Re: Alternate batteries

Mon, 24 Jul 1995 18:34:21 -0500 (CDT)


Solved another annoying UL problem today--the short cord from the power supply
to the computer. Opened up the MacWarehouse catalog and picked a 6-ft.
Mini-DIN-8 extension cable--their # ACC 0620, $9.95. They are currently also
shipping air express for $3.00 (small items). Their 24-hour order number is
(800) 255-6227. Might be a cheaper place to get this cable, but they ship fast,
and the 24-hour line is a convenience. Also, this particular cable is all 8
wires straight through--nothing left out that you "don't need." This has angered
me purchasing cables in the past. This cable could also be known as a Mac
printer extension cable, although it works with an Apple IIc+ and an Apple IIGS
also--that's why I happened to have my first cable handy--it just had a male
connector on one end and bare wires on the other--left over from the days I was
fighting "random wireitis" to make an external modem work with my IIc+. Anyway,
after carefully breaking out the little "index lug" (read, "don't-use it-with-
anything-but-my-machine-lug") in the male connector coming off the power supply
(thin, strong screwdriver pressed firmly against the base--scrape away the
leftovers and straighten the bent pins!), I plugged the power supply into the
female end of the cable and the male end into the UltraLite. Now I can hold it
in my lap any way I want while I am working off the AC power supply--up to 6
feet away! And since
this is an 8-wires-straight-through cable, it powers the computer and the
floppy drive, as well as charging both batteries. (The "index lug" is the fat
little rectangular "pin" directly in the center of the male connector coming
off the power supply--it takes the place of a real metal pin, which the
standard Mini-DIN-8 connectors have. It is made of plastic and easy to snap
off--but watch the real pins! There is no problem with actual indexing as these
connectors have three dimples in the metal shell to do _that_ job.)

Now, about that floppy drive cable! Haven't called Digi-Key yet. Has anyone
managed to extend this cable? Try balancing the UltraLite on one knee and the
drive on the other!

Been thinking how ironic it is to use the Ray-O-Vac Renewal cells. They brag
that their "Renewal Power Station" (AKA battery charger) works so well because
it uses "computer microchip technology." But they warn if you charge any other
kind of batteries except Renewal in their charger, or if you charge Renewal
batteries in any other kind of charger, they will EXPLODE!!!! Heh, heh, heh.
You won't catch _me_ trying it! :-)

Silicon backup battery: If you put three AA hi-cap NiCads in there to take its
place, there is still room left for an eighth cell for the main power supply.
So if you put seven in the original compartment, that will give you a full 12V.
But you will have to cover the batteries with a piece of tape as they stick out
just a bit and the cover won't fit anymore. Will let you know when I do it
(won't until I have to--so far as I know, nobody has had to replace this
battery yet--amazing if true!). As for identifying the leads, Fritz, this
should be fairly easy with the battery pack apart, just from physical
construction. Besides, it is likely that even a "dead" battery will have enough
juice in it to make polarity ID possible using a good, sensitive meter.
Will keep you posted--anxious to get the 7 cells in and be completely free of
the cable and 8-AA battery pack, small and light as it is. Then the backup
battery when I have to.

Goes without saying that any scheme which uses AA or D cells allows you to use
ordinary, non-rechargeable batteries from the drug store in an emergency.

As far as I know, the 1-meg UltraLite 17-01 and the 2-meg UltraLite 17-02 are
otherwise identical.

I want to express great appreciation to previous experimenters with external
batteries, as well as the poster of the cable pinouts. Without you, my work
would have been impossible--and I wouldn't have bought an UltraLite--cool as
the machine is, I have serious work for it--and it is doing a fabulous job!
Its main purpose is to keep my lesson plan/calendar file up to date. I use the
DVED editor program for quick changes--great because it works on only part of
the file at once--doesn't have to load the whole thing--I can issue a command
(EDIT SY, in this case), and have my file in 4 seconds! Add that to the 4
seconds it takes the UL to boot, and I can be working on my file in 8 seconds!
(4 seconds to boot off the power supply if you hit the space bar to cancel
memory test, same off the external battery pack if you hit F1 right away.) Use
Easy Working Writer for heavier stuff. The file gets passed to my Apple IIc for
extraction/printing, also to my 286 desktop machine. I use Kermit for short
transfers, Cross-Works for longer ones (LapLink isn't available for Apple II
:-( ). The "why" of using an Apple IIc is mainly Apple Writer--sadly have
never found anything comparable in the MS-DOS world. Not only is it an
all-around great programmable (has its own language--WPL) word processor, but
it is also just fabulous for writing PostScript to drive a laser printer--
allows you to embed any and all control characters, as well as do find-and-
replace on same, backwards or forwards.
My particular machine is souped up with an 8-mHz accelerator (8 times normal
Apple II speed) and a IIc+ keyboard--my absolute favorite.

Mark Shields
"If we would teach children, we must first become children with them."
- Martin Luther