MintyBoost 3.0

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On October - 13 - 2012

MintyBoost

 

I built a pocket size USB charger using a MintyBoost 3.0 USB charger, a 3.7 v, 2600 mAh LiIon battery and a built-in LiIon battery charger in an Altoids Wintergreen Mints tin. It can be used to recharge a cell phone, iPod or other small USB rechargeable device.

I’ve had adafruit.com‘s MintyBoost 3.0 kit and USB LiIon/LiPoly charger (this is v1.1) for a while but I never put them together. I liked the size of the Altoids gum tin of the previous MintyBoost versions I have built but I wanted a little more charging capacity than 2 AA batteries could provide. I wanted a suitable battery and enclosure that didn’t compromise charging capacity and size.

Using ladyada’s calculations for battery power, I decided to use a 3.7v 2600 mAh LiIon battery.

The battery’s capacity:
MintyBoost mWh = 3.7V * 2600 mAh = 9620 mWh input

The amount of current it can provide:
Output mAh @ 5V = 9620 mWh / 5 * 80% = 1539 mAh output (80% is the conversion efficiency)

Number of iPhone 4S recharges = 1539 mAh / 1430 mAh (iPhone battery capacity) ~ 1.1

The MintyBoost kit requires the soldering of a few components to a circuit board. I also made two mods to the internal battery charger. With this version (1.1) of the adafruit LiIon battery charger, removing the resistor R4 and replacing it with a 1K ohm resistor allows the internal battery to be charged at 1000 mA.

The internal battery charger has connections for external status LEDs. I connected current limiting resistors between the board and LEDs, then mounted the LEDs in holes in the Altoids tin. The green LED indicates that the internal battery is charging and the yellow LED indicates a fully charged battery. (LiIon/LiPoly charging tutorial at Adafruit Learning System)

The battery and circuit boards are mounted in the Altoids tin with double sided foam tape. I made a miscalculation in the height of the LiIon charger taped to battery – the cover won’t close when the charging cable for the internal battery is attached.

To charge the internal battery, a USB Mini B plug supplies the power to the internal battery charger as in the photo above. To charge a device, a USB Standard A connector is used. There’s also enough room in the Altoids tin for storing an Apple 30-pin to USB Cable.

MintyBoost 3.0 in Altoids Wintergreen Mints tin

Below are charging test results with an iPhone 4S starting with battery at 49%:

Time (minutes)      Charge (%)
0:00                           49%
0:15                           58%
0:30                           66%
0:45                           75%
1:00                           83%
1:15                           89%
1:30                           93%
1:45                           96%
2:00                           97%

If you are interested in the MintyBoost design process: http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/process.html

iPod 5G to Classic

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On October - 5 - 2008

iPod 5G with iPod Classic front face plate

As with all Apple products, after a few years they get long in the tooth. My 5G iPod was introduced on October 12, 2005, and after a couple of years, it’s still working OK, even the original battery. It is a little beat up, so I decided to do a couple of things to “refresh” it.

You can change the interface of your 5G ipod to make it similar to the one on the iPod Classic. You can see it over at iPodWizard.net.

I also decided to replace the scratched front face plate. While looking on eBay, I saw that the iPod Classic aluminum front face plate had tabs that looked very similar to my 5G’s, so I bought one.

When I received it, I noticed that the tabs on the Classic face plate were not separated by a gap. I used a Dremel cutting disk to remove the material on the Classic face plate so the tabs resembled the ones on the 5G.

iPod Classic Face Plate

iPod 5G Face Plate

It looked like it was a drop-in fit after that, but when I did a test fit, the screw holes on the cover’s tabs didn’t reach down far enough to line up with the holes on the iPod’s frame. I used a round jeweler’s file to make the holes in the tabs a little oblong and then I was able to screw the cover to the frame.

iPod 5G frame

With the Classic face plate mounted on my 5G iPod, there is a little less than a 1/64″ (~.396mm) gap between the front face plate and the back plate. I may have been able to shorten the height of the Classic’s tabs to get it flush, but I didn’t bother. Also the click wheel is slightly above the front surface of the face plate, but not annoyingly so.

iPod Classic front face plate (L) and iPod 5G front face plate (R)

Finally, because the Classic front face plate is aluminum, it is now much more difficult to remove – it doesn’t flex as easily as the plastic one.

It seems like a worthwhile mod if you’re going to replace the front face plate anyway because the mat finish doesn’t show fingerprints like the plastic face plate and it’s less susceptible to scratches, unlike the plastic one.

MintyBoost 2.0

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On August - 6 - 2008

Mintyboost 2.0

ladyada has updated her MintyBoost battery pack and charger with a higher output step up converter.

She writes, “The upgrade was necessary as the latest Apple products really need a lot of current to charge and hopefully they will work better now!” The MintyBoost uses 2 AA batteries and an Altoids tin for a case.

I’ve built two V1.0 kits and used them to charge a cell phone and my iPod. The MintyBoost is great because it’s small and will give you the additional power to keep your phone or iPod running when you need it.

You can buy the kit and get technical information at ladyada.net

iPod Classic Comes to the iPod Video

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On October - 16 - 2007

I first saw this story on digg.com.

iPod Classic

The guys (H3X, bounci.rabbit.123, vettefan, saXas, matthew98, supernatural, and xxDriveNxx) over at iPodwizard.net have re-written the 5G (fifth generation iPod) iPod’s firmware, so it looks like the new iPod Classic’s.

The new iPod Nano and iPod Classic have a new interface. While navigating through the menus, half of the screen is taken up by a floating image of album artwork.

One thing that’s missing on the 5G version of iPodWizard’s hack that the iPod Classic has is Coverflow. Also the images don’t float, like they do on the new iPods, but iPodWizard’s work is very cool, nonetheless.

When I first used the iPod Classic to iPod Video firmware hack, I had the problem of my iPod going into a “Boot Loop” – after the firmware was written, during the reboot, the Apple logo would disappear while the drive clicked and then cycled again.

My iPod (5G)

Putting the iPod into the disk mode by holding select and play allowed me to do a restore to the original (Apple) firmware. Then I downloaded a version of the firmware “without the boot loops.”

 

The Man Behind the Apple Aesthetic

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On September - 23 - 2007

As senior vice-president of design at Apple, Jonathan Ive is the man behind the design of the iMac, the iPod, and the iPhone.

read more | digg story

iPod Headphone Jack Repair

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On July - 3 - 2007

When I ride my bike, I only have one earphone in my ear, so I can hear the SUVs with drivers on the phone that are going to kill me. I rarely listen to my iPod in stereo. I listen mostly to podcasts, so I don’t need stereo. At the dentist the other day, where they offer you an iPod and a nitrous oxide/oxygen cocktail, I discovered my iPod was only working in one channel.

iPod with Video

My malfunctioning mono iPod had just passed the one year warranty date but I didn’t imagine that Apple would fix it for me anyway. I started taking the it apart, thinking there was some loose solder joint that I could heat up. I found the heaphone jack held in by two small screws. After removing them, flexing the cable restored the other channel, but I couldn’t see where the break in the circuit was. I had to replace the whole headphone jack – hold switch assembly.

I found one on eBay for $16.29 from a vendor named mayvillage. They sent the part very quickly and I had my iPod was working again. You can see printed on one of the flex cables, the Taiwanese Electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, better known as Foxconn (OTC: HNHPF) – one of the large manufacturers for Apple and other US computer companies.

UPDATE July 8, 2011: After four years, the headphone jack on my iPod failed again. A quick eBay search for iPod 5G headphone jack turned up a replacement part that is even less expensive than it was four years ago. When you buy one, make sure you are buying a new part. It took me about 15 minutes to put in the assembly. If this post isn’t detailed enough for you, iFixit has the best Apple product repair instructions I’ve seen.

Betty Carter sounds so good.

MintyBoost USB Charger v1.1

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On April - 8 - 2007

Update: This post is about version 1.1 of the MintyBoost. ladyada has updated the kit to version 3.0.

In high school, I used to love building electronic things. That was so long ago, I was using vacuum tubes to make power supplies.

Minty Boost USB Charger

Once I made an audible tachometer for my car from a schematic in Popular Science. I even thought I wanted to be an EE and started at UC Berkeley in the School of Engineering. After a few quarters I realized that if I didn’t like learning engineering, I probably wouldn’t like doing engineering. (I think my friend Dan Kalman told me that)
Over the years, I still enjoyed making electronic things. Back in the mid 70’s, I had just moved to New York.

Minty Boost Components

As a photo assistant, I used an answering service home answering machines weren’t in wide use.
By the late 70’s, I bought an answering machine and a pager. In those days, the only people who used pagers were doctors. I needed a way to know immediately that I had received a message on my answering machine.

I put a roller switch on one of the answering machine cassette solenoids that triggered a bunch of 555 timers. That dialed my pager’s number from a chopped up Radio Shack phone that had my pager’s numberprogrammed in one of the speed dial locations.

Minty Boost Circuit Board

Years later, answering machines had their own call transfer feature.
When Make Magazine started publishing, I became a charter subscriber. The projects they were doing were all the kinds of things that I used to do. One of the projects I saw at the Make Blog, was kit called the MintyBoost, a USB charger designed by ladyada, that fits in an Altoids tin and runs on two AA batteries.

MintyBoost Solder Side

It basically takes the 3 volts from the batteries and boosts it to the 5 volts that USB devices use. Since we have a couple of iPods and cell phone that can be charged with the MintyBoost, I bought a kit.
You can update the v1.1 by adding a resistor.

It’s a great beginner’s kit and easy to assemble. You have to solder the components to the circuit board but you’ll learn basic soldering skills in the process.

MintyBoost Case

The hardest part for me was finding the Altoids gum.

Once you’ve built the charger, you’ll have a something that is useful and may give you the satisfaction of making something yourself. That’s got to be worth something.

 

My 3G iPod Broke

Posted by Mr. Leslie Wong On June - 18 - 2006

My iPod stopped working while I was riding my bike. The hard disk froze. I tried restoring it. I tried reformatting it (on my PC, Mac and Linux box).

3G iPod

I bought a replacement hard disk from Geeks.com. That didn’t work either. I sent it back. They sent me another one. That didn’t work. They sent me another one.

MK1504GAL

That didn’t work. I’m a little off on Geeks.com right now. I tried repartioning it on my Macintrash with pdisk. It looked like this:

Partition map (with 512 byte blocks) on ‘/dev/disk1′

1: Apple_partition_map partition map 62 @ 1
2: Apple_MDFW firmware 65536 @ 63 ( 32.0M)
3: Apple_HFS disk 29231920 @ 65599 ( 13.9G)

Device block size=512, Number of Blocks=29297520 (14.0G)
DeviceType=0x0, DeviceId=0x0

I kept getting the message no valid block 1, so I gave up.

I didn’t want to spend $150 for a disk (Toshiba doesn’t make the MK1503GAL disk anymore, so most of the available replacement disks seem to be “refurbished” or pulls from “working” iPods).

What pisses me off is I have this good 3G iPod (except for the hard disk) and it costs half the price of a new one to fix it. Or I could send it to Apple; they’ll fix it for $255.55. I guess I’ll make it into an iPod Super, and break down and get a 5G for carrying around.

The 3G iPod was first released in May 2003, so I’m way behind Steve Jobs new ipod every year theory.

 
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I like Alfa Romeos, art, barbecue, baseball, bicycling, cars, cigars, computers, cooking, eating, electronics, fly fishing, football, Formula 1, friends, golf, horology, jazz, movies, museums, photography, r/c cars, r/c helicopters, reading, restaurants, Scotch whiskey, softball, slot car racing, tennis, the internets and travel

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