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View Full Version : Tip of the Day: Never Leave Your Zune Connected to Your Xbox

Damion Chaplin
02-12-2007, 04:00 PM
When I learned that I could connect my Zune to my Xbox 360 and control it through the Dashboard, I though it was the coolest thing ever. Here I was about to spend $80 on the Zune dock and remote when all I really needed was an extra sync cable. And since the connection to the Xbox is USB, it was a nice bonus that the Zune's battery would charge while it was connected - just like when I plug it into my PC. So I connected my Zune to my Xbox and was happily playing my tunes using my wireless controller as a remote control. Then one morning I grabbed my Zune to sync up my daily dose of video, plugged it into my PC and was greeted by this screen:<br /><br /><img alt="" src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/zt/2007/TiredZune.jpg" /><br /><br />I have to admit I had never seen this screen before because I always charge the Zune when it gets to about 1/4-charge. In case you've never seen it either, this is the screen your Zune displays when you plug it in but it doesn't have enough power to boot the operating system. It displays this screen for a couple minutes before it shows you the familiar Zune boot screen, followed by the Zune main menu. Well, needless to say I was puzzled. I pretty much never let my devices get so low they give me critical battery warnings, and certainly not so low they won't boot. So I had a dead-tired Zune and a mini mystery on my hands...<br /><div style="page-break-after: always;"><span style="display: none;"> </span></div><br />It didn't take me long to realize what I had done. The evening before I had been listening to tunes from my Zune through my Xbox. When I was finished, I had simply shut off the Xbox. Of course, everyone knows that when you turn off your PC with your Zune still attached, your Zune simply turns itself off. This is apparently not the case with the Xbox. No, apparently the Zune continues to think it's connected after you shut of the Xbox, and stays on until its own battery dies. This is what had happened to my Zune the night before. Sure enough, I tested it the next day and got the same result. I turned off my Xbox with my Zune still connected to it and my Zune continued to think it was connected to the Xbox and stayed on:<br /><br /><img alt="" src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/zt/2007/StillConnZune.jpg" /><br /><br />So what's going on here? I had always figured that the Zune worked in much the same way any other rechargeable battery-powered device works: It switches to battery power when no A/C is present and if there's no activity, it shuts itself down. For example, If I had my Pocket PC connected to my computer, charging over USB and exchanging data over ActiveSync, and my PC unexpectedly shut off, my Pocket PC would know immediately that it was no longer connected to the PC over ActiveSync and that there was no longer a supply of A/C power coming in. It would immediately switch to battery, and if you weren't using it, would turn itself off after a set amount of time. The process requires no interaction or signal from the PC at all. <br /><br />So is it different with the Zune? Is it receiving a signal from Windows (and none from the Xbox) that's telling it to disconnect? That doesn't seem right. I can have the Zune Software open and syncing to the Zune, physically disconnect the Zune and the Zune knows it's been disconnected. Same goes for the Xbox: If they're both on, they both know when they've been disconnected. It seems to have to do specifically with the Xbox shutdown process. There must be something fundamental that the Xbox isn't doing during its shutdown sequence. Or maybe it's the way the power is distributed internally to the USB port (I could see the Zune continuing to think it's connected if there's a small trickle of power still going to the USB port).<br /><br />I don't really know enough about the way a Zune or Xbox 360 is constructed to know what's going on here. Maybe a reader more in the know can pipe up and tell me if I'm way off base here. In any case, the fact remains that <em>leaving your Zune connected to your Xbox when you shut down the Xbox will keep your Zune on until it drains its own battery</em>. Thankfully, we're talking about two products in the Microsoft techno-system, so it seems to me this issue could be fixed with a firmware update to both devices. Of course it's pretty easy to just remember to disconnect the Zune yourself when you shut off the Xbox, but there will be times when you forget, and in my opinion there's nothing worse than a Zune-less commute. ;-)<br /><br /><em> Damion Chaplin is a graphic artist and digital media connoisseur living in the San Francisco Bay Area with his lovely wife Lorri and His Most Imperial Highness Grimalkin (The Kitty). He often thinks the Zune/Xbox/MCE combination could be the ultimate digital entertainment experience if Microsoft would just get their act together.</em>

David Tucker
02-12-2007, 04:37 PM
This happenned to me and what I think is that there IS a trickle of power to the USB. Remember, you can turn your XBox on using the controllers. I'm assuming the wired controller does the same thing. To do that there has to be some power going to the USB at all times. And its obviously enough to trick the Zune into thinking it has enough power to operate.

02-12-2007, 07:04 PM
Ya, I noticed the same thing when I turned off the 360 an went to take out my Zune. I thought it was odd that it was saying it was connected when the 360 was off. It's not a big deal, but weird nonetheless.

02-12-2007, 07:59 PM
I had the same problem only I have not connected my Zune to my 360 yet, so I'm not sure that it is 360 related. I just reset it and it worked like a charm. Hope this helps.

02-13-2007, 12:56 PM
Of course, everyone knows that when you turn off your PC with your Zune still attached, your Zune simply turns itself off.

I disagree with this statement, but am mostly confused about it. When I shut down Windows Vista and my comp turns off, my Zune stays on. As well as everything atatched to it. I know the the computer is off because the light that indicates the power is off, it stops making noise, and my electricity bill isnt huge. And the only lights remaining are that of my printer, moniter, and surround sound system. But after a few minutes all three enter sleep mode from inactivity. The lights stay on but change from green to orange. I leave my Zune connected to the PC and listen to it while resting (my PC is close distance to my bed). It charges fine and stays on. I suppose this is a good thing but does not evryone's computer do this?

Aaron Roma
02-14-2007, 02:58 PM
It charges fine and stays on.
So you are saying that your Zune continues to charge, even after your PC has been shutdown? (And this is a complete shutdown, not some form of sleep/hibernation mode?) Is the Zune connected directly to the PC or a USB hub?

05-22-2007, 11:53 PM
I know this is a few months old, but that's the fun of just joining.

The 360 still stays on even when it is "off." That is why the Zune stays on. It doesn't supply enough power to charge the battery in this state, but enough to register that there is something there which is causing the battery drain.

The end.

08-18-2007, 02:32 AM
I don't know if this is right but I somehow got my Zune to charge (and it was really charged) when I plug it into my 360 (turned off). Will it damage my Zune's battery ?

Damion Chaplin
08-22-2007, 06:25 PM
Thank you brimnac.

nudawa, if your Xbox is truly off, and your Zune is truly being charged, then you have an odd phenomenon, but it shouldn't damage your Zune's battery.