Index | Introduction | Hardware | Newton OS | Community | Software | Books | Development

PART II: Newton Hardware

A) The Newton MessagePad family

1) What are the various Newton MessagePad models?

a) The full list

You can view most of them all at

b) Localized models

The OMP 1.1, MP100, MP120 & MP130 were available in German. The MP100, MP110 and the MP120/1.3 were available in French. The MP120/2.0-D ROM is in fact the same than the one in the MP130-D (except for the Gestalt answer about the kind of machine).

(From Carsten Lemmen) The OMP was available as a localized German model with 1.1 ROMs and factory preinstalled update to 1.11. This OMP could be upgraded (ROM replacement) to OS 1.3 (MP100 equivalent) through an Apple upgrade program in 1994.
AFAIK there was also a Japanese Version of Newton OS, at least the Sharp Expert Pad (OMP clone) was available with Japanese localisation.

c) The differences

Physically, 1xx models are smaller than 2k models, and they can are equipped with only one PCMCIA slot. MP 130s, MP2ks and eMate 300 are equipped with a backlight. The eMate 300 is equipped with a keyboard, and it looks like the iBook, but smaller.

d) Other differences concern the OS and the size of the memory

From: Holger Schmidt,, from Pascal B. Kreil site, and MSNUG Newton Gallery

Type:RAMROMCPUNOSPeri.Fax ScreenSoundLanguagesCode nameRelease Date
OMP640 KB4 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.0 (1.05)
one PC card
one Serial
send only336x240
Speaker English
ExpertPad PI-7000
640 KB4 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.0-1.05, or 1.10-1.11one PC card
one Serial
send only320x248Speaker ??8/93
ExpertPad PI-7100
640 KB4 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.3one PC card
one Serial
send only320x248Speaker ??4/94
MP100640 KB4 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.3one PC card
one Serial
send only336x240Speaker German
1 MB5 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.3?one PC card
one Serial
IR, modem
send only320x240??? ??1/95
Digital Ocean
2 MB4 MB
ARM 610 20 MHz1.3?one PC card
one Serial
IR, modem
send only320x240Speaker ??1/95
Digital Ocean
2 MB4 MB
ARM 610 20 MHz2.0?one PC card
one Serial
IR, modem
send only320x240??? ??1/96
MP1101 MB4 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.3one PC card
one Serial
send only320x240Speaker English
MP120a1 MB8 MBARM 610 20 MHz1.3one PC card
one Serial
send only320x240Speaker English
Gelato10/94 (Germany)
1/95 (US)
SuperTech 2000
2 MB4 MB
ARM 610 20 MHz1.3?
one PC card
one Serial
IR & Radio (2x)
send and receive320x240Speaker ??12/94
MP120b2 MB8 MB
ARM 610 20 MHz1.3
one PC card
one Serial
send and receive320x240Speaker English
French (1.3)
MP1302.5 MB8 MB
ARM 610 20 MHz2.0one PC card
one Serial
send and receive320x240
Speaker English
eMate 3003 MB8 MBARM 710 25 MHz2.1one PC card
one Serial
send and receive480x320
16 grays
headphone jack
MP20005 MB*8 MBStrongARM 161.9 MHz2.1two PC card
one Serial
send and receive480x320
16 grays
Speaker* and
MP21008 MB*8 MBStrongARM 161.9 MHz2.1two PC card
one Serial
send and receive480x320
16 grays
Speaker* and

*[Robert Sexton's Note] The MP2000/MP2100/eMate has a special connector, known as the interconnect port, which contains the line in, line out, and two serial ports. At the time of this writing, the interconnect port connector is not widely available. The eMate has an interconnect port, a headphone jack and a regular serial/LocalTalk port.

The MP120 (1MB) memory consists of 639K of DRAM and 385K of FlashRAM.

The MP120 (2MB) memory consists of 687K of DRAM and 1361K of FlashRAM.

The MP130 memory consists of 1,199K of DRAM and 1,361K of FlashRAM.

The eMate memory consists of 2MB FlashRAM and 1MB DRAM.

The MP2000 memory consists of 1MB of DRAM, and 4mb of Flash RAM. The MP2100 memory (and upgraded MP2k) consists of 4MB of DRAM, and 4Mb of Flash RAM.

e) I have a Newton model H1000. What is this?

You have an original Newton MessagePad (OMP), the first model made, or you have an MP100, its immediate successor.

f) I heard a rumor that Apple is making a new Newton. Is this true?

That's very probably just a rumor based on the interest of Apple for Palm devices. BTW, Palm Desktop which is to be found on iBooks is compatible with NCU (the format is like Claris Organizer).

g) How can I distinguish a MP2000 from an upgraded MP2000?

The difference between both is simply the DRAM size. If Apple upgraded the MP2000, there should be a MP2100 sticker near the interconnect port and the serial number. Otherwise, you can simply go to the Memory Info (press the [i] button under Extras) which should tell System RAM installed something close to 4 MB (3984 KB) if you have an upgraded MP, or something close to 1 MB if you have a MP2000.

h) I have a Newton MP2x00/eMate 300 EVT/DVT or a "Newton NotePad". What is it?

EVT and DVT are two levels of prototype in the Newton program.

The initial prototypes were called "EVT" ("Engineering Verification Test"). After the EVT units were tested for a while, and various changes were made, the DVT ("Development Verification Test") units were created. DVT units were supposed to be closer to the final production devices.

Initial EVT prototypes were similar to the final MP2K, except instead of the StrongARM processor, they had the ARM710 processor (same as the eMate).

A second batch of EVT devices ("EVT 2" devices) with StrongARM processors were built.

A batch of DVT devices was built. Most of the units were configured as the original MP2000. There were a few 4mb DRAM devices built in the DVT run (they therefore are like MP2100s). Besides, some units have a special ROM Board with an additional 8 MB of Flash for Internal memory (bringing the total to 12 MB). There may have been units with Flash instead of ROM and with 16 MB of ROM instead of 8.

The Newton NotePad were probably DVT units of the original MessagePad. It's not known how they differed from the production OMPs.

i) I have a grey dongle for MP2x00. What's the difference with the black ones?

Brian Parker reported on Usenet:

I have a very weird gray Newton 2K serial adapter! It appears to be exactly the same as the normal black ones, except it is beige/gray and has "TAIWAN N 2" instead of China on the bottom. It has the same part number as the black ones.

Don Vollum answered:

IIRC, the gray adapters were for the DVT (second batch of prototype) 2000 units (codenamed "N2"). [Editor's note: cf the previous question]

The EVT units had black adapters, which looked like the production ones. Between the EVT 2 run and the DVT run, they changed one of the pins, hence the need for different adapters.

I believe that functionally, the gray adapter should be identical to a production unit.

j) Where can I find information about Newton prototypes?

There was several Newton prototypes. Some pictures can be found in Newton Gallery

Larger pictures with some text are available at Newton Secrets Secret Newtons:

Finally, Russ Uzes purchased a Newton Cadillac on eBay and put some pictures there:

2) Where can I find a Newton MessagePad and Newton accessories?

Additionally, you can buy parts directly from Sun Remarketing or Apple themselves. To buy parts to Apple, you need first to get the part numbers (available on Sun Remarketing Website).

[This is a direct quote from csnm. Unfortunately, I lost the original message. If anyone can remind me who was the author of this contribution, I'll add necessary credits]

Call the Apple Fulfillment Center at 1-888-273-3594. This is the department within Apple that someone was once transferred to in a previous message. There is no guarantee that you will experience the same level of success using it. Don't call Apple support at (800) SOS-APPL as you may waste many hours of your life in this endeavour.

Tell them you would like to order a replacement part and that you have all the info already (ie. part number, case number-if necessary). Since you didn't call Apple SOS to get a case number try to stay away from this subject. I was also prepared to lie and say that my Newton was still under warrenty. That part number for the Newton replacement Flip Top is #922-3306. Cost? Around $10 USD [Myron reported the price is now 43 USD as of June, 21st, 2001]. Remember it, learn it, love it.

Have a credit card ready and provide them with shipping information and credit card number. Shipping cost you ask? Roughly $5 USD for ground shipping (US + Canada) taking 10-12 days or $20 (USD) for Fed Ex shipping (1-2 days I think).

[Additional comment by PG] If you chose FedEx and they failed to deliver the parts in time, they'll charge you the regular price, $5.50

Thanks the person on the phone for solving your door issues then quietly hang up as you have escaped the long waiting, frustrating conversations and general annoying details of talking to Apple about the Newton.

Wait. Door should arrive (hopefully) soon after allotted shipping time. Open arrived package, attach new door, chill and serve. Voila!

[Newer report by Christopher Dean (07/05/2001)]

Dongles are still available through Apple. It is listed in their "service" catalogue and are available from your Apple reseller.

The cost is $38 Australian (US$ 19).

[Parts numbers]

The prices are approximate and may have changed since we received the information. Please keep in mind that we don't know which parts are actually available. Most of the items are from Carsten Lemmen. However, I thought that 922-2940 was the eMate Display Housing, not the Display Bezel (which I thought to be 922-2939)

*: I'm not sure, which Newton this part belongs to

3) What is the difference between RAM, DRAM, FlashRAM, ROM, SRAM...?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is the designation for memory that can be both written to and read. ROM stands for Read Only Memory. ROM cannot be written to. It is used in the Newton for the Operating System. Hence you cannot delete it.

SRAM stands for Static RAM. An SRAM cell consists of a small semiconductor circuit (a flipflop), that holds one bit of information. As long as power is supplied to this flipflop, it will retain its current state (unless changed intentionally, of course), hence the back-up batteries in SRAM cards.

DRAM is for Dynamic RAM. A DRAM cell is constructed to be a tiny capacitor. It is much cheaper to manufacture, and can be much smaller. However, the capacitor will slowly lose it's charge, hence the need to refresh it regularly. Also, the needed time to (un)load the capacitor in order to store a bit of information is significantly longer than the time needed to (re)set a flipflop.

FlashRAM is based on EEPROM technology. It's a kind of memory that does not lose its contents when power is no longer supplied. It is used for storage on the Newton.

4) What are the Newton's sound capabilities?

To record sounds, remember that you'll need a microphone which can only be found on 2.1 devices.

Software which allows you to record and playback sounds:

5) Where can I find original manuals?

The manuals can be found on Apple's FTP, Rochester FTP and UNNA

6) Where can I find service manuals?

Service manuals are like ghosts on Apple's FTP. They appear and disappear periodically. However, the Newton service manuals are not really exciting.

sp stands for specifications, ba for basics. emate.up.pdf explains how to do the eMate upgrade. Manuals with no extension includes these plus a worthless section called troubleshooting, and exploded view (MP 1xx), which is worthless, too. eMate manual also includes a section about the diagnostic (to be used with a special card from Apple). Here is the URL: [dead link]

In case they disapear again, there is a mirror at: Apparently, not all manuals are there.

Victor Rehorst made a mirror which is available at:

B) Extending MessagePad hardware

1) What kind of memory cards can I use in my Newton?

a) What cards are suitable for the Newton?

You can use SRAM cards or FlashRAM cards. SRAM cards are more expensive than FlashRAM cards, and they need an internal battery.

There are several kinds of flash memory cards available today and in many different phisical formats. There are ATA flash cards, compact flash cards, SmartMedia flash cards, memory sticks and linear flash cards. There are Linear and ATA cards that can look the same externally, but only linear (or regular) cards can be used in Newton MessagePads natively, and not all. (see next question).

For ATA cards, you need to use a software developed by Paul Guyot. More details available at:

b) What sizes and models are suitable for my Newton?

There are several common kinds of linear cards, depending on the chip used in it.

ModelAll 1.x modelsAll 2.0 modelsMP2x00eMate 300
AMD series D or AD linear Cards
(also known as 5v/5v)
Intel Series II
YesYesYesRead only
Intel Series II+
(5v/5v - they even work with 3v/3v)
Intel Value Series 100
Intel Value Series 200

Please note that I compiled this table from various sources.

SRAM cards are said to only work if they are 4 MB or smaller.

It is believed that you need Newton OS 2.x to use flash cards bigger than 4 MB, however it appears to be wrong at least with the Intel Series II+ in a MP100: Harri Hohteri succeeded in using such a card in his MP2100, his MP130 and his MP100.

It is believed that Series II+ only work in 2.x models, but Harri Hohteri's 40 MB card works in his MP100.

The maximum size limit has been said to be 4 MB, 32 MB, or any other value. Apparently, there is no size limit but the linear cards limit (64 MB), however nobody reported to have been able (or unable) to use a 64 MB card. If you do, please contact us.

Intel and AMD are technologies and most of the time suppliers of the chips, not brands. Therefore Intel cards can be sold under different brand names (Apple for example ;-). You can identify them by their part number:

nn is the memory capacity in MB

The best source about Flash Cards is Carsten Lemmen's website. His page about memory cards is available in English and in German:

c) Can I increase internal DRAM memory?

You can increase the DRAM memory of the MP2000 by doing the MP2100 upgrade. Apple no longer do it. Some companies sell the kit or do the upgrade such as PixSolution & Digital Dave

You can expand both the DRAM and the Flash on eMate 300 to what the MP2100 has, by installing a NewerRAM or another memory module.

[From Otto Sohn:] To my knowledge there is not a single manufacturer who still produces/stocks these cards. The only chance seems to be getting one on eBay. There have been rumors, though, that one of the manufacturers (I forgot which one - Lifetime ? Peripheral Enhancements ?) was possibly considering producing another batch if someone would buy their production of these cards wholesale. It was rumored to be 25+ cards minimum. I don't know if that is true.

Related information on eMate upgrades is also available at:

Instructions for a do-it-yourself upgrade can be found on Abe Lee's site at: [dead link]

2) Communications: what kind of modem/ethernet card/cell phone can I use?

a) Which modem can I use? How do I make a modem script?

Any compatible external modem should work properly.

[From Helmut Fischer]: To connect MP and external modem, use a standard Apple Macintosh modem cable. Works on all MPs I have tried (120, 130, 2100).

For internal modems, there is a complete list maintained by Len Lutz at:

DNUG maintains a list of drivers and scripts: [dead link]

To make a modem script, you can use the sample code provided by Apple, Modem Setup (latest version is 2), which you can find on UNNA.

Combo cards don't work without a specific driver. Some have one, but most don't. In the best case you can use the modem part of the card. If the Newton says "A communications card has been inserted" when you insert a combo card, it means that the modem part has been recognized and might work.

b) Which cell phones can I use?

Here's a summary of cell phone compatibility for the Newton. Information on modems and drivers are further below. Thanks to all the individual contributors who provided info about their cell phones.

The newton can use several GPRS devices such as cellular phones and, at least, one PC Card.
c) Which network cards can I use?

(From Victor Rehorst,

For the 120/2.0 and 130, only one network card is known to work. (From NewtonTalk) (Donald T. Stewart) writes:

I purchased the Roamer (a PC card wireless networking device) and a DynaCOMM Network Access Point from e-bay a couple of months ago, but just today tried to get them working. I have no trouble using a 2.0 MP120 with them, and seem to ba able to access my home Apple Talk network wirelessly.

This card is seemingly incompatible with OS 2.1.

Newtons running OS 2.1 and NIE 2.0 can use ethernet cards from certain manufacturers, with the proper drivers. The following is an almost exhaustive list:

All of the above drivers are available from Newton Resources:

Note: This applies to TCP/IP. Cf question VB1e "How can I connect to the Newton using Ethernet with NCU/NPI/NBU?" for these software.

d) How can I connect to my cellular modem?
Three solutions are available:

3) What kind of keyboard can I use?

The eMate has a keyboard built-in. No other Newtons do.

Apple Computer made a special optional keyboard which can be plugged into the MP2k's serial port.

You can also use a keyboard with MP120 w/ NOS 2.0 & MP130.

There are hacks (software and/or hardware) which allows one to use this keyboard with earlier Newtons as well.

Information for using Palm Stowaway keyboards can be found at Grant Hutchinson's site.

4) Can I speed up the processor?

Yes, PixSolution or offers kits to speed up the MP2ks and MP130s. They can install it.

(From Harri Hohteri For DIY (stands for do-it-yourself) guys there's an article about accelerating MP120 by Lewin A.R.W. Edwards:

Stephanie Macks wrote two pages for homebrew MP2x00 ( and eMate ( speed up.

5) Can I change the ROM of the Newton?

Theoretically, the ROM of Newton MP 120 can be changed from Newton OS 1.3 to Newton OS 2.0. But you've got to find a ROM chip to do this. Other ROM chips on OMP and MP110 are soldered to the motherboard.

Interestingly, the ROM in an OS 2.1 device (MP2x00, eMate) is installed on a card, with room for four more ROM chips...

6) What kind of batteries can I use?

You can use alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries (NiCD, NiMH, ...) or the Apple battery pack. The MP120 & the MP130 can recharge them (with a little piece of paper to press the button under the batteries).

Please note that recharging NiMH batteries in MP1x0s can damage the Newton. Cf:

Only the Apple battery pack can be recharged inside the MP2k. For all other batteries you will need a separate battery charger, or to modify the battery holder as described by Nick Müller:

7) What kind of AC power adapters should I use?

The best advice is to use a Newton-branded adapter. Any Newton adapter will work with any Newton. There are two adapters, the original adapter (shipped with MP1x0s) and the 9W adapter (officially for MP2x00 and eMates). Both work in every Newton but the 9W adapter charges batteries faster than the original adapter (except in the MP100).

Apple published a tech note about that:

Too many Newtons have had their power supplies fried using third party adaptors. However, if you want to try at your own risk, please note that, on MP2k, adapters should have the following characteristics:

(-)==( *-(+), 5V DC, 400 mA [This one works, even to recharge batteries, in both a MP2x00 and a MP120]

This diagram means that the plus is inside and the minus is outside. I'm not an ASCII artist, but this looks a little bit like the diagram on both the original adapter and this adapter

Helmut Fischer reported: On my original 9W power adapter (MP2100) it says 7.5V 1.2A. It also works with the MP130.

With his MP120 & MP130, Jacek Jadwiszczak uses a 7V, 3W. Also: 6V works (but no charging batteries) and 7.5V works just fine, always at least 3W are needed. Please note that he hadn't give me the polarity yet, and in all cases, nusing a third party adapter could fry your Newton

Carl Schultz reports:

I have been using a Radio Shack AC adapter for almost a year now. It is the 3-12 volt adjustable model. The new model # is 273-1680 ($34.99 list) and is rated at 1000mA. Mine is the older 800mA model but otherwise is the same. The adapter came with several different plug ends, none of which was correct for my MP2000. I had to buy another one, which I don't have the part number for, but it has a yellow end if that helps (they are all color coded). This end may now be included with the adapter, since the Radio Shack description states that 4 of the included ends are "new". Make sure that you install the connector in the "tip positive" configuration. I've been using mine daily at work with no problems.

Michael Vacik reports that the RadioShack plug adapter to use is the Adaptaplug C:

You might want to check Johannes Wolf advice:

8) What kind of printers can I use?

Apple has a technote answering this question for NewtonOS 2.x:

There are basically three ways to print things from a Newton:

First, you can print with a serial connection (or an AppleTalk connection - LaserWriter-compatible printers only - or via IrDA if you have a MP2x00/eMate 300). For this, you need a driver. The NewtonOS has drivers in the ROM which appear in the list when you select "Choose Other Printer" from the print dialog. There are also drivers written by Apple which can be found on UNNA for the SW4500 & SW6500 and the HP IrDA printers (NewtonOS 2.1 devices only): [I know there's a non working one for Epson printers, but is there any other driver around?]

Apple also released a PrintPack which includes a serial/parallel adapter and which can print on several parallel printers (for the list, cf the documentation of the software which can be found on UNNA

PrintPack 1 was a cable with the drivers included in it. PrintPack 2 requires the drivers to be on the Newton.

Without the hardware, the PrintPack2 drivers are useless. The serial/parallel adapter includes a processor and was manufactured by GDT Softworks (which later became InfoWave) for Apple. This company also manufactured compatible cables, the pre-V.4.X cables. A regular serial/parallel adapter will certainly not work.

About the GDT Softworks cables, Jon Glass reports:

I do recall there being a discussion that the last version of the GDT Softworks version of the PowerPrint adapter wouldn't work with the Newton. I do know this, the one I have does work with my Epson 900 (Yea!!!).

I'm having trouble trying to decipher what's written on the back, so I'll include all the text:

"Advanced Components & Peripherals P/L
Made in Singapore
P/N: 590-0839 (whatever "P/N" stands for)
Batch: SPC292


Finally, you you can also print using a PC and Newton PC-Print by Alexander Kunzer:

The HP Deskjet 340CBi is battery powered and has a newton-compatible IrDA (NewtonOS 2.1 devices) adapter.

9) Can I use digital cameras with my Newton?

Yes you can. You need Tibet Software. This software is no longer supported, but Russell Tait (the editor of Tibet) gave away some registration codes you can use:

The following digital cameras will work with a MP2k and Tibet software provided that you have the proper serial cable to connect to the Newton (i.e., a serial cable to connect to macintoshes):

Neal Sofge reports:
I have an Agfa ePhoto 780c, which is apparently an updated version of the 780 in an iMac-compatible blue case. It works with Tibet, but only if you "distract" the camera by sliding the lens cover open and closed while trying to communicate with it. The timing on this is tricky, but you can get good at it after enough practice.

It seems some cameras are compatible with the Fujitsu chipset. (which the Olympus have inside)

The following cameras will not work:

Canon cameras were once reported as compatible, but Daniel Padilla said they don't. At least his PowerShot 350 doesn't. (

Daniel Padilla also reported that to work with Tibet Software, a camera needs to have the Sierra imaging firmware and a serial port. Look at for a list of supported cameras.

10) Can I use a Click/IBM Microdrive/ATA Flash/Compactflash adapter in my Newton?

Not yet. There is a package to support such hardware being in development. More info can be found here:

11) Are there any third-Party accessories that use the Interconnect port on the 2x00 or eMate?

[From Victor Rehorst:]

Enfour makes serial cables with an Interconnect port molded onto one end, eliminating the need for a serial dongle:

You can build your audio in/out dongle. Details are at

12) Can I use an Airport/WaveLan card in my Newton?

Yes. Just like an Ethernet card, you need an OS 2.1 Newton, NIE 2.0 installed, and the appropriate driver. The only available drivers so far is written by Hirochi Noguchi, and is available at:

The driver seems to work with most Lucent WaveLAN cards, and is designed to use a base station. Apple AirPort base stations with software version 1.3 or 2.0 are known to work.

More information is available at:

13) What cable do I need to connect to my desktop computer?

[Partly from Apple's Manual "About Cables"]

You can connect to your Newton using either a serial cable or an ethernet card (connection from a 2.1 device to MacOS computers only). Please note that using an Ethernet card means first installing the proper driver.

The MP1x0 devices and the eMate 300 have a Mini-DIN-8 RS232 and LocalTalk compatible port. You can use either a Mini-DIN-8 to Mini-DIN-8 serial cable to connect to an old-world Macintosh (beige), a Mini-DIN-8 to DB25 cable to connect to a DB25 Serial port on a Windows Box or a Mini-DIN-8 to USB via an USB/Serial adapter to a new-world Macintosh. You cannot use IrDA with Apple Software (see section IIIB3c).

The MP2x00 have an Interconnect port. Using a dongle, you can have a RS422/GeoPort/LocalTalk compatible port. You can connect the same cable as with the other Newtons.

See section IIIB3b for the various ways to transfer data to/from your desktop computer, software and hardware.

C) Hardware problems

1) Why does my MP130/MP2000/eMate whine when the backlight is on?

(From Robert Sexton's FAQ) Backlit Newtons use the same technology that is found in indiglo watches. The backlighting uses high voltages, and this requires a transformer which makes the noise. If you listen carefully to an indiglo watch, you will notice the same effect.

Apple published a tech note about it:

2) Why does my MP120/130 whine?

(From Robert Sexton's FAQ) If you are referring to the sound made by the backlighting (on MP130), see previous question. The humming when the MessagePad operates (More noticeable when the CPU is idle) is caused by a small power transformer. Its a bit annoying, but there is no workaround for it. Some MessagePads are reportedly noisier than others. This affects the MP110-MP130.

Apple published a tech note about it:

3) What should I do if I have a hardware problem with my Newton?

Apple can still repair Newton devices, for seven years after they announced the discontinuation of the Newton platform. In the US and in Canada, there is a flat fee. It will cost between 175-200 USD and 180 CAD respectively. In the UK, the cost depends on the repair. It will cost around 400 GBP for a motherboard change and around 200 GBP for a screen change (these fees are of course subject to change and were the announced fees in November, 2000).

Considering the fee they will ask, you can try the solutions to the frequent hardware problems (IIC6).

4) Why does my Newton wake up at 3 AM?

(From Robert Sexton's FAQ) The Newton wakes up to move your Todos over from yesterday, and do other housekeeping.

5) How long will the backlight last?

(From Robert Sexton's FAQ) (Alan Drogin) says, It has a "half life" conjectured to be in the low thousands of hours. Which translates to at least a couple of years, which also means it doesn't stop working, just gets dimmer, which ultimately means its within the normal limits of planned obsolescence accepted by the high tech world.

One thing I can't give a definitive answer to is the actual half life. I've seen plenty of posts claiming that the half life of the MP130 backlighting is 1600-1700, but no actual proof of source. I've seen claims about the MP2K backlighting at 2000 and even 5000. John Schettino saw some web sites from backlighting manufacturers claiming 15,000-20,000 hour half lives.

Apple published a tech note about it:

6) Common hardware problems

a) My Newton won't turn on. What should I do?

There are a number of things you can try. Try the following, in increasing order:

See also section IIIB2 of the FAQ
b) How can I protect my MessagePad screen?

Try one of these:

c) How do I turn on the Newton's backlight?

Backlights are included in MP2ks, MP130s and eMate 300. On MP2ks and MP130s, just depress the power switch until the backlight is activated. To switch it off, do the same. On eMate 300, just press the light button. The backlight can also be activitated through software (cf next question).

d) What softwares can be used to turn the backlight on?
e) Why does my MP100 turn itself off as soon as I turn it on?

Old MessagePads (in particular, MP100s) develop power-on problems due to gunk building up inside the power switch which raises its resistance. Sean Luke maintains a web page with workarounds and outright fixes at

f) The serial port on my MP2000/MP2100 is caved in. What do I do?

The serial port is poorly soldered onto the MP2K motherboard, and eventually it can wear out and cave in. If you are very very good at solder, you might try opening the machine and resoldering the contacts. But it's very difficult, and even proficient solderers won't attempt it. Most likely, your only recourse is to have Apple fix the problem: see section II.C.3

The chief culprit here is the Newton's "dongle", the small plug which connects to the Newton. The dongle has two bumps on the top and two bumps on the bottom, which help the dongle stay locked in the serial connector, but cause considerable friction and stress on entry and exit. To prevent problems in the future, you might try filing down the bumps on the top.

g) My MP2000/2100 pen input is all messed up. What can I do?
This is a problem known as the "Jaggies". The symptoms are: - invalid pen input, ie. you draw something and the Newton displays something totally different - random pen input appearing when you draw or write It can be caused by two things: - Dirt that has collected between the lip of the case and the touchscreen. This can be aggravated by resting your hand on the case while writing, causing the dirt to trigger an unwanted "tap" on the screen - A warped case that is exerting pressure on the touchscreen, thereby confusing the Newton's calibration - A damaged or oxidized touchscreen connector inside your Newton - A damaged touchscreen If you suspect that dirt is the culprit, you can attempt to clean between the case and the screen: 1) Remove any screen protectors that are installed. 2) Take a thin card (such as a paper business card, nothing thicker than a credit or bank card) and gently insert a corner of it in the gap between the case and the screen. Run the card along all of the edges of the screen - the goal here is to remove any dirt particles that may be wedged between the case and the screen. 3) Using a soft cloth, such as a lens or photographic cleaning cloth (**NOT** tissue paper!) wipe up the dirt that was dislodged. 4) It's probably a good idea to give the screen a nice cleaning now, before reinstalling your screen protector. Or, it's possible that a warped case is the culprit, in which case you can try to de-warp it: If none of this does the trick, then either the touchscreen connector needs cleaning, or the screen must be replaced. Replacing the screen or cleaning the touchscreen should only be attempted by an experienced person, as it required almost complete disassembly of the Newton.

7) How to recondition newton batteries?

You can find detailed instruction at Frank Gruendel's page:

8) My Emate screen lid sounds strange, the screen acts strangely.

There is a known design flaw in the emate screen hinge that can cause damage to the flat cable that connects the screen and the main board.
More information about this problem and a solution to prevent it can be found at Joel Sciama's web page:

Index | Introduction | Hardware | Newton OS | Community | Software | Books | Development

This FAQ is HTML 4.0 compliant & Newton friendly.