Getting the Most of Your Pocket PC Experience!

Development of the Battery Pack:

Hello! This page is a rough page to let people know what is going on with the development of my soon to be released battery pack for your PPC!

You might think, don't they already have those? The answer is yes and no. You can go make your own if you want, or you can go buy one from another site (I have seen one other company doing this ~ $99!). The battery extender I am making is going to be much better and much lower in price than anyone else! :) Read on to learn about the development of this pack.

GOALS:

  1. Highly Portable-don't want people to have to carry an extra backpack for the battery pack!
  2. Self contained-meaning that you don't pull AAs out of the unit and put them in a charger. This unit will be sealed.
  3. Rechargable-just plug the AC adapter into the unit.
  4. Reusable-unlike Pocket Fuel, you will be able to use these packs over and over, 100s of times.
  5. Targeted price under 50 dollars-hopefully approx 40 dollars (thats the cheapest price by far on the market for anything like this) ;)
  6. Aesthetically pleasing. I hope that these units will also look darn cool-brushed aluminum cases!
  7. Develop Power Packs for all PPC devices on the market.

Updates on Design Progress:

7/19/01

  • It has been a while since I have posted, so I don't want to leave anyone hanging without more time and no updates. Basically, I have been busy with other work to keep updating and researching, and mainly, this is because I am waiting the arrival of some backordered aluminum cases that are larger than the previous one I tried to use (just couldn't fit all that I needed in the little thing). So while I wait, I do other work! Bad news, the software Idea will not worked as planned unless I can build an interface for the connection on the bottom of the IPAQ, looks like the built in battery checker will be all the more important! For everyone out there waiting to purchase one of these, sorry for the delay! I want this thing to be right. It looks like I will be offering it in two forms: one will be in a black basic black case and the other in an aluminum enclosure. Both will be priced fairly even (for around 45 dollars) and should go on sale by the end of the summer! I will begin taking preorders once I have been able to test the unit well enough.

6/12/01

  • Here is some good news! I have been able to get in touch with some software developers about the chance of creating a piece of software that will go along with the power pack that will read the power status of the external pack! Several have responded positively to the idea, and we will see how it goes. This would be a great addition to the power pack!
  • Also in news, I am now ready to move on the design on the final enclosure. I have been able to find some nice aluminum enclosures that I hope will look very cool! I should have my first case to play with and be able to put the first production power pack by the end of this week! I need to start thinking of a good name to brand with this device. I am considering the possibility of having a name contest, where the winner will receive a free power pack!

6/11/01

  • I have been able to work on the built in charge indicator and finally get the parts working so that the indicator will show a dead battery simultaneously when IPAQ pocket PC stops responding to the external power source (approx 4.25 volts). This is good news since it makes the availability of parts much better for me. It also means the charge indicator lights will actually really measure correctly, and not just be a gimmick!

6/8/01

  • There have been some problems with the unit battery checker. I never get the signal that the battery is dead! Even though it won't charge the PPC anymore. I am going to try some ideas to figure it out.

6/6/01

  • I have been able to adapt a circuit design that is pretty simple, had to pull out the old Physics book to remember my laws! LOL. Anyways, I am testing the circuit today to see if it will work with the battery pack. I am discharging the unit with my IPAQ running WM7 (to waste batteries, since listening to MP3s is a big battery waster!). Those who are wondering what the discharge rate of the pack is:
    • After testing, the battery pack will essentially be able to recharge your PPC from near dead (when WM7 will no longer play songs because power levels are too low) to full charge. It then has some juice left over to run the unit off external for about 20-30 minutes more (not running high processor intensive programs). So basically, the battery pack is like an extra battery for the IPAQ. I will be testing it in the near future to see how it works when WM7 has worn down the internal battery, and then plug it in and continue to listen to MP3s and see how the pack performs!

6/5/01

  • I have begun work today on building a circuit for the Ipaq battery pack that will test the voltage level of the battery and respond with an indication of the voltage (whether good or bad). I hope this works, cause it would be a great addition to the pack, allowing for testing to ensure load levels are good for use!

6/3/01

  • After testing, I have found that I will have to develop different units for Cassiopeia and Ipaq due to different voltage requirements. The Ipaq runs at 5 volts from the AC adapter, and the Cassiopeia runs on 6V in (when hooked to external power source). Since both units have power regulating circuitry, there is room for deviation on both sides of those numbers. The Casio recharge light will stop blinking when power drops below 5 volts, the Ipaq doesn't until the unit is under 4.25 volts. I am going to develop the power pack for the IPAQ unit first, because there is a greater need for it in the market. Casio owners can buy extra batteries for their device for 30 dollars from casio.com.

6/1/01

  • I have the first prototype working. This is a battery only solution, nothing special. I am now going to be testing it with several PPCs to see voltage behavior over a recharge.

Here is a picture of the early prototype: