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comp.sys.palmtops HP100LX Frequently Asked Questions
Section - 14. Batteries, Battery life, AC adapters, etc.

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Q: What batteries does it use?  How long do they last? 
A: The 100/200LX uses 2 standard AA cells, either Alkaline or NiCad.
It also uses a miniature lithium "button" battery for memory backup
when the main batteries fail.  Battery lifetime varies a lot, based
on how much you use the machine, what kind of PCMCIA card you use,
how much you use the serial and IR ports, how good your batteries
are, etc.  As a rough guess, several users have reported needing to
recharge their NiCad's approximately once a week, when running it a
few hours a day with a flash card.  Users have reported in excess of
a month of regular usage from fresh lithium AA cells, down to an hour
or less with a power-sucking PCMCIA modem and NiCads.  The HP manual
claims that "for typical use without the AC adapter, fresh Alkaline
batteries should last from 2 to 8 weeks.  Rechargable batteries ...
will get less life ..." (p A-2 of 100LX manual).

Although the manual only recommends alkaline or NiCads, users have
reported success with lithium AA cells.  Lithium cells have a much
longer shelf life and running life than alkalines.  Setting the
machine up for alkalines works for lithiums.  Others have cautioned
that inserting lithium cells backwards can permanently damage the
machine, and the discharge curve for lithiums is very steep, leaving
little time between the first "low battery" warning and completely
dead batteries.

The 100/200LX can charge installed NiCads by simply plugging in an AC
adapter and selecting the option from the setup application.  No
separate charger is needed.

Rechargable alkaline or NiMH batteries can be used, just like regular
alkalines. However, to charge them, you must take them out of the
100/200LX and put them in a charger specially designed for
rechargable alkalines or NiMH batteries.

Q: Why won't my NiCad batteries hold a charge anymore?
A: You probably use the AC adapter most of the time, and have NiCad
charging enabled.  There's plenty of mythology, folklore, and an
occasional fact or two regarding NiCad "memory effect", which won't
be repeated here.  Suffice it to say that you can damage NiCad
batteries by repeatedly overcharging them when they're already
charged.  The 100/200LX has two charge rates: for the first 6 hours
after the adapter is plugged in, the batteries charge at a high rate
(100mA), then charging switches to a low-current "trickle charge"
(45mA).  Each time you plug in the adapter the cycle repeats.  If you
plug the machine in each day at work, and again when you get home,
you can kill the batteries fairly quickly.

Simple way to avoid trouble:  if your NiCads have a full charge or
close to it, and you want to use the AC adapter, then disable
charging.  A slightly less conservative approach is to use 100Buddy
or the shareware batset program to limit the fast charge time to one
minute, since trickle charging isn't likely to damage the batteries
as quickly.

Q: What kind of AC adapter does the 100/200LX use? 
A: CAUTION:  It's different from the 95LX!  The 100/200LX uses 12VDC,
negative tip, up to 750mA, approx 5.5mm OD barrel-type connector.  

HP recommends their part no F1011A, which is about the size of a
credit card, except that it's an inch (2.5 cm) thick, with fold-away
AC prongs.  It will take any input voltage from 100 to 240 Volts, at
50/60 Hz, an advantage for world travellers.

Radio Shack Cat no 273-1652B seems to work, and is probably cheaper.
It's only rated at 500mA, so there may be problems when using with
high-current PCMCIA cards.  It appears to work ok with flash cards
while charging NiCad's, though, and current measurements indicate
that the 100/200LX draws much less than 500mA with this adapter even
when writing to a flash card, charging NiCads, and using the serial
port simultaneously.

Other compatible adapters are certainly available from various
sources.  The 100/200LX does not include an adapter in the box.

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Previous Document: 13. PCMCIA Cards
Next Document: 15. Obscure undocumented tips, tricks, and trivia

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM