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Replacing Battery Cells on Powerbook 180

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    Replacing Battery Cells on Powerbook 180

    I recently obtained a Powerbook 180 that needs some work. It boots but has a damaged LCD (may have a replacement from a 145 that does not boot). Although the battery is bloated and corroded. I was able to open it up quite easily without breaking any plastic and to no surprise all 10 cells are done for.

    My question is if anyone has any experience replacing these cells and what batteries are suitable as replacements? An older post here from 2013 says someone used Varta Ni-Mh AA cells but they seem too small in size to fit the battery case.
    Click here for my YouTube Channel on old commercials and abandoned places!

    #2
    Without a picture of the original batteries, I can't be of much help, but if the original batteries were NiCD, you can use NiMH batteries to replace them.

    There is a NiMH/NiCD battery size that looks close to AA, but they're a bit fatter and shorter, this might be what you have, but without pictures, I can only speculate.

    Comment


      #3
      20210823_140511.jpg

      I took a picture with a tape measure for size. The only markings on the cells are the polarities and JAPAN so I can't tell what material they're made of. They seem to be two inches wide.
      Attached Files
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        #4
        Yeah, that is the weird size I was thinking of. I think I have a few of those in my garage, I'll see if there's any markings on them saying what they are.

        Comment


          #5
          Closest I could find is a 4/5A cell:

          https://www.onlybatteries.com/showit....31&cat1=&uid=

          You'll need to compare the battery sizes. A 4/5A is 17mm diameter and 42mm long. The critical dimension is the diameter, it doesn't matter if the batteries are a bit shorter, it'll give you more working room. Regardless of the size, the new NiMH batteries will have a significantly higher capacity than 30 year old NiCD battery technology. I'd be surprised if the old batteries were even 1200 mAh new.

          Comment


            #6
            I'm in the same project for the same laptop ( powerbook 180 )

            Maybe later for a powerbook 100 (hwihc i'm waiting today )

            Strangely enough, in my case, the batteries look like AA to me, and not exactly set up in the same way as this picture, the battery even looks different.

            I planned to replace with new NICD (in Europe you can still find them in the western countires like poland or ukraine) but these are mostly new old stock now, and even if they are new they don't last long.

            So I'll swap the nicd with nimh for the first time.

            Beware that if the batteries themselves are clearly a good fit to power on the laptop (1,2V in both cases), the way they are charged differs. Back in the day they were charged with constant voltage and nimh needs constant current. If you swapp them it's likely they'll get "some" charge - but I would trust this process much. Ideally you should hack an external charger for your homemade battery pack.

            As a comparison I replaced the batteries on a toshiba 2130 (486DX vga laptop) with new 4/5 AA NICD from Poland (twice the capacity of the original!) and the laptop works probably even better than back in the day, holds charge for half a day , and charges perfectly with the laptop power cord.
            (Helas they don't have stock anymore.)
            Last edited by CedsRepair; September 5, 2021, 11:25 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              The more I look at your picture the more I think this is not the stock PB180 battery - but a rebuild of some sort.

              I'll share pictures of mine, it has no wires in it (only wide copper channels) and it has two weird looking thermistors (?) stuck between batteries

              The case itself was also extremely difficult to open ( ultrasound soldered )
              Last edited by CedsRepair; September 5, 2021, 11:26 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
                but if the original batteries were NiCD, you can use NiMH batteries to replace them.
                No, you can't! NiMH cells require controlled charging, while NiCD cells don't. Just using NiMH as a replacement of NiCD is very, very dangerous and should not be recommended to anyone.

                The PB 180 should already use NiMH, however.
                Last edited by Timo W.; September 5, 2021, 11:58 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                  No, you can't! NiMH cells require controlled charging, while NiCD cells don't. Just using NiMH as a replacement of NiCD is very, very dangerous and should not be recommended to anyone.

                  The PB 180 should already use NiMH, however.
                  You're confusing NiMH with Lithium Ion.

                  NiMH charge characteristics are virtually identical to NiCD and they can be interchanged in almost all cases.

                  The Powerbook 180 uses either NiCD or SLA batteries, depending on the pack type.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by CedsRepair View Post
                    The more I look at your picture the more I think this is not the stock PB180 battery - but a rebuild of some sort.

                    I'll share pictures of mine, it has no wires in it (only wide copper channels) and it has two weird looking thermistors (?) stuck between batteries

                    The case itself was also extremely difficult to open ( ultrasound soldered )
                    I thought about this too. The case was simple to open and the black padding on the upper right and left looks like hardware store electrical tape. I have another Powerbook 145B in storage that has a dead battery as well but I haven't taken it apart. The only reason I cared enough about this one is because it began corroding outside of the shell and onto the Powerbook itself. I'd like to repair the battery into working order but worse case scenario I'll empty the battery case and keep the circuitry in the event I sell it and the future owner wants to rebuild it.

                    Here is another image for diameter. The left cell is a AA I had on hand for comparison. The length of the AA and Powerbook cells are the same but the diameter of the Powerbook is slightly larger.
                    Attached Files
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                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Windows2000 View Post
                      The length of the AA and Powerbook cells are the same but the diameter of the Powerbook is slightly larger.
                      Because the PB cells are 4/5A, not AA. You can use AA batteries, but you won't get the same capacity. AA NiMH batteries top out at around 2000 mAh, while 4/5A can go up to around 2800 mAh.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post

                        You're confusing NiMH with Lithium Ion.

                        NiMH charge characteristics are virtually identical to NiCD and they can be interchanged in almost all cases.

                        The Powerbook 180 uses either NiCD or SLA batteries, depending on the pack type.
                        Yeah, I repacked a NiCd battery pack for a Motorola “brick” cell phone with NiMh and it has been working fine for a few years now, and has insane life. Probably far more than it did even when new. About to do the same with a Compaq SLT battery pack. Finding good NiCd cells in 2021 is really more trouble than it’s worth.
                        Compaq - It simply works better

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
                          Finding good NiCd cells in 2021 is really more trouble than it’s worth.
                          They are available, just not in high capacities. You can get them in 150-300 mAh capacities pretty easily and 600 mAh if you look a bit harder, but above that is where it gets hard. The only reason they still exist is because Chinese companies that make those 99 cent solar garden lights use them over other battery types because they're so cheap. Once the ROHS ban went into effect, the bottom fell out of the cadmium market I guess.

                          It's ironic they ban cadmium because it's a heavy metal that causes health issues, but so does nickel, and it wasn't banned or restricted lol.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post

                            They are available, just not in high capacities. You can get them in 150-300 mAh capacities pretty easily and 600 mAh if you look a bit harder, but above that is where it gets hard. The only reason they still exist is because Chinese companies that make those 99 cent solar garden lights use them over other battery types because they're so cheap. Once the ROHS ban went into effect, the bottom fell out of the cadmium market I guess.

                            It's ironic they ban cadmium because it's a heavy metal that causes health issues, but so does nickel, and it wasn't banned or restricted lol.
                            Yeah, I need much higher capacities than that generally, like my Compaq SLT battery for example was a 2400mah unit, 10 cell 12v, so I would need at least 2400mah cells for it (because I don’t like the idea of reducing the capacity by using smaller cells). That’s why I’m going with 3000mah NiMh cells instead.

                            From what I’ve read, I believe NiCds are MORE toxic than NiMh, though I’m certainly no expert in heavy metals. Obviously, ALL batteries are toxic to the environment to some degree if they aren’t properly disposed of, but I was always under the impression that NiCds were particularly nasty.
                            Compaq - It simply works better

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Cadmium is one of the more toxic heavy metals, but nickel isn't far behind. Ions and compounds of nickel are known carcinogens, and can cause plenty of nasty health issues. Nickel allergy is a thing that many people have just touching the metal.

                              NiMH batteries are less toxic than NiCD batteries, but not that much less toxic.

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