Making my own PowerBook battery

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I originally posted this over at MacNN but this is probably a better place. I have a Pismo with 2 dead batteries. The computer has been tied to my desk now for a year, which is very frustrating. I would really like to get a working battery as cheaply as possible. On google I found these directions on how to disassemble the battery. There are 1 cells, all of them say:

US18650GR
SONY ENERGYTEC STG

So I've been looking around these batteries online. So far I've found these directions on how to do the same for a Sony battery pack. The Pismo pack actually looks easier to do since the soldering looks simpler (although I am not very good with a soldering iron). I've been having trouble actually finding the batteries sold individually. I have seen [URL=http://www.aspencer1.com/..\showitem.asp?ItemID=11273]this company[/URL] selling them in pairs, in a pre-fabricated casing that I would need to break open. However they're only $13 for a pair, which would give me a new battery for under $60, half the price of replacement Pismo batteries.

So I'm wondering. Hs anybody done this? Is it safe? Will I blow up my PowerBook? Also, Newer Technology now makes these batteries which claim to have higher capacity. Can I just swap out the current cells for higher capacity cells? Does anyone know where I can get these cells cheaply? Thanks.

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Cells

Hi,

I've replaced cells in batteries a few times, I replaced the cells in my iBook battery a couple of weeks ago. It's not that hard, just make sure you open the battery carefully or you'll damage the case and the circuit board inside. Also make note of how each cell is conected.

When I did my iBook battery I used cells out of an old Sony Vaio Picturebook battery. So you could consider buying a cheap, maybe used notebook battery off ebay and recycling it.

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good source! (?)

Looks like this outfit might be a good source for 18650 cells. Here's another pair, these only $9/pair:
http://www.aspencer1.com/showitem.asp?ItemID=11142

Lots of Apple portables use these cells. I've got a pair of Ice/Snow iBook batteries in front of me, one with Sony cells and one with LG Phillips cells. In both cases they're marked 18650 (6 cells in these packs BTW.) I've also opened Pismo (which you already know) and TiBook batts to find the same battery cell type inside.

Main thing with rebuilding battery packs is to avoid overheating the cells which can damage them. It's probably best to have a powerful iron so you can tin and solder the connections quickly before the cell heats up.

Also, LiIon cells are a allegedly bit more "explosive"(?) than other types, so make triple-sure you've got the connections right before finishing up. I'm not an expert by any means, so you might want to do some more googling before starting out the actual reconstruction.

dan k

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Jon
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It may be worthwhile to find

It may be worthwhile to find a battery specialist that is local and have them do the soldering to the actual battery. It may cost a bit more to have them do it, but you won't have the risk of explosive components doing their explosive thing to your hands/face.

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So I dug out my dad's old sol

So I dug out my dad's old soldering iron tonight to try and take apart the cells. I can't seem to get them off. How do I do it? Do I just hold the soldering iron on the 4 points on the metal pieces that appear to be where the battery is attached? I never let it touch long enough for the batteries to get warm. How long should I hold it there?

I apologize but I'm not so good with a soldering iron. Thanks.

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It's possible that the cells

It's possible that the cells are welded, not soldered.

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welded for sure!

Jon's correct, they're welded on. Battery tabs are always welded on, doncha know. It's only us homebrew hackers what solder around batteries.

Just rip them off with pliers, or snip them with scissors.

dan k

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Thanks. I did that, but I wa

Thanks. I did that, but I wasn't able to keep all of the metal leads in one piece. I had hoped to be able to reuse those. So what do I use to attach all these cells? Do I solder a bunch of wires between them? Do I even need solder? Can't I just affix the wires (or pieces of the metal leads that I haven't broken) with electrical tape?

Also, does anyone have experience replacing their battery cells with those of a different kind? Those $9/pair Panasonic cells look like a great price. Thanks.

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rebuilding batteries: going the corporate route

incidentally, if one decides to go the route of having a dead battery rebuilt by a store like interstate batteries, etc., how much does that typically cost? Mac

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Done

So I've completed my battery, without the use of any soldering. I just packed the cells in and used folded up paper to squish the metal leads (leftover from the original cells) up against the cells. The battery definitely works but I only get about 2 hours charge time. I got the cheap Panasonic cells and they came cased in pairs that were a pain to break open (they looked like camcorder batteries, I had to use a dremel tool to cut them open).

So this whole project cost me about $50, but I'm not so thrilled with the battery life, but at least it lets me unplug and move it around without having to shut down.

Is it possible that not all the cells are making contact and that's why the time is so low? When I first put it in I ran it down all the way and then let it charge overnight, but the Pismo thinks that it only has about 2 hours of time.

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for what it's worth, i replac

for what it's worth, i replaced all the cells in my wife's iBook
battery for about $30, and now it works for about 25 minutes. I was
pretty mad until I realized that I diddn't want to pay $150 for a new
battery, and that she was so happy to get FIVE TIMES her previous
runtime. Smile

If this guy has the same cells as I do (I'm guessing they're from the same surplus source) and he's getting 2+ hours, I think I need to reset the chip in my battery. Supposedly draining the battery all the way 'till auto-sleep and then recharging it fully will do it, but it hasn't seemed to... Anybody know how to make LIon cells happier?

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instructions, with pictures for different portable

Possibly relevant, possibly not. I don't even own an Apple notebook, but I do own a Psion Netbook, and perhaps this page might be helpful regarding soldering together batteries, and it also contains links about safety, charging, and general info about lithium-ion cells:

http://linux-7110.sourceforge.net/howtos/netbook_new/LIbattery/LIbattery.html

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re: for what it’s worth, i replaced

Use the reset commands in openfirmware.

Boot into OF (cmd-opt-O-F at startup)

at prompt, type "reset-nvram" (without quotes of course), then return

then type "reset-all", then return

Mac will restart and the battery will have been reset.

Allow the battery to charge to 100%, then do a calibration cycle.

Set Energy Saver to never sleep, but all other settings to lowest use. Don't forget the"Option" pane, set processor use to lowest. Run the 'Book on battery til it goes to sleep, then recharge. That should get the battery up to its best.

If it's no better than before, consider that one (or more?) of the cells may be no good. Run the battery down til it sleeps, then crack open the battery pack and check each cell's voltage. If any are significantly lower than the rest it's probably no good.

hth,

dan k

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Refurbing batteries.

I've actually done three or four Powerbook 500 series smart batteries in the past so if you don't mind I'll share the info I gained here in case it's useful.

A few pieces of advice:

1) Do the job slowly! It's way to easy to kill your existing battery circuits and internal wiring while doing this. Do it on a day where you can take as much time as you want to get it done.

2) Cut the solder tabs on the old batteries close the the battery leaving as much metal as possible on the existing wires. This will give you a good place to solder the new batteries in with less concern for heat from the soldering iron.

3) Spend the extra money and buy the batteries with tabs already welded onto them. They are out there though I don't have a link handy at the moment. Soldering the tops of batteries without tabs is a pain even using flux and such to help ease the process.

4) Lay everything out on the table when you remove it from the battery the first time. Note how everything is connected. This leads me to my last thing - which I failed to do when I was doing this...

5) Take pictures of everything. The more pictured the better.

Hope that is useful in some way!

YellowCube

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You guys are getting ripped off on cells!

The "18650" designation on the cells is a common size. You can find different brands of these cells with much greater capacity than the original Sony cells.

Batteryspace.com sells their own brand of 18650 cells w/2000mAh capacity. You can order them with preattached tabs which makes soldering a heck of a lot easier.

They also have LG 18650 cells with a capacity of 2400mAh! For comparision, the Sony cells are only 1400-1600mAh, so you are getting at least 50% more capacity just by using these cells.

I ordered some of the LG cells to repack a Sony laptop battery. I'll report the results as soon as they arrive and I've run them through a few charge cycles.

The Batteryspace branded 2000mAh cells are $23.95 for a pack of 4, while the LG 2400's are $31.95 for the same quantity. This is a lot more bang for the buck than the 1400mAh Sony cells linked in the first comment.

http://batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=490

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Excellent thread! I was debat

Excellent thread! I was debating on replacing the cells in my Lombard battery that won't take a charge at all anymore (possibly due to sitting in a closet for over a year without being used) and this is just what I needed.

I actually used to solder my own NiCd battery packs for R/C cars and we used a metal braid material between cells, not sure if they make it small enough to use for laptop batteries though.

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will take pics?

I have 8 new (sony 1600+Mah) cells, tinned and ready to install into a battery that i don't have. looking for a dead G4 titanium battery, as long as the electronics are good. I'm also looking for a power cord(not adapter, just the cord) I'm working on a few power-related projects for my good-ol titanium. If someone wants to donate a dead battery, i can take a lot of pictures and post them. thanks.

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TJH
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Anyone know how many cells ar

Anyone know how many cells are in a Tibook's battery? Also it uses the 18650 right? Thanks.

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Does anyone know of a place i

Does anyone know of a place in Portland, Oregon that will rebuild batteries?

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Does anyone know if it is oka

Does anyone know if it is okay to replace LiIon batteries with NiMH batteries?

I have a Wallstreet with a dead battery and like to spend as little as possible.

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Re: Does anyone know of a place i

daristotle wrote:

Does anyone know of a place in Portland, Oregon that will rebuild batteries?

Dang, if I still loved there, I'd help.

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Changing cell chemistry is NO

Changing cell chemistry is NOT recommended, as each different type of battery has different recharging requirements. Stick with LiION cells, as you could possibly ruin your computer, battery, or both, not to mention have a fire on your hands.

Cheers,

The Czar

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2nd that. The L+ion charger

2nd that. The L+ion charger will almost certainly detonate a NIMH cell. You guys should download a description of how lithium cells are charged and compare it to proper charging cycles for NIMH. You will find it quite enlightening.

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about tibook battery

18650 x 8, 1800 or 2000mAh good luck

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Opening Powerbook Battery

I'm just about to try repacking the cells in my G4 TiBook battery. Any ideas or photos on the best way to crack open the battery case would be appreciated. Is brute force and prayer the only way, or is there a more elegant suggestion that will avoid leaving me with a steaming pile?

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Last time I opened up one of

Last time I opened up one of those I did it by throwing it against the curb repeatredly as hard as I could.

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Re: Last time I opened up one of

drbob wrote:

Last time I opened up one of those I did it by throwing it against the curb repeatredly as hard as I could.

I would imagine that the battery casing would not be in pristine cosmetic condition after such treatment. It would, however, open the battery effectively Wink.

The Czar

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what about aluminum PB's?

I would like to know if any of you have repacked an aluminum powerbook battery already? can you show me how to crack the case open and install the new cells? I have an aluminum powerbook 17" 1GHZ model. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Smile

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D cell External Battery Pack

This isn't quite on the topic of replacing cells, but I'm building a very large D cell pack for long 13+ hrs international plane flights. Okay, so its a bit heavy, but it should last the entire plane flight (if the laptop pulls an avg 1A and the cells are at least 14AH.) The pack outputs 30 volts when charged, and uses an LM317 regulator to keep it at 24 stable volts, with an absolute max of 2 amps. The power adaptor for my ibook G4 12" is rated at a max 1.8A, but the laptop certainly will not consume anywhere near that with none of the USB or FireWire ports in use. Since the power adaptor jack on all new PowerBooks and iBooks is simply a 2.5mm stereo audio jack (see http://developer.apple.com/qa/qa2001/qa1266.html ) I picked one up at the local electronics store. I'll post this as a hardware hack once imm finished Laughing out loud

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stereo plug not a great idea

Been there, done that, I built from scratch an adapter to go from old-style PS to new-style PB. Here's a couple of problems to be aware of:

First, without an external sleeve the inner part (the stereo plug) will wobble, with damage possible to the jack. Plus it won't make solid connection to the internal jack contacts, so you'll probably have trouble keeping a continuous connection.

Second, 24V will be on the base of the plug which is normally ground on a stereo. You face the difficulty of keeping that separate from the grounded outer ring of the jack. Making the plug, I ended up cutting away the base of the stereo plug and fabricating an outer ring which I epoxied around the central part of the plug itself. What a PITA that was!

Can I suggest as alternatives looking for either a dead adapter with an intact plug, or source a PowerBook aircraft power cord, those usually sell for $20 or so.

Great power supply link (developer.apple.com/qa/qa2001/qa1266.html) though! I've been through that area more times than I care to think about and never spotted that one (at least as far as I can remember!)

dan k

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At least in the plug of my (1

At least in the plug of my (12 inch albook) adapter, there is a tiny circuitboard. I could be wrong, but I think that the powerbook will not accept the power unless it goes through that circuitboard.

TJH
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The link above explains the c

The link above explains the circuit. I don't think it is used on iBooks though.

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12 inch PB g4 1ghz

looks like ive got the 18560 size batteries, and my powerbook 12" G4 1.0 ghz pack lasts at best ten minutes,

I got it open quite easily, it's got six cells, and they have no markings on them, but they are the 18560 3.6v, right?
Any minimum mAh?

as far as i understand it, as long as i wire them up right, the computer has a pretty good tolerance for different voltages and the current-mAh is just how long the battery is going to last. i'm thinking the LG 18560 @ 2200 mAh

thanks for any info.

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Replace 3.6V 2000mAh with 3.7V 2200mAh?

I found some lithium-ion 18650 3.7 volt 2200 mAh batteries on eBay. Is it possible to replace the 18650 3.6 volt 2000 mAh in my Tibook battery with these?

Thanks in advance

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Nope.

LiON and NiMHs have completely different charge requirements. It is extremely dangerous to charge a LiON battery with anything that isn't designed specifically to charge them. They can burst into flames.

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re: Nope.

All 18650 cells (as used in Apple's portables anyhow) are LiIon, not NiMh, so there's no problem. As for the listed voltages being different, I suspect it makes no difference as those voltages are in any case merely nominal. Go for it!

dan k

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Ouestions...

Cool Thread,
Got me thinking...OH No!!!
I have a Wallstreet Powerbook, and 6 dead or nonfunctional batteries,
Also have 3 New 3400c batteries..
Voltages and Amperage specs look exactly the same for both.
Any chance of switching the batteries from one to another ?
I can purchase new 3400c batteries all day for under 10$ ,
Damn Wallstrret batteries are at 75-150$
Just curious, and not an electrical tech by any means.
Looks interesting but , seems too good to be true???
Thanks in advance...
Regards,
David

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3400 battery cells - so open one up already!!

Open one up and let us know what cells are in there. I always wondered but I've never had a dead 3400/3500 battery suitable for destroying in the never-ending quest for knowledge.
Cool Mac

dan k

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So I opened a 3400c battery..

So I opened a 3400c battery...
Uses (4) Large Sony US26650 ENERGYTECH CG20 Z batteries

My Wallstreet uses (Cool Smaller Panasonic CGR17670HC batteries...

no help to me, but thought the info may be usefull...

Dave

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Can't Edit

should have read, (eight) Smaller Panasonic....

Dave

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Hmmm, how about making a Lithium Polymer pack for PBs 100?

just dawdling about and came across this page which got me thinking how long a PB100 would run on a modern battery.

Maybe using a Lithium polymer pack and a generic charger built right into the pack itself. These cells are used in all sorts of devices nowadays and are widely available

lessee . . . PB100 battery pack is 150mm x 100mm x 13mm. The available cells are 3.7v each, so you'd need 4 to get the required ~12v. So 2000 mAh cells @ 4.5 X 50 X 85 would fit plus room for electronics 'n' stuff. Smile

Ahh, I'll never do this but I figgered I'd toss the thought out there.

dan k

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Easier solution?

How about simply using standard rehargeable batteries. I am going to ry this eventually with my Duo. Battery capacity has is a bit better these days, I think you can get AAA cells with the same mAh that the AA cells had. Then, you just make some kind of hinge, and a compartment for the AAAs and you should at least get the same battery life it had before. Batteries in modern laptops, if i am correct will not receive any performance gain when inserting cells of greater capacity because the circuit thingy inside the battery tells the computer the capacity of the battery.

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I have a Wallstreet battery t

I have a Wallstreet battery that is not recognized by the computer at all (I get the "battery with an X through it" icon in OS 9). I have tried resetting the battery a couple of times, and it recognizes the battery in the correct bay, lets me reset it, and tells me the battery was reset, but it still doesn't show up as being present in the menubar.

If I buy $50 worth of new cells and recell this monster, will it charge, or is the circuit in the battery fried?

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Just to follow up on this. I

Just to follow up on this. I did make the battery. I couldn't properly solder the leads on to the cells so that they would sit properly without disconnecting. Instead I used tin foil to attach the leads and packed it all in together with folded up copy paper to hold it in place. That's probably a big fire hazard but so far it has been working. The problem has been that the cells themselves were pretty crummy and don't last all that long. I was able to get about two hours out of the machine. Right now it acts as my home DHCP server, and that's about it, so I don't even use the battery. It probably wasn't worth the whole effort considering that I spent $50 on cells and for $100 you can buy a new battery that lasts much longer.

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Caution: 2400mAh cells are physically bigger than OEM 18650s.

This thread has been very helpful to me in the past, especially confirming that a mini phono plug can substitute for the 12.1" Al p/s jack -- however, I need to add a word of caution for future readers.

After reading this thread I ordered 2400mAh 18650 cells from Batteryspace to replace the cells in my PB's battery, and after I had completed the soldering, I realized that the cells I had just assembled would not fit back into the battery housing -- the 2400s are significantly larger than the OEM cells.

Since the battery was already in rough shape, I decided to make it fit. I removed the central pillar and just taped the top of the battery for insulation, leaving off the top of the battery case, and so I was able to squeeze it in. The missing battery case top has the retaining tab for the right side of the battery so I have to tape the battery to hold it in place, too, but it is (just barely) doable if you don't mind the Mad Max look.

Now I need to figure out why my rebuilt battery won't charge, won't power my PB, and shows a uniform 24% charge when installed. I think I probably had a dead PCB in the battery instead of dead cells... oh well.

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Pinouts for 12.1" aluminum PB battery connector?

I'm trying to isolate the problem with my PB battery rebuild and would appreciate if anyone knew the pinouts for the battery bay. I have a 12.1" aluminum G4 PB and I am trying to determine if my troubles are within the battery or within my PB.

Also, if anyone happens to have a depleted battery that would work in this model, I need a known good battery circuit board. I have the original cells and a set of new 2400mAh cells, but I suspect my original battery PCB might be bad. I had a damaged DC-in jack for a while and I think the constant make/break might have done it in. If you would be willing to sell me one for a small fee, please send me a private message. Thanks!

Thanks so much for any help. I'd love to get my PB mobile again.

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replacing Pismo cells

I found some Energizer rechargable battery packs for JVC camcorders for $1 a pack at Goodwill, and opened them up. The cells inside are Panasonic lithium ion, same voltage as the original Pismo cells, but slightly less capacity (run time). Each Energizer pack has 4 cells, so I bought 3.
But the new cells are smaller, so I didn't have to worry about cramming the cells and new wiring into the original battery shell.
I get about 3 hours off the rebuilt battery pack.

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Re: stereo plug not a great idea

dankephoto wrote:

First, without an external sleeve the inner part (the stereo plug) will wobble, with damage possible to the jack. Plus it won't make solid connection to the internal jack contacts, so you'll probably have trouble keeping a continuous connection.

Second, 24V will be on the base of the plug which is normally ground on a stereo. You face the difficulty of keeping that separate from the grounded outer ring of the jack.
dan k

I've had great luck with the gold right angle plugs from Radio Shack. Since it does not stick out like a straight plug, there is little stress on the jack. Also less likely to pull out. And since it has a plastic case, it doesn't short to the Mac. Solder sticks well, even though there are no solder lugs.

I've used them on el-cheapo generic laptop power supplies and on an Apple one.
I don't recommend using an old Apple plug, since it uses coaxaxial wire that doesn't withstand much flexing (the shield fails). An old cable won't last long.

I recently replaced the cord on a TiBook supply with lamp cord just small enough to fit through the hole. This little job is an order of magnitude more traumatic than, say, replacing the TiBooks hinges. Even the heat sinks are glued to the plastic. Pryed it apart (there must be a better way), but didn't bother detaching the heat sinks (just bent). Sniped the old wire inside the strain relief (where it was still pristine) and spliced the new cord. I had wanted to solder the wire directly to the circut board, but didn't want to pry things apart any further. Clamped(first!) and Krazy glued back together. Not pretty, but works great and will last longer than that crappy coax that Apple uses.

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battery pcb

does enyone know where could I buy PCB for my iBook battery?

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Toshiba Portege T3400

I am attempting to replace the cells in the battery of my dad's old college laptop, but it would seem that the cells are no longer to be found anywhere (part# US18650A). There are nine cells: 1.2V, 3000mAh. I have found other cells in the 18650 series that are 3.6V, 2000mAh. Would it be impossible to use 6 of these cells, with two parallel series of three each, instead of the original nine? This is my first such battery project, so any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

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check again

If those are LiIon cells, they are 3.6v, not 1.2v (like NiMH or NiCad.) I'm not aware that 18650 cells came in other chemistries (like NiMH or NiCad), though I could be wrong.

Well, the 18650 spec is really just the physical size, so I suppose it's possible it's not LiIon, but that 3Ah rating sure would be awful high for an old old NiMH cell.

Heh, 'old college laptop' . . . how old is the laptop, and how old are you? I was just trying to figger the possible chronology and came up short. I suppose if Dad was in college while you were in grade school that could explain it I guess.

dan k

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