Posts tagged “battery”.

Newton support articles still hosted on

July 8th, 2009

Browsing through eMate battery and recharging articles, I came across Apple’s Power On Procedure After Extended Storage support post. It goes on to describe how to reset your eMate 300 if the battery fails to show a correct charge, and quotes from the eMate 300 User’s Manual.

It’s amazing to me that Apple still hosts these how-tos from, what, 12 years ago? I’ve found a few Newton-related articles this way, and all of them have been helpful.

None of the articles are updated by Apple anymore, of course. But the fact that Apple still hosts them is a benefit to the Newton community – especially new MessagePad and eMate users who are trying to get the basics down.

Maybe a full linked list, with all the support posts, would be helpful.

Get handy Newton info with NewtTest

June 1st, 2009


After installing a new battery pack in my Newton eMate 300, I wondered about the pack’s abilities: how long did it take to charge? How could I find its exact charge capacity? How long would it take to discharge?

Thankfully, I found a super-useful application (thanks to Tony Kan) to find all this out: Frank Gruendel’s NewtTest.

NewtTest is an all-in-one information source for any Newton ever created, from the OMP to the MessagePad 2100. As Frank says:

NewtTest will only show tests that make sense on the particular machine it is running on (you won’t, for example, find the backlight test on an OMP). Hence it will look different on different Newton models.

Once you install NewtTest on your Newton, you have access to tons of great tidbits of data. From the most detailed, like the above screenshot under “System Info,” to a “Backlight” feature that simply lets you turn your backlight-capable Newton on or off.


For my own use, the “Battery” section showed my eMate’s capacity, temperature, and voltage. It also recognized the type of battery pack I installed as an Apple NiMH rechargeable pack. Gruendel’s attention to detail here is impressive, and much-appreciated.


Another benefit is the “Clock” feature. If you’ve ever had to reset your Newton’s clock (on OS 1.x models) or calendar date (on any Newton), you know how frustrating it is.

NewtTest makes it simple by letting you pick the year first (above) and then worry about the date. Since my eMate was constantly running out of juice, I spent a lot of wasted time resetting the date by scrolling through the months and years (usually starting with 1997). NewtTest’s “Clock” feature becomes a big time saver.

Other “Test Types” in NewtTest, like testing the sounds on your Newton (cuckoo!) and calibrating the digitizer, are so helpful I wonder how I’ve lived without them.

For instance, my eMate’s screen shows a few faded or missing pixels on the right-hand side of the screen. With NewtTest’s “LCD Display” test, I can show a fully black screen, or a series of horizontal lines. It turns out that my eMate has a vertical line of faded pixels running the entire length of the screen. That’s not good news, but it’s worth knowing.

Gruendel has developed a few other applications for the Newton, but NewtTest is so practical that no MessagePad or eMate user should be without it.

How to: Install a new Newton eMate battery pack

April 13th, 2009

Newton eMate 300 - materials

The Newton eMate 300 is a great machine. Small, portable, rugged – a sort of proto-netbook that lets you type on the go. And the battery life is great if you have a working, rechargeable battery with plenty of juice.

When my eMate came, I found out right away that the battery pack was probably the original. It held a charge for about three minutes. So while it’s handy to pop a few fresh AA batteries into a MessagePad and be back up and running, the eMate relies on its single battery pack. If it goes, you’re stuck with replacing it, building a new one from scratch, or keeping your eMate plugged in at all times.

I opted for the simplest solution: buy a new battery pack on eBay and installing it myself.

To start, I grabbed a new eMate battery pack from PowerBook Guy, a Torx wrench (I actually took my eMate into the hardware store to get the perfect-sized wrench), my eMate, and some starting instructions from Frank.

Newton eMate 300 - take this off

The first step is to flip your eMate over. See that half-circle hatch near the handle (above)? That’s what you’re taking off.

Newton eMate 300 - unscrew

There are just two screws to remove on the cover, and they’re both at the top.

Newton eMate 300 - take off the cover

I left the screws in their slots as I lifted the cover off so I wouldn’t lose them. Now you see the good stuff: a few memory slots and the battery.

Newton eMate 300 - battery resting spot

The battery pack isn’t bolted to the eMate; it simply rests in a little trench, with a wire attached to the circuit board.

Newton eMate 300 - disconnect

This is the most delicate of the steps: pulling the battery connection cable away from the circuit board. Be careful, and use something (I used my fingernail) to wedge the connector away from the plug-in.

Newton eMate 300 - put in the battery pack

From here, pull the battery pack out of the eMate. The actually battery pack fits snugly inside the holster, but slides right out.

Newton eMate 300 - battery pack tray

Here’s what the empty battery tray looks like inside the eMate. The soft pads keep the battery pack case from sliding around inside the Newton.

Newton eMate 300 - battery pack inside casing

Slide your new battery back inside the protective casing, with the connection wire sticking out of the right-hand side.

Newton eMate 300 - plug in

Now carefully slide the connection wire into the circuit board until it snaps tight. A little push on the white part will be plenty.

Place the battery case inside the eMate, replace the cover, and tighten your screws. That’s all.

I plugged my eMate in and let it charge a whole day, and now it’s like I have a whole new eMate. A fully-charged battery pack should last you for days, even with heavy usage.

The battery pack cost me about $20 (plus shipping) on eBay. There are some DIY die-hards who are all about making their own battery pack, but the soldering made me nervous. Maybe someday I’ll give it a try. This solution, however, worked fine for me.

Now my eMate is truly portable because I don’t have to worry about keeping it plugged in at all times. Replacing the battery pack was a cinch, too, and took all of about five minutes.

Opinions needed: NuPower iBook G3 batteries any good?

November 18th, 2008

I read about NuPower’s replacement batteries for clamshell iBooks a few months ago, and they would make a great Christmas present to myself.

But I’m wondering: does anyone have any experience with these, or other non-stock batteries for iBooks? I’ve seen a few floating around eBay, too. The price and the reliability make me nervous.

My iBook G3’s battery is on its last legs. It barely holds a charge anymore. I would love to use it as a coffeehouse model, or a more reliable road laptop, but the battery is kaput.

Any other suggestions?

Charge your Newton with solar power

November 10th, 2008

Newton solar charger

What could be more green than charging your Newton MessagePad or eMate with a solar battery charger?

You can find one like the above model over at Newton Sales for “only” $139.99. The subject of solar charging pops up in the Newtontalk list every once in a while, and Newton users have had varying degrees of success charging their battery packs or rechargeable AA batteries with solar panels.

It seems a bit of an expensive option to go environmental with your Newton, but maybe it’s worth it. You can charge your car’s battery with the sun’s rays for about the same price as Newton Sales’s model, or you can get your own cheaper AA battery solar charger elsewhere online.

What do you think – is it worth the extra expense just to up your geek (and green) cred?

Power your Newton with rechargeables.

May 5th, 2008

Sanyo Eneloops for your Newton.

Original Newton MessagePad rechargeable battery packs don’t last long. This is a fact of life. No battery can last 15 or more years.

And try as I have to breathe new life into my old Newton rechargeable battery pack, it’s just not working (though there are ways to refurbish them). After going through a few sets of plain old AA batteries, I’ve finally landed on a workable solution: Sanyo Eneloop NiMH rechargeables.

Eneloops are rechargeable batteries that come pre-charged. You can pop them into your Newton or digital camera or whatever right when you free them from their recycled packaging. It’s great.

The benefits of rechargeable batteries are obvious: they cut down on waste, they’re cost effective, and – if properly maintained – they can last for years.

The properly-maintained part is important, because not all battery rechargers are created equal. Fast “15-minute” or cheap rechargers actually kill your batteries over time. By getting a quality recharger, you’ll pay for the device as time goes on by not throwing out rechargeables after a few uses.

I learned this lesson in college by buying a cheap-o Energizer rechargeable all-in-one pack (batteries and recharger). By the fifth or sixth recharge session, my batteries didn’t hold a charge and started leaking all over the recharger. Lesson learned.

The Maha MH-C124S recharger I found on eBay was relatively cheap, and Maha offers many more varieties that will fit your needs. I’ve also heard good things about LaCrosse smart chargers.

The Newton’s battery life is one of the benefits of owning and using one. I can go longer than a month on a set of plain AA batteries, and just about as long on a set of rechargeables. Get yourself a set of Eneloops and a good quality recharger and you’ll be in battery heaven.

How do you keep your Newton powered?

Problem solved.

January 5th, 2008

My past Newton problems? Solved.

All it took was a fresh set of batteries. I grabbed a pack of AA Duracells, popped them into the MessagePad, hit the “Reset” button on the back, pressed the on/off switch, and *Bling!* It’s running again.

I restored the Newton’s settings via NCK on the iMac, and now all my stuff is back. The only thing that didn’t get restored was the date – and there really has to be a better way to set the date than cycling through all the months since 1995. But oh well.

What a dummy I am. I’m almost scared to report this back to the Newtonlist – but that will teach me, right?

The exciting thing is, I can get right back to Newton-izing poetry. Starting Monday.

Newton News: Blackout, day 2

December 14th, 2007

My Newton is broken.

As I reported yesterday, the MessagePad 110 is on the fritz. I’m going to check the battery strength and see if my rechargeables are dead – it seems to be the most obvious answer to why my Newton suddenly blinked out yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, some fun stuff from, one of my favorite blogs.

Breathe new life into your old gadgets. This is a great article on how to revive your old iPod or computer long after the “usefulness” date has passed. I like stuff like this because, as a Newton user, I use something that’s expiration date came a long time ago. If it weren’t for this recent outage, you’d be reading some Christmas carols from an “obsolete” PDA.

Read Ebooks on your iPod with Ebook to Images. Here’s a way to read eBooks on your iPod. This was one of the great features of MessagePads: the ability to read books as Newton Books.

If push comes to shove, this might be a good time to delve into the Newton mailing list I subscribed to a while back. That, or shop for a 2100 on eBay.

If you have any idea about what happened to my 110, or if something similar happened to yours, be sure to let me know. I’d love any help I can get.