (primarily) by it’s manufacture date (not it’s use pattern).  That means ever Bluetooth headset made three years ago is on it’s last leg (regardless of when you bought it).

Many of use have the Motorola H700 headset (which has been discontinued), it’s a great headset, good sound quality, a Bluetooth implementation that seems to work, and a mini-USB charging port so you can (likely) use the same charger as your handset (which is most important in your vehicle, where you probably don’t want multiple chargers).

Motorola headsets come with a 1-Yr warranty from the date of purchase; and interestingly enough the last headset I “purchased” was in February for my AllTel MotoQ, its the first of my three to become un-usable.

The symptoms you’re see are:

  • Talk time is substantially less than what it was when the headset was new (or just a week before for that matter);
  • The quality of the your voice (transmit) may be poor (it might sound garbled or clipped);
  • The headset will indicate fully charged quickly (it will go from red, to yellow, to green in five minutes or so).

Maybe you can replace the battery; but it’s not going to be easy to open up a unit like this, and probably most of the cells this headset uses was made three years ago (or so); which means a new cell isn’t guaranteed to fix the problem.

You can throw it away and purchase another (Bluetooth headsets are relatively inexpensive).  Remember, you can’t throw electronics in the trash, they contain hazardous materials and need to be properly recycled.

Or you might be able to get a replacement from Motorola (provided you have an H700 receipt that’s less than a year old).  You can get RMA information for Motorola at:  Contact Motorola Customer Support

The real issue is that newer Motorola headsets us a micro-USB power connector, not a mini-USB power connector like your handset probably has.  And at this time I’m unaware of anyone who makes an adapter or a Y-cable.

Also, just to be clear — this has to do with ALL headsets that use Lithium-Ion battery cells, not just Motorola, so don’t feel smug if you have another vendors headset.

I would suggest that you view your headset purchase as “disposable” in the future, since it’s unlikely manufactures will go back to replaceable cells.  My Nokia Bluetooth headset actually has a replaceable Nickle Metal Hydride battery — which probably costs more than a new headset, and I don’t have Nokia phones any longer so there’s no motivation to use it (it uses the same charge as Nokia headsets).

 

__________

To replace a Motorola accessory, use the following URL and phone number to get information. 

http://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/nss/replace_an_accessory.asp

1-866-289-6686

Originally posted 2008-07-01 00:00:38.