If you’ve owned a PalmPilot for more than a month or so, you’ve already discovered one of its most delicious features: you simply don’t have to worry about power. A pair of AAA batteries lasts many people six weeks or more, and the Palm V’s permanent lithium ion battery is charging whenever the palmtop is in its HotSync cradle. There is a quick, easy way to check your current batteries’ remaining juice—just tap the Applications button to view a "fuel gauge” of remaining power—but most people don’t bother. On the PalmPilot, batteries last so long that the feeling of “battery deadline panic,” well known to laptop computer users, simply doesn’t exist.
When you do need to change your batteries, look at the back of the machine. You’ll see the battery-compartment panel just below the midline (on all models except the Palm V, of course). Press the latch with your thumb, remove the panel, and change the batteries.
How much time do you have? 3Com officially encourages you to put in new batteries within five minutes of removing the old ones. But informal tests show you’ve actually got longer than that; the built-in capacitor (an electronic component that stores a charge for a long time) actually maintains enough juice to preserve your data—even with no batteries installed—for about 11 minutes. Still, if you’re paranoid, always do a HotSync (see Chapter 6), thus backing up your PalmPilot’s information, before changing the batteries.
Other than the Palm V’s cradle, there’s no such thing as an AC power adapter for the PalmPilot. You may, however, have good luck with rechargeable batteries. On one hand, a charge doesn’t last nearly as long in the PalmPilot as a pair of disposable alkaline batteries; on the other hand, you don’t have to buy new ones until you’ve recharged yours, say, 500 times. See Chapter 17, for battery-conservation tips and a discussion of specific battery brands.