MobileInfocenter
Developer:
  • Seidio
Distributor: The Price:
  • Complete Power Pack: ~$43
  • Double Power Source Emergency Charger : ~$25
  • Exact prices depend on the U.S. Dollar/British Pound exchange rate
The Pros:
  • Can recharge Palm from almost any power source

The Cons:
  • Complete kit is a lot of equipment to carry around

PalmInfoCenter.com Ratings*:
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Overall:

*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



Complete Data Power Pack Review
By Ed Hardy
8/15/2002


Introduction
The whole purpose of a handheld is to make its user more portable. However the benefits of portability come to an end if you run out of power on a trip. You can lug your cradle along and plug it into a wall socket but there are plenty of places where that isn't an option. Enter the Complete Data Power Pack, which is available from Proporta. It can help you recharge your Palm from almost any source.

It really lives up to its name; It is nothing if not complete. You can use it to recharge from a 9 Volt battery, a computer's USB port, a car's cigarette lighter, the power sockets they put on airplane seats, or even a regular wall socket. All of these will work with any model that uses Palm's Universal connector, like the m500 series, the i705, or the m130.

The Power Pack has quite a number of parts which can be assembled in different ways to allow you to use different charging methods. There are enough pieces and parts that it all comes in a zippered case.

9 Volt Battery
Probably the most versatile of the recharging options the Power Pack allows is to use a 9 Volt battery. As long as you have a battery with you, you can recharge your Palm anywhere, from a small rowboat to low Earth orbit. And you can buy one most anywhere, though probably not in orbit. Still, I'm glad there are a lot of other recharging options; using up a 9V battery every couple of days gets expensive on a long trip.

Batteries aren't designed to be used in a single continuous session, so you won't get your best results from plugging a 9V into your Palm and leaving it there until it is empty. I charged an m505 for 20 minutes, let it rest for 20 minutes, and repeated the process until I had a full charge. This worked well and a single 9V was able to fully charge the handheld. I'm not sure I would have if I'd just plugged it in overnight.

USB Port
Many business people travel with a laptop,and you can use the Power Pack to recharge your handheld via a USB port. Frankly, I don't think anyone will do this a lot. I can see there might be a situation where you have a laptop but no other source of power and you weren't worried about draining the laptop, but I don't think this will happen very often. Besides, a USB port doesn't put out a lot of power so it is going to take you hours to fully charge your Palm.

Despite this, the USB function won't be ignored. It is the "Data" in the name "Complete Data Power Pack". You can HotSync your handheld with a laptop with this USB cable, which I think business travelers will find very useful. But when you are done, plug in the wall socket adapter or one of the others and recharge that way, It will go a lot faster.

Car Cigarette Lighter
In the society we live in, most people are rarely very far away from a car. I doubt the person in Detroit who designed the cigarette lighter way back in the past realized what a godsend he was creating for portable electronics. I'd be willing to bet more "cigarette lighters" are being used to power electronics than light cigarettes. Companies are even starting to label them Power Ports.

With the Power Pack you can keep your handheld recharged between stops or use your handheld for hours at a time on a long trip.

A cigarette lighter must put out a decent amount of juice. I found that 30 minutes of charging, I had a 70% charge. It took a bit over an hour to get up to 100%.

Airline Seats
If you have ever been on an intercontinental airplane flight, you'll understand the need to be able to keep your Palm running for many hours on a plane. You can periodically recharge or run straight off the charger.

Sorry, I didn't go on a plane flight when I was testing the Power Pack so I couldn't test this function..

Wall Socket
All these methods have their uses, but chances are much of the time you'll have access to a power socket. Whether you are on a business trip or vacation, offices and hotel rooms are wired for electricity (unless you are in some third-world country) so the Power Pack comes with an adapter that lets you use a standard wall socket. This recharges the Palm at about the same speed as a cradle.

You might even find this adapter useful for some of your other computer peripherals, as it lets you plug a USB cable into the wall. Be careful, though, and make sure the output amps and volts match up.

Conclusion
At $43, this kit isn't cheap. However, it is a top-of-the-line product and, I believe, would be a real benefit for any serious road warrior.

If that is too rich for your blood, Proporta also offers the Double Power Source Emergency Charger for about $25. This is variation of the Power Pack that lets you recharge your Palm from a 9V battery or a car cigarette lighter.

  1. Universal Connector Plug
  2. Charger Body
  3. USB Cable
  4. Cigarette Lighter Adapter
  5. Airplane Socket Adapter
  6. Wall Socket Adapter

Article Comments

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Down

Got one...

BobT @ 8/15/2002 3:56:35 PM #
I purchased the Emergency Power Charger Kit - Auto + AC Travel (9 volt connector included ) directly from Seidio. So far I have yet to use it. The quality seems
very good. I'm confident it will serve its' purpose well once I start traveling again.

Airline standard?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/15/2002 5:41:35 PM #
There are two different airline power plug standards. Which kind is this?
RE: Airline standard?
bcombee @ 8/15/2002 6:08:22 PM #
The Empower airplane power connector is actually the same as a car power port, so that one is already covered.

--
CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
RE: Airline standard?
digilaw @ 8/16/2002 12:01:47 AM #
What is the other standard? I am only familiar with the one that is the same as a car cigarette lighter. Thanks!

AA Battery Charger

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/15/2002 6:26:35 PM #
I bought a AA battery charger on eBay and it works like a charm. It's easier to find AA rechargeables than 9V. I can get 3 charges on one set of 4 NiMH battery.

This Rocks!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/15/2002 8:19:58 PM #
saved my bu&^ more than a couple of times.

nuff said

Or....

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/16/2002 4:14:35 AM #
you can buy a palm that uses batteries and save yourself a few quid on both a charger get a cheaper palm and not have as much luggage when travelling!

BOFH

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/16/2002 8:11:48 AM #
...plug a USB cable into the wall.

Sounds like something the BOFH would do. Great way to "thin the herd" of those pesky lusers!

Details..?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/16/2002 1:08:42 PM #
Some important details omitted from the story:

1. What kind of airplane plug does it have?
2. What is the input voltage of the wall charger?
3. Which - if any - wall charger plug adapters are included?


RE: Details..?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2002 9:05:06 AM #
Exactly, if the wall charger doesn't come with adaptors for different countries then why bother...?

FWIW, I have the Palm international travel kit and have never been in a position where I've need a car or USB charger... and I've got the Palm airline charger too - so this kit offers nothing new to me that I would need.

Where's the case?????

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/23/2002 8:40:16 PM #
I ordered this and it came with all the options shown but I sure didn't get the nice case displayed in the review. All I got was a plastic bag!
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