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Thread: iBook G3 Clamshell: Off the wall

  1. #1
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    Default iBook G3 Clamshell: Off the wall

    So, I've got myself a G3 clamshell, Tangerine. I wanna run it off the wall, but the stock battery isn't really up to it's job anymore and the no-name CWK battery I got seemingly won't charge in the system (even following a PMU and PRAM reset). The charge indicator does turn amber with the CWK battery, which suggests to me it's trying, but OS 9 doesn't show any indication that it's charging. Unplugging results in an immediate "No reserve battery left" followed by a ten second countdown for sleep mode. As someone who has soldering equipment but isn't readily able to use it, what's my best bet? Is there a known reliable seller of aftermarket batteries I can buy from, or should I hunker down on the garage floor and try to patch in some fresh cells? If I take that route, is there a known good seller to look out for? I'm hoping to get the same battery life a fresh OEM battery would get the system.
    Last edited by MrArgent; March 9th, 2018 at 07:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    There are a few major hurdles to trying to rebuild a battery pack besides getting new cells, that's the easy part.

    Many packs have a micro controller which records various information about the battery, including charge/discharge cycles and if individual cells are having problems charging properly. Sometimes this information is shared with the laptop and either the battery or the computer can refuse to use the batteries if any problem is detected, including too many charge/discharge cycles. So even if you spent money rebuilding the pack, it still may not work due to the existing recorded data.

    Another problem is getting the packs open without destroying them. Battery packs are usually ultrasonically welded together, making getting them apart a nightmare. Using sharp objects to try to split them apart is a bad idea because the cells are often just fractions of an inch away from the seams and can easily be pierced or shorted and cause the pack to go nuclear.

    I have rebuilt a few packs with mixed results. OEM packs really never work because of the first issue, but aftermarket packs sometimes work as they'll send fake data to the laptop. The few that I did have success with don't report their capacity properly anymore, likely because the cell capacity I used didn't match the original capacity cells in the pack. This leads the computer to think that 0% capacity remains for 20-30 minutes and constantly complaining the computer needs to shut down to avoid data loss.

  3. #3
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    Huh. The 8-bit guy did a demonstration a ways back using the exact make and model of the battery I'd be recelling and he made it seem like some tricky soldering would be the worst of my problems. Curiously, if how he pops it open is any indication that might be the easiest part to open on the darn thing.

    Replacement would be my best bet i imagine. There're threads suggesting aftermarket batteries that actually do work well on a clamshell exist, but none of them are produced anymore...and I'm not really too keen on the idea of the thing being dependent on the wall wart for the rest of it's operational life. The original battery does hold something of a charge, but i'd be surprised if it lasts more than a hour. Currently trying to discharge my current aftermarket battery completely to see if that fixes things at all.

  4. #4
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    Personally since the original and the replacement pack are so similar I would try swapping the cells from one pack to the other as one piece which is cake as you only have to mess with where the cells connect to the internal PCB which is soldered as opposed to spot welded.
    = Excellent space heater

  5. #5
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    Something else of interest i've noticed: With the aftermarket cell, the system's not acting like there isn't a cell installed, but it isn't charging either.

  6. #6
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    Those were some of the early "smart" lithium batteries. Apple's firmware will otherwise refuse to charge the cell if it cannot properly communicate with the battery's controller.
    = Excellent space heater

  7. #7

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    I use this site your going to pay way more but
    worth the extra in knowing your getting legit
    18650's with the correct mah rating..

    https://www.imrbatteries.com/efest-1...purple-series/

    I use this site for my vaping needs..
    Never Bin or sell your old computer's you will regret it!!
    Vic 20 x3,C64 x2,128D,C128 flat deck,A1000 x2,A500 x3,A2000,A600,A1200,Apple ][e,2x Apple][ GS rom 01,03,Apple ][c x4 with only 1 PSU,2x Laser 128EX EX2,Atari 600XL,2x 800XL,130XE w/320 mod With a MyIDE plus,Atari 1040stf w/2.5meg..

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrArgent View Post
    he made it seem like some tricky soldering would be the worst of my problems.
    Soldering to the battery ends is pretty straightforward if you have a bench vice. To make the ribbon conductor, just get two strands of 22 gauge copper stranded wire, strip off as much as you need and twist them together. Then take a hammer and lightly hammer the wire into a flat ribbon. To solder to the battery ends, take some fine sand paper and scuff the ends, then tin the ends with a small blob of solder. Then tin the wire ribbon and press it down with the soldering iron on the end of the battery until you have a connection and let it cool.

    If anyone tries to scaremonger you that soldering to batteries will cause fire and explosions, just ignore them. Batteries have a large thermal mass and heating them up to the point of being dangerous would take basically laying the soldering iron on one of the ends in a pool of solder for minutes. Just touching it with no solder doesn't have enough contact area to do much of anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrArgent View Post
    Replacement would be my best bet i imagine. There're threads suggesting aftermarket batteries that actually do work well on a clamshell exist, but none of them are produced anymore...and I'm not really too keen on the idea of the thing being dependent on the wall wart for the rest of it's operational life. The original battery does hold something of a charge, but i'd be surprised if it lasts more than a hour. Currently trying to discharge my current aftermarket battery completely to see if that fixes things at all.
    Another option you could pursue is an external battery pack and use a buck/boost regulator to get the voltage you need. I've done this with some old laptops that weren't worth getting packs for, or just didn't have them available. This takes a bit of work if you start from scratch, but it generally works pretty well if you build the external pack right and you can switch the plugs and voltages to work with any laptop that doesn't have one of those "smart" chargers.

  9. #9

    Default

    The risk is not heating them up shorting them out
    is the problem just make sure not to damage
    the plastic on the ends just take your time
    and you will be alright..
    Never Bin or sell your old computer's you will regret it!!
    Vic 20 x3,C64 x2,128D,C128 flat deck,A1000 x2,A500 x3,A2000,A600,A1200,Apple ][e,2x Apple][ GS rom 01,03,Apple ][c x4 with only 1 PSU,2x Laser 128EX EX2,Atari 600XL,2x 800XL,130XE w/320 mod With a MyIDE plus,Atari 1040stf w/2.5meg..

  10. #10
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    I let the battery deplete with the machine in sleep mode (This took several days, so the battery definitely holds a charge normally), followed up with a PMU/OpenFirmware/PRAM reset cocktail. No change to how the machine responds to the aftermarket battery; I'm starting to suspect the controller CWK put in the battery might not actually be compatible with the one in the stock G3 batteries. This is odd, as the battery has had reviews on other sites saying it's worked.

    Still talking to the seller and I haven't tried OS X yet since i'm still waiting on a USB CDR drive as the internal's gone kaput so i haven't done the controller swap yet.

    Addendum: It might actually be charging but OS 9 never seems to recognize that there's any reserve battery on the aftermarket no matter how full it is.
    Last edited by MrArgent; March 13th, 2018 at 10:07 PM.

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