Anyone want to join me in a bounty for a Li-ion conversion for the Microsoft Surface Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers?
I love this thing, it lets me use Surface Pro 1 through 3 keyboards with any device (well, any device with Bluetooth). Was designed to let you use your Surface Cover while your Surface was plugged into the TV, but it has found a new cult use in the IoT/HTPC communities.
Alongside the (also discontinued, still-for-sale) Microsoft Wedge keyboard, I think the Pro 3 keyboard is the best one ever made. The Wedge is a little too small for all-day/extended use, but is great for travel. The Pro 3 Type Cover keyboard is perfect for around-the-office use.
Back in the day, I begged Apple (brass) to offer a portable keyboard based on the old AlBook PowerBook G4-era keyboard. It was the first keyboard with zero spacing between keys, which is perfect for my hands. Microsoft finally did that, on Apple’s behalf.
Microsoft recently discontinued the adapter for good. It doesn’t work with the new Type Cover 4, mostly because of its addition of a fingerprint scanner. I don’t expect Microsoft to bring it back, but it will still work with Type Cover 1 through 3 for life.
Emphasis on that last part. The only downside to this accessory, is the battery. It’s a sealed NiMH (!) battery that has already lost half its lifespan sitting in the factory. Microsoft won’t even replace them anymore, even if you buy one under warranty still. Microsoft has purged their warranty-replacement stockpile, I assume because the batteries are destroying themselves already.
If we can find a compatible Li-ion battery – one that fits and charges in the chassis, we can solve this once and for all!
And seriously, what is with quirky-yet-essential Microsoft hardware always using the oddest batteries on the face of the earth?
I’m actually fairly serious about this one. The Surface Cover Bluetooth adapter is around $29. It’s right on the button of being cost-effective to just buy multiples, and cycle through them… a hassle, particularly with Bluetooth pairings, but an option.
This will become more important over time, particularly as the NiMH batteries fully fail. At the current rate of decay, that’s only a year or two off.
What I’d like to do, is come up with an Li-ion battery that can be inserted into the unit, and charge as if it was a NiMH battery from the factory. We’d need something with matching voltage, and amperage, and the ability to stop charging using the NiMH charging circuit in the adapter.
Do I expect help from Microsoft on this one? No, not really. But this is a new Microsoft… so I would love some unofficial input too.