Posts tagged “rechargeable”.

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?

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?