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. Is Apple releasing a new Newton?
      8. How can I tell an original MessagePad 2000 from an upgraded model?
      9. I have a Newton NotePad. What is it?
      10. I have a Newton device marked as an “EVT” or “DVT”. What is it?
      11. What makes a grey Newton Serial Adapter different from a black one?
      12. Where can I find information about Newton prototypes?
    2. Where can I buy Newton hardware 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 sound capabilities of the Newton?
    5. Where can I find user manuals and documentation?
    6. Where can I find service manuals?
  2. How can I extend or enhance my Newton device?
    1. Storage Cards & Memory
      1. What type of storage cards can I use?
      2. Which storage cards are compatible with my Newton?
      3. Can I use a PCMCIA storage card adapter in my Newton?
      4. Can I increase the internal memory of my Newton?
    2. Networking & Connectivity
      1. Which modems can I use?
      2. Which mobile phones can I use?
      3. Which network cards can I use?
      4. Can I use a wireless card in my Newton?
      5. What cable do I need to connect to another computer?
      6. How can I connect my Newton to a mobile phone?
    3. Which keyboards can I use?
    4. Can I speed up the processor?
    5. Can I change the ROM of the Newton?
    6. Which batteries can I use?
    7. Which power adapters can I use?
    8. Which printers can I use?
      1. Using a serial connection
      2. Using a serial to parallel Newton Print Pack adapter
      3. Using a Windows computer
    9. Can I use digital cameras with my Newton?
    10. Are there any accessories that use the Interconnect port?
  3. Hardware issues
    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 3:00 AM?
    5. How long will the backlight last?
    6. Common 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 MessagePad 2000/2100 is caved in. What do I do?
      7. My MessagePad 2000/2100 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 make an odd sound when I open the lid?
    9. Why does the screen on my eMate look weird?
    10. Why doesn’t a Newton stylus work on an iPad?

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 also: Where can I find information about Newton 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 Original MessagePad 1.1, MessagePad 100, 120, and 130 were available in German. The MessagePad 100, 110, and 120 with Newton OS 1.3 were available in French. The German MessagePad 120 with Newton 2.0 is basically the same as the German MessagePad 130, with the exception of the Gestalt response about the type of device.

According to Carsten Lemmen:

“The Original MessagePad was available as a localized German model with 1.1 ROMs and factory preinstalled update to 1.11. This device could be upgraded (through a ROM replacement) to Newton OS 1.3 (equivalent to the MessagePad 100) via an Apple upgrade program in 1994. As far as I know, there was also a Japanese version of Newton OS, at least the Sharp ExpertPad was available with Japanese localization.”
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 Port. 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.

See also: What makes a grey Newton Serial Adapter different from a black one?

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

You have an Original MessagePad (OMP), the first model made, or you have an MessagePad 100, its immediate successor.

g. Is Apple releasing a new Newton?

Nope. This was a rumour based on rumblings that Apple was interested in acquiring Palm back in 2006.

h. How can I tell an original MessagePad 2000 from an upgraded model?

The main difference is the amount of DRAM installed in the device. To check this, tap the “i” button in Extras and select “Memory Info”. An original MessagePad 2000 will show approximately 1 MB (~916 KB) of System RAM installed. An upgraded MessagePad 2000 will show approximately 4 MB (~3,980 KB) of System RAM installed.

Also, if Apple upgraded the MessagePad 2000, there should be a sticker next to the Interconnect port that reads “MP2100”.

i. I have a Newton NotePad. What is it?

The Newton NotePad was a pre-production version of the Original MessagePad. It’s not known how (or even if) the NotePad differed from the production devices.

j. I have a Newton device marked as an “EVT” or “DVT”. What is it?

Pre-production prototype Newton devices were often referred to as an Engineering Verification Test or “EVT”. After EVT devices had been put through various tests and subsequently updated with changes to the hardware, a Development Verification Test or “DVT” device would be produced. DVT devices were supposedly very close to the final production devices.

During the development of the MessagePad 2000, an ARM 710 processor (like the one found in the eMate 300) was used in the EVT, instead of a StrongARM processor. The second round of MessagePad 2000 EVT devices (EVT 2) used the StrongARM processor.

Most of the MessagePad 2000 DVT devices were configured exactly the same as the production MessagePad 2000. It has been reported that a few of the DVT devices included 4 MB of DRAM instead of the standard 1 MB. Likewise, some DVT devices apparently have a special ROM board with an additional 8 MB of DRAM, bringing the total to 12 MB. There also may have been devices that used 16 MB of Flash RAM instead of the typical 8 MB of ROM.

Needless to say, many of these details still need to be verified.

k. What makes a grey Newton Serial Adapter different from a black one?

The Newton Serial Adapter is a “dongle” which converts the proprietary Interconnect port on MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300 devices to a standard Mini DIN-8 connector.

There are four known variations of the adapter:

Note that the “N” in the stamped text is actually a box with a diagonal line, not an “N” at all. At one point, it was thought that the “N 2” referred to the “N2” codename of the MessagePad 2000. It’s highly likely that this is just a coincidence, since there are “N 1” dongles as well.

All variations have the part number “590-0756” stamped into the plastic housing.

The grey version of the adapter was specific to the pre-production “DVT” (Development Verification Test) version of the MessagePad 2000.

The earlier “EVT” (Engineering Verification Test) devices had black adapters, just like the production version. However, between the second run of EVT devices and the DVT release, they changed one of the pins in the Interconnect port, requiring the need for different adapters.

Don Vollum reported that the grey adapter should be functionally and electrically identical to a black production adapter. However, this has yet to be verified.

Grant Hutchinson theorizes that the prototype and test versions of the dongle were manufactured in Taiwan, whereas the consumer production dongles were manufactured in China. This might explain the different text stamped into the adapters.

See also: I have a Newton device marked as an “EVT” or “DVT”. What is it?

l. Where can I find information about Newton prototypes?

Grant Hutchinson has posted images of several Newton prototypes from his collection on Flickr, including the “Bunwarmer”, “Batmobile”, “Cadillac”, and “Q”.

Likewise, Apple collector Jim Abeles has images of his clear case “Cadillac”, Schlumberger Watson, clear case MessagePad 110, and Newton Keyboard prototype, among others. See his full list of albums for more devices.

Sonny Hung also has a large set of albums on Flickr dedicated to Newton concepts, mockups, prototypes, and peripherals.

In 2002, Russ Uzes purchased a Newton “Cadillac” on eBay and kindly documented the device.

MSNUG’s Newton Gallery has images and information on several prototypes and third-party devices.

Axel Muhr’s Newton Secrets Secret Newtons features larger images and details on oddball designs and prototypes.

2. Where can I buy Newton hardware 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 2 MB                     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 sound capabilities of the Newton?

The Original MessagePad, MessagePad 100, MessagePad 110, MessagePad 120, and MessagePad 130 support 8-bit mono audio, up to a 22,050 Hz sample rate. These devices have a small speaker located near the bottom of the device.

The MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300 support 16-bit mono audio and have a slightly larger integral speaker.

The MessagePad 2000 and MessagePad 2100 also have a built-in microphone to support audio recording.

The eMate 300 has a standard 3.5 mm jack for audio output, primarily used for headphones.

All three of these devices can support audio line in and audio line out by using an adapter that plugs into Interconnect port.

See also: Are there any accessories that use the Interconnect port?

There are several software packages available to allow you to play and record audio.

See also: What software do I need to play audio? and What software can be used to record audio?

5. Where can I find user manuals and documentation?

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. How can I extend or enhance my Newton device?

1. Storage Cards & Memory

a. What type of storage cards can I use?

The Newton supports SRAM (Static RAM) and Linear Flash RAM storage cards by default.

SRAM cards need an internal backup battery to retain their data when not inserted in a device. Linear Flash RAM cards do not require batteries.

ATA-based storage cards can be used with the ATA Support package developed by Paul Guyot. ATA Support consists of a driver and transactional database specifically for handling these types of storage cards.

See also: Can I use a PCMCIA storage card adapter in my Newton?

b. Which storage cards are compatible with my Newton?

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

Storage Card Compatibility

Model All 1.x models All 2.0 models MessagePad 2x00 eMate 300
SRAM Yes Yes Yes Yes
AMD series D or AD linear Cards
(5v/5v)
No Yes Yes Yes
Intel Series II
(5v/12v)
Yes Yes Yes Read only
Intel Series II+
(5v/5v — also work with 3v/3v)
Unknown Yes Yes Yes
Intel Value Series 100
(5v/5v)
No No Yes Yes
Intel Value Series 200
(5v/5v)
No No No No

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 MessagePad 100. Harri Hohteri succeeded in using such a card in his MessagePad 2100, MessagePad 130, and MessagePad 100.

It is believed that Series II+ only work in 2.x models. However, once again Harri Hohteri reported that his 40 MB card works in a MessagePad 100.

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 suppliers of the chips used in these cards. Therefore Intel cards are sold under different brand names. You can identify them by their model numbers:

The ‘nn’ portion of the model number is the memory capacity (MB) of the card.

Additional information can be found on Carsten Lemmen’s Memory Cards page. Also available in German.

c. Can I use a PCMCIA storage card adapter in my Newton?

ATA-based storage such as the Iomega Clik!, IBM Microdrive, and CompactFlash can be used with the appropriate PCMCIA adapter and Paul Guyot’s ATA Support package.

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

See also: What type of storage cards can I use?
d. 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 equivalent of an MessagePad 2100.

Related information:

2. Networking & Connectivity

a. Which modems can I use?

Any external modem should work properly, using a standard DIN-8 serial cable to connect to the Newton device.

Until 2003, Len Lutz maintained the Newton Modem List, a voluminous database of PCMCIA modems that people had used with their Newton devices.

According to Victor Rehorst, most PCMCIA modems should work as long as they are not labelled as a “software modem” or “Winmodem”.

Note that “combo” cards (PCMCIA cards that combine a modem with some other sort of networking protocol, such as ethernet) generally require a specific driver to operate. However, in many cases the modem will work with a Newton device. If a message appears stating “A communications card has been inserted” when you insert a combo card, the modem component of the card has been recognized and just might work.

At one point, DNUG maintained a list of various modem drivers and scripts.

To create your own modem script, you can use Apple’s Newton Toolkit sample code.

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.

See also: How can I connect my Newton to a mobile phone?

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.

See also: How can I connect to the Newton using ethernet?

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

d. Can I use a wireless card in my Newton?

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 WaveLAN 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:

e. What cable do I need to connect to another 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.

MessagePad 1x0 devices and the eMate 300 have a standard Mini DIN-8 port compatible with RS-232 and LocalTalk connections. You can use either a Mini DIN-8 to Mini DIN-8 serial cable to connect to an classic Macintosh, a Mini DIN-8 to DB-25 cable to connect to a DB-25 serial port on a Windows computer or a Mini DIN-8 to USB via an USB/Serial adapter to newer machines. You cannot use IrDA with Apple software.

See also: Can I use IrDA to transfer information between my Newton and another computer?

The MessagePad 2000, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300 have an Interconnect port. Using an adapter and the cable supplied with other Newton devices, you can add a standard DIN-8 serial port which is compatible with RS-232, RS-422, GeoPort, and LocalTalk.

See also: How can I transfer data between my Newton and another computer?

f. How can I connect my Newton to a mobile phone?

Three solutions are available:

See also: Which mobile phones can I use?

3. Which keyboards can I use?

The eMate 300 has a built-in keyboard.

Apple made a optional keyboard which can be plugged into the 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.

Newtkey allows a Newton keyboard to be used with Newton OS 1.x devices.

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

Various connection applications allow you to use your computer keyboard to enter data into a Newton device.

See also: How can I transfer data between my Newton and another computer?

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. These upgrades are very hard to find nowadays.

However, if you’re feeling handy with a soldering iron, there are several ways to speed things up yourself.

Lewin A.R.W. Edwards’ Accelerating the Newton MessagePad 120 describes how to replace the clock oscillator module (oscmod) to gain a few extra megahertz.

Likewise, Stephanie “Maks” Maksylewich provides plenty of information in her MP2x00 Overclock and eMate Overclock projects.

Ed Kummel also documents the process to Speed up your MP2000!

5. Can I change the ROM of the Newton?

Theoretically, the ROM of MessagePad 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 Original MessagePad and MessagePad 110 are soldered to the motherboard.

Interestingly, the ROM in an OS 2.1 device (MessagePad 2000/2100/eMate) is installed on a card, with room for four more ROM chips.

6. Which batteries can I use?

You can use alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries (NiCd, NiMH, etc.) or the Apple battery pack. The MessagePad 120 and MessagePad 130 can recharge them (with a little piece of paper to press the button under the batteries).

Please note that recharging NiMH batteries in a MessagePad 1x0 device can damage the Newton.

See also: NewtonTalk: MP130 Batteries

Only an original Apple battery pack can be recharged inside the MessagePad 2000 or MessagePad 2100. All other rechargeable batteries require a separate battery charger.

However, according to Nick Müller, it is possible to modify an Apple battery pack to use third-party NiHM rechargeable batteries.

7. Which power adapters 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.

See also: I have a Newton device marked as an “EVT” or “DVT”. What is it?

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 reported:

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 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 MessagePad 2000. 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 colour 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 reported:

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. Which printers can I use?

There are several ways to connect to a printer using a Newton device:

a. Using a serial connection

You can print directly to a printer from a Newton device over a serial, AppleTalk, or IrDA connection, using the appropriate driver.

Newton OS contains some printer drivers in ROM. A list of compatible printers appears when you select “Choose Other Printer” in the print dialog.

If you have a Newton OS 2.x device, the Apple support article Newton OS 2.x: Supported Printers is a good place to start.

There are also additional drivers available for Newton OS 2.1 devices. These drivers add support for the StyleWriter 4500, StyleWriter 6500, and several HP printers with IrDA compatibility including the HP DeskJet 340, HP LaserJet 5MP, HP LaserJet 6MP.

b. Using a serial to parallel Newton Print Pack adapter

Newton Print Pack includes a serial to parallel adapter which is used to connect to a parallel printer. The list of printers can be found in the Newton Print Pack documentation.

Newton Print Pack 1.0 consists of a special “smart” cable that contains both a serial to parallel adapter and embedded sofware to automatically install software and printer drivers on a Newton device.

Newton Print Pack 2.0 consists of a modified serial to parallel cable, but uses standard installer softwware to install the required drivers on a Newton device. Newton Print Pack 2.0 is compatible with a much larger range of printers than Newton Print Pack 1.0.

Note that without the modified cable, the Newton Print Pack 2.0 drivers are useless. Manufactured by GDT Softworks, the serial to parallel adapter in the cable includes a processor that works with the software drivers to communicate with various printers. A regular serial to parallel adapter cable will not work.

It has been reported that other GDT Softworks cables, such as the PowerPrint adapter, also work with the Newton and certain printers. Your mileage may vary.

c. Using a Windows computer

Another option is Newton PC-Print by Alexander Kunzer. This software enables printing from a Newton device over a serial cable to a Windows computer connected to a printer.

9. Can I use digital cameras with my Newton?

In conjunction with the Tibet software, certain digital cameras can be used when connected via serial cable to a MessagePad 2000 or MessagePad 2100.

Tibet no longer supported, but the developer of the software, Russell Tait, kindly provided the following registration codes.

Compatible digital cameras:

10 Neal Sofge reported: “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. Are there any accessories that use the Interconnect port?

Apple only produced two accessories for the Interconnect port, the Newton Serial Adapter (colloquially referred to as the “dongle”) and a serial cable with an Interconnect plug on one end and a standard DB-9 connector on the other.

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

Dave Miller created and iterated his own line level audio adapter for the MessagePad 2000 and MessagePad 2100. He also put together step-by-step instructions for building your own.


C. Hardware issues

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 also: Common problems

4. Why does my Newton wake up at 3:00 AM?

The Newton OS is designed to wake up your device in order to move unfinished to do items over from the previous day and to perform other system housekeeping.

5. How long will the backlight last?

According to Alan Drogin:

“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 we can’t give a definitive answer to is the actual half life. We’ve seen plenty of posts claiming that the half life of the MessagePad 130 backlighting is 1,600-1,700 hours, but no actual proof of source. We’ve also seen claims about the MessagePad 2000/2100 backlighting at 2,000 and even 5,000 hours. John Schettino reported some backlight manufacturers claiming 15,000-20,000 hour half lives.

See also: Apple Newton Devices: Backlight Life

6. Common 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: What are the different ways to reset a Newton?

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.

See also: Specification differences between models

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 MessagePad 2000/2100 is caved in. What do I do?

The serial port is poorly soldered onto the motherboard and eventually it can wear out and cave in. If you are good at soldering, you might try opening the device and resoldering the contacts. Be warned, it’s a difficult procedure and you may want to find someone more experienced to perform the repair.

See also: What should I do if I have a hardware problem with my Newton?

The chief culprit here is the Newton Serial Adapter or “dongle”. The adapter 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 minimize this issue, you can try filing down the bumps on the top of the adapter.

g. My MessagePad 2000/2100 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.

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8. Why does my eMate make an odd sound when I open the lid?

There is a known design flaw in the lid hinges of the eMate 300. The tension springs which help hold the screen in place can break, causing a squeaking or scraping sound when the lid is opened or closed. The broken spring can also cause damage to the flat ribbon cable that connects the screen to the main circuit 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.

See also: Why does the screen on my eMate look weird?

9. Why does the screen on my eMate look weird?

If a tension spring in one of the eMate lid hinges breaks, not only will the lid no longer stay in place when opened, it also damage to the flat ribbon cable connecting the screen to the main circuit board. This can result in portions of the display not working or the screen being completely disabled. 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.

See also: Why does my eMate make an odd sound when I open the lid?

10. Why doesn’t a Newton stylus work on an iPad?

Newton devices use a resistive touchscreen, which requires mechanical pressure from a physical object such as a stylus or finger to complete a circuit. Most modern touchscreens, such as those found on an iPhone or an iPad, are capacitive and require a conductive object to complete a circuit. Capacitive touchscreens can take advantage of the fact that humans are naturally conductive.

A plastic tipped Newton stylus is not conductive and therefore does not complete a circuit. However, you can use an Apple Pencil as a stylus on a Newton device.