Q: I have a 3rd generation iPod. I love it and use it every day, but unfortunately my old wall charger was stolen. Seems like all of the after-market chargers don’t work with my older iPod. Can you suggest a replacement charger?
A: Unfortunately, chargers that are compatible with the third-generation iPod models have become particularly scarce. The third-generation iPod charged using a Firewire-based power source, which connects to different pins in the iPod Dock Connector as compared to a USB charger, which is not supported by the third-generation iPod.
Although FireWire cables can still be found on the Apple Store, the actual Firewire AC adapter does not appear to be available directly from Apple. If you have a powered Firewire port on your computer, or another power source with a Firewire port, then the standard Dock Connector to Firewire cable will suffice to charge your iPod using your computer or that particular charger.
Depending upon your computer, purchasing a FireWire adapter card might actually be a viable solution as well. FireWire PCI cards are available from many sources for around $20, and these do generally provide powered FireWire ports, and you would be able to both charge and sync the iPod this way.
Otherwise, your best option is to look at the older, used accessory market. Many older iPod speakers can still be used to charge a third-generation iPod, particularly if they advertise 3G iPod compatibility, and FireWire-based AC adaptors, whether specifically for the iPod or not, can probably be found on a number of sources for used equipment such as eBay or Craigslist.