Many Sony speakers, including the Sony SRS XB21 Bluetooth party speaker, feature a blinking orange light that tells you that the speaker battery needs charging, when it does. Sometimes though, this flashing happens even though you’ve just fully recharged the speaker, when it should not, assuming the battery recharged correctly. Thus in this piece, we offer reasons that this happens and possible fixes for this common problem.
Sony SRS XB21 Blinking Orange Light Problem: Causes and Solutions
It’s normal that this orange light blinks when the battery is almost entirely run down. This warns that the speaker has little play time left before it goes dead, and that you should charge the unit for continued play. But when the battery is not close to dying, this lamp is dark. Thus under normal circumstances, this light should be dark, whether the speaker is running or not, and you are not charging the unit.
But if the orange light continues flashing, even after a full recharge, then a few things might cause this. We detail these causes below.
Finally, this lamp may also blink orange three times when you press the Power button, but the speaker does not boot. In fact, after the three flashes, it turns off again. This means that the battery is completely empty and further use of the speaker is not possible until you recharge it.
1. Your Charger May Be Getting No Electricity
The auto or home adapter you’re using may not deliver any power because it is not receiving any to begin with. This can happen due to a broken AC or car circuit, tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, faulty wiring, power failure, Etc. This would be most apparent when, though you connect the speaker to power, this lamp does not light up solid orange or continues blinking orange.
Check that your outlet has power by testing it by plugging in a lamp or other device to it, to see if it works. Reset circuit breakers if tripped, and if the outlet has a light switch that controls it, then be sure that that switch is in the ON position.
2. Your Charger is Too Weak or Defective
The Sony SRS XB21 orange light may blink, perhaps, because the charger you have provides SOME but not ENOUGH energy. Or, its output power has dropped over time. The speaker requires at least 1,500 milliamps of charging current at 5 volts (7.5 watts) from the supply to fully recharge in the shortest time.
The solution here is to replace the power supply. Note that many USB adapters can deliver this amount of current. So you needn’t be too precise about which adapter to buy… at least not in terms of its power delivery specs. Still though, be sure to get a well-known brand for reliability. The speaker is getting ample charging current when the lamp glows steady orange and does not blink during recharging.
3. The USB Power Cord is Either Too Long, Too Thin, or is Defective
The USB cable can excessively limit the charging current the speaker receives, even if your power supply is working as it should. This might happen with excessively long or thin or corroded cables.
To solve this, use as short a cord as practical. Or, switch to a thicker, higher current handling cable. We suggest keeping cord lengths to six feet or less, and to choose a cable certified to carry at least 2.0 amps. When the light glows solid orange, this means that the speaker is getting at least the minimal amount of charging current it needs to recharge.
4. The Speaker’s Battery Might Be Bad
As lithium ion batteries age, they do degrade. That is, their ability to fully recharge in the specified time decreases, and the characteristics of the charging current they draw changes also. So you may notice that the orange light begins blinking after a shorter than usual time since the last recharge. Or, it may flash as soon as you disconnect the charger. This can mean that the battery is not accepting enough charge to register in the battery management circuits as no longer near empty.
To solve this, replace the battery, although you can’t easily get to it in the XB21. Note that the job of replacing the battery dictates that you dismantle the speaker. Furthermore, taking apart the speaker likely breaks the waterproof seal so that it no longer resists damage if you get water on it. Plus, defeating this seal could also negatively alter how the speaker sounds as well. So battery replacement should be done by someone who can get the right battery, and is able to restore the seal as they reassemble the speaker.
5. The Speaker Might be Defective when you See the Sony SRS XB21 Blinking Orange Light Too Often
Even if you have a large enough power supply and cable with a working battery, the charging current that actually reaches the speaker may be too high or too low. The can happen when the battery management electronics inside the XB 21 fail. These systems monitor the battery and shut off the charging current when they deem the battery as fully recharged. But when they develop defects, the battery might get no charging current at all, and thus never recharge. Again, in this case, the orange light might never stop blinking while the charger is connected. You would also notice the speaker not playing as long before going dead. Or it might not play at all except when you have the adapter connected.
The most effective solution here, given the relatively low cost of the XB21, is to simply replace it. Why? Because the circuits in this model are quite small. So unless you can confidently obtain and swap the system board(s), just buy another speaker to save yourself the headaches of doing this work on your own.
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- 2023-01-10: First posted.