BlackBerry PlayBook Battery Charger - dummies

BlackBerry PlayBook Battery Charger

By Corey Sandler

Your BlackBerry PlayBook battery is rechargeable. Research in Motion (RIM) is kind enough to include a charger in the nifty box that comes with the tablet.

The PlayBook charger uses the same Micro-USB connector as the charger for BlackBerry smartphones, but the one for the tablet puts out more amperage; think of amperage as the force of water coming out the garden hose. The tablet charger, in fact, puts out 1.8A or 1800mA, while a regular BlackBerry smartphone charger pumps out less than half the amperage, 700mA.

Here’s what this means:

  • Don’t use a BlackBerry smartphone charger to top off the battery in your BlackBerry PlayBook; it doesn’t have the horsepower.

  • You can use the BlackBerry PlayBook charger to repower your BlackBerry smartphone; it should recharge the battery much faster than the original device.

You can charge your BlackBerry PlayBook with the power on or off; it will top off faster if you’re not using the device while the electrons fill up the battery.

When the tablet was first released to the public it had a rather odd recharging scheme: if you plugged in the charger while the BlackBerry PlayBook was off, it just sat there like a piece of plastic and glass and did absolutely nothing at all. You had to turn it on to allow new juice to flow.

That restriction went away a few months into the life of the PlayBook with one of the updates to the operating system. Now, if you attach the charger to a tablet that’s off, the system figures out what’s going on and turn itself on to accept the charge.

Lithium-ion batteries are meant to be kept within a specific range of charge at all times. The minimum charge level is why the PlayBook may work for a short period of time with what the system declares to be a 0 percent charge; there’s obviously still some juice in the can, but when the microprocessor gets worried about the actual level, it will shut down the system.

Recharging a battery should take between two and three hours. The charger can run on 110 volts, which is what we get from the wall socket in the United States, Canada, and many other places around the world. It will also accept 240 volts.

You don’t need a converter to use it in places around the world that use the higher voltage but you will need to obtain an adapter plug that sits between the prongs of the charger and a European-style wall outlet.

If you connect your BlackBerry PlayBook to a personal or laptop computer using the USB cable, it will provide a small amount of power to the battery — enough in most cases to keep it from discharging — but not enough to repower a depleted battery.