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Service Hints & Tips

Document ID: EMON-3M2JHM

IBM WorkPad - Tips on Battery Usage

Applicable to: United States

The following highlighted topics on battery usage are discussed below. This information should alleviate users anxiety about data loss when batteries become drained.

Use Alkaline Batteries
Typical Battery Life
Changing the Auto-off Setting
Checking the Battery Gauge
Low Battery Power Causing Unusual WorkPad Behavior
Changing Batteries
What to Do If Your WorkPad Won't Turn On Because The Batteries Are Dead
What To Do If You Lose Data In Your WorkPad

Use Alkaline Batteries

Please note that we recommend using only quality alkaline batteries with your WorkPad. Nickel-cadmium batteries are not recommended, as they do not supply sufficient voltage and will not trigger low battery warnings properly. Users have reported fair success using rechargeable alkaline batteries.

Typical Battery Life

The typical user should get a couple of months usage from quality AAA alkaline batteries. Employees at IBM give their units very heavy usage, and we all get well over a month from a set of batteries.

Changing the Auto-off Setting

Battery life is significantly influenced by the "Auto-off" setting that you select. To change the default 2 minute setting, go to Applications, then Preferences, and select 1, 2, or 3 minutes from the Auto-off after: pull down menu. Shorter settings, of course, preserve battery life, but give you less time to view your WorkPad screen before it turns off.

Checking the Battery Gauge

Make it a daily habit to inspect the battery indicator gauge in the Applications window of your WorkPad, next to the clock. The black bar in the gauge indicates battery life remaining, and will recede to the left across the screen as the batteries are depleted. If little black remains, it is time to replace your batteries.

In particular, inspect the battery gauge prior to any long period that will be unable you to HotSync, eg. travelling. If battery power is low, then be sure to HotSync and put in new batteries before your trip begins.

Low Battery Indicator

WorkPad automatically gives you a low battery warning when its batteries need to be replaced. This warning will remain on the screen until you clear it, so it should be impossible to miss. As soon as possible, after receiving such warning, you should
HotSync and put new batteries into the WorkPad.

Note that the low battery warning comes with considerable WorkPad usage time left. At IBM Support, we have intentionally ignored repeated low battery warnings during the course of our normal (heavy) WorkPad usage for up to three or four days. At the end of this period the WorkPad just shuts itself off. When new batteries were placed in the unit, it turned itself back on right where it had been turned off, without data loss.

We do not recommend that you wait before reacting to your WorkPad's low battery warnings. But you should not feel alarmed if you receive such a message; you should have more than enough usage time left to HotSync and acquire and install new batteries before your WorkPad has insufficient power to function. Left "off" the WorkPad will store your data securely for weeks.

Low Battery Power Causing Unusual WorkPad Behavior

If your WorkPad suddenly starts to exhibit unusual or irregular behavior, suspect weak batteries as possible cause. You may have missed the Low Battery Warning, or in exceptional circumstances, the behavior even may precede the occurrence of the warning. Symptoms that have been associated with weak batteries include: slower graffiti input, general application sluggishness, and the need to press the power or application buttons twice before the WorkPad will turn itself on.

If you observe these or similar occurrence and your batteries are low, HotSync and then install fresh batteries, and the symptoms should disappear.

Changing Batteries

Whenever changing batteries, do not forget to:

1. HotSync to your PC(s) immediately prior to changing batteries.

2. Have your new batteries on hand. Open the package and place the batteries near your WorkPad. You have one minute to replace batteries without losing data on your WorkPad.

3. Remove the WorkPad battery door, located immediately above the serial connection on the back of the unit, by placing slight downward pressure on the fingernail - like depression and sliding the door out towards the side.

4. Take one battery out of the WorkPad, noting its orientation, and place it to the side away from the new batteries. Place a new battery where the old one was, with the same orientation (the battery compartment also shows proper orientation).

5. Repeat this for the other side (note that the orientation is different).

6. Slide the battery door back in place: your WorkPad is ready to go!

What to Do If Your WorkPad Won't Turn On Because The Batteries Are Dead

If you have left your WorkPad for a long period of time unused, and it will not turn on or you otherwise suspect dead batteries, simply repeat Changing Batteries sequence described above, with the exception of step 1. You will not be able to complete a HotSync, but otherwise proceed as described. If your pilot will not turn on after receiving new batteries, refer to page 119 of the WorkPad Handbook, and perform a Soft Reset of your unit.

What To Do If You Lose Data In Your WorkPad

If you lose all of the data in the WorkPad because you left batteries out of the unit for over a minute, or for any other reason, you merely have to HotSync with your PC to regain all of your data. Before attempting to HotSync, however, be sure that you have placed a fresh set of batteries in the WorkPad.

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