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Interchangeable charger between MuVo2 and iPAQ

My wife found my Creative Nomad MuVo2 4GB MP3 Player today in her car. I must have been sliding under her passenger seat for the past several months. I didn't even know that it gone missing. That's what happens when you have too many gadgets in your home. We have three MP3 players between her and me, not including her cellphone that plays MP3 off its TransFlash card. Why anyone would need more than one digital music player (DMP) is beyond me. Apparently, we have too many.

The battery was dead, so it was in possible to turn it on. Thus, it is also not chargeable through the USB port of my computer. From day one, I have been charging my digital music players out of sheer convenience. I have never ever used its wall-plug charger. The charger stays safely packed away some where in my storage boxes. I was too lazy to go find it. So, instead, I tried to use my universal AC/DC transformer with its 7 or so adapter plugs. I figured 4.5 volts on the universal AC/DC transformer ought to do the trick. The MuVo2 power plug receptor is rated for 5V DC with a positive center (see picture below). No good. The universal plugs are either too big or too small. The only other possibilities are other transformers lying around the house.

Attached Image:

MuVo2 Power Rating.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 21:56:22 -0800

After going through five other transformers, I almost gave up looking for it and actually looked for way to directly charge the internal battery. Then I realized that it probably shared the same 3.6 volts battery source that is common in many of today's gadgets, such as digital cameras and PDA's. I looked at my HP/Compaq iPAQ H3955 docking station. It has a charging transformer attached. I unplugged the charger from the docking station. The plug seems to match the receptor on the MuVo2. Yup, it plugs right in. The only two questions now are whether the charger is rated at the same voltage and whether the pin matches. It's rated for 5.5V DC at 1 amp (see picture below); seems close enough. I was so happy that the rating matched, I plugged the charger into the wall. The MuVo2 powered up and started charging. But something felt amiss.

Attached Image:

iPAQ Charger Power Rating.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 21:57:00 -0800

While writing this article, I realized what was amiss. The charger rating specification label didn't have a pin schematic. Thus, I didn't know if it was positive center or negative center. In fact, I still don't. It could be a positive center, or the MuVo2 has built-in switching technology. I suspect it's the former. I've noticed a growing trend of using positive center in consumer electronics lately. I haven't seen any devices with a negative center in a long time. Perhaps, that's why the charger's pin assignment ambiguity hasn't popped up in my mind.

Attached Image:

MuVo2 Plugged In.jpg

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 21:57:25 -0800

Nevertheless, I'm glad to find the HP/Compaq iPAQ H3955 charger interchangeable to the Creative Nomad MuVo2 charger. I won't have to go look for the MuVo2 charger ever again.

Chieh Cheng
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 21:57:50 -0800

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