Replace Your Backup Battery Before It's Too Late

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  • Added: 28 September 2021

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If you own an AlphaSmart 3000 Neo or Neo2 word processor, you

know these devices are slowly aging as the years advance. Although these are

hardy little machines that have stood the test of time, the backup battery

inside an AlphaSmart will eventually die, which puts any text you have saved on

it at risk of being forever lost when you change the AA batteries or they go

dead before you have a chance to replace them.

Replacing Your AlphaSmart’s Backup Battery Is Easy

AlphaSmart’s product manuals for the Neo2 that I have state

that the backup battery will last 5-7 years. For the AlphaSmart 3000 and the

AlphaSmart Neo that came before it, they’re probably well on their way to

having a dead backup battery, depending on date of manufacture or when the last

time that battery was replaced, if ever. One thing that’s interesting though is

that the manual only refers you to contact technical support, rather than

telling you how to replace the battery on your own.

I decided to take my own Neo2 apart and photograph the

process, just bear in mind that the AlphaSmart 3000 and Neo models may differ

slightly in terms of where the backup battery is located and the types of

screws that must be removed, but they should be very similar.

Any CR2032 coin cell

battery can be swapped in to replace the old backup battery. I prefer

purchasing mine from Harbor Freight since they’re so cheap.



Items You Will Need to Replace Your Backup Battery In a Neo2

To replace the backup battery in a Neo2, you will need:


A T6



A T10



A CR2032

coin cell battery


A steady


AlphaSmart Backup Battery Replacement Process

Remove the four T10

screws that are circled in red, as well as the four T6 screws circled in blue.

The battery door screw doesn’t need to be removed on the Neo2 to take the back

panel off, mine was just missing this screw when I purchased it used.



Remove another four

T6 screws circled in blue, from the motherboard. The battery holder is circled

in green.



Gently lift the

motherboard without putting any tension on the ribbon cables that are attached

to it, and then remove the battery from its holder. Insert the new one positive

or ‘+’ side up and put everything back together.



Backup Your Text Then Proceed With the Battery Replacement

First and foremost, go ahead and back up any text you have

stored on your AlphaSmart word processor, either by using Neo Manager so that

you can send the text back to your Neo or Neo2 afterwards in case it is lost,

or open your favorite word processor, plug in your AlphaSmart device to a USB

cable, and hit the ‘send’ button and have it transfer your text so that you can

save it on your computer.

Where do you find a replacement for the backup battery in

your AlphaSmart you might ask? The 3000 Neo and Neo2 all use the standard

CR2032 coin cell battery, which most drug stores carry. I personally buy mine

from Harbor Freight since I can get a pack of four at less than $4, and I can

use them in other things, like car key fobs, scales and other small devices

that require them.

After backing up my text and with a replacement backup

battery in hand, I flipped over my Neo2, revealing four T10 screws that reside

in the upper half of the bottom casing and four T6 screws that hold the bottom

edge together. Remove these eight screws and you can gently lift off the back

of the case. With the back off, you can then access the motherboard, which

conveniently exposes the backup battery. The only thing preventing us from

removing and inserting a new CR2032 coin cell battery is the mounting peg that

sits behind the battery.

From here, remove the four T6 screws that hold the

motherboard in and gently lift it up, taking care not to put any tension or

strain on the ribbon cables that connect to the keyboard and display. With the

mounting peg out of the way, use something like a small screwdriver or tweezers

or any tool that will fit into the openings of the battery holder and push the

old battery cell out of it. Slide the new one in place, with the side marked

positive or ‘+’ facing up away from the motherboard, just like the old coin

cell was installed.

When I performed this DIY maintenance on my Neo2, I left the

AA batteries installed, hoping that it would keep the RAM alive where the text

is stored and it seems that it did. After sliding the new battery in place I

put the motherboard back in its proper place, inserted the four T6 screws and

tightened them down. From there, its just a matter of putting the back cover on

and replacing and tightening the four T6 and four T10 screws down to secure it

in place.

Proceed Worry Free With the New Backup Battery

When I powered my Neo2 back on, I was afraid I might see a

message of some sort telling me that my data had been lost or my Neo2 had to be

reset after changing the battery, but it fired up just like normal in less than

two seconds and was exactly where I had left it in the last file I was working


If you use your AlphaSmart regularly, be it a 3000, the Neo

or Neo2, this is a very cheap way to make sure that your text is stored safely

at all times by replacing the coin cell backup battery at regular intervals.

For users of the Dana and Dana Wireless though, there isn’t a backup battery

per se though the internal memory is kept alive for approximately two minutes

by a small capacitor on the motherboard whenever the batteries are being

replaced. However, the Dana’s were typically sold with a rechargeable battery

pack included, but those rechargeable batteries won’t last forever. If you have

a Dana or Dana Wireless, I highly recommend Vance Fry’s battery hack so you can chuck your worn out rechargeable battery in

the recycling bin and install three AA rechargeable NiMH batteries in the

battery slot on your Dana.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes

only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in

business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I just replaced the batteries of mt AlphaSmart Neo2.

When I opened it, it said there was a date change. And all my files were empty.

Can I get my data back?

Answer: Unfortunately, there’s no way to recover the data if

your backup battery is dead and the AAs are removed for replacement.


Mike Perry on March 24, 2020:

Many thanks for an excellent tutorial. Not having a CR2032

and not wanting to make a trip just to get one, I substituted a compatible but

thinner CR2016. Placing a dime on top of it provided just enough added

thickness. It may not last as long, but that’s no big deal.

A CR2025 and CR2020 should also work. The voltage is the

same, the 20 is the diameter, and the last two numbers are the thickness.

Emma on November 06, 2019:

Thank you for this tutorial; my backup battery is now working

in my Neo!

neo2fan on May 23, 2018:

Thanks jesimpki — I had Ben’s problem, where I was getting

the fatal error messages after the replacement. File system was corrupt or

something. I’m not sure it’s a great idea to leave the AAs in during the

replacement. When I first touched a screw on the motherboard, it sparked. But

since the coin battery wasn’t dead yet, maybe it would have sparked anyway.

Still, I would just back all the files up first and accept that changing this

coin battery means a factory reset.

Fortunately, your fix worked: I took the coin battery and AA

batteries out, waited 10 minutes, put everything back in, and the unit had

factory reset. I am very relieved.

Thanks for this great tutorial, I didn’t have the

screwdrivers I needed and your exact specs helped me get the right tools here.


shoppe on October 15, 2017:


I too just followed your instructions without problem (thanks

for showing me what to expect in advance) however I think I might know why your

other user bricked his Neo.

Because in your instructions you leave the batteries in, the

circuit board is live during the entire process. Depending on what you use to

push out the coin cell, you could inadvertently cross a connection somewhere

while you’re doing this and fry a resistor or a cap or a transmogrifier

somewhere, turning your precious Neo into a paper-weight.

A better way would be to offload all of your prose from the

Neo first, then *remove* those AA batteries. Depress the power on button

several times after this to hopefully deplete any capacitors that might be

holding power. Then and only then, coax the coin battery out of the slot,

preferably using a non-metallic tool.

If using a metallic tool (like I did) then just be very

careful not to lay it across any contacts.


Simpkins (author) from Pulaski, VA

on October 13, 2017:

Awesome! Glad to hear she’s still enjoying her AlphaSmart

3000! You’re very welcome!


Antoinette on October 13, 2017:

Just helped my aunt with her 3000 version using your

instructions. She is now one very happy lady .. Thank you!


Simpkins (author) from Pulaski, VA

on August 12, 2017:

Oh no! Try removing both the coin cell battery and your AA

batteries and leaving them out for several minutes, and then try it again.

Ben on August 12, 2017:

I followed all the steps on this article and it completely

corrupted my Neo2. Now getting endless error messages and the device is


morazan on May 30, 2017:

Thank you for specifying the exact screwdrivers needed. What

a difference having the right tools makes! And the pictures were perfect. After

a software update and a new lithium battery, my old Neo2 is as good as new.

Question: what is the purpose of that red wire that leads to nowhere? Just

wondering. Thanks again.

jukryn on February 08, 2017:

Hi there.

Is there any way to add the back-up battery option to a Dana?

In other words, couldn’t something inside be altered or added or something? I

like the Dana, but can’t put up with changing or charging the batteries and

having to monitor the power all of the time, not to mention being forced to

re-calibrate the screen. (All that is too high-maintenance for me.) The great

thing about the Neo is that it goes forever without changing the batteries, and

if they happen to wear out, the backup is still there. I like the Dana’s big

screen. Otherwise, the Neo has everything I need, no bells and whistles.


Simpkins (author) from Pulaski, VA

on January 21, 2017:

You’re quite welcome NAK Baldron!

NAK Baldron on January 21, 2017:

Thank you so much for this! You’re a life saver.


Simpkins (author) from Pulaski, VA

on October 27, 2016:

Hi MaggiN, if your Neo isn’t working with a fresh set of AA

batteries, I would try plugging it into a USB port and see if it powers on when

connected. If so, it may be that your problem resides in either the battery bay

and it’s connectors or some problem on the motherboard for your Neo.

MaggiN on October 26, 2016:

Will this work with a NEO(1)? I am opening it for the first

time in years, and seeing a “Ni-MH rechargeable battery 3.6v 1600mAh”

green battery pack — Amazon search seems to reveal it’s available, but in a

‘pack’ not in a single line. And putting regular AA batteries in just now did

nothing. How can I get mine up and running again? Follow your steps above?



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