2045 W. Maple Rd., Suite 401
Walled Lake, MI 48390
PalmInfoCenter.com Bottom Line:
34.95 US + $4.50 S&H
Replacement batteries $19.95 US
*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms
Robert Zach (email@example.com)
So you're like me and you love your Palm III series, PalmVII, IBM WorkPad or TRGpro but the constant battery replacement is getting annoying...Thinking about a Palm V for this reason? Well how about spending $35 and getting rechargeability for your Palm!
Well... welcome eXtend Computer & Instrument into the "Palm Economy." These guys are battery smart people... they make EV & Hybrid electronics for vehicle and boat battery systems. Now they have applied their genius to the Palm. Within the compact packaging seen above you'll find the contents below; an 110V AC Adapter, a FullCharge NiMH Battery, a replacement battery door cover, as well as an installation and operation direction sheet.
Installation is a snap. Simply remove the existing battery door, remove batteries, install the FullCharge NiMH battery pack, and replace the door with the included door. The new door has two holes drilled in precisely the right location to receive the pins of the AC recharger pack. The completed install looks like this.
You may notice that the unit I have installed the FullCharge into is a TRGpro. With continued Compact Flash access one can burn through batteries rather quickly. I chose this unit as my testing platform to see just how well the FullCharge survives.
Much to my surprise the FullCharge seemed to perform equally as well as alkalines. I did not notice any appreciable decrease in battery life vs. standard alkaline batteries; even under this kind of drain (constant CF read/writes).
Notice that I mention perceived power. I found that the battery "fuel" meter in my PalmOS 3.3 device did seem to "drain" quickly. Then I remembered something about a dot shortcut. I remembered that by stroking the shortcut command followed by ".7" (dot seven) the battery type can be toggled. On my Palm device running PalmOS 3.3, toggling this to "NiMH" showed accurate battery consumption.
eXtend does mention the battery gauge issue in the directions (very thorough), and points out that "shareware/freeware is available", but they do not explain the simple "fix" above. They do indicate that they will have a software patch available on their web site; I don't believe it is available yet.
The unit is built VERY nicely. The directions are very simple to follow and do a LOT of explaining about charging cycles, operating times, and comparisons to other rechargeable technology such as NiCad.
Even better, the unit is designed to be almost fool proof. The battery can really only be installed in one manner thanks to it's clever design. And, although the charger can be connected improperly, it will NOT damage the unit thanks to the smart electronics in the adapter.
The other real nice thing about this unit is the charging LED indicator. This indicator flashes steady RED while charging and once fully charged flickers periodically to maintain charge. In fact, the LED will only glow RED if the charger is plugged in correctly. And, the charger pin end has a small tab to help easily pull the 2-pin plug off the back of your Palm, all nice touches. The packing is great, and the best feature of that is the NiMH cell comes partially charged. This seems like a small thing, but the cells CANNOT be charged outside the Palm device. This means if they were shipped dead, you'd have an instantly dead Palm. Thanks eXtend for not interrupting our productivity.
The plug itself is very slim and DOES allow charging in the cradle very nicely. And with the long adapter cord it is easy to locate the AC adapter far from the cradle. There are a few minor things that I feel could be improved about the FullCharge, and they have to do with portability. As you can see below the pins in the charging plug stick out. As for the AC adapter it's a little heavy and does not have retractable AC prongs. If all of these prongs could collapse, and the AC adapter reduced in size, that would make for a very nice small, light, and portable charging solution.
All in all this is a very nicely engineered power source for the Palm, the price is right, and the purpose extremely useful. Thank you to Joyce from eXtend for allowing us the opportunity to review this product. Best of luck in the Palm Economy eXtend! For further info check out their FAQ at here. I am especially impressed by question #9, it says a ton about customer satisfaction:
QUESTION: I have a Palm IIIx, but it has a clear case. Would it be possible to include a template to show me where to drill the holes in my battery cover?-Rob
UPDATE: It appears that my portability issues are already being looked into at eXtend; at least for the automobile. eXtend will shortly be announcing a simple auto adapter that directly plugs into the unit for charging on the road! GREAT! Hopefully eXtend will provide one for a quick follow-up review!! ;-)
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