GETTING ALL CHARGED UP

People are carrying so many battery-powered wireless gizmos these days they can probably be detected from space. But when the battery runs down, no flying saucer is going to come down with a recharge.PowerAid Mobile

There are two problems with recharging things on Earth. One is finding a place to plug in, but the bigger problem is finding a connector that fits the gadget. We recently tried out the new PowerAid Mobile from US Modular, a backup battery that comes with five adapters that fit cell phones, iPods, Treo PDAs and many other devices designed to take their charge from a computer’s USB port or a wall outlet. None of the adapters fit our Sony-Ericsson cell phone, but that wasn’t crucial since we can never remember to turn it on.

The PowerAid Mobile weighs about 10 ounces and fits in a shirt pocket. It can recharge your cell phone or PDA in an hour. It holds a charge for two to three hours of heavy use. (Five indicator lights tell you how much charge is left.) It comes with a transformer that allows recharging from a standard electrical outlet and a USB cable for charging it from a computer’s USB port. If you recharge from a computer port, it takes about six hours.

Having the PowerAid in your pocket is one solution to a dead gizmo, but what if your devices aren’t compatible with it?

Targus.com¬†will sell you just the tip you need to plug into a portable device, but it doesn’t have tips for every phone. (Once again, it didn’t have one for our phone.) The tips run around $10 each and a charger to fit them sells for $20. But that does not include a backup battery you can carry with you, like the package from US Modular. The PowerAid Mobile lists for $50 at their own site:¬†USModular.com, and it was the same price atTigerDirect.com.

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