[NTLK] Cry for help! My Lady Newton is ill. Very, VERY ill.

NewtonTalk newtontalk at pda-soft.de
Wed Nov 21 12:50:48 EST 2018

> It's not Stefan's Newt that's I'll, it's mine. And I'm still no further
with it.

Sorry for that. Seems that I'm no longer able to distinguish between list
members. How embarrassing! Then again: How can you possibly know that
Stefan's Newt is NOT ill?


First things first: It's definitely a good thing that Newti has never asked
for poutine. Having fulfilled such a desire even once would have made
repairs much more difficult.

Second things second: I doubt that it's the switch that's causing your
problem. If you connect a power supply after a Newton has been devoid of
power for a longer time, it'll power up automatically without having to use
the switch. 
I'll answer your question in some detail. It's not my intention to insult
you or anybody else reading this. I'm perfectly aware that most list members
are technically inclined. Still, I would ask you not to change a thing,
regardless of how stupid or unimportant it appears to you. Do things in the
outlined order. You wouldn't believe how many "defective" devices owned by
friends or relatives I've "fixed" that way over the years...

Of course, you can try to power Newti up after most of the steps I describe.
Why waste time on issues that aren't your problem!

1) Plug a mains-powered device of your choice in a wall outlet and verify
that the wall outlet works OK.

2) Plug an original Newton or eMate power adapter in the same wall outlet
and verify that the adapter works. You won't be able to do this if Newti is
the only remaining member of your Newton family, unless you have some other
device with the same connector and voltage rating that you have tested first
using its own power adapter. If you have a spare Newton or eMate, remove its
battery and test your power adapter with it.

3) Remove Newti's battery, slide her power switch down and fasten it somehow
so that it remains in this position.

4) Leave Newti alone for at least 24 hours, then release the power switch.

5) If you were able to verify that your power adapter works, plug it in. If
Newti won't power up, proceed to step 9.

6) Buy four new AA size alkaline cells. Yes, please do. Just to please me.
Even if you actually have AA size cells in your drawer! There is a
significant difference between "new" and "unused".

7) Check your battery holder for contact problems. If you find any, fix
them. Put your new batteries in. Do NOT use those you found in your drawer.

8) Using a multimeter, make sure the battery holder puts out 6 Volt or more.
Make sure you connect the positive tip to the battery holder contact, not to
the battery pole.

9) Get yourself a flashlight and check Newti's battery contacts. Apart from
obvious dirt and corrosion problems, there are two defects I've seen
multiple times. Firstly, the positive contact will bend back (towards the
mainboard) over time and finally loose contact. I always bend this contact
back (away from the mainboard) whenever I fix a Newton, regardless of what
its problem was. Just in case.
Secondly, the spring that pushes the negative contact against the battery
sits on a peg that occasionally breaks off. If this happens, the negative
contact might no longer be pushed against the negative battery pole. It is
difficult to "feel" the first problem, but if the peg has broken off, the
spring-loaded battery insertion mechanism will usually feel much different.

10) Now is the time for a brainwipe attempt. Slide the power switch down,
keep it down, press and release the reset button at the back, and wait for
the warning window to appear. If it appears, release the power switch and
tap "No" if there's still data on Newti that you'd rather keep. If you don't
see anything, put your pen on the table. Now! The problem might still be the
LCD display or the contrast hardware, and you don't want to brainwipe Newti
by accidentally tapping on a confirmation button you currently can't see.
Then release the power switch.
11) Go to <http://www.pda-soft.de/2x00_disassemble.html> and remove the
bottom part of Newti's case.

12) Remove the ROM board and clean the contacts on both sides with alcohol.
Cleaning them with a pencil eraser would be better, but it should be one
made from a soft material, otherwise you might harm the contacts' plating.
Put the ROM board back in and make sure it's sitting properly in its holder.
If this doesn't fix things, the ROM board might still be the culprit. ROM
boards hardly ever die, but I've had one single case in the last 18 years
where such a board gave up the ghost. I could send you a tested ROM board
for the cost of postage if you send it back after your test. If you don't,
it'll set you back the cost of postage plus five bucks.

13) Unlock the display cable connector, remove the display cable and clean
the cable contacts on both sides with alcohol. Do NOT clean them with a
pencil eraser unless there is dirt on them you can't get rid of using
alcohol. I wouldn't recommend attempting to clean the connector unless you
are extremely careful so you'll avoid bending its contacts.

14) Put the display cable back in. Make sure to lock the connector.

15) Check fuse F1. It's labeled "21". You'll find it close to where the red
and black wires from the battery compartment are soldered to the mainboard.
Since the fuse has a transparent body, all you'll need is a magnifying lens
or a microscope. But for good measure you might still check it using a

16) As I mentioned above, it's unlikely that the power switch causes your
problem, but since Newti is open anyway, check it. The contacts should be
bridged when you engage it, and should not be connected when you release it.
I've never had such a defect, but I can imagine Newtie might feign death if
the contacts are permanently bridged, making her believe someone is
currently holding her power switch down.

17) As to the mainboard, this is about all you can test without a pile of
measuring tools and spare parts at your disposal. But the problem might
still be a defective LCD display. There's not much you can test here, since
you already cleaned the cable contacts and ensured the connector is properly
locked. I could send you a tested LCD for the cost of postage if you send it
back after your test. If you don't, it'll set you back the cost of postage
plus 10 bucks.

18) Wrap Newti in something that'll keep her out of harm's way during
transport and send her to Frank. He'll try to fix her without erasing your
data, but be aware that the main word in this context is "try". Frank never
guarantees anything. The good news is that if he can't fix a Newton, all
it'll set the owner back is the cost of postage for sending the patient to
him and back. Frank never charges for attempts. He only charges for repairs

Good luck!


P. S. Four touch typists it's really annoying that the letter "u" is located
right next to the letter "i". Whenever I type "Good luck!"... thank God I
usually notice it in time...

-- Newton software and hardware at http://www.pda-soft.de

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