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LIP-4WM Battery Rebuild.

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After Sphig's success with finding a method of replacing worn out batteries for the MZ-N10, MZ-E10 and MZ-1, I thought I'd look into a solution for those of us who have units that run on the almost impossible to replace LIP-4WM using the same inexpensive 3.7 volt battery sourced from eBay.  The link for the battery is at the bottom of this post.

Please only attempt this if you are confident in what you are doing and be sure not to short circuit either the old or new battery as this can be dangerous.  I cannot be held responsible for damage to either you or your valuable MD equipment.

For this you will need to sacrifice your old dead LIP-4WM as we will be using parts from it.

1.  Carefully remove the sticker from the old battery.

2.  Once the sticker is removed you will notice that the opposite face of the battery from the contacts is black and shiny.  This is another sticker and you should also carefully remove this.  It is very sticky so you may need to use the edge of a blade to lift the edge of it.

3.  After removing the second sticker, you should see the silver metal casing of the battery itself.  The battery is glued to the plastic casing and will need to be very carefully revoved without damaging the plastic back battery housing.  I did this by gently flexing the end of the plastic casing furthest from the contacts away from the battery slightly and then sliding the end of a wide plastic cable tie in between the battery and casing to separate them.

4.  Using a pair of scissors you should now be able to cut through the two metal tabs connecting the battery to the PCB with the battery contacts.  Cut these as close to the battery as possible to leave as much of the metal as you can attacked to the circuit board in the platic casing.

5.  You should now have the plastic back battery housing with just the contact PCB and its small plastic cover.  Your new battery can now be placed in the plastic housing and secured using piece of very thin double sided tape or glue.

6.  The wires from your new battery should now be soldered onto the tabs that the old battery was attached to, making sure that you get the polarity correct.  You can see the correct way to connect the wires in the photos below (the negative connection is next to the diagonal cut off corner of the casing).

7.  I then used a piece of regular sticky tape to go over the area where the wires and connections are just to keep it slightly more secure and less prone to accidental short circuiting of the new battery.  I used thin sticky tape rather than electrical tape because there is very little room in the battery compartments of these MiniDisc units and electrical tape is a little too thick and causes fitting problems.

8.  Finally I added a piece of sticky tape to the underside of the end of the battery housing that doesn't have the contacts and folded the end of it over to make a battery removal tab as shown in the photos, as the newly fitted battery is a very cosy fit (certainly in the NH1 I tested it with), and this gives you something to hold on to when removing the battery from the unit.

 

You should now be good to go.  As you can see from my pictures, my MZ-NH1 is now happily running on its new battery and I see no reason why this  shouldn't be a success in any other MD unit that uses the LIP-4WM although I don't have anything other than the NH1 to test this for myself.

The NH1 operates exactly as it should and charges fine from its charging cradle.

I hope this helps any of you who, like me, are having problems with batteries that have seen better days.  Good luck:)

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/181291308343?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

 

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Great job Jimma!

Quick question: did you use shiny tape (I suspect so) or "Magic Tape" (the default over here)? The two have quite different qualities. And the width of the tape may make a difference (as opposed to the thickness). I am going to try packing tape which looks about the same as yours... will it be too thick, do you think? It has the advantage of being wide enough that you don't have to use two pieces, whereas the only size of tape like what I think you used (I used to call it Sellotape from the brand when I lived there), and that I have, is quite narrow and I am wondering whether that would be a nuisance.

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I did use Sellotape but it was wide enough to only have to use one piece.  I suspect packing tape would be ok as it is quite thin and very flexible so should follow the contours of the casing exactly.  You will find that the new battery inside the plastic casing from the original is quite a tight fit inside the MD unit so you don't want any tape you use to take it from a cosy fit to not fitting at all.

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Very nice indeed Jimma!

I have ordered two of the small Lipo batteries to perform this on a couple of my unusable cells.

 

Great work!

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Great fix Jimma - well documented - that's the RH1 and NH1 sorted for another few years! - nice to see it done without having to take the machine apart too.

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Dear Jimma,

It is with a heavy heart that I post this. Either I am a complete klutz or something is wrong. I bought 4 of these (what the heck!?) and proceeded to take apart one obviously dead LIP-4WM. No pictures, I am way too embarrassed to show you my handiwork.

Couple of comments:

1. The picture you showed has batteries with 350mAh, I received 280mAh - I don't think this is a big deal but others might like to make a stink depending on how it is advertised

2. I used magic tape after all - turns out it's thinner.

3. The problem appears to be that although the terminals are clearly connected (and I tested the connected terminals for +3.8 volts or so), there is no voltage at the exterior contacts which will touch the contacts in the MD. I have no idea what happened, whether I blew up the little circuit board or what... but it doesn't work.

Ideas would be much appreciated, but I think this one is past repair. Perhaps your kind advice will prevent someone else from wrecking the project for themself. At the moment I am not sure if I have any more nearly-dead batteries, so I am holding off repeating the experience until I can get a glimmer of WHY this has happened.

Could it be that what goes wrong with these batteries is actually the circuit board?

Happy New Year

Stephen

PS update: I received 3x 280, 1x 350, grrrrrrr

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Stephen,

It may be that the LIP-4WM protection circuit may be a bit confused. I've had protected LiOn cells do this when they think there has been a short circuit or the output

voltage gets to low. Just charging the cell gets it back operating again. 

I also bought a couple of those 350mah cells from the Ebay seller Jimma referenced and both of them were 350mah. Maybe I got lucky.

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I'm actually now wondering if there really is a need for TWO protection circuits back to back. Looks like the one attached to the contacts in the case is doing the same (it sorta looks the same anyway) as the one already attached to the (new) battery.

I heard from the vendor he is sending me 3 more 350mAh batteries. Yay eBay!

Stephen

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I'm pretty sure there is no need for both protection circuits but I see no reason to suspect that having two lots of protection will have much of an effect on battery performance.  I left both of them in situ as the one on the new battery would be a pain to remove and the other is pretty well integrated with the output terminals of the old battery which we need to use.  I also thought that I was more likely to get an accurate battery level reading from the MiniDisc unit using the original protection circuit.

If you can somehow bypass the original protection circuit and wire the new battery straight to the output terminals I don't foresee you having any problems, although I can't say for sure as I have not tried.  This could be a solution if you think the original circuit is fried for some reason.

Good to hear that you're being sent the correct batteries Stephen.

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Thanks Jimma

I finally got it working; it really is a very tight fit and I was forced to forgo the "pull-it-out" tape tag (I'd already determined that i could use tweezers or whatever to prise it out of the NH1).

So far it only charges for 30 seconds but I need to run the battery down a few times and try again. But the red light came on :)

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Mine also only charged for a very short time to begin with.  It got up to the full charge time after I discharged it once or twice. 

As far as the tight fit goes, it is cozy to say the least but I don't think it's tight enough to cause any problems.  Interestingly the battery listing on eBay suggests that they can manufacture batteries to the buyers size specification so I may ask the seller about this.  It may be that it would be prohibitively costly to do and I reckon there is a good chance that they would not be able to thin the battery down to less than the current 4mm anyway.  They could possibly add some extra capacity by lengthening the battery though.

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Worked great thanks!, I also got a 392265 battery (510mAh) http://www.ebay.com/itm/171883243753?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT but that ended up being almost exactly the same size as the lip-4wm so can't fit within the old case, someone with mad skills might be able to make it work. also tried it inside the MZ-N10 but it doesn't have a notch the lip-3wmb has.

This might fit inside the lip-4wm case

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Nobody tried a direct connection to a new battery, since they already have a lithium based protection circuit built-in ?

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Also I had the chance to get my hands on a MZ-RH1 in perfect condition on ebay and the seller had 5 (!) LIP-4WM he put in the package.

3 appeared untouched and 2 had been used, but after 2 charges (1st attempts struggled to start charging on each one) all five of them can charge up to full capacity !

I think I'll sell two of them some time after the holidays

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9 hours ago, Fender-MD said:

Also I had the chance to get my hands on a MZ-RH1 in perfect condition on ebay and the seller had 5 (!) LIP-4WM he put in the package.

3 appeared untouched and 2 had been used, but after 2 charges (1st attempts struggled to start charging on each one) all five of them can charge up to full capacity !

I think I'll sell two of them some time after the holidays

Don't do that. You will regret deeply in 5 years. Keep them in your fridge. 

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Another confirmed plus for this method; and one suggested slight modification. There seems to be a couple of layers of the orange tape holding the replacement battery's regulation circuit in place, which increases the thickness of the whole assembly. It's possible to take the outermost piece of sticky orange tape off, and 'unroll' the circuit away from the battery itself, reducing the thickness for eventual easier insertion into the MD player. There's still one layer of orange tape remaining to protect the little circuit board.

I set the half-assembled new battery to charge in an external charger, which initially metered it at 57%, then rapidly got to the 90% mark and added around 107 mAh in 41 min before declaring it 100% full. Added the new battery assembly to an MD-NH1, and it signalled on the MD's display also as full. Then added the NH1 to the original charging station (with original Sony power supply); the charging light came on and MD displayed it as full with '00' min charging, and switched off as expected.

I'll discharge it fully in the player and see what happens... but it looks good even with both protection circuits in place.

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Would any of you guys take measurements and photos of the protection circuit? I'm thinking of fabricating a shell, and I think a cursory look at the circuit will let me know if the generic ones used for LiPos these days will be sufficient or if we still need the Sony ones for regulation and shutoff.

Also, PhilippeC, I'd be glad to buy one of those off of you so I can do it myself!

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FYI... I noticed a post by someone who created a 3D-printed shell for the new LiPo battery type, thus disposing of the need for the original LIP-4WM case with its extra thickness. The shell is printed on an Ultimaker, which is a fairly top-end machine, but some members may have access or could verify the print accuracy on a different unit (the .stl file can be downloaded from that page). It could also be useful to verify whether the new arrangement is a frictionless fit in Sony portables other than the RH1 which use the LIP-4WM, such as the NH1.

https://www.hallaminventions.com/projects/minidisc-obsession

The only slight drawback I can see is that the new battery is loose within its new shell, and would fall out unless supported when removed. So would need a case to carry around any spares.

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How did you get on, Rusty?

I printed a shell on a Prusa i3 MK3s+ in PLA, and although a bit rough and ready, it fits inside an MZ-NH1 quite well. A couple of areas needed a touch of sandpaper to stop them catching.

Will try soldering the contacts and attaching a LiPo battery in the next couple of days.

 

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OK so I made two ;-)

Was pretty straightforward from the instructions given on the original site. It's a very well-designed shell for the parts, and my earlier doubts about the battery being loose in the frame were unfounded as I didn't read properly: it is held in place with glue between its 'wings' and the frame.

A few minor comments:

  1. The areas on a new print that catch inside the MZ-NH1 casing are the '+' and '-' characters, which were printed raised a bit too high. Easily reduced with careful sandpapering.
  2. The new LiPo battery's original orange sellotape, that covers the small charge regulator PCB,  presents a raised hard edge to the MD battery slot as you slide it in. To fix this I carefully removed the orange stuff and replaced it with Scotch Magic tape, the edges of which were tucked below the height of the main battery and sealed with superglue. A better solution may be to embed the PCB in UV-setting epoxy, but this works well for now and the battery is protected inside the MD case.
  3. I charged the new assembly outside the MZ-NH1, just in case something had gone wrong with the circuitry, but it proceeded fine. Currently got two MD units soak-testing with continuous play, but 2 SP MDs into the test there is still full charge indicated on the displays.

Now all that's needed is a case to hold a few of these...

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