I recently acquired a Surface Power Cover for my original Surface Pro to ensure I had enough device juice during periods away from power sources during TechEd 2014. Though the Power Cover is bulky and weighs just about the same as the Surface device itself, the extra battery was worth it and I’m using it every day now.
I recently started experiencing charging issues with the Power Cover – or at least I just started noticing that I do have an issue. At night, I shutdown the Surface Pro completely and let it sit charging so it’s fully ready to go in the morning. But, I noticed that the Power Cover never charges. I considered that my Power Cover is faulty and may need to be replace, but after checking a few threads in the Microsoft Surface forums, it appears I’m not alone.
In the original Power Cover documentation it stated that the Power Cover would charge in all circumstances:
Surface and Power Cover will charge whether Surface is on or off, as long as Surface is connected to a power source and Power Cover is connected to Surface.
The text has since been changed because the Power Cover WILL NOT charge if the unit is off. So, Microsoft originally thought that the Power Cover would charge when the device was connected to a power source no matter what state the Surface happened to be in, however, they were wrong and have since had to adjust the documentation. It seems even Microsoft support was duped.
For the Power Cover to actually charge it must either be powered on and active or in sleep or standby mode. To me, that makes no sense and is not what I originally expected, based on the state of documentation when I purchased the device. Some in the forum thread have become upset enough to return their Power Cover. I’ll keep mine, but will have to figure out a better way to manage charging.
It does make sense when you think about it, though. The Power Cover requires a special driver so the Surface device can recognize it. When the Surface is powered completely off that driver is no longer running and the Surface has no idea that the Power Cover is attached.
Another problem, particularly for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, is that the unit will shutdown all by itself after a specific period of time to better conserve battery life. So, I’ll have to figure out a way to stop that from happening just so the Power Cover will have enough time to charge completely. I’ll end up adjusting the Power Settings in Windows 8.1 so that the Surface never shuts off when running on power, however, that also means it will take longer for the Power Cover to charge.