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Thread: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    I was thumbing through an issue of Laptop magazine during lunch and noticed the ads for usedhandhelds.com. Checked their site, and saw that they offer the HP 200LX for about $300. This is the old DOS-compatible handheld that runs an Intel 80186 CPU on two AA cells.

    Then I got to thinking how nice it'd be to have something like this to use with my ham radio gear when battery thrift becomes a concern. (It'd be super-nice to be able to do packet comms while on backup battery power.)

    The Asus Eee has been catching my eye for some time... if anyone can recommend something in a similar vein that uses a more common battery scheme I'd really love to see it.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    I would also be interested in that. I do regularly make up AA NiMH packs that can power the laptop. My last one needed 16 AA cells (18v), it would charge the internal battery and power it for about an additional 2-3 hours, but it was a pain carrying around the 2 eight AA packs. Funny thing though I had two 9v snap connectors (wired in series) and for the heck of it I put two 9v cells on there and sure enough it started to charge the internal battery. I am sure it wouldn't have ran long, but in a pinch…
    Brock - Used to have some web sites

  3. #3

    Default Re: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    Have you considered building a small external AA battery pack for the device? All you (hopefully) need is the proper connector, voltage, and current.

    EDIT: Yeah, what Brock just said.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    What os are you wanting to run? With most people running ms stuff it really limits you. I toyed with small and wearable systems for years and my hang up was nothing could ever run windows. I found a lot of nice tiny systems, everything from a pc on a chip so chewing gum sized. But I kept looking at them with specs like 128m ram and rom and thought that was worthless. Then I realized there were better os's out there I found those systems would work fine. So decide what you want to run and then explore your options.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Fallingwater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    The old Apple eMate comes to mind.
    Also the OLPC, which if memory serves me right runs from a pack made of NiMH AAs, but good luck getting a OLPC for a reasonable price... the geniuses that make them aren't selling them to private owners unless you agree to pay double, with the rest of the money supposedly used to buy an OLPC for charity. Only other source is eBay, and they're fetching ridiculous prices there...
    Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    What os are you wanting to run?
    Any OS that fits the hardware... I'm not stuck on Windows necessarily, heck, I don't even think a GUI is a requirement. I'd be perfectly happy with something with minimal graphics capability/text interface just as long as it can run ham radio packet software. A lot of the packet software out there now runs on Windows or Linux. Any dumb terminal software would be adequate, come to think of it, but no special ham radio-specific features.

    Right now I'm using a Fujitsu PenCentra 130 that I picked up in "NOS" condition from halted.com for about $120. Wouldn't mind something easier on batts though, and it runs on 16 VDC so it's kinda a weird requirement. I'd much prefer to stuff AAs in it and toss them out when depleted.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Are there any modern PC portables that run on AA cells?

    Something like http://www.gumstix.com/spexBundles.html for example. There are all kinds of tiny systems that all you need to do is hook up a keypad and display and stick them inside a box.

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