HACKING THE NOKIA POWER ADAPTER CABLE

As my demand for internet connectivity increases, equipment that connects to the internet needs to keep up too. If and when my iPad 2 battery runs low I have the i.Sound 8000 mAh Power Max. When my Nokia E71-cum-Personal-Hotspot runs low, I have this single “AA” battery powered inverter. The trouble with third-party connectors that they’re very often unreliable. By that, I refer to  to the 2mm power connector contact isn’t as secure as the original Nokia part notably (in this example) the CA-44 power adapter pictured below. I’m not big on carrying additional items unnecessarily and seeing how the i.Sound power pack has extra USB ports (see third picture) and enough juice to also charge the E71 while it’s charging the iPad—perfect! This modification is unnecessary for owners of Nokia E72 — the USB data port is capable of charging the phone and Nokia includes a short cable for this purpose (too short in my opinion for practice use especially when you need to answer a call or send a text while the short cable is in use).

This is an original Nokia CA-44 power adapter cable with the female pin spliced open.

Nokia has a part number for the cable I want — Nokia Charger via USB CA 100 — short, neat and most of all, elegant. Trouble is this item is highly unpopular and most people I’d imagine have no need for such set-up other than the factory AC and maybe a car adapter. Another thing, the CA 100 is such an old part number I couldn’t locate a store in my town but I found a similar functioning cable that has an additional cable for data transfer. The part I wanted is the power charging piece and unfortunately but not unexpected the connection isn’t very secure and as a result intermittently disrupts charging due to poor contact. Here’s where my D-I-Y light bulb in my head went off difference this time, I got my dad to help as he’s much better at handling delicate electrical items than I have the patience or skills for. Now, is it a coincidence that I also enjoy Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House because I happen to like cutting things up? Likely not considering what we like and do are probably a result of years of visual influence.

A China made two-in-one USB power and data cable spliced at the Y junction to reveal the rather the soldered wires underneath.

Tada! The finished product, a fusion between original Nokia  CA-44 2mm adapter plug end and a China made USB port. iPhone owners need not worry about such things, the USB sync cable  doubles as charger so it’s all good. The sheer convenience and power of the iPad provided the motivation for this mod. Productivity is when you do more and carry less items in the bag.

The finished ensemble—two cables elegantly connected and sealed with heat-shrink tubing.

Another reminder in case you missed this. This modification is unnecessary for owners of Nokia E72 — the USB data port is capable of charging the phone and Nokia includes a short cable for this purpose (too short in my opinion for practice use especially when you need to answer a call or send a text while the short cable is in use). My design factored this in and is long enough to not have to interrupt the phone’s charging or hotspot-in-use status!

The new USB cable is particularly useful in the car too with this dual USB car power adapter especially on seriously long journeys such as a 4-5 hours drive across the borders to Kota Kinabalu.

HANDS-ON REVIEW OF THE iSOUND PORTABLE POWER MAX 8000 mAh POWER PACK

If you own an iPad 2 (or a first generation iPad) chances are you may have considered getting portable power pack so you can indulge longer. I picked up the iPad 2 (never owned a previous gen iPad or any tablet for the matter) a little over a month ago and it’s made such a remarkable difference in my life. So I was recently in Singapore to shop and came across two i.Sound portable power solutions—notably 8,000 mAh and 16,000 mAh models. To cut a long story short, the less -than-knowledgeable sales staff made some bold claims that the 8,000 mAh model “should be able” to accommodate 2.5 times the charging capacity of the iPad 2. Mumbled some cryptic formula about how 8,000 mAh is sufficient as the iPad “requires” 3,500 mAh for a complete charge. This unit measures just 9 x 8 x 2.5 cm so it’s compact footprint is a an attractive consideration.

Manufacturer sales pitch: The i.Sound Portable Power Max is the only back up battery you’ll ever need for your cellphone, tablet, iPod or other USB powered device. With its compact design and enormously powerful 8,000 mAh battery you can talk more, listen to more music and view videos longer. The 8,000 mAh battery is enough to fully charge for example your iPhone 4 up to 5 times, or an iPod Touch up to 9 times! The 5 USB ports allow you to charge and power most USB powered devices, while the LED status indicators let you know how much charge power is remaining and the built-in flashlight will help you connect in the dark. — i.Sound

Measuring just 9 x 8 x 2.5 cm it’s compact footprint is a an attractive consideration.

Enough with the intro, let me get straight to the point—performance. If you’re on my Facebook friends list, you may have already read my review on Facebook when I hooked it up to my wife’s iPad 2 she had used down to 1% so that gave me a perfect candidate to see how far this baby can go. Bottom line is, I quickly discovered that the sale guy’s “3,500 mAh 2.5 times formula was flawed. With 8,000 mAh a fully exhausted iPad 2 charges up to 80% in 3 hours. This left me gutted at first but I also realized that in real world use, size doesn’t necessarily matter that much.

With power down to 7% and forgetting to charge the night before, I packed my iPad and headed out to town expecting to work out of the coffee shop for the rest of the rainy morning. And guess what, the i.Sound charger brought power up to 35% before I decided it was time to go, two helpings of my favourite coffee later. In real world use, 8000 mAh packs more than enough juice to get work done.  At time of this writing, I am store hunting for a USB charger cable similar to Nokia Charger via USB port CA-100 so I can also charge my Nokia E71 without using an inverter eliminating the need to bring carry another item in the bag.