How do I charge a completely dead battery in my Creative Zen Xtra MP3 player?

One unfortunate circumstance that every Zen Xtra owner has run into is a discharged battery, either due to use or non-use, that the unit refuses to recharge. This usually manifests itself as an endless EAX screen reboot loop even when plugged into DC charger power. If you only have one battery, there is no way to recover from this firmware aberration; you must buy a battery that is charged off the shelf.

But once you have bought a new battery, how can you recover use of your old battery and use it to make sure your unit never goes dead again?

Trying to power up with the dead battery will give you the EAX reboot loop. Also, if you try to swap batteries while the hard drive is running, the device will die from insufficient power. Even worse, if you wait until the hard drive spins down and then try to swap batteries, the unit will detect the swap and decide to do a partial reset, spinning the hard drive up and causing the unit to die.

The key is that you can only charge a dead battery with the unit powered off. Plug in the DC power cord, go to the main menu, then hold the power button until the unit says “Shutting down…” and goes blank. Unfortunately, there is yet another gotcha: if the battery in the unit is already fully charged, the charging logic turns off completely, and swapping the charged battery with a dead one will not initiate a charge cycle.

Therefore, you must do the following:

  • Allow a good battery to partially drain, i.e., down to 2 bars remaining.
  • Plug in DC power from the car or wall charger.
  • Power off the unit. (“Shutting down…”) You should see a charging icon in the lower left.
  • Pop the faceplate of the unit and quickly swap the dead battery.
  • You should then immediately notice the battery icon go to zero bars and continue charging.

Congratulations, after recharging the dead battery, you now have a spare battery with which you can bail yourself out of the above situation anytime needed in the future.

Too bad there’s no opensource firmware for the Zen Xtra (yet) to fix this incredibly idiotic firmware bug, since Creative has no interest at all in doing so.

3 Responses to “How do I charge a completely dead battery in my Creative Zen Xtra MP3 player?”

  1. Davide says:

    If you use a Dc charger power non-original, the problem disappear

  2. Judith Moore says:

    Need help in getting a battery to charge on a Creative Zen mp3 player. Do you have to send it somewhere to replace the battery or does it have to refurbished? Can not get enough charge to take the music off of it. Any ideas?

    Judith Moore
    Columbia, MO

  3. nemesis says:

    Hi Judith, if it’s a Zen Xtra you can buy a replacement battery here:
    If you follow the steps above you can just replace it by popping the front cover off.

    If it’s some other Zen model I wouldn’t know about that, sorry!

Leave a Reply