What Cellphone





Itís no good beating about the bush, cellphone batteries are about as interesting as Marmite jars. For those who even bother to think about them -- batteries, not Marmite jars -- they come somewhere between watching paint dry and party political broadcasts, on their list of interesting things. Hold on to your seats for a bit of a surprise,  batteries just got interesting! Well, this new one from Daniel Design is. Itís called the IQ Master, one to fit Micro TAC phones costs around £50, itís the first outing of  ZMS or the Zaptronic Monitoring System battery capacity indicator and it lights up! The glow comes from a circle of 10 green, yellow and red LEDs, built into the back of the pack. They come on when you press one of two buttons on the back of the box. The top one is marked Ďtestí, this shows the relative state of charge, if theyíre all lit up itís full, if just the yellow and red ones are on thereís less than 50% charge, and just the red LEDs, or no LEDs at all means itís time to re-charge.


This is where it gets clever, the second button is marked ĎDischí, thatís right, this battery has a built-in discharger or conditioner circuit. Press the button and all the LEDs come on, and go out one by one as the cells inside the battery are carefully drained. This has the effect of removing any imbalance between the cells, so that when theyíre recharged, they all start on an equal footing. Thatís important because over time the cells in a normal battery achieve differing states of charge, and it can get to the point where some cells reach full charge well before the others. At that point most nicad chargers switch off, leaving the pack as a whole only partially charged, this is a major cause of the so-called Ďmemoryí effect. Discharging the battery on a regular basis eliminates cell imbalance, the battery gets a full charge, it needs recharging less often and ultimately leads a longer and healthier life, at least thatís the theory.


IQ Master is off to a good start, this 1700mA high capacity packs for both the Micro TAC and a second version for the Ericsson 237/238/337, are filled with matched high-grade Panasonic cells, which should help reduce the incidence of imbalance even further. Pretty lights and clever dischargers are all very well but the proof of the pudding is in the What Cellphone battery test. To cut a long story short we cycle a battery through a series of high and low current discharges, designed to reflect various patterns of use. On the high use cycle our sample managed a very healthy 6.5 hours, the low demand cycle lasted for an impressive 10 hours 40 minutes. Both sets of results were well above average for a pack of this type. The capacity display is a great idea, not especially accurate but itís a good way of quickly checking the condition of a battery. The discharger is a genuine benefit; chargers with built in conditioners are fine, if you remember to use them, this way is far more convenient. The price is fair, performance is good, so it gets our vote!


Typical price      £50

Features           ĎZMSí capacity display, built-in discharger

Voltage 6 volts

Capacity           1700mA

To fit                 Motorola Micro TAC, clones and family, Ericsson 237/238/337

Contact Small Talk Communications, telephone (01923) 218753



R. Maybury 1996 1601




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