The replacement LiPo battery arrived for my daughter’s Eken T02A ultra-cheap Android tablet yesterday. Only 2 weeks from China which isn’t bad.
As I mentioned before, the Eken’s battery life is catastrophic Sometimes less than 45 mins. Even at idle, it dies in no time at all. I’m guessing one of its two cells isn’t actually functional.
The eBay replacement quotes 3500mAh which I’ll take with a big grain of salt. But at least it was bigger and heavier than the 2x “2000mAh” that were in the Eken.
Swapping out seemed to be a doddle, just two wires to solder. Most of the eBay batteries come with a PCM (Protection Circuit Module) built-in. This ensures that the battery never completely drains and also doesn’t get overcharged. Both are lethal for LiPo batteries.
I charged the Eken up with the new battery, which took forever on USB. But I saw this as a good thing. Then I pulled the power and tried to boot. Zip. Nada. Not even a flicker.
I started getting paranoid that the 2x batteries in the Eken were actually wired to give 7.4V and not 3.7V. But some multi-metering confirmed 3.7V on the originals. I wired them back in and the Eken booted fine. Weird. When I checked the new one disconnected from the Eken on the multimeter, it reported 3.7V too. But when it was connected to the Eken it said 0.8V.
Then I had a brainwave. I tested the connections on the battery side of the PCM. Aha, 3.7V. So something weird was happening with the PCM. My worry was that is was actually doing it’s job and the battery couldn’t supply enough current to power the Eken.
But deep intake of breath and I swapped the PCM from the old battery and put it on the new one. Result! Eken booted and battery did not explode or melt.
I’ve been unable to figure out if all PCMs are generic for a particular voltage or if they are specific to a battery type. I’m hoping the former. Anyone know? I’d hate for something to go wrong with this one.
And now for the really good news. 2.5hrs mixed usage with the new battery and we’re still at 64%!
One thing that has driven me mad for the past several years is hotels making it hard to connect your gear to their TVs. Older TVs are usually easier and have a SCART at the back. LCDs bolted into a wall-unit tend to be the worst.
I usually travel with a media player, a variety of cables and a universal remote control. Most of the time I can get something working. I’ve only been beaten once by a recessed LCD where I was very tempted to take my leatherman tool to the entire wall unit to disassemble it. But I managed to stop myself.
Last week I thought I was stymied again. It took me a good 15 mins of my arm up the back of the LCD to find a HDMI socket but I finally did. However I couldn’t get the TV to switch to the AV ports no matter what I did on my or their remote.
The culprit is that Hotel TV system. You know the one, with the welcome video and the “premium” channels. It locks the TV down so you can only see what they want you to see. Very frustrating.
But I do hate to be beaten so I did a bit of googling and hurrah, it’s a doddle to work around. This should work for any Philips Hotel TV setup and possibly others.
- Connect your media player, Android Tablet with HDMI-out or Raspberry Pi to the TV
- Go to a high numbered channel, ideally one that is used for nothing
- Quickly type 3 1 9 7 5 3 mute on the TV remote and you’ll get access to a secret admin menu.
- Choose Program Install and then cycle through the inputs until you see the expected screen of your connected device
- Exit out and your’re done!
To avoid annoying the hotel, you should do the decent thing and re-run the procedure above just before you leave and change the input back to tuner (or whatever it was set to originally).
I smugly used my Raspberry Pi running the Raspbmc distribution to play a variety of videos in my hotel room last week using XBMC.
I asked my 8 y/o daughter on Monday if there was anything she didn’t like about her €88 Tablet after a week of ownership. I assumed she’d gripe about the touch sensitivity of the screen, which I still see as a problem. Nope, she had a single criticism – the battery only lasts a couple of hours on a charge. Otherwise she loves it. She streams TV shows and movies across the home network, browses the web and plays lots of games. Exactly what you want in a tablet.
I’m holding out for a 7″ one with slightly better CPU/GPU and an IPS screen. Should come in around the €110-€130 mark. Maybe that Ainol Elf. I doubt I’ll have to wait long.
As far as she is concerned, the only thing Android lacks is Scribblenauts. Come on 5th Cell and WB Games, get the finger out. Huge youth market for it, all moving away from NDS at the speed of light and not going to iOS.
I just checked out Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 on the Eken. However bad I thought Nintendo’s future was looking before, this game confirmed that they are dead unless they bring out an Android gaming device in 2012.