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During my battery tests, I was given a new 95LX battery utility. BATTman, from ACE Technologies, is a much more sophisticated battery life management tool than the 95LX's built-in system.

BATTman, which runs as a memory resident (TSR) program, is installed with a command line in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. It is provided with an automatic installation program that runs on an IBM Compatible PC and transfers the necessary files to your 95LX. Only a serial cable is required. Once you've transferred the files, you run a set-up program on your 95LX to create or edit your startup files. The set-up program asks you which of four battery types (NiCd, alkaline, lithium, or NMH) you normally use. Once set up is completed, you reboot your 95LX and the opening BATTman screen appears, providing your battery status as well as some set up options.

Every time you turn on your 95LX, you will be greeted with a pop-up BATTman window showing the type of battery selected as well as its voltage. You may change the battery type at any time from the main BATTman menu: Type BATTman from the DOS command line and the menu will reappear. BATTman works both in System Manager and DOS applications. BATTman takes 5K of disk space BATTman's real value becomes apparent when your batteries begin to get low. Contained within the BATTman program is a predictive formula unique to each battery type. This formula lets BATTman correctly judge when a pair of batteries are going to fall below the 1.8 volt battery level that puts the 95LX in backup mode.

As the steep voltage fall off is about to occur, BATTman pops up a warning and turns off your 95LX. You then should do one of two things; change your batteries or plug in the AC adaptor. Do either one of these and you will not lose any files. When you turn on the machine, you will be right back where you were. The instructions warn you to not attempt to save your files before taking action. Writing a file to disk is battery-intensive action that may cause the 95LX to go into backup mode. This would result in the loss of all open files.

I tried very hard to trip up BATTman, and the only way I discovered was to put a set of weak NiCds into a 95LX with BATTman configured for NiMHs. This caused BATTman to turn the machine off every time I turned it on because the NiCds' voltage was below the threshold set for the NiMHs. Every other combination worked flawlessly and I never once lost data, as long as I replaced batteries when the warning and shutoff came. If you are tired of throwing away batteries, BATTman will allow safe hassle-free use of rechargeables on your 95LX.

iPhone Life magazine

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