CES Prep: Backup Batteries

CESBatteriesPutting together my gear for CES (leaving tomorrow morning, BTW). Not bringing anything special in terms of gadgetry. While I certainly own my share of gadget, I don’t like to carry them all with me. I run light and mobile – “one device to rule them all” was my original goal with going Tablet PC. But I digress…

Anyway, while I can afford to run with only a few gadgets, batteries are another matter. Connectivity is wireless, but power requires a cord when the batteries run out. Thus, I’ve made that my main concern with prep.


My camera, a Casio Exilim EX-S500, was the easiest to prepare. I already have a spare battery for it because it’s a replacement for one that broke. The old battery doesn’t have much juice and swapping batteries resets the clock/calendar, but it should do in a pinch.

My main connectivity device is my iPhone 3G. Though others swear they need a battery extension for theirs, I honestly can name only two occasions when I could have used one. I rarely take mass transit, so I’m usually within reach of an outlet even when on the road, and I just don’t talk to enough people. So to ensure it can go a whole day on foot, I bought a Datexx USB battery pack that runs on 4AA rechargeables, which I blogged about a few weeks back. Full details there on why this fits my needs, but to briefly recap: I wanted something versatile that would work with a variety of devices and easily refilled next year.

And now the big boy, my Toshiba Tecra M7 Tablet PC. In recent years, I find I don’t normally need more than a couple hours of battery at a time out of it, so spare batteries are not a big concern. More importantly, even if I got a spare battery, I’d also need a means to charge it, adding even more cost to a secondary concern. But as Josh Einstein and Rob Bushway can attest, at these events, it’s better to be the guy with a big battery than the guy hunting for an outlet. I no longer have one big battery, so I’m going with three plus a charger.


One of the perks of using an older computer from a major vendor is the multitude of used accessories on eBay. I bought mine for around $25 with shipping. It charges two batteries at a time, so I bought a spare battery for around $50. The third battery is from my Toshiba Satellite R25, which my wife now uses. That battery itself is a fresh replacement (only the best for her), so I’m looking at around six hours of battery runtime. The main limit with the multiple battery approach is they require a cold swap, which takes a few minutes of hibernating my tablet, swapping, then resuming. Still, it’s manageable.


I will need to juggle a lot of charging, but I think I’ve got it covered. And in case anyone is wondering about my backup plans in case of gadget failure, another benefit of using yesterday’s tech is that it’s fairly easy to get an upgraded replacement on the spot, particularly in a place like Las Vegas. I’ve got my eye on a number of camera upgrades. I can stop by the Apple Store to upgrade to a subsidized iPhone 3GS. Upgrading a Tablet PC is not so easy, but I’ve already done my upgrade, so I have another one at home (that uses the same batteries and accessories) that can be overnighted to me if absolutely necessary.