Is this anything more than a battery holder & Firewire cable? The sum of its parts is 1 (<$2) so why is it sooo expensive? Are there any complicated circuit boards inside?

Nice idea, works well by the looks of it but the PRICE!!!

Posted by PROvider on August 22, 2003 at 2:59 PM (PDT) Comment 1

No, there is no circuit boards inside. Simply a battery pack.

One problem I have discovered with mine is that the battery pack appears to create some interference with the play of the IPOD when used with the Belkin fm transmitter. I was getting a skipping and clicking sound from my IPOD when using both devices and playing through my stereo. At first the IPDO played fine, but after about two or three minutes it started acting up. The interference stopped when I unplugged the battery pack from the IPOD and just let it use its internal battery. In addition, the front controls of the IPOD locked up. This problem also went away when I unplugged the battery pack.

Overall, I like the battery pack as it is attractive, but I agree with PROvider in that it is overpriced

Posted by splitpea on August 22, 2003 at 8:13 PM (PDT) Comment 2

There are actually two circuit boards inside the battery pack, one on each end of the battery compartment. The first handles the I/O switch, the second one the test circuits for the battery charge indication LEDs. and the button. They've stuffed a lot of circuitry into this little box. I'd agree that the price is steep, but this is not just a cheap piece of plastic. This took a lot of effort to produce, "air grip technology" and all... smile

Posted by smarTpants on August 22, 2003 at 11:23 PM (PDT) Comment 3

I would like to use this with my 2nd gen 'Pod.

Does anyone know if it is possible to cut the dock connection off and splice a 'normal' FW cable onto it so that it cabn be used with older firewire connections?


Posted by Dave on August 23, 2003 at 2:50 AM (PDT) Comment 4

Also note: it is possible to recharge the iPod's internal batter with the Belkin Battery Pack, but only through the dock's connection.

Putting your iPod in its cradle and plugging the Belkin Battery Pack into the dock's connection port will charge the iPod just like it was plugged into an outlet. While the dock would add even more weight, it'd make so you'd have less bulk in your pocket (once the iPod was charged) so you wouldn't have to worry about the power connection coming undone and would also prevent the Belkin Battery Pack from scratching the precious iPod. wink

Posted by Stirrup on August 23, 2003 at 2:59 AM (PDT) Comment 5

How many batteries did you end up using on your entire trip??

Posted by Jiffy Loop on August 23, 2003 at 5:46 AM (PDT) Comment 6

All: I would concur with everyone that $70 is a steep price. I can only assume that this is a pretty low-volume item, given that most people get sufficient use from their internal batteries and car adapters, and that the high price is simply to recoup the product development cost.

Jiffy Loop: I used about 10 sets of 4 AA batteries during the trip. However, I was never carrying more than 4 sets at a given time, as I had two resupply points on the trip.

Stirrup: I'm not sure I concur that using the Backup Battery Pack to recharge the internal battery is an effective strategy. The iPod never indicates that it is getting positive, charging inflow from the AAs...just that it's getting enough to play. You never see the "charging" icon, just the solid, black external power icon. And my battery pack was connected for most of two weeks -- never did my internal battery stop showing "zero bars" of remaining juice.

Posted by theReviewer on August 23, 2003 at 8:04 AM (PDT) Comment 7

you seem to use the word "we" alot in your review. how did that work? headphone line splitter, speakers?

I also do some backpacking and the idea of an iPod on the trip sounds enticing. I dunno if i would use it all the time on the trail, but some nice tunes once in a while wouldn't be a bad idea.

thanks for the review.

Posted by philldo on August 23, 2003 at 7:34 PM (PDT) Comment 8

Here's what I'd like to know --

...are there any options for solar power? I mean, how cool would it be to play & charge your ipod with sunlight??

Posted by evbo on August 25, 2003 at 8:03 AM (PDT) Comment 9

evbo: You can use the Belkin Backup Battery Pack with rechargeable Ni-Cad AA batteries, which in turn you can recharge via an inexpensive solar recharger like this one. My guess is you'd get pretty short play times from that approach, but it would be solar-powered.

Posted by theReviewer on August 25, 2003 at 8:12 AM (PDT) Comment 10

To the reviewer

There was a post here or on ipoding, reporting that if you connect a device to the ipod through the dock, it will fool the ipod into charging from it. It interupts the device ID. So if you had a dock with you, you could have charged up the battery.

For all of you complaining about price, I have seen it listed for 39 dollars on some sites. shipping brings it back up to the expensive range, but it might be worth considering.

Posted by nilepocdotcom on August 25, 2003 at 12:26 PM (PDT) Comment 11

Now, I love my ipod as much as the other guy, but taking a 170 mile 'hike' through GODS country, listening to the same music collection you can listen to anytime, over and over, seems like you would have been better off holed up in your bedroom with the shades closed and pods in.

Does this fit the definition of "get a life?"

Have you ever "felt" the sound of your boot on granite? The thunderous noise of Lyell creek. How about the rattlesnake under that log you just stepped over?

You just walked the JMT. Now leave the ipod in your car, go HIKE the trail, and test the Belkin Backup Battery on that long drive home.

Posted by beewacker on August 25, 2003 at 6:48 PM (PDT) Comment 12

beewacker, I agree - hikers amd walkmans always used to really bug me. You might as well go to the gym.

I wonder what the advantage of the suckers is? surely taht adds quite a bit of bulk to it all. Why not make the thing a slipcase instead? Or, seeing as it's not a pocketable design any more, why not get it to clip onto the bottom of the ipod - hey presto, no cable, and still slim enough to put in your pocket (like a cigar box (B means battery)...
| [ ]|
| .... |
| O |

Posted by woody on August 26, 2003 at 5:29 AM (PDT) Comment 13

Is it possible to use this in conjunction with any of the common cases for the 3rd gen iPod? Several of the cases have cutouts for connecting while in the case, but would the layout of this allow use while in a case? Or for that matter, do the suction cups require the smooth metal back of the ipod?

Posted by choekuo on August 27, 2003 at 7:32 PM (PDT) Comment 14

smarTpants: I stand corrected that "there are circuitboards" in the battery pack. I was responding to prOvider who asked if there were "complicated circuitboards in the unit" My response went too far and said that there were "no circuitboards" in the unit. I should have said that there are no complicated circuitboards in the unit.
Yep, there are two: the first circuitboard has logic on it to properly display the charging level from the four diodes. The second circuitboard is to properly handle the power to the IPOD connector and to handle the on/off switch. Now, this is a judgement call, but, I do consider those to be fairly insignificant circuits -- there isn't much logic in the unit, and I can't agree that they stuffed "a lot of circuitry" in the box.

I do not believe that the unit is made of cheap plastic. The thing works, although it does appear to interfere with the function of the Belkin FM transmitter at times, it is made of attractive, well finished plastic -- the leds are nice, the unit's fit and finish is very good, and it looks cool. But it is a pretty simple box with the correct connector for the 3rd gen IPOD. I do not regret my purchase.

Posted by splitpea on August 30, 2003 at 8:50 AM (PDT) Comment 15

The Ipod is a high drain device and NIMH batteries are the right choice is these cases (digital cameras and players), they even outperform alkaline batteries in these cases and have no memory effect. Now you can find AA batteries withe 2300 mah = EXTENDED LIFE. It would be great to see someone using this pack along with these batteries.

Posted by Mario Mejia on September 3, 2003 at 12:39 PM (PDT) Comment 16

this is a dilemma that I have had and really my only gripe about my ipod - compare it to running a Mini Disc for 50+ hours on a single AA battery.Hmm technology?

Here is a cheap solution

Posted by cragrat on September 7, 2003 at 5:53 AM (PDT) Comment 17

I have only one problem with mine. The insulation pulled out of the plug exposing the inner wires. So I have to be real careful with it now. It's an easy fix with some electrical tape. But at the price I paid I thought that I would have something a little more solid.

Posted by clellwrn on September 24, 2003 at 9:35 PM (PDT) Comment 18

i imagine that you can use rechargeable batterie with this. What i would like to know though is if you can drain the batteries (internal + aa's) and sit it in the dock and have them both charge to full again.
That would be pretty handy!

Posted by nucleartool on October 31, 2003 at 4:23 PM (PDT) Comment 19

"Now you can find AA batteries withe 2300 mah = EXTENDED LIFE."

Amazing, you can now add a clunky overpriced Belkin add-on to your iSloth for $$$.

I swapped out my old Archos AAs for the new 2300 mah and doubled my playtime to around 20 hours. Total cost around $5 (for the batteries).

Yes, an iSloth is smaller than my Archos, but it only plays for about 6 hours! Unnaceptable. dd this Belkin gadget and you've got an unwieldy pig of a device.

Why are Apple so obsessed with making the iSloth as small as possible? If they gave it an extra half inch or so it could get 3x battery life.

The new Dell DJ is larger, but it plays for 20 hours on a charge. And the new Rio Karma is smaller than an iSloth but it gets 12 hours. WHat's going on?

Posted by AAA on October 31, 2003 at 4:31 PM (PDT) Comment 20

i have to admit, "iSloth" is a really clever insult...

well, maybe not.

Posted by Noah on November 18, 2003 at 9:11 PM (PDT) Comment 21

aye - why 'sloth'? My ipod is faster to operate than my Nomad III ever was, and faster to spin up than a cd player or minidisc.

If Apple had made the ipod four times as large, you could have a battery that lasts a week. So what? For the majority of commuters, 6-8 hours a day is probably plenty.

Posted by woody on November 20, 2003 at 4:40 AM (PDT) Comment 22

"If Apple had made the ipod four times as large, you could have a battery that lasts a week."

I don't think you need to make it that huge! The DellDJ is only slightly larger (maybe .5") and 2oz but it lasts 20 hours.

The Karma is *smaller* than the iPod, but it lasts 12 hours.

Posted by battery on November 20, 2003 at 10:34 AM (PDT) Comment 23

My point is that if the ipod doesn't give you the battery life you want, then buy a player that does. I imagine that Apple made a very careful usability/ethnographic decision based on the fact that most people use their ipods for less than 8 hours between charges. The beauty of Apple is that the design doesn't (ususally) come at the expense of function (my Powerbook 12 is the most wonderful, beautiful, functional thing I own).

Posted by woody on November 25, 2003 at 10:19 PM (PDT) Comment 24

Can you fit the battery pack on the back of an Ipod with a #### iSkin eXo on it

Posted by eXoskin on December 3, 2003 at 11:38 AM (PDT) Comment 25
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