Extending the Life of Your Bose SoundDock

SoundDock

A couple of weeks ago, my wife mentioned that her Bose SoundDock wasn’t working.   Of course I thought it was probably something minor.   The SoundDock is a high quality unit that you dock your iPod or iPhone to get great stereo sound.  I had purchased it for my wife 6-7 years ago and it had always been a strong performer.

I first tried my iPhone (because we’ve been having problems with her phone) and it didn’t work.   I noticed the connector was a little loose, but it didn’t seem loose enough to cause a problem.   So I google’d for information on the unit and found out that my situation isn’t uncommon.    I found a UK based company called Invebo that had information on how to determine the failing component and three replacement options.

The first step was to make sure the power adapter was working.   All this required was making sure the box on adapter chord was warm (mine was).    Next step was to plug an earlier generation iPhone/iPod into the unit to see if it would try to charge it.   If it did, then the Sound Processor was bad, otherwise it was the connector.   My daughter’s iPod Mini wouldn’t connect/charge when I placed it in the dock.

At this point, I knew it was the connector.  I was still a little skeptical because the amount of play in it was relatively small.    So I went back to the Invebo site to view the three options they had.  The cheapest option, was a replacement card that worked just like mine for $39.   The next option (Charge Upgrade) which would allow my wife to charge her iPhone when docked was $49.   You might think this wasn’t a big deal, but in our house with 3 iPhones, 4 iPods and an iPad, another charging option is a good thing.   The last option (Bluetooth Upgrade), allowed charging and the ability to connect to the SoundDock via Bluetooth.    I wasn’t sure how well this option worked, but as soon as I mentioned it to my wife, she was ‘sold’ on it.

I also noticed they carried a Cradle Support insert.   This seemed like a really good idea since it gives your device something to rest against, preventing movement when you press on the display, weakening the connector.

I ended up purchasing both the BlueTooth Upgrade and the Cradle Support.   They arrived in 4-5 days, via Royal Air – not bad considering it was from the UK.   The website had repair/installation videos showing what I needed to do.   The only tricky part was getting the old board off of the plastic mode.   I had to use an Exacto knife to cut the plastic post ‘heads’ off so the original board could be removed.   Doing so also allowed me to get a closer look at the backside of the board.   Sure enough, when I moved the connector, it clicked and I could see the original problem was cold solder — something I may have been able to repair on my own with a low wattage soldering iron.

Once I installed the new board and the cradle support, I tested my iPhone and it worked!   Then I tried turning on bluetooth on it but the new card  (innexis BC 7) wasn’t listed.   I had to find another video on their website to find out that I had to press both volume buttons to get the card into pairing mode.   Once I did that, the card showed up on my iPhone and I was able to get it work.

All this was helpful because a new unit would be $300-$400, and the replacement options ranged from $39-$79.   If I were to do this over, I would have first attempted to fix the original card and forego the charging and bluetooth options.   If I wasn’t able to fix the card, then I would have probably settled on the Charge Upgrade, because the bluetooth option doesn’t really work as well as I would have hoped.   I heard some faint electrical background noise when I use the bluetooth mode and I have to turn up the volume quite a bit.   I’m currently in contact with Invebo to see if there’s something wrong with the card, but my initial response from them implied I was doing something wrong.  We’ll see.

If you own a Bose SoundDock that’s stopped working all of a sudden, you should consider checking out the Invebo site at www.invebo.com.   -MC

5 thoughts on “Extending the Life of Your Bose SoundDock

  1. I realize this post is a few years old. What was your final conclusion about the Bluetooth? Were they able to help you improve the quality?

    I have exactly the same situation now, and was contemplating replacing The board simply to get Bluetooth

    • Larry,

      I was able to adjust the volume on the unit and our iPhone to compensate. My wife uses our unit all the time. So glad we got the Bluetooth as we eventually upgraded both our iPhones that have lightning connectors making the connector obsolete.

  2. Thanks for your review on Bluetooth upgraded for Bose Souddock Original.

    I’m considering to upgrade my dock too. By overall, for your opinion, is it worth to upgrade it for bluetooth ? (in term of sound quality and ease of use)

  3. I felt compelled to respond, given how little technical information exists about Invebo’s product, and availability and compatibility of competing alternatives that offer better bang for the buck, and have better specifications.

    The BC7 device works on the Bose Sounddock I Generation 1 with a Type A 12v firewire connector (serial number begins with serial no. “03570”), and Bose Sounddock I Generation 2 with a Type B 5v USB connector (serial number begins with “0498” or “052398”). Invebo makes two different versions of the BC7 depending on whether you have a 12v or 5v connector.

    The manufacturer’s website and e-mail response (in my personal experience) are vague as to the underlying bluetooth technology – I don’t think this is unintentional given the following. Invebo claims the BC7 uses the CSR bluecore 6 chipset, and does not have aptX. This will either be the BC6130 chipset which is Bluetooth 2.0, or the BC6140 or BC6145 chipsets, which are Bluetooth 3.0. According to CSR (which makes the bluecore chipset) website, bluecore 6 chipsets appear to be intended for mono headset applications. In defense of their technology, one of the design engineers from Invebo claimed that there is no perceptible difference in sound quality between docked and bluetooth streams.

    The BC7 may still be a great product, however unless Invebo is more forthcoming about its components and specifications, and has its products reviewed on well known independent websites (i.e. CNET, crutchfield), I would be weary parting with $75 (plus S&H).

    There are numerous alternatives that cost less, and appear to be better spec’d. These include the IDC-i4 ($30), which is Bluetooth 4 and aptx, BMR A2DP 2in1 ($30), which is Bluetooth 4, but no aptX, and CoolStream Duo BTR102 ($30), which is Bluetooth 3, and no aptX. All of these products work on 1st and 2nd gen models, and have good reviews on Amazon.

    If you have a 2nd generation model, you have alot more options. There is also the ZIO CSR Bluetooth 4.0 aptX ($20), and Layen I-dock 4.0 ($36), which also have good reviews on Amazon.

  4. I purchased and installed the adapter for the SD1 and am quite satisfied. Am now considering adding BT to our SD2 and will probably go the Invebo product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *