Be Careful When Seeking to Replace Your PDA Battery

If you are a PDA owner, did you know that the PDA manufacturers will try to convince you to buy a new PDA unit sooner than necessary?

Not all PDA's were designed with a rechargeable battery. The reason for that is pretty clear - the manufacturers prefer that you buy a complete new PDA and shell $300-$500 instead of $50-$100 for a new battery because they understand that a PDA is practically worthless if you can't take it on the road.

But not all PDAs were created equal. Some manufacturers include rechargeable batteries with their PDA's. BUT THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU SO! If you call Sony, Handspring, or Palm for a battery part number, you will get a customer service representative who will tell you that you cannot change the battery in your PDA. They may admit that it is possible, but they do not "recommend it". Truth is, they do not stock or sell replacement batteries. RoadNews has learned that it is not only possible to change the battery, but it is ADVISALE that you replace your PDA battery!

Rechargeable batteries are great for adding extended life to your PDA device usage, and their cells are lighter than regular cells. But they also have a limited number of charge-discharge cycles. All recent PDA models use Lithium-Ion or Lithium Polymer cells that have a life of only 300-400 cycles. If you are an avid PDA user you might wear out the battery in a little over a year! That is quite convenient for the PDA manufacturers because it creates quite a windfall in new PDA sales. Once the warranty period is over, if you call them for a battery replacement they will tell you about their new $499 model, since the battery for your PDA is not available anymore - it never was.

Internal batteries are quite sophisticated. They continue to confuse and confound Radio Shack employees. Save your time and don't go there for help. PDA batteries are custom made to fit the available device space the engineers designed for this purpose. They also have built-in protection circuits and proprietary connectors that require substantial tooling investments. Buying a refurbished/used battery from any vendor that dismantles the old PDAs for parts is also not advisable. They frequently sell the salvaged batteries that have a few charges left in them. If you buy one, it is guaranteed to fail soon after you install it in your PDA.

Tips to extend your PDA's battery life:

1) Use the AC adapter! Make sure you connect your PDA to the AC adapter (or put it in the cradle) whenever you are close to a power outlet. This will not only recharge the battery, but also help extend its life.

2) If you don't use it, power it down! You have the option of setting your device to turn off automatically after a specific period of time, if you do not use it. The time can vary from 1 to 5 minutes - or more, depending on your brand. On most PDA's, you can adjust this setting by going to "On battery power".

3) It doesn't need to be so bright! Adjust it. A very bright screen consumes a lot of power and it is probably more than you need. In most cases, you won't even notice the difference if you adjust the brightness down a little bit. This will work wonders on your battery though, it won't have to work so hard, therefore it will last longer! You can adjust this by going to Start>Settings>System>Backlight>Brightness. Adjust the bar named "On Battery".

4) Do you really need that backlight on all the time? As with powering it down, you have the option to have the backlighting turn off automatically after a certain period of time (if you don't use it). You can have a lapse time of 10 seconds up to 5 minutes. Go to Start>Settings>System>Backlight>Battery Power. Check the box labeled "Turn off backlight..." and select your time.

5) How about those PC and CF cards? Get rid of them when you don't use them! If you are not using PC and CF cards, remove them from your system. This includes file storage cards and I/O cards like modems and wireless LAN cards. Moral of the story: set your PDA on the lowest settings (or the lowest that is comfortable for you). Remove any unused devices, as they consume power that could be used otherwise.

Five Signs that Your PDA Battery Might Be Dying:

(1)Your use time on a full charge decreased. (for example from 4-5 hours, now you get 1-2 hours).

(2) After a full night charge, your PDA will not come up at all.

(3) When you press the power, you just get some vertical lines.

(4) Your picture dims.

(5) You had your PDA for over a year.

"" sells new, rechargeable PDA batteries, with a 1 year warranty. Each new battery is shipped with a complete tool kit and detailed instructions so you have everything you need to replace your PDA battery. The company manufacturers these batteries according to the OEM manufacturers' specifications and they are guaranteed to work.

Score one for the RoadNews readers! Now you know…

Source: (Jan'03)

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