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Developer: The Price:
  • $40
The Pros:
  • Can recharge anywhere

The Cons:
  • A bit pricey

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Battery Adapter for NR and T Series Review
By Ed Hardy
5/15/2002


The new Sony NR series is an amazing bit of equipment, loaded with features, including a 320 by 480 screen and a 66 MHz processor. Not surprisingly though, these really drain the juice out the internal battery. With the backlight on half power, the NR70V lasts four hours and forty minutes of use before the first battery warning. That's OK if you can count on dropping it into the cradle every couple days, but is awfully short if you are thinking of taking it with you on a business trip.

I've been on several trips and lugged a cradle along to keep the handheld going. This is a hassle and I was always nervous what airport security would make of it. That's where the PEGA-BC10 comes in. It lets you use or charge your Sony NR or T series handheld with AA batteries.

The Test
For my test, I drained a NR70V until the first battery warning, then plugged in the charger. I loaded it with standard AA Duracell coppertops.

I knew the NR series drew a lot of power and therefore its battery would need a lot of capacity but even I was surprised with the results I got.

Four brand new AA batteries were able to give the handheld only a 75% charge before being exhausted. I was expecting they would be able to fully charge it at least once. Of course, this isn't a knock against the BC10; it can only provide as much power as are in the batteries.

Charging the handheld took a bit over two hours.

Sorry, I don't have a T series handheld to do a similar test on. However, the HotSync ports on the NR series and the T series are identical so both can use this battery adapter.

Hardware
The BC10 is 4.75 by 1.75 by .75 inches, which isn't much bigger than the four AA batteries. It weighs 1.75 ounces. Its cord is a bit over 5 inches long.

You don't have to use the BC10 to charge the battery. There is a small switch on the front that will tell it to just power the handheld without also sending current to its internal battery. While I'm sure someone will find this useful, I don't see much point in it. You can also use this switch to leave it connected, but transferring no power at all.

There is one change Sony could have made to the BC10 that would have significantly improved it, at least in my book. The connector that plugs into the HotSync port is permanently connected to the rest of the adapter. Sony's HotSync Cable comes with a stand alone connector that lets the cradle's AC adapter be used to charge the handheld without the whole cradle. It would have been great if the BC10 also used this, as it would give you much more flexibility in recharging your handheld.

Conclusion
I can see the advantage of the BC10. If you are going on a trip, you don't have to lug along a cradle. You can also recharge your handheld in places where there are no electrical plugs. However, I think $40 is a bit much. If Sony dropped the price a bit, or if you are able to find this somewhere else at a lower price, I'd give this an unqualified endorsement.

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Overpriced

IanJD @ 5/15/2002 12:13:34 PM #
This is more than twice the price of similar devices, such as the Brando NR/T series 9V charger!? (or the m5xx AA charger) Is there some extra electronics in there besides the three-way switch?

RE: Overpriced
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 1:01:36 PM #
Maybe the Sony log lights up?
WAY OVERPRICED
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 1:02:21 PM #
I litterally bought my Landware BattPack from BLOOMINGDALES, no other, for my Palm Vx last year for ONLY $1.98. No joke, and this is also a syncing cradle too, I don't know where Sony gets the notion to sell a battery harness with a wire for $40, I can understand $20, but $40 is pure BS.
RE: WAY OVERPRICED
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 1:06:32 PM #
Come on, there r different. By BC10 , you can "full charge" your clie and you even can run the power directly from the battery adapter without charging your built-in battery.
RE: WAY OVERPRICED
c_blue @ 5/15/2002 1:29:22 PM #
Landware doesn't make it anymore, but when in production the battpac was US $49.00

RE: WAY OVERPRICED
IanJD @ 5/15/2002 1:39:04 PM #
> Come on, there r different. By BC10 , you can
> "full charge" your clie and you even can run the
> power directly from the battery adapter without
> charging your built-in battery.

And this is useful because..?

RE: Overpriced
Altema @ 5/15/2002 3:34:48 PM #
"And this is useful because..?"

Because you could use it while enroute (as a PASSENGER!) to an all day seminar or other event, and arrive onsite with the internal battery still full. A rare occassion for anybody, but possible.

Some people would be more comfortable using it this way on the train/plane/bus, rather than hooking it up midday and letting it hang there like, like,.. well, I won't go there.

RE: Overpriced
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2002 3:59:45 AM #
Running the device direct from the charger without actually charging is useful. When you charge a battery you push a certain current in, because things are less than 100% efficient you get a loss. I have no idea what the figure is for this system, but to illustrate the point, if the charger holds 4 batteries, the power from one battery might be wasted in the form of heat during the charging cycle.

Run the handheld off the charger directly and the only loss in the system is in the wiring between the charger and the PDA.


I can have a full charge

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 12:57:15 PM #
That's weird. I can have a full charge. (Up to 4.24v).
I use 4 AA Engergizer rechargeable NiMH batteries (1700mah each) and I can get a full charge very easily.
When your clie was full charged, the green LED light on the BC10 will be off.

BTW, two friends of mine also got a full charge, I think you may wanna try different kind of battery and you may get the different result.

> Charging the handheld took a bit over two hours.

That's weird again. I only took almost an hour to get a full charge(4.24v). Are you sure your battery is "brand new" ?

RE: I can have a full charge
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 1:10:13 PM #
Alkaline batteries such as Duracell and Energizer are not effecient at putting out lots of current, they are much more effecient with a slow drain. NiMH batteries can be very effecient at high current loads, that's why they do so much better in digital camera's and a product like this.
If your alkalines ever get warm when discharging, you will be lucky to get 1/2 their rated power out of them, sometimes even less. (They have an internal resistance that increases exponentially with current)
RE: I can have a full charge
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 1:15:13 PM #
>your clie was full charged, the green LED light on the BC10 will be off

Sorry ,I made a mistake, not the green LED on the BC10 will be off, is the LED on the clie will be off when it was full charged.

RE: WAY OVERPRICED
Altema @ 5/15/2002 2:40:06 PM #
"And this is useful because..?"

Because it can help preserve a full charge on the Clie. A rare situation, and useless for most folks, but I could see where someone could be heading for an all day seminar, and did not want to drain the internal battery reading an ebook while enroute to their destination (as a PASSENGER of course!).

Most people would be more comfortable arriving at the event with a still-full battery. As opposed to pulling out this battery pack and letting it hang there like, like,.. well, I won't go there.

I myself have run into situations where I'll be taking intense notes at an all-morning work meeting, then be paged to go to multiple remote locations, then have to go straight to class and write reports for two hours with the keyboard pulling down the battery...

Running from AA's only

Altema @ 5/15/2002 1:31:38 PM #
Ed, any estimate on how long this will run the NR series from the AA's only, with the switch set to not recharge the device?

RE: Running from AA's only
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 2:42:18 PM #
Dump the AA batteries and go for AC current!

http://shop.brando.com.hk/clietravelcharger.php

These guys sell a more cost effective means for charging your Sony NR series.

$22.

RE: Running from AA's only
Altema @ 5/15/2002 3:03:18 PM #
It was just a technical question out of curiosity because someone here at work will ask me as soon as they buy one, and I don't have a Clie to test it myself. I already have a car charger for my current device which collects dust.

If someone wants to donate a Sony NRV for testing purposes, please send it to...

RE: Running from AA's only
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2002 8:30:40 AM #
The Brando charger on this website is for the S and N Series clies which don't actually need it since the power cable to the N series clies can also plug directly into the pda to be used as a travel charger.

I can't really understand what Sony was doing in not including this capability in the T and NR series clies. Ironically, they are also the ones with poor battery life compared to the N Series

RE: Running from AA's only
beaumich @ 6/3/2003 11:43:01 AM #
The rated output of the BC-10 is 500mA. My NR70 draws up to 800mA--typical for recent color Clies. The BC-10 manual says the Clie will charge more slowly if it is used during charging--I would say considerably more slowly, and not completely since most of the power would go to the screen. So what we're looking at is an hour or two of downtime while the Clie recharges. On the other hand, the Clie can be run all day by swapping batteries in the BC-10.

People moaned when the SL10 was discontinued because it was the last Clie with replaceable batteries. The BC-10 gives you that option with any recent Clie--and it can recharge, too. What's the beef? (RIP Clara Pelzer)

RE: Running from AA's only
beaumich @ 6/3/2003 11:54:00 AM #
But it still costs too much!

ooooh nooo way! bastards!

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 1:39:45 PM #
NOT ACCEptable. sony YOU BUNCH OF MORONS!

what about us with the N series?

i switched back to F#*(@ palm because of the battery life. what if in the future i want a NR clie? my battery wont last 3 hours? thats pure and clear BS!

now i am mad!

RE: ooooh nooo way! bastards!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 2:30:19 PM #
Maybe you should get back on your medication.
RE: ooooh nooo way! bastards!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2002 4:51:41 AM #
i found this product online during a general travel-charger search (yahoo shopping i think) earlier this week before the review. i've a n710.

DO NOT WORRY

it ships for the N Series too.

RE: ooooh nooo way! bastards!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/16/2002 8:28:23 AM #
Don't worry, your car jumper leads should probably provide enough juice!

(This is intended as irony - do not attempt this at home.)

''T'' Series Charger

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 4:40:35 PM #
If this battery adapter is for both "NR" and the "T" series, do you guys know if the current "T" series travel charger is compatible with the "NR"? They are readily available for about $10 on eBay.
RE: ''T'' Series Charger
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 5:17:22 PM #
Are you sure you're talking about the same thing? I can't find any battery adapters on ebay.
RE: ''T'' Series Charger
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 6:20:04 PM #
look under clie charger in eBay.
RE: ''T'' Series Charger
jimski @ 5/16/2002 12:03:39 PM #
The "T" Series Travel Charger I picked up from Sony for my T615 works just fine with my new NR70V. Don't know about the charger you are referring to as the one I got cost around $40.

Charge internal / Run on Batt. only Switch

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 7:47:45 PM #
I believe the switch is usefull if you have a full charge on the internal batteries, when you run one set of batteries charging another it is very inefficiant.

Also this would be very device would be very useful if you want to listen to MP3s all day, although i have to agree that $40 is way too much!

CLIE NR70V

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/15/2002 8:42:28 PM #
I received my CLIE NR70V yesterday, got it at EMS Computing Inc for $537.49 plus 9,95 shipping. Best Price I could find on the net. Order it on the 3rd,in my hand on the 14th.
RE: CLIE NR70V
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 5:19:04 PM #
wow, and for the whole 10 days you did not have a PalmOS PDA at all? Weird...
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