Picture of the glowing party lights on the JBL Pulse 3 speaker.

JBL Pulse 3 Not Charging, How to Fix

Most JBL Bluetooth speakers, including the Pulse 3, offer portable operation via their lithium ion batteries inside. And when said battery dies, you can recharge the speaker with an AC or car adapter. Sometimes though, you may notice that the JBL Pulse 3 is not charging fully, or at all, even when you connect the adapter to power, and then to the speaker.  To solve that, we supply information here to help.

How to Tell that the JBL Pulse 3 is Not Charging

Read the Battery Meter

Among the ways you can tell that the Pulse 3 is not charging, is to read the battery status gauge on the front of the speaker.  Now the meter changes from white to pulsing red during play, to alert you that the battery is almost empty.

But there’s a problem if this flashing keeps going, even when you attach the charger.  Why?  Because the battery gauge should change at this point though, to blinking white, when you apply charger power.  When the gauge stops flashing red, this means that the speaker is getting some power from the adapter. But if the red blinking continues, then correct recharging is likely not happening.

Moreover, the battery gauge normally shows battery recharging status.  I.e. As long as charging continues, one of the progress lights in the meter flashes white.  And, as mentioned, the gauge fully darkens when charging is done.  But if the battery status meter is still blinking after several hours of recharging, then chances are, charging is not working correctly.

Feel the Heat

You can also feel the power supply’s case ten or fifteen minutes after connecting it to the speaker.  Then, it should feel warm.

The same with the speaker too.  Indeed, the speaker itself heats up a little also during correct recharging.  But you might have trouble discerning this particular heating because after the Pulse 3 has been playing a while, it warms, even when not charging.  So if you’ve been using your speaker, especially with the party lights activated, you may not be able to tell by feeling the speaker, if it is indeed charging.  But in any case, if you detect no warmth from the charger, then again, the JBL Pulse 3 is likely not charging.

Thus when you notice this, you’ll want to determine why, and how to fix this problem.  So in this piece, we offer reasons why the JBL Pulse 3 may not charge when you connect it to power.  Then we give possible fixes for this seen-often issue.

 JBL Pulse 3 Not Charging, Reasons and Fixes

As we stated above, it’s normal that the battery status gauge pulses red when the battery inside is almost dead.  But again, the light should switch to a blinking white when you connect the speaker to a working charger, and the charger to a power outlet, and battery recharging begins.

Picture of the flashing red battery meter on the JBL Pulse 3 speaker.
The flashing red battery meter on the JBL Pulse 3 speaker.

Normally though, this gauge glows white when the battery is not getting near dead or when it is charging.  It can look as follows thus.

Picture of the white glowing battery gauge, showing 60 percent full, on the JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth speaker.
The white glowing battery gauge, showing 60 percent full, on the JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth speaker.

Or, if the speaker is OFF when charging starts, and you don’t turn it ON during charging, then once recharging finishes, the battery meter goes dark. See this in the next picture.

Picture of the dark battery meter on the JBL Pulse 3 wireless speaker.
The dark battery meter on the JBL Pulse 3 wireless speaker.

If the meter is red, but does not change to flashing white when you plug the charger into the speaker, then several things might cause this. We list these below thus.

1.The Power Outlet May Not Be Energized

The Problem

The AC or car adapter for the JBL Pulse 3 may not output any energy because it is not receiving any to begin with. This can happen due to a defective circuit, tripped breaker, blown fuse, faulty wiring, power failure, and similar issues.

The Fix

Check that your outlet has power by plugging in a lamp or other device.  Then, reset circuit breakers if tripped, and if the outlet has a light switch that controls it, then be certain that that switch is in the ON position.  Or, simply try a different outlet.

2. The USB Adapter is Broken or Too Small

The Problem

The JBL Pulse 3 not charging can also happen because the adapter is outputting SOME but not FULL amperage to fully recharge the speaker, even though its receiving power from the outlet.

Now as these adapters age, their output energy can fall off over time. So this power supply might not deliver the correct amount if it is very old.   So you may see the speaker’s battery fullness gauge begin flashing white, but never go dark, as you would normally see at the end of charging.

Please note that this speaker needs 2.3 amps at 5 volts (11.5 watts) from the adapter to fully recharge in the specified time of 4.5 hours.  Yet charging will likely not go as fast as we hope if the charger does not deliver on these requirements.

The Fix

The solution is to replace the adapter, preferably one that has a USB-A plug and delivers the 5 volts at 2.4 amp (12 watts). Many typical USB power supplies meet these power requirements. But double check the one you plan to buy, to be sure.

3. The USB Charging Cable is Too Long, Too Thin, or is Broken

The Problem

The USB cable can limit the charging current too much, even if your power supply is working well.  This might happen with very long or thin cables.

The Fix

To resolve this, use as short a cord as will still work. Or, upgrade to a thicker, higher current cable. We advise keeping cord lengths to six feet or shorter, and to pick a cable that is certified to carry at least 2.4 amps for fastest speaker charging.

4. The Battery in the Pulse 3 is Defective

The Problem

As lithium ion batteries age, they lose their ability to fully charge, and the characteristics of the charge current they draw, changes as they get older.  Normally, as a battery recharges, it draws less and less amps from the charger as it fills. But in the case of cell failure, it may draw too many or too few amps, thus confusing the speaker’s charging circuits into behaving like no charging is occurring.  So the status lamp shows that charging is not happening, either by never stopping its white blinking, or never changing to white in the first place.

The Fix

To repair this, replace the battery. But understand that you likely will not easily get the old one out of the Pulse 3. Indeed, changing the battery means that you must take the speaker apart, and this can be a daunting effort.

Also note that doing this likely breaks the moisture seal.  So the Pulse 3 will no longer be safe to use, should you expose it to water afterwards.

Breaking this seal may alter the sound quality as well. So get someone to replace the battery who knows how to pick the right Pulse 3 replacement. They should also be able to restore the seal to as it was, as they reassemble the speaker.

A good battery should fit well inside the speaker and provide 3.7 volts at 6 amp hours, or 22.2 watt-hours. But we suggest using only JBL certified batteries for this speaker.

5. The Speaker Might be Defective when the JBL Pulse 3 Is Not Charging

The Problem

Even if you have the proper AC USB adapter, with a working battery in the speaker, the charge current that actually gets to the battery may be too low or too high.  This can happen when the battery management system inside the Pulse 3 goes awry.  Note that these circuits read the battery status, and switch off the charging current when they detect that the battery is full.

But when they go off kilter, the battery might see no power at all though the power supply itself is working well.  Thus, the speaker never recharges.  Again, in this case, the battery gauge might continue blinking white. You may also see that the speaker doesn’t play as long before running dead, if at all, until you connect the charger. Or it might not play at all, even with the charger connected.

The Fix

The best answer here, is simply to get a new JBL Pulse 3.  Why?  Because the electronics in this unit are quite small.  So unless you can replace the system board(s) yourself, or know someone who will do it for you, just buy another speaker to save a bunch of anguish.

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Other Posts About the JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth Speaker

  1. JBL Pulse 3 Reset Instructions
  2. Updating Firmware on JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth Speaker

References for JBL Pulse 3 Not Charging

  1. JBL Pulse 3 Official Product Page at jbl.com
  2. Where to Buy the JBL Pulse 3

Revision History

  • 2022-08-04: First posted.
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