What's new

External Battery Pack Option

Mattman3234

New Member
I also built a smaller version of what you guys have. I have a 8200 mah chargeblock that has a 12V 2amp output (basically the same as a rt charger) and it seems to work with my pro. I doesn't seem to charge as fast as the rt charger (I use it for travelling all the time) but it maintains and slow charges. so far so good. Cable was fairly simple to build. was going to get a Mcgyver one but 30 was a little steep.
 

terriermike

New Member
First post here, but have had the Pro since day one and have been checking this (very helpful) thread often because I love my external batteries and have wanted to use one with my surface as that's one of only two issues I have with it (the other being I wish it had a little more RAM because I came from an x230t with 16GB). Although I honestly don't consider battery life much of an "issue" as opposed to tech limitation given the size of the machine vs the power, it actually does quite good IMO.

Anyway, I had never stripped a wire in my life, much less used a solder iron, but after watching a quick how-to on youtube decided to try it. I bought a $10 solder iron at wally world, and attached the surface adapter from a cheapo third party charger I already had with the DC cable that plugs into my Anker Astro 3 battery. The Astro 3 is 10,000mah with a 12v 2a output. However, I did not have the same luck as the guy above me, because when plugged into the Astro 3, my Pro will charge for maybe 3 seconds and the battery will shut down.

BUT, I got one of the Anker Astro Pro2 20,000mah packs (as mentioned above) in today and I was happy to see that my first solder job wasn't a failure because this more powerful battery charges it just fine. I wonder why my 10,000 pack shuts off? In my reading I learned that the MS charger has four wires, with one that identifies the charger output so the Surface doesn't try to pull too much. My cheapo charger only had two wires, red (+) and white (-), so I figured maybe the lesser battery was shutting down because the Surface was trying to pull too many amps? But the charger when it was intact worked fine. To the guy above with the 8200mah pack, did you use an official MS charger for your's?
 
Last edited:

Russ

Active Member
TerrierMike --

Welcome to the forum, and glad to hear that it has already been helpful for you. Congratulations on your first solder job.

The Astro 3 is 10,000mah with a 12v 2a output. However, . . . when plugged into the Astro 3, my Pro will charge for maybe 3 seconds and the battery will shut down.

BUT, I got one of the Anker Astro Pro2 20,000mah packs in today and I was happy to see that my first solder job wasn't a failure because this more powerful battery charges it just fine. I wonder why my 10,000 pack shuts off? In my reading I learned that the MS charger has four wires, with one that identifies the charger output so the Surface doesn't try to pull too much. My cheapo charger only had two wires, red (+) and white (-), so I figured maybe the lesser battery was shutting down because the Surface was trying to pull too many amps? But the charger when it was intact worked fine. To the guy above with the 8200mah pack, did you use an official MS charger for your's?

Wayne understands this stuff better than I do, so hopefully he will drop back in. Meanwhile, my non-technical answer would be that it seems that your 10000mAH battery has limiting circuitry so that when asked to do too much -- it just quits, rather than damage itself. The 8200mAH battery apparently has regulating circuitry that allows it to adjust to the demand. Those are different.

As to the wires: You are correct, the Pos & Neg wires do all the work. The center pin on the Surface connector is a sensing pin that can tell the AC adapter it's being overstressed and will shut it off rather than damage the adapter. The fourth wire is, I think, for the little light on the connector.

Hope you continue to enjoy the forum.

Regards,
Russ
 

Mattman3234

New Member
First post here, but have had the Pro since day one and have been checking this (very helpful) thread often because I love my external batteries and have wanted to use one with my surface as that's one of only two issues I have with it (the other being I wish it had a little more RAM because I came from an x230t with 16GB). Although I honestly don't consider battery life much of an "issue" as opposed to tech limitation given the size of the machine vs the power, it actually does quite good IMO.

Anyway, I had never stripped a wire in my life, much less used a solder iron, but after watching a quick how-to on youtube decided to try it. I bought a $10 solder iron at wally world, and attached the surface adapter from a cheapo third party charger I already had with the DC cable that plugs into my Anker Astro 3 battery. The Astro 3 is 10,000mah with a 12v 2a output. However, I did not have the same luck as the guy above me, because when plugged into the Astro 3, my Pro will charge for maybe 3 seconds and the battery will shut down.

BUT, I got one of the Anker Astro Pro2 20,000mah packs (as mentioned above) in today and I was happy to see that my first solder job wasn't a failure because this more powerful battery charges it just fine. I wonder why my 10,000 pack shuts off? In my reading I learned that the MS charger has four wires, with one that identifies the charger output so the Surface doesn't try to pull too much. My cheapo charger only had two wires, red (+) and white (-), so I figured maybe the lesser battery was shutting down because the Surface was trying to pull too many amps? But the charger when it was intact worked fine. To the guy above with the 8200mah pack, did you use an official MS charger for your's?

Hi Terriermike,

Actually my cheap surface pro adapter had one cable and a grounding sheath that I pulled back and made into a wire...so basically a 2 wire set-up (It was a surface pro cheap adapter not an RT one). Interesting about your anker 10000 comment and it shutting down. I have the new version of that battery coming this week (Amazon.com: [Updated Version from 10000mAh to 14400mAh] Anker Astro Pro 14400mAh Multi-Voltage 5V / 9V / 12V External Battery Pack for iPhone 5, iPad 4 (Lightning Cable not Provided), iPhone 4S, iPad Mini; Android Tablets: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 No) to test. It still has a 12v and 2A output. I was hoping it would work since the larger version that others are using on this thread is over a pound. I'm hoping to keep my travel bag light. I will let you guys know how it works. FYI I'm part of a Anker Power user group and they're great at letting you test products if you want to review them. Anker has been great at letting my try stuff and you can even give feedback to them on improving products. A fun experience so far! (I'm just your average techhead like most on this forum). I'll let you guys know how it goes when I get it. If the one above doesn't work I'll see if I can try the Amazon.com: Anker® Astro Pro2 20000mAh External Battery Charger High Capacity Power Bank for: Laptops, Notebooks, Netbooks, Tablets, Cell Phones - HP; Dell; Sony; IBM; Samsung; Toshiba; Acer; ASUS Laptops / Apple iPad 4 3 2 1, iPad Mini; Android Tabl and give a review of that.

Thanks

Matt
 

Wayne Orwig

Active Member
Anyway, I had never stripped a wire in my life, much less used a solder iron, but after watching a quick how-to on youtube decided to try it. I bought a $10 solder iron at wally world, and attached the surface adapter from a cheapo third party charger I already had with the DC cable that plugs into my Anker Astro 3 battery. The Astro 3 is 10,000mah with a 12v 2a output. However, I did not have the same luck as the guy above me, because when plugged into the Astro 3, my Pro will charge for maybe 3 seconds and the battery will shut down.


I too have an Anker Astro 3 that I bought last year for an Android tablet. The Surface pro overloads it.

WARNING TO EXPERIMENTERS:
The Surface Pro input is a switching power supply. A down converter I'm sure. So at 12 volts in, it will pull less current than at 11 volts in. As the voltage drops, the current draw rises. So, if the power supply is under rated, the voltage will drop, the current will rise, meaning the voltage drops more, the current rises more. It can quickly get into a runaway overload situation, and your external power pack will shut down, pop a fuse, or let smoke out of expensive parts. If you have a smart enough device, it will simply current limit and keep going, only at a low rate. But to add to this, these packs have a single low voltage battery, and a boost type up converter. Because of the design of pumping a lot of current into an inductor, to boost the voltage, it is often difficult to have a simple current limiter. So it may be easier for them to just shut down the power pack.
So make sure you get a power pack that can handle the current, or is protected, or you are OK with the risk.
 
Last edited:

Wayne Orwig

Active Member
As to the wires: You are correct, the Pos & Neg wires do all the work. The center pin on the Surface connector is a sensing pin that can tell the AC adapter it's being overstressed and will shut it off rather than damage the adapter. The fourth wire is, I think, for the little light on the connector.

Where is there info on four wires?

I almost feel that the center pin in the connector is just to light the LED.
 

Russ

Active Member
Where is there info on four wires? I almost feel that the center pin in the connector is just to light the LED.

Wayne --

The center pin is "Detect" according to this: Microsoft Surface Pro Teardown - Page 3 - iFixit

This is from a thread called "Third Party Chargers" which I think you wandered in to a couple of times. The smart guy in that thread was bornb (at least a helluva lot smarter than I am about this stuff -- if that's any measure). He posted this: "I did some tests as well, and found out that the Pro use the blue detect line (center pin) to identify the charger. If you connect the RT 2A charger to the Pro with the center pin masked/disconnected the Surface Pro will try to draw more than 2A (and the charger shuts down). "

The 4th wire thing was just a guess on my part, because I couldn't think of any other use for it.

Take care,

Russ
 

Russ

Active Member
just ordered the battery pack from macguyver. will keep you all posted on how it is.

Cambo --

I think you will be pleased. Mike at mikegyver.com is a stand-up guy and sells good stuff. I have on order two of his Auto Chargers for the Pro, which I expect will ship next week.

I made a somewhat "homegrown" version of that battery pack, using the Intocircuit battery and a homemade connector. It works fine.

Regards,
Russ
 

malberttoo

Well-Known Member
My PowerCastle battery arrived Friday from Amazon, and on Friday I got an email from MikeGyver that my S-Pro cable for the battery had shipped. Looking forward to trying them out together.
 

riggi

Member
For those that have ordered the intocircuit battery from Amazon and the cable from mikegyver, how long did it take to be delivered?

I have a friend in the US for 10 days and want to order them to be delivered to them so they can carry them back.

Our at least order the battery, as there shouldn't be problems mailing the cable.

Thanks,
Rich
 

Members online

No members online now.
Top