Photos and information on how I converted a Sony camcorder battery and charger to work on the Sega Nomad.
So now my nomad had a better quality LCD screen installed, see my screen upgrade project, it was time to tackle the battery problem.
Even with the new screen the Nomad power requirements are almost unchanged, and the concept of having a portable console restricted to a wall cable is not good.
Nomad Battery Pack
Sega originally provided a battery pack with the Nomad that held 6x AA batteries. The type of battery used would affect the operation time greatly. Back in 1995/96 a pack of brand new Energizer batteries would probably get you around 3+ hours of game play, where as the rechargeable batteries of the day would get considerably less and may even cause the Nomad to reset as the voltage drops off.
Sega also released a rechargeable battery pack (MK-6102). This was listed (in the manual) to provide 3 hours play from its 1600mAH cell, and would need about 12 hours to recharge if completely empty. The manual also stated a charge cycle life of about 200 times.
Modern batteries are a lot better, both standard and rechargeable types, but there’s an even better method of extending the battery life considerably.
The answer it to use a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack from a camcorder. All that’s needed is the correct Voltage level of 7.4v. The battery that I recommend is a Sony NP-F550. Its widely available from eBay, Amazon and DX.com and is very cheap even when purchased with a charger.
I found mine for £12. They seem to be available in 2500 mAH and 2900 mAH, both are fine but I went for the larger one.
After it arrived I charged it up and checked it was powering the Nomad correctly. I just wired the battery to the terminals on the back of the console. As you can see it worked perfectly.
The first thing to do is make a larger battery fit in the Sega AA battery pack. The new battery is quite a but thicker than the AA holder can take. The only answer to this is to remove the Li-ion battery plastic case, and remove all excess plastic parts in the AA holder and lid. I also removed all the AA contact springs except the ones that go to the Nomad connection points.
It goes without saying you need to be very careful when taking a battery pack apart. The power contacts needed desoldering to remove. When the battery casing was removed I had plenty of room inside.
Next I wired up the contacts of the Li-ion battery PCB to the AA terminals. To be able to recharge the battery, I installed a power connector socket. which also links to the battery terminals.
Finally I coated all the solder points with hot glue, and glued the battery cells to the case.
the charger was very easy to modify. All I did was open the case, and wire a cable to the PCB in place of the contact pins.
One of my starting aims was to keep my Nomad system looking original, I think I’ve succeeded. At first I wasn’t sure about converting the battery pack from AA to Li-ion but at least I could use the new pack on both of my Nomad’s this way.
The battery life seems to be very good, somewhere in the 6 hour range. Well worth the time doing this modification even for a stock Nomad.
Any question or comment please leave them below.
Thanks for reading