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Power Management Tips

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Battery Life and Charging

All color PDA's have significantly reduced battery life versus their gray-scale counterparts. That's because of the power that it takes to run the backlight or sidelight that these devices use.

If you travel at all, consider getting a travel charger or even a combo USB sync/charge cable. There are many different manufacturers of these, but the Belkin USB Sync/Charge Cable works very well. Boxwave makes a similar cable, called the DirectSync.

Boxwave also makes the miniSync retractable sync/charge cable. The retractable kind is nice because they take up very little space in your briefcase.

There are also additional add-on accessories for the miniSync that let you charge your PDA from your car, from a standard electrical outlet, and even from 4 standard AA batteries. You can get up to 5 charges from the battery charger. Their new VersaCharger is a car adapter that also includes a standard electrical plug.

There are a few quirks with essentially all Palm-powered devices that use rechargeable batteries.

  • If left in the charger overnight, the battery will not charge to 100%. Actually, it does charge to 100% but then begins to drop again and the charger doesn't seem to kick in again until the Palm is removed and replaced on the cradle. This isn't a huge deal, but if you'd like to be sure you are 100% charged, remove the Palm from its cradle after about 2 hours of charging. Alternately, you can leave it on overnight and remove the Palm then place it back on the charger for a few more minutes until fully charged again.
  • The battery percent indicator is not very accurate. Battery drain is non-linear and the voltage on a full charge also varies over time on a particular unit. Thus, the battery indicator loses accuracy over time. To re-adjust it, place the Palm in the cradle, perform a soft reset and turn the device back off immediately. Let it charge for 2 hours. This will reset the percentage indicator.

If you happen to have a Palm m505 or even an m515, there is a serious potential issue with static discharge that prevents your device from synchronizing via USB. See our Palm m5-Series Page for more info.

Power-Saving Tips

  • Turn down the brightness setting on your screen. The backlight drains the battery very fast.
  • Turn off Beam Receive in your Prefs settings. This drains the battery looking for other devices to exchange data with. You can always turn this on manually in the off chance you need to use it. Alternately, if you first beam a file to someone else, when you are done it will ask you if you want to turn it on and you can always answer "yes" at that point.
  • Turn off Bluetooth in your Prefs settings when you are not using it. This is a HUGE battery drain. If you frequently need to turn off and on Bluetooth, there is an application called BTToggle Pro that will do this automatically for you. It works by tricking Bluetooth applications into thinking BT is on even when its not. It then turns it on briefly only when needed.
  • Turn on Wi-Fi PowerSave Mode in your Network Prefs if you are just surfing the net and getting email. You will need to leave it OFF if you are trying to perform a Wi-Fi Hotsync (see our Hotsync Tips page for more details).
  • Turn off the Screen or at least the Backlight when Playing Music - This will conserve a lot of power. Most devices have a Hold switch and/or have a setting to blank the screen when not in use other than playing music.

Home | Tips Home | Wireless | Wi-Fi | Bluetooth | General | Screen | Hotsync | Memory Cards | Security | Power Mgt | PIM | Graffiti 2

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Published on: 2006-07-04 (26217 reads)
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