Swapping out Battery for Larger Capacity Li-Ion?

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#64

I purchased the 2000mAh battery & some 1.5mm wires. Before replacing the battery’s wire, I reversed the polarity of the connector. I used two layers of the packing material the battery came in for spacing. It works like a charm! I have ordered a little larger and higher capacity (2500mAh) battery such as the one @Cecilectomy installed. This is definitely a must-do mod!

Battery

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#65

can someone explain this thoroughly or even better with images. Does it require soldering ? I think we need a detailed guide for this since there’s a chance that you’ll mess up your gameshel.

So if we buy this:
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what exactly do we need to do with the wire? Do we need a new connector? Do we cut the wire? Do we resolder the wire in some specific way to the battery?

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#66

You simply need to carefully lift the locking tab on each side of the 1.5mm jst connector to pull the wire from the connector. Then, reinsert in the reverse order.

Don’t take our word for it. Use a volt meter to determine the polarity of the battery module from Clockwork. It is reverse from how the battery connectors are normally arranged. Red should be positive and black, negative.

#67

ok so you pull the red and black wires from the white piece on the battery and connect the red and black wires to the gameshell piece and done/???

#68

The connectors on the battery’s wires are too large to fit the 1.5mm connector. They just won’t work.

I purchased a set of 50 1.5mm jst connectors with wires on Ebay for $4. (Yea. I have a few extras!) These work perfectly, except the connector has to be reversed before replacing the battery’s cable with it. This is important to avoid the risk of shorting the battery.

The tape has to be carefully removed and then remove (desolder) the original wires from the battery. Solder on the new wires and replace the tape exactly as it was before removing.

#69

So jst micro sh 1.0 arrived and are too small. Need to do a little more investigating to get the correct size. I really don’t want to splice my existing gameshell wires if I dont have to.

#70

Thanks fo the link to the 1.5mm connextors on ebay

#71

There may be a simple and 100% solder-free solution for a few of you, if you are like me, and own an old Pocket CHIP and/or purchased an extra battery for the CHIP device. (Sadly, I don’t know of a source for these batteries, but it’s a good way to use one that might be collecting dust.)

I ordered an Adafruit 2500mAh battery (thanks to everyone for the pointers above in the thread!), along with the package of wires and connectors @QuantumKraken linked to. But when it arrived and I decided to see about upgrading my GameShell, when I went rummaging through my stuff I discovered the spare CHIP battery and checked it out. That battery, it turns out is 3000mAh!

IMG_20190317_204048558

Using this conversion page, the labelled 11.1Wh at 3.7v comes out to 3000mAh:
https://milliamps-watts.appspot.com/

To hook it up to the GameShell, I took one of the female connectors from that package of wires I bought. (Yeah, I now have 30 unneeded wires with JST connectors attached, and the other 29 JST female connectors as spare parts…) That connector fits perfectly on the end of the white GameShell cable coming from the mainboard.

Just to be sure, before I connected the CHIP battery, I tested it with a multimeter, and the red cable (on mine, at least) is indeed “+” while the black cable is “-”. It also looked that way with the labeling on the battery (as shown in the picture), but I didn’t want to risk harming the GameShell if I was wrong.

Even better news, the battery JST connector and the pins coming off the back of the female JST connector that I’d already plugged into the GameShell cable, perfectly fit into each other and connect snugly. Note that there is no plastic forcing the connection to go a certain way, so be sure to know which way you’re connecting it! I made sure the wire that was on “+” for the GameShell battery went to the “+” on the CHIP battery, and the same for “-”, and everything worked fine.

IMG_20190317_204121746

I was tempted to tape up the connector since there’s nothing holding it together except the pins fitting snugly, but the battery is fully covered and there’s nothing but plastic and air around it, so I just left it alone. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to come apart on its own, and there’s nothing for it to short out on, but do whatever works for you and feels safe. :slight_smile:

The CHIP battery is thinner than the plastic case for the Clockwork battery. I eyeballed it and measured it and the gap is 2mm. I had some spare, white foam rubber sheet that was 2mm thick, so I figured it would compress a little if necessary, and I put it up to the Clockwork battery case and cut around it to match the size. I put the battery (with info showing to the back of the GameShell case) in first, then the foam so it sits between the battery and the case for the controller/buttons. The exterior case felt just a tiny bit tighter when I put it together, but it fits fine and the gear things at the top hold it together easily without anything being forced, and the battery is not sliding around inside.

IMG_20190317_205924431

Hopefully a few of you have an unused CHIP battery laying around. I’d done a bit with mine in the past, but it still holds a good charge and even if it’s not a full 3000mAh now, it’s much larger than the original GameShell battery. There’s a slightly noticeable difference in weight too, of course, but the GameShell feels fine when I’m holding it.

Special thanks to @Zeronaut for the command line battery checking suggestion: https://forum.clockworkpi.com/t/battery-check-from-cli/3188

Just for convenience, I modified his suggestion and made a script to load it from the GameShell directly. If you want to do the same for this, or any other command line app with output you want to see, add something like this to a standard GameShell loader script:

x-terminal-emulator -e “upower -i /org/freedesktop/UPower/devices/battery_axp20x_battery && read -p ‘Press [Start] to dismiss…’”

Unfortunately, the output of the command scrolls off the top of the screen, but the important stuff is still showing, even with the prompt.

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#72

Also, forgot to mention, but it seems that any time you disconnect the battery, the GameShell loses your timezone settings. (There may be other system settings lost, but that was the only thing I noticed.) I guess wherever the settings are stored is in flash memory that is kept alive by the battery.

You also have to plug in the GameShell to charge before you turn it back on after replacing the battery. It wouldn’t power on for me without plugging it in first, even with a fully charged battery installed. Again, no biggie, but just something to be aware of.

#73

i kinda opted for the external battery solution. So I just found this 2500mah battery and some lego bricks which i stuck on the battery with epoxy. The nice thing is that the cable came with the battery fits perfectly, and overal the battery is very slim which doesn’t affect the form factor that much. So 0 modifications, some form factor lost but almost 3500mah overall battery which i think is pretty nice.


+

result:
Imgur

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Imgur

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there’s also a 5000mah battery from TNTOR but it’s a bit taller and thicker.

i have left a small gap between the lego gameshell case and the battery so I can install later on the extra buttons. I will simply glue a couple of lego bricks on top of the battery and have the button sit on those.

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#74

Actually, I do have an old Pocket CHIP. Didn’t even think to try it. Will try.

#76

do you measure the voltage jst connectors of the wires going into the mainboard too? sorry imma noob with this

#77

I’m not sure I quite understand the question. The voltage is determined by the battery. If the battery is 3.7v then it is fine, you shouldn’t need to measure anything. The JST ZH 1.5 2 pin connectors are rated for 50v. The only other thing you need to be careful is that any connector you attach to a battery needs to be the correct polarity, as the connectors are sometimes the opposite of the battery (see all posts above about polarity being switched).

#78

IMG_20190327_192039 IMG_20190327_192057

I bought a this. The connector is too large to plug into the mainboard. I bought some 1.5 jst plugs. So I go to solder the wire the batteries came with off and solder new ones on? Where do I solder the red / black wires, and which order should I attach the wires into the plug?

#79

First, measure the power coming out of your current battery pack to determine it’s polarity. If the red wire on your new 1.5mm wires isn’t on the positive side, swap them before installing on the battery.

Carefully remove the yellow tape from the battery, taking note of how it was applied. You’ll want to put it back exactly the same way. At this point, you can carefully de-solder the wires from the battery’s circuit board. Note where on the board it indicates where the + (positive) and - (negative) are. When you solder on the new cable, connect the red wire to the positive point and the black to the negative. Be very, very careful not to short out the two connections. That would kill the battery before you get to use it! Now, re-apply the yellow tape exactly as it was originally. You should now be in business!

#80

Thank you for the tips. Regarding using the voltmeter… I have two of the rod things. What should I set the dial and do I make contact to where the wires touch the battery to the rods?

Also does this soldering kit work:

#81

Set the dial to VDC. Touch the probes (rods) to the contacts. If the readout shows a negative voltage, then your connections are reverse from what they should be; Reverse them. Once you show a positive reading, then the red probe is where the red wire should be.

Yes. That soldering kit should work fine. It has the added benefit of including a “Solder Sucker” (The thing that looks like a hypodermic syringe)! Use it to remove excess solder from the contacts, thereby reducing the risk of creating a solder bridge (short!).

#82

IMG_20190328_183525

So I have this voltmeter. Is the dial set correctly and which holes do I plug the red and black rods in? I had red in the V Omega mA and black in com. When I touch the metal where the plus and minus are on the clockworkpi’s battery but I didn’t get a reading

#83

Yes. It’s set correctly. The red probe should be plugged into the port marked with a ‘V’ for Volts. The black, into the ‘COM’ (common) port.

#84

It works, had to resolder twice since it wasn’t charging. Thank you for your help.