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Modding the Icomm with an external battery.


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The humble iCOMM, works well while the internal battery is good, but after a year or so..........they stop working.
How to tell, its the iCOMM battery.
If the little red light no longer comes on and the static burst is not sounding, there is a good chance it is just a flat battery.

 

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Internal iCOMM battery
 

 

 

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Freight is expensive to get the very specific battery that is inside.
Genuine replacement batt $5 US, freight, $25 US.
Whattt!!! $30 US.... for a battery.....at least that's what I said. (approx $38.40 AUS)
So I decided to do a little research, and come up with a reasonably simple and inexpensive mod, approx $12-$15 Aus.

A simple AA battery holder and a rechargeable Lithium ion battery.
 

 

 

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Not just any kind of rechargeable battery can be used.
The iCOMM is sensitive to voltage, so a 3.6 volt battery is required.
The milliamp hour rating, or how much draw per hour on the battery, is only 560mAh, not bad for its small size, but I have replaced it with a 900mAh, so almost twice the capacity, and rechargeable. Approximate lifespan......Years and years.

I chose to go with a battery with an internal protection circuit, as Li-ion batteries are finicky with charging. (have been known to EXPLODE).
A digital battery charger, designed to suit 3.6-3.7 volts is perfect.
Available on evilbay for as cheap as $5 shipped from China
 

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As I discovered during the research phase, the internal battery is easily removed.
 

 

 

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First I added some adhesive Velcro to the back of the battery holder.
 

 

 

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Then I drilled a couple of small holes, one in either side of the bottom half of the iCOMM casing.
 

 

 

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Thread the red +, and black - ,wires through the holes of the casing.(From outside through to inside)
When you flip the circuit board of the iCOMM over you can solder the wires to the corresponding posts. The outer most post is the positive (+)
and the inner post the negative(-).
 

 

 

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Flip the circuit board back over and fit back into the case.
Please note, you will actually have to fit the circuit board back into the top part of the case as it is the half that has all the plug holes and LED hole.
 

 

 

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Place the two halves together, put the screw back in, and add the opposite half of the adhesive Velcro to the end of the iCOMM.
Feed the wires in through the holes to keep the excess out of the way.
 

 

 

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Tested for success, my iCOMM is again fully operational.
 

 

 

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As you can see, the overall size hasn't changed too much. iCOMM 8cm long, iCOMM with external battery adaption, 10cm long.
The weight has increased by only 20 grams.
 

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Parts List and cost

Battery Holder AA size $1.00
UltraFire Li-ion battery $6.00 (Protected circuit)
Digital battery charger $5.00
miscellaneous bits $3.00
Battery holder from Jaycar, all other parts from ebay.

 

Please note: These prices were in Australian $, so would be cheaper again in US$

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Thanks for posting this Sly, has worked well for a few of us in the past

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great info! My iComm is brand new, so I guess I have about a year before I need to worry about this, but it's nice to know there is a simple and easy method to deal with the dead battery problem, later down the road. :)

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  • 1 year later...

Sly11 or other bro, I need to change or make this fixing i my iCOMM, I have a camera rechargeable lithium battery 3.7v 900mAh, the original battery is 3.6v, could be burned the iCOMM board using the 3.7V batt?

Thanks in advance

Gio

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3.6 is definitely preferred as the Icomm's are quite sensitive to the voltage. I haven't tried a 3.7v just to stay on the safe side.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just going to add a bit on battery info.

 

3.6 and 3.7 are just nominal voltages - the voltage of any lithium-ion varies with the charge level. A properly protected lithium-ion will be at 4.0-4.2v fresh off the charger, spend most of it's run time at ~3.63.7v, then shut itself off to prevent damage when it drops to ~2.5v. Recharge and repeat.

 

It's very important to get a protected cell - aside from the fire hazard (a shorted cell won't necessarily go *boom*, but it can heat up to the point of damaging equipment and even starting a fire that water won't put out), an unprotected cell might charge over the typical 4.2v limit and damage the iComm circuitry.

 

The size lithium-ion to use in a AA holder is perhaps more commonly referred to as a 14500 (name identifies the size - 14mm diameter, 50mm long). In the US, Trustfire is a decent budget brand. I've used XTAR that work well. Genuine Ultrafires are fine. Try to avoid something-fire brands from chinese sellers - they might very well be knock-off cells of dubious quality. Especially avoid any 14500 rated at anything much higher than 900mAh - it's almost guaranteed to be a chinese cell with a fake rating. Most 14500s will be rated at 800-900mAh.

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  • 1 year later...

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