Resurrecting a Tapwave Zodiac

by David Ransom

I hated the thought To retire a PalmOS device that was worth showing off It was different with the landscape mode, and had great specifications But Tapwave had also closed its doors in July of 2005, and the battery wouldn’t hold a charge Finding a replacement battery took some searching.

I now forget which forum I was in, but after reading a post that seemed solid, I bought the battery from in Singapore At the time I bought it there was only one choice, the one from Korea I bought it before I figured out when I would have time to install it Now there are two choices, with the second from China.

My Zodiac 2 from Tapwave I bought the camo skin from SkinIt, although the specific one that I bought back in 2005 is no longer listed:

This battery is actually not an exact replacement The original battery was 1540 mAh, and this one is 2000 mAh.

A free T5 Torx tool comes with the battery It came with the end stuck inside the styrofoam to protect it The end is also slightly magnetic. It has a blue handle.

The four screws came out first and quite easily The back of the case is held on by two ‘grip points’ I used a flat head screwdriver to carefully pry it free from each side and then it came off The flip cover for the screen fell free at the same time.

The back of the case has been removed, showing the original battery and its cables.

On the end opposite of the battery connection is a brown piece that covers part of the battery, but is NOT attached to the battery The battery slides out from underneath it.

The original battery slides out from its position.

Now to remove the old battery The battery’s connecting cables felt semi-rigid, so even though I had visions of the cables tearing out of the connecting piece, I gave them a small tug To my amazement and relief, that was all it took, and it came free.

Putting in the new battery took a little more work The cables are more rigid than with the old battery, making holding the connector in the right position to insert it a bit frustrating Once positioned with the red dot upward, it slid in with just a little bit of pushing with my thumbnail Once it was connected, the screen lit up and so I turned it off (I did not turn it on on purpose).

The new battery is slightly bigger than the original, leaving no small gap for the cables.

Putting the back piece of the case back on was the most complicated part of this First I had to put the flip cover piece back in place, and having not looked at the top while taking it off, I had to do some guessing before I felt an encouraging slight snap to indicate that I had finally got it right.

This is the view from the top, with the flip cover snapped in place.

For the back of the case itself, I started with the screw on the upper left side (right top in the picture of the back) Then I went diagonally to the lower right (left bottom of the picture of the back) For those of you who noticed that the new battery is about 1/8th of an inch longer than the old battery probably guessed what happened next (compare picture 3 to 5) The cables needed that fraction of inch or they end on TOP of the battery, and now the case would not close.

The directions say this part ‘required some neat arrangement’ to close the case I would describe it as making sure that the cables overlap each other as little as possible (ie no twists or folds), and with that, they flatten down on the top of the battery when you start placing the back of the case on from the lower right toward the upper left, which is the opposite of what I first did.

Also, there is a piece of black foam on the opposite side of the old battery not seen in picture 3, and I took an additional picture for this below I did not put it on the new battery, and I figure the space for it was used by the larger size of the battery and the additional room needed for the cables I hope it isn’t needed (i.e. heat?), but I decided to keep it for the time being.

The original battery with the black foam.

Once together I momentarily turned it on to give myself the reassurance that everything was still working by watching it light up, and then put it on the charging stand.

The total time from beginning to end, which includes reading the instructions, arranging and taking the pictures, was 27 minutes It is the first lithium ion battery I have replaced on any handheld I found it easy enough to do that I wish I had done it a long time ago I recommend this to anyone who wants to resurrect their Zodiac.

Links for this article:

The instructions for the battery are found with the product listing at the website:

Battery listings for the Zodiac:

Korean product that I installed:

I also did a search and found that there are numerous eBay listings for the battery.

Written by Kermit