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Newton FAQ

Part II: Hardware

  1. The Newton family
    1. What are the various Newton models?
      1. Apple models
      2. Third-party models
      3. Localized models
      4. Physical differences between models
      5. Specification differences between models
      6. I have a Newton model H1000. What is this?
      7. I heard a rumor that Apple is making a new Newton. Is this true?
      8. How can I distinguish a MP2000 from an upgraded MP2000?
      9. I have a Newton MP2x00 EVT/DVT or a Newton NotePad. What is it?
      10. I have a grey dongle for MP2x00. What’s the difference with the black ones?
      11. Where can I find information about Newton prototypes?
    2. Where can I buy Newton MessagePads, eMates, and accessories?
      1. What are the part numbers for Newton devices and accessories?
    3. What is the difference between RAM, DRAM, Flash RAM, ROM, SRAM?
    4. What are the Newton’s sound capabilities?
    5. Where can I find original manuals?
    6. Where can I find service manuals?
  2. Extending the MessagePad hardware
    1. What kind of memory cards can I use in my Newton?
      1. What cards are suitable for the Newton?
      2. What sizes and models are suitable for my Newton?
      3. Can I increase the internal memory of my Newton?
    2. What kind of modem/ethernet card/mobile phone can I use?
      1. Which modems can I use?
      2. Which mobile phones can I use?
      3. Which network cards can I use?
      4. How can I connect my Newton to a mobile phone?
    3. What kind of keyboard can I use?
    4. Can I speed up the processor?
    5. Can I change the ROM of the Newton?
    6. What kind of batteries can I use?
    7. What kind of power adapter can I use?
    8. What kind of printers can I use?
    9. Can I use digital cameras with my Newton?
    10. Can I use a Click/IBM Microdrive/ATA Flash/CompactFlash adapter in my Newton?
    11. Are there any third-party accessories that use the Interconnect port on the MP2x00 or eMate?
    12. Can I use a wireless card in my Newton?
    13. What cable do I need to connect to my desktop computer?
  3. Hardware problems
    1. Why does my Newton device whine when the backlight is on?
    2. Why does my MessagePad 110/120/130 buzz or whine?
    3. What should I do if I have a hardware problem with my Newton?
    4. Why does my Newton wake up at 3 AM?
    5. How long will the backlight last?
    6. Common hardware problems
      1. My Newton won’t turn on. What should I do?
      2. How can I protect my MessagePad screen?
      3. How do I turn on the backlight?
      4. What software can be used to control the backlight?
      5. Why does my MessagePad 100 turn itself off as soon as I turn it on?
      6. The serial port on my MP2000/MP2100 is caved in. What do I do?
      7. My MP2000/2100 pen input is all messed up. What can I do?
    7. How do I recondition or rebuild a Newton battery pack?
    8. Why does my eMate lid make a strange sound? Why does the screen look odd?

A) The Newton family

1) What are the various Newton models?

Specifications and images of a number of different Newton devices can be found on David Arnold’s Hardware page. (1996)

a) Apple models
b) Third-party models

The Digital Ocean Tarpon and Seahorse were ruggedized Newton devices based on the MessagePad 130. Both models featured technologies such as built-in wireless networking, peer-to-peer voice communication, plus optional GPS. The Seahorse also included the first CDPD modem found in a personal digital assistant. The Tarpon was a modified and improved version of the Harris SuperTech 2000.

Also based on the MessagePad 130, the Harris SuperTech 2000 was designed for telecommunication field technicians, allowing them to access work orders and other information through the telephone system. The Harris Access Device 2000 was a similarly ruggedized device based on the MessagePad 2000.

The Motorola Marco was similar to the specifications of the MessagePad 100 and featured a wireless modem that used the Ardis wireless networking service.

The Sharp ExpertPad PI-7000 was equivalent to the Original MessagePad running Newton OS 1.0 or 1.1 and the ExpertPad PI-7100 was equivalent to a MessagePad 100 running Newton OS 1.3.

The Siemens NotePhone was developed for the German market and based on the Original MessagePad. It integrated a telephone, fax modem, and compatibility with PBX switchboards into a single package. Siemens also developed another prototype device using Newton OS called the Siemens Online Terminal. See question IIA1k for more information regarding prototypes.

The Schlumberger Watson was a vertical market device based on the MessagePad 2000 developed specifically for the French healthcare industry. The device included a modem and pair of smartcard readers to facilitate secure transactions such as processing claims and accessing patient records.

c) Localized models

The OMP 1.1, MP100, MP120 & MP130 were available in German. The MP100, MP110 and the MP120/1.3 were available in French. The MP120/2.0-D ROM is in fact the same than the one in the MP130-D (except for the Gestalt answer about the kind of machine).

(From Carsten Lemmen) The OMP was available as a localized German model with 1.1 ROMs and factory preinstalled update to 1.11. This OMP could be upgraded (ROM replacement) to OS 1.3 (MP100 equivalent) through an Apple upgrade program in 1994. AFAIK there was also a Japanese Version of Newton OS, at least the Sharp ExpertPad (OMP clone) was available with Japanese localisation.

d) Physical differences between models

Here are some quick comparisons.

MessagePad 100, 110, 120, and 130 devices are smaller than the MessagePad 2000 and 2100.

MessagePad 100, 110, 120, 130 devices and the eMate 300 are equipped with only one PCMCIA slot. MessagePad 2000 and 2100 devices have two PCMCIA slots.

MessagePad 130, 2000, 2100 devices and the eMate 300 are equipped with a backlight.

The eMate 300 is equipped with a built-in keyboard.

e) Specification differences between models

Much of the following information was obtained from Pascal B. Kreil’s NewtonWiki and MSNUG’s Newton Gallery.

Newton Specifications

Model RAM ROM CPU NOS Peripheral Connection Fax Screen Sound Languages Code Name Release Date
Original MessagePad 640 KB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.0, 1.1 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send Only 336x240 Speaker English, German Newton August 1993, December 1993
Sharp ExpertPad PI-7000 640 KB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.0-1.05, or 1.10-1.11 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send Only 320x248 Speaker ?? August 1993
Sharp ExpertPad PI-7100 640 KB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send Only 320x248 Speaker ?? April 1994
MessagePad 100 640 KB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send Only 336x240 Speaker English, German, French Wedge, Junior March 1994
Motorola Marco 1 MB 5 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3 1 PCMCIA, Serial, IR, Modem Send Only 320x240 ?? ?? January 1995
Digital Ocean Seahorse 2.5 MB 8 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 2.0 PCMCIA, Serial, IR, Modem Send Only 320x240, Backlight Speaker English January 1996
Digital Ocean Tarpon 2 MB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 2.0 PCMCIA, Serial, IR, Modem Send Only 320x240, Backlight Speaker English June 1996
MessagePad 110 1 MB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send Only 320x240 Speaker English, French Lindy March 1994
MessagePad 120 1 MB 2 8 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send Only 320x240 Speaker English, German, French Gelato October 1995 (Germany), January 1995 (US)
Harris SuperTech 2000 2 MB 4 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3 ?? 2.0 ?? PCMCIA, Serial, IR, Radio (2x ??) Send, Receive 320x240, Backlight Speaker ?? August 1995
MessagePad 120 2 MB 3 8 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 1.3, 2.0 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send, Receive 320x240 Speaker English, German, French (1.3) Gelato November 1995
MessagePad 130 2.5 MB 4 8 MB ARM 610 20 MHz 2.0 PCMCIA, Serial, IR (ASK) Send, Receive 320x240, Backlight Speaker English, German Dante, Quark March 1996
eMate 300 3 MB 5 8 MB ARM 710 25 MHz 2.1 PCMCIA, Interconnect, Serial, IR (IrDA), Headphone Jack Send, Receive 480x320, Backlight, 16 Grays Speaker, Headphone Jack 8 English Project K, Schoolbook, Shay April 1997
MessagePad 2000 5 MB 6 8 MB StrongARM 161.9 MHz 2.1 2x PCMCIA, Interconnect, IR (IrDA) Send, Receive 480x320, Backlight, 16 Grays Speaker, Microphone 8 English N2, Q March 1997
MessagePad 2100 8 MB 7 8 MB StrongARM 161.9 MHz 2.1 2x PCMCIA, Interconnect, IR (IrDA) Send, Receive 480x320, Backlight, 16 Grays Speaker, Microphone 8 English, German N2, Q November 1997

1 Grant Hutchinson confirmed on NewtonTalk that one of his Motorola Marco devices runs Newton OS 1.3 (444347) 1.0.3 installed. An archived Japanese site lists the version as 1.3 (444347) 1.0.2.

2 MessagePad 120 (1 MB) memory consists of 639 KB of DRAM and 385 KB of Flash RAM.
See also: Apple Support: MessagePad 120 Technical Specifications

3 MessagePad 120 (2 MB) memory consists of 687 KB of DRAM and 1,361 KB of Flash RAM.
See also: Apple Support: MessagePad 120 (with Newton OS 2.0) Technical Specifications

4 MessagePad 130 memory consists of 1,199 KB of DRAM and 1,361 KB of Flash RAM.
See also: Apple Support: MessagePad 130 Technical Specifications

5 eMate 300 memory consists of 1 MB of DRAM and 2 MB of Flash RAM.
See also: Apple Support: eMate 300 Technical Specifications

6 MessagePad 2000 memory consists of 1 MB of DRAM and 4 MB of Flash RAM. Upgraded MessagePad 2000 memory consists of 4 MB of DRAM and 4 MB of Flash RAM
See also: Apple Support: MessagePad 2000 Technical Specifications

7 MessagePad 2100 memory consists of 4 MB of DRAM and 4 MB of Flash RAM.
See also: Apple Support: MessagePad 2100 Technical Specifications

8 MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300 devices have a special connector known as the Newton Interconnect. This proprietary port can accomodate audio line in, audio line out, and two serial ports. Using a serial adapter (or dongle), the Interconnect can be converted to a standard DIN-8 serial port. [cf. IIA1j]

f) I have a Newton model H1000. What is this?

You have an original Newton MessagePad (OMP), the first model made, or you have an MP100, its immediate successor.

g) I heard a rumor that Apple is making a new Newton. Is this true?

That’s very probably just a rumor based on the interest of Apple for Palm devices. BTW, Palm Desktop which is to be found on iBooks is compatible with NCU (the format is like Claris Organizer).

h) How can I distinguish a MP2000 from an upgraded MP2000?

The difference between both is simply the DRAM size. If Apple upgraded the MP2000, there should be a MP2100 sticker near the interconnect port and the serial number. Otherwise, you can simply go to the Memory Info (press the [i] button under Extras) which should tell System RAM installed something close to 4 MB (3984 KB) if you have an upgraded MP, or something close to 1 MB if you have a MP2000.

i) I have a Newton MP2x00/eMate 300 EVT/DVT or a Newton NotePad. What is it?

EVT and DVT are two levels of prototype in the Newton program.

The initial prototypes were called “EVT” (Engineering Verification Test). After the EVT units were tested for a while, and various changes were made, the DVT (Development Verification Test) units were created. DVT units were supposed to be closer to the final production devices.

Initial EVT prototypes were similar to the final MP2K, except instead of the StrongARM processor, they had the ARM710 processor (same as the eMate).

A second batch of EVT devices (EVT 2) with StrongARM processors were built.

A batch of DVT devices was built. Most of the units were configured as the original MP2000. There were a few 4mb DRAM devices built in the DVT run (they therefore are like MP2100s). Besides, some units have a special ROM Board with an additional 8 MB of Flash for Internal memory (bringing the total to 12 MB). There may have been units with Flash instead of ROM and with 16 MB of ROM instead of 8.

The Newton NotePad were probably DVT units of the original MessagePad. It’s not known how they differed from the production OMPs.

j) I have a grey dongle for MP2x00. What’s the difference with the black ones?

Brian Parker reported on Usenet:

I have a very weird gray Newton 2K serial adapter! It appears to be exactly the same as the normal black ones, except it is beige/gray and has “TAIWAN N 2” instead of China on the bottom. It has the same part number as the black ones.

Don Vollum answered:

IIRC, the gray adapters were for the DVT (second batch of prototype) 2000 units (codenamed “N2”). [cf. IIA1i]

The EVT units had black adapters, which looked like the production ones. Between the EVT 2 run and the DVT run, they changed one of the pins, hence the need for different adapters.

I believe that functionally, the gray adapter should be identical to a production unit.

k) Where can I find information about Newton prototypes?

There were several Newton prototypes. Some pictures can be found in MSNUG’s Newton Gallery.

Larger pictures with some text are available at Newton Secrets Secret Newtons: http://www.a-in-a-circle.com/newton/.

Finally, Russ Uzes purchased a Newton Cadillac on eBay and put some pictures there: http://www.uzes.net/newton.

2) Where can I buy Newton MessagePads, eMates, and accessories?

a) What are the part numbers for Newton devices and accessories?

eMate 300 Parts

Backlight, Electroluminescent (EL)         922-2681
Battery, NiMH                              922-2938
Bezel, eMate Display                       922-2940
Card, ROM, eMate                           661-1195
Case, Bottom Assembly                      922-2941
Case, Top (includes Logic Board)           661-1194
Cover, Top, eMate Display                  922-2939
Door, Battery, ROM, RAM Access             922-2674
Feet, Rubber, Pkg. of 4                    922-2679
Handle, Rubber Cushion                     922-2678
Holder, Name Card                          922-2676
Keyboard, eMate                            922-2398
Key, Dummy, Keyboard, eMate                076-0636
Latch Kit                                  076-0633
LCD Assembly, eMate                        661-1193
Lens, I/R                                  922-2677
Plug, Screw, Bezel, Pkg. of 4              922-2680
Plugs, Ink Well, Right and Left, Kit       076-0634
Plugs, Screw, Bottom Case, Kit             076-0635
Screw Kit                                  076-0637
Sleeve, Battery                            922-2675
Stylus (eMate Pen)                         922-2682

MessagePad 2000/2100 Parts

Battery Pack, Rechargeable, NiMH           922-2968
Battery Tray                               922-3307
Cable, Adapter, MessagePad 2000 to DIN-8   922-2971
Case, Carrying, MessagePad 2000            922-2976
Case, Carrying, Nylon, MessagePad 2000     922-2972
Stylus, MessagePad 2000, Pkg. of 5         922-2969
Flip Top                                   922-3306
Serial Adapter (Interconnect Dongle)       590-0756A

MessagePad 110/120/130 Parts

2.0 ROM Card, French (not for MP110)      F661-1054
2.0 ROM Card, German (not for MP110)      D661-1054
Back Cover Assembly                        076-0526
Battery Pack, Rechargeable                 661-1105
Battery Cover (Pkg. of 5)                  922-0755
Battery Recharger                          922-0753
Case, LC, Leather                          922-0761
Case, Leather                              922-0896
Cover, Battery, Lithium (Pkg. of 5)        076-0491
Lithium Battery Cover, MP110 (Pkg. of 5)   922-0756
Cover, Battery (Pkg. of 5)                 922-1285
Cover, Top, Hinged (Pkg. of 5)             076-0492
Foot, Rubber (Pkg. of 50)                  922-1375
I/O Cover                                  922-1686
I/R Cover                                  922-1687
On/Off Knob                                922-1688
Rubber Foot, MP110 (Pkg. of 50)            922-0757
Stylus (Pkg. of 5)                         922-0754
Stylus, Recharger Cradle                   922-0759

Original MessagePad/MessagePad 100 Parts

Battery Cover, Plastic (Pkg. of 5)         922-2037
Battery Holder, 4AAA (Pkg. of 10)          922-2038
Battery Pack, NiCd                         661-1693
Battery Recharger                          922-0562
Case, Carrying, Leather                    922-0563
Case, Carrying, Sport                      922-0569
Cover, Connector Rubber (Pkg. of 20)       922-2039
Cover, Slip, Vinyl (Pkg. of 5)             922-2040
Stylus, MessagePad (Pkg. of 10)            922-2036

Parts for all Newton Devices

Adapter Plug, Australia                    922-2975
Adapter Plug, Europe                       922-2974
Adapter Plug, UK                           922-2973
Adapter, Power, Newton, 9 Watt             922-2951
Cable, Macintosh Connect                   922-0564
Cable, PC Connect                          922-0565
Battery Booster Pack                       922-0570
Cable, Print Pack                          922-2035
Case, Modem, Pkg. of 10                    922-0714
Flash Memory Card 2MB                      661-1695
Keyboard Slipcover                         922-1493
Keyboard                                   661-0963
Keyboard, British                         B661-0963
Keyboard, French                          F661-0963
Keyboard, German                          D661-0963
Keyboard, Swedish                         S661-0963
Modem Card Assembly, PCMCIA                661-1745
Modem, Data/Fax, 2400 Baud, External       661-1692
Power Adapter, In-Line (old model)         922-0560
Power Adapter, Right Angle, Australia     X922-0561
Power Adapter, Right Angle, Great Britain B922-0561
Power Adapter, Right Angle, Int’l         Z922-0561

3) What is the difference between RAM, DRAM, Flash RAM, ROM, SRAM?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is the designation for memory that can be both written to and read. ROM stands for Read Only Memory. ROM cannot be written to. It is used in the Newton for the operating system. Hence you cannot delete it.

SRAM stands for Static RAM. An SRAM cell consists of a small semiconductor circuit (a flipflop), that holds one bit of information. As long as power is supplied to this flipflop, it will retain its current state (unless changed intentionally, of course), hence the back-up batteries in SRAM cards.

DRAM is for Dynamic RAM. A DRAM cell is constructed to be a tiny capacitor. It is much cheaper to manufacture, and can be much smaller. However, the capacitor will slowly lose it’s charge, hence the need to refresh it regularly. Also, the needed time to (un)load the capacitor in order to store a bit of information is significantly longer than the time needed to (re)set a flipflop.

Flash RAM is based on EEPROM technology. It’s a kind of memory that does not lose its contents when power is no longer supplied. It is used for storage on the Newton.

4) What are the Newton’s sound capabilities?

To record sounds, remember that you’ll need a microphone which can only be found on 2.1 devices.

Software which allows you to record and playback sounds:

5) Where can I find original manuals?

Most of the manuals are still available as direct links from Apple, as well as on these fine sites:

6) Where can I find service manuals?

Apple’s service manuals for Newton devices are available from:

The ‘sp’ designation refers to specifications. The ‘ba’ designation refers to basics. The emate.up.pdf document explains how to perform the eMate 300 upgrade. Manuals without an extra designation include specifications and basic information, plus a section on troubleshooting and occasionally an exploded view of the device. The emate.pdf document also includes a section about the diagnostic mode, which is used with a special card from Apple.


B) Extending MessagePad hardware

1) What kind of memory cards can I use in my Newton?

a) What cards are suitable for the Newton?

You can use SRAM cards or Flash RAM cards. SRAM cards are more expensive than Flash RAM cards, and they need an internal battery.

There are several kinds of flash memory cards available today and in many different physical formats. There are ATA flash cards, CompactFlash cards, SmartMedia flash cards, memory sticks and linear flash cards. There are linear and ATA cards that can look the same externally, but only linear (or regular) cards can be used in Newton devices natively, and not all of them. [cf. IIB1b]

For ATA cards, you’ll need the ATA Support package developed by Paul Guyot. [cf. IIB10]

b) What sizes and models are suitable for my Newton?

There are several common kinds of linear cards, depending on the chip used in it.

Memory Card Compatibility

Model All 1.x models All 2.0 models MP2x00 eMate 300
SRAM Yes Yes Yes Yes
AMD series D or AD linear Cards
(also known as 5v/5v)
No Yes Yes Yes
Intel Series II
(5v/12v)
Yes Yes Yes Read only
Intel Series II+
(5v/5v — they even work with 3v/3v)
? Yes Yes Yes
Intel Value Series 100
(5v/5v)
No No Yes Yes
Intel Value Series 200
(5v/5v)
No No No No

Please note that I compiled this table from various sources.

SRAM cards are said to only work if they are 4 MB or smaller.

It is believed that you need Newton OS 2.x to use flash cards bigger than 4 MB, however it appears to be wrong at least with the Intel Series II+ in a MP100: Harri Hohteri succeeded in using such a card in his MP2100, his MP130 and his MP100.

It is believed that Series II+ only work in 2.x models, but Harri Hohteri’s 40 MB card works in his MP100.

The maximum size limit has been said to be 4 MB, 32 MB, or any other value. Apparently, there is no size limit but the linear cards limit (64 MB), however nobody reported to have been able (or unable) to use a 64 MB card. If you do, please contact us.

Intel and AMD are technologies and most of the time suppliers of the chips, not brands. Therefore Intel cards can be sold under different brand names (Apple for example ;-). You can identify them by their part number:

nn is the memory capacity in MB

The best source about Flash Cards is Carsten Lemmen’s website. His page about memory cards is available in English http://www.mac3.de/sig/newton/memory_cards.html and in German: http://www.mac3.de/sig/newton/Speicherkarten.html

c) Can I increase the internal memory of my Newton?

You can increase the DRAM memory of the MessagePad 2000 by performing a MessagePad 2100 upgrade, however Apple no longer offers this service.

Some third-parties sold upgrade kits and offered upgrade services, including PIXsolution and Dave “Dr. Newton” Watson. Occasionally these upgrades appear on eBay or for sale through the NewtonTalk mailing list.

Abe Lee provided instructions for a do-it-yourself MessagePad 2000 upgrade, although the images are unfortunately missing.

At one time, you could also purchase Newer Technology’s eMate 300 Memory Module, which expanded both the DRAM and Flash RAM to the equivilent of an MessagePad 2100.

Related information:

2) What kind of modem/ethernet card/mobile phone can I use?

a) Which modems can I use?

Any compatible external modem should work properly.

[From Helmut Fischer]: To connect MP and external modem, use a standard Apple Macintosh modem cable. Works on all MPs I have tried (120, 130, 2100).

For internal modems, there is a complete list maintained by Len Lutz at: http://www.dca.net/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/lenlutz/newton.cgi

DNUG maintains a list of drivers and scripts: [dead link] http://www.dnug.dk/info/modems.html

To make a modem script, you can use the sample code provided by Apple, Modem Setup (latest version is 2), which you can find on UNNA.

Combo cards don’t work without a specific driver. Some have one, but most don’t. In the best case you can use the modem part of the card. If the Newton says “A communications card has been inserted” when you insert a combo card, it means that the modem part has been recognized and might work.

b) Which mobile phones can I use?

Here’s a summary of mobile phone compatibility for the Newton. Information on modems and drivers are below. Thanks to all the individual contributors who provided info about their mobile phones.

The Newton can use several GPRS devices such as mobile phones and PC cards.

c) Which network cards can I use?

For the MessagePad 120 with Newton OS 2.0 and MessagePad 130, only one network card is known to work.

According to Donald T. Stewart:

“I purchased the Roamer (wireless networking PC card) and a DynaCOMM Network Access Point from eBay a couple of months ago, but just today tried to get them working. I had no trouble using an MessagePad 120/2.0 with them and seem to be able to access my home AppleTalk network wirelessly.”

The Roamer card is apparently not compatible with Newton OS 2.1.

Devices running Newton OS 2.1 and Newton Internet Enabler (NIE) 2.0 can use ethernet and wireless cards from certain manufacturers with the proper drivers.

The following is a fairly exhaustive list of compatible ethernet cards:

9 The Proxim RangeLAN is a “wireless ethernet” card, but it is not compatible with AirPort or any other 802.11-based networking.

Additional information and required driver packages are available from Victor Rehorst’s Ethernet Information page, Frank Gründel’s Newton & Ethernet page, and the Internet Archive.

This information applies to TCP/IP connections over ethernet, not AppleTalk connections. [cf. VB1f]

See also: Can I use a wireless card in my Newton?

d) How can I connect my Newton to a mobile phone?

Three solutions are available:

3) What kind of keyboard can I use?

The eMate 300 has a built-in keyboard.

Apple made a optional keyboard which can be plugged into the Newton Interconnect port of a MessagePad 2000 or 2100 using an adapter.

You can also use the Newton keyboard with a MessagePad 120 running Newton OS 2.0 and a MessagePad 130.

There are hacks which allow this keyboard to be used with earlier Newton devices as well.

Information on using a Palm-compatible Stowaway keyboard with a Newton device can be found on Grant Hutchinson’s Connecting a Stowaway Keyboard page.

4) Can I speed up the processor?

At one point in time, PIXsolution offered kits and installation services to speed up MessagePad 130, MessagePad 2000, and MessagePad 2100 devices.

From Harri Hohteri — For DIY (stands for do-it-yourself) guys there’s an article about accelerating MP120 by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards:

http://www.larwe.com/technical/accel_mp120.html

Stephanie Macks wrote two pages for homebrew MP2x00 (http://www.felesmagus.com/newton/2100fast.html) and eMate (http://www.felesmagus.com/newton/ematefast.html) speed up.

5) Can I change the ROM of the Newton?

Theoretically, the ROM of Newton MP 120 can be changed from Newton OS 1.3 to Newton OS 2.0. But you’ve got to find a ROM chip to do this. Other ROM chips on OMP and MP110 are soldered to the motherboard.

Interestingly, the ROM in an OS 2.1 device (MP2x00, eMate) is installed on a card, with room for four more ROM chips.

6) What kind of batteries can I use?

You can use alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries (NiCd, NiMH, etc.) or the Apple battery pack. The MP120 & the MP130 can recharge them (with a little piece of paper to press the button under the batteries).

Please note that recharging NiMH batteries in MP1x0s can damage the Newton. [cf: NewtonTalk: MP130 Batteries]

Only the Apple battery pack can be recharged inside the MP2k. For all other batteries you will need a separate battery charger, or to modify the battery holder as described by Nick Müller: http://www.logictools.de/newton/akku_mod/akku2k.html.

7) What kind of power adapter can I use?

The best advice is to use a power adapter that has been specifically designed for use with a Newton device.

Apple manufactured two different adapters:

The “Newton Power Adapter” (model H1300 in North America, model H2200 in Europe) is rated at 7.0V DC, 0.5A. It shipped with the Original MessagePad, MessagePad 100, MessagePad 110, MessagePad 120, and MessagePad 130.

The “Newton 9W Power Adapter” (model H0165) is rated at 7.5V DC, 1.2A. It shipped with the MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300.

There is also an “N2 AC Adapter” which is a prototype version of the 9W adapter with the same model number and power rating. The “N2” adapter accompanied pre-production (EVT/DVT) MessagePad 2000 and 2100 devices. [cf. IIA1i]

Both Apple adapters will work in any Newton device. The 9W adapter will recharge batteries faster than the original adapter, except when used with a MessagePad 100. See also: Apple MessagePad Devices: Power Adapter Compatibility

It is not recommended that you use a third-party adapter. Too many users have inadvertently fried their Newton device using a non-Apple adapter. However, if you want to take the risk, remember that adapters need to be at least 6V DC, 400mA and the plugs are “tip positive”.

Jacek Jadwiszczak reported:

With his MessagePad 120 and 130, he uses a 7V, 3W adapter. Both 7.5V and 6V work fine, but 6V will not charge batteries. Apparently, at least 3W is needed.

Carl Schultz reports:

I have been using a RadioShack AC adapter for almost a year now. It is the 3-12 volt adjustable model. The new model # is 273-1680 ($34.99 list) and is rated at 1000mA. Mine is the older 800mA model but otherwise is the same. The adapter came with several different plug ends, none of which was correct for my MP2000. I had to buy another one, which I don’t have the part number for, but it has a yellow end if that helps (they are all color coded). This end may now be included with the adapter, since the RadioShack description states that 4 of the included ends are “new”. Make sure that you install the connector in the “tip positive” configuration. I’ve been using mine daily at work with no problems.

Michael Vacik reports:

The RadioShack plug adapter to use is the Adaptaplug C.

You also may want to review Johannes Wolf’s advice on NewtonTalk: Do I need the Apple AC?

8) What kind of printers can I use?

Apple published this support article: Newton OS 2.x: Supported Printers

There are basically three ways to print things from a Newton:

First, you can print with a serial connection (or an AppleTalk connection — LaserWriter-compatible printers only — or via IrDA if you have a MP2x00/eMate 300). For this, you need a driver. The Newton OS has drivers in the ROM which appear in the list when you select “Choose Other Printer” from the print dialog. There are also drivers written by Apple which can be found on UNNA for the SW4500 & SW6500 and the HP IrDA printers (Newton OS 2.1 devices only): http://www.unna.org/unna/drivers/printer/ [I know there’s a non working one for Epson printers, but is there any other driver around?]

Apple also released a PrintPack which includes a serial/parallel adapter and which can print on several parallel printers. The list of printers can be found in the PrintPack documentation on UNNA.

PrintPack 1 was a cable with the drivers included in it. PrintPack 2 requires the drivers to be on the Newton.

Without the hardware, the PrintPack2 drivers are useless. The serial/parallel adapter includes a processor and was manufactured by GDT Softworks (which later became InfoWave) for Apple. This company also manufactured compatible cables, the pre-V.4.X cables. A regular serial/parallel adapter will certainly not work.

About the GDT Softworks cables, Jon Glass reports:

I do recall there being a discussion that the last version of the GDT Softworks version of the PowerPrint adapter wouldn’t work with the Newton. I do know this, the one I have does work with my Epson 900.

I’m having trouble trying to decipher what’s written on the back, so I’ll include all the text:

Advanced Components & Peripherals P/L
Made in Singapore
FCC ID KBVSPC1
P/N: 590-0839
Batch: SPC292

LR99812

Finally, you you can also print using a PC and Newton PC-Print by Alexander Kunzer.

The HP Deskjet 340CBi is battery powered and has a Newton-compatible IrDA (Newton OS 2.1 devices) adapter.

9) Can I use digital cameras with my Newton?

Yes you can. You need the Tibet software. This software is no longer supported, but Russell Tait (the creator of Tibet) gave away some registration codes you can use:

The following digital cameras will work with a MessagePad 2000 or 2100 and the Tibet software. A serial cable is required to connect the camera to a Newton device.

10 Neal Sofge reports: “I have an Agfa ePhoto 780c, which is apparently an updated version of the 780 in an iMac-compatible blue case. It works with Tibet, but only if you ‘distract’ the camera by sliding the lens cover open and closed while trying to communicate with it. The timing on this is tricky, but you can get good at it after enough practice.”

It appears that some cameras that use the Fujitsu chipset (such as most of the Olympus models) are also compatible. More information is available on Eugene Crosser’s Digital Cameras on Fujitsu chipset page.

Canon cameras were once reported as compatible, but Daniel Padilla said they aren’t. At least not his PowerShot 350.

Daniel Padilla also reported that a camera needs to have the Sierra Imaging firmware and a serial port to work with the Tibet software. Here is the official list of supported cameras.

The following cameras will definitely not work:

10) Can I use a Click/IBM Microdrive/ATA Flash/CompactFlash adapter in my Newton?

Yes. Paul Guyot developed ATA Support, a Newton package consisting of a driver and transactional database specifically for these types of storage cards.

Download the ATA Support 1.0 package. The source code is also available.

11) Are there any third-party accessories that use the Interconnect port on the MP2x00 or eMate?

At one point, Enfour manufactured on-piece serial cables that integrated an Interconnect port, eliminating the need for the Newton Serial Adapter.

You can build your audio in/out dongle. Details are at http://www.eskimo.com/~millerd/nicadapter/.

12) Can I use a wireless card in my Newton?

Yes. You can use certain wireless cards just like an ethernet networking card. You will need a device running Newton OS 2.1, Newton Internet Enabler (NIE) 2.0, and the appropriate driver packages developed by Hirochi Noguchi.

The WaverLAN driver seems to work with most Lucent WaveLAN cards and is designed to connect to a base station. Apple AirPort base stations running software version 1.3 or 2.0 are known to work.

Additional information:

13) What cable do I need to connect to my desktop computer?

Portions of the following are from Apple’s About Cables document. (1995)

You can connect to your Newton using either a serial cable or an ethernet card (connection from a 2.1 device to Mac OS computers only). Please note that using an ethernet card means first installing the proper driver.

The MP1x0 devices and the eMate 300 have a Mini DIN-8 RS232 and LocalTalk compatible port. You can use either a Mini DIN-8 to Mini DIN-8 serial cable to connect to an old-world Macintosh (beige), a Mini DIN-8 to DB25 cable to connect to a DB25 Serial port on a Windows Box or a Mini DIN-8 to USB via an USB/Serial adapter to a new-world Macintosh. You cannot use IrDA with Apple Software. See section IIIB3c

The MP2x00 have an Interconnect port. Using a dongle, you can have a RS422/GeoPort/LocalTalk compatible port. You can connect the same cable as with the other Newtons.

See section IIIB3b for the various ways to transfer data to/from your desktop computer, software and hardware.


C) Hardware problems

1) Why does my Newton device whine when the backlight is on?

Newton devices with backlit displays use the same technology that is found in Timex Indiglo watches, an Electroluminescent (EL) panel. This type of backlighting operates at a high voltage that requires a voltage conversion circuit, involving a transformer. It’s transformer which creates the whining noise. If you place an Indiglo watch up to your ear, you will hear a similar sound.

Apple Support Tech Note: MessagePad and eMate: Noise Emission Levels

2) Why does my MessagePad 110/120/130 buzz or whine?

If you are referring to the sound when the backlight is turned on, refer to the previous question. The humming or whine when the MessagePad is powered on is caused by the power manager circuitry. The sound may be more noticeable when the CPU is idle and devices are reportedly noisier than others. Unfortunately, there is no workaround. This issue specifically affects the MessagePad 110, MessagePad 120, and MessagePad 130 models.

Apple Support Tech Note: MessagePad and eMate: Noise Emission Levels

3) What should I do if I have a hardware problem with my Newton?

It has been years since Apple has provided repair services for Newton devices. You can either attempt repairs yourself or find another individual knowledgable enough to perform those repairs.

Frank Gründel of PDA-Soft has provided repair and refurbishing services for Newton devices for many years. Contact him for more information.

You can also try some of the solutions that have been documented for frequent hardware problems. See section IIC6

4) Why does my Newton wake up at 3 AM?

The Newton wakes up to move your to do items over from the previous day, and to perform other housekeeping. [From Robert Sexton’s FAQ]

5) How long will the backlight last?

Alan Drogin says, It has a “half life” conjectured to be in the low thousands of hours. Which translates to at least a couple of years, which also means it doesn’t stop working, just gets dimmer, which ultimately means its within the normal limits of planned obsolescence accepted by the high tech world.

One thing I can’t give a definitive answer to is the actual half life. I’ve seen plenty of posts claiming that the half life of the MP130 backlighting is 1600-1700, but no actual proof of source. I’ve seen claims about the MP2K backlighting at 2000 and even 5000. John Schettino saw some web sites from backlighting manufacturers claiming 15,000-20,000 hour half lives. [From Robert Sexton’s FAQ]

See also: Apple Newton Devices: Backlight Life

6) Common hardware problems

a) My Newton won’t turn on. What should I do?

There are a number of things you can try. Try the following, in increasing order:

See also section IIIB2 of the FAQ

b) How can I protect my MessagePad screen?

Try one of these:

c) How do I turn on the Newton’s backlight?

The MessagePad 130, MessagePad 2000, MessagePad2100 and eMate 300 include backlit displays. Some third-party devices such as the Digital Ocean Seahorse and Digital Ocean Tarpon also sports backlit displays. [cf. IIA1e]

On a MessagePad device, depress and hold the power switch until the backlight is activated. Depress and hold the power switch again to turn off the backlight.

On an eMate 300, press the “lightbulb” button on the keyboard.

The backlight can also be controlled through software. See the next question.

d) What software can be used to control the backlight?
e) Why does my MessagePad 100 turn itself off as soon as I turn it on?

Older MessagePad devices (in particular, the MessagePad 100) develop power-on problems due to gunk building up inside the power switch which increases its resistance. Sean Luke put together the The Newton MessagePad 100 Power-Off Page with various workarounds and fixes.

f) The serial port on my MP2000/MP2100 is caved in. What do I do?

The serial port is poorly soldered onto the MP2K motherboard, and eventually it can wear out and cave in. If you are very, very good at solder, you might try opening the machine and resoldering the contacts. But it’s very difficult, and even proficient solderers won’t attempt it. Most likely, your only recourse is to have Apple fix the problem: see section IIC3

The chief culprit here is the Newton’s “dongle”, the small plug which connects to the Newton. The dongle has two bumps on the top and two bumps on the bottom, which help the dongle stay locked in the serial connector, but cause considerable friction and stress on entry and exit. To prevent problems in the future, you might try filing down the bumps on the top.

g) My MP2000/2100 pen input is all messed up. What can I do?

This is a problem known as the “Jaggies”. The symptoms are:

It can be caused by two things:

If you suspect that dirt is the culprit, you can attempt to clean between the case and the screen:

  1. Remove any screen protectors that are installed.
  2. Take a thin card (such as a paper business card, nothing thicker than a credit or bank card) and gently insert a corner of it in the gap between the case and the screen. Run the card along all of the edges of the screen — the goal here is to remove any dirt particles that may be wedged between the case and the screen.
  3. Using a soft cloth, such as a lens or photographic cleaning cloth (not tissue paper!) wipe up the dirt that was dislodged.
  4. It’s probably a good idea to give the screen a nice cleaning now, before reinstalling your screen protector.

It’s possible that a warped case is the culprit and you can attempt to dewarp it.

If none of this does the trick, then either the touchscreen connector needs cleaning, or the screen must be replaced. Replacing the screen or cleaning the touchscreen should only be attempted by an experienced person, as it required almost complete disassembly of the Newton.

7) How do I recondition or rebuild a Newton battery pack?

Frank Gründel has written several comprehensive guides on rebuilding Newton battery packs.

English

Deutsche

8) Why does my eMate lid make a strange sound? Why does the screen look odd?

There is a known design flaw in the eMate 300 lid hinge that can cause damage to the flat cable that connects the screen to the main board. More information about this problem and a solution to prevent it can be found on Joel Sciama’s Repairing eMate Hinges and Display Cable page.


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