My old MAKE colleague Collin Cunningham made an entertaining and educational video that explains battery specs: milliamp hours, voltage, chemistry type, etc. I've never opened a 9-volt battery but Collin did, and he shows you what's inside: six little 1.5 batteries wired in series. Collin also makes the music for all his videos. Read the rest
I have just replaced my first set of Envelop AA batteries, ten years after I bought them.
Around 10-12 years ago I was I doing a lot of underwater photography. High capacity, low-static-discharge AA batteries were pretty new, but an absolute must for digital strobes. I'd swap 2 sets of 4 in each one of my UW strobes almost every other dive, as blasting tons of light around the bottom of the sea takes a lot of juice. Sanyo's Eneloop batteries were the only really choice.
Low Self-Discharge batteries are pretty amazing. Not only do Eneloops hold their charge if not used for up to 10 years, but the fact that they discharge while not in use so incredibly slowly means the batteries also stay healthy much, much longer. Whenever one starts to get a bit flakey, I run a refresh cycle on my charger. After a decade, finally, a few have shorted out.
Over time I stopped diving as much, and Panasonic bought Sanyo. My batteries started to be used for everything around the house. I've had them in remote controlled cars, planes, head-sets, remote controls, flash-lights... you name it. These AA's were in constant service for nearly 10 years. Of the 16 I originally purchased, 8 are still in service and charge up to 1988 mAh.
Eneloops are pretty amazing!
Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA Eneloop AA 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries (Pack of 8) via Amazon Read the rest
KFC's new "Watt a Box" is a meal box with a built-in battery, micro-USB, and lightning cables to charge your smartphone. It's available as a special limited edition "prize" for customers at KFC stores in Delhi and Mumbai. BGR reviewed the Watt a Box. It's a fun marketing gimmick but, no surprise, the battery kinda sucks. They claim it's a 6,100mAh power bank but perhaps a better approach (and name) would have been a Bucket of Batteries. From BGR:
The power bank claims to have a 6,100mAh battery but the claims fell short during our brief test. We put an iPhone 5s to charge, which gained 17 percent battery after charging for half-an-hour. But the downside was that the power bank was drained during this process. We recharged the power bank to 100 percent and tried to charge a Redmi Note 3. But the power bank ran out of juice again with the phone gaining just 7 percent of charge...
KFC is not the only one to toy with such marketing campaigns. Pizza Hut came up with a limited edition box in Hong Kong that converted into a projector for smartphones. McDonald’s had launched a special edition of its Happy Meal boxes in Sweden that could be converted into cardboard VR headsets. Coca Cola too had a similar cardboard VR headset one could make from its 12-pack cartons.
"Hands-on with KFC’s ‘Watt a Box’ that charges your phone while you eat" (via Laughing Squid)
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We're huge fans of portable power gadgets, but this one isn't going in my pocket to help me keep my phone topped up after lunch. Anker's Powerhouse is the size and weight of a concrete construction brick, and at $500 and 120,000mAh, by far their largest power pack yet. It'll charge your laptop 15 times over, power CPAP machines and broadcast video cameras, and double as a bear club should a camping trip go awry. There's multiple USB ports, a 12v car socket and mains power.
Jeff Beck already got one and quite likes it.
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I'm very impressed with this device. It is extremely well-built, functions just as advertised, and is quite good-looking on top of all that. It worked to recharge every phone and tablet I threw at it, in addition to a lot of the smaller electronic items in my home. While the USB ports are not QC compatible, they still delivered a fairly quick charge to my wife's Sony Z3. Besides, if I wanted a faster charge I only needed to plug in a QC car charger into the 12V outlet and I'd be in business.
I had a lot of fun trying the Powerhouse out with a variety of household electronics. It did just fine powering a small stereo, my bedside lamp, and even my 50 inch Sony TV. Higher voltage appliances, like our toaster and blender, or my wife's blow dryer (she was hoping to be able to use it while camping) were too much for the little guy.
This is the first USB battery I've seen with a Lightning input port (instead of a micro USB port). It's got 3600mAh and you can buy it for $8 when you use the YCOIWN27 coupon code at checkout. Read the rest
Planes that carry passengers should be prohibited from carrying large quantities of lithium batteries in cargo, a United Nations aviation watchdog says.
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"Your car battery is dead and you like a boost to jump start? Maybe you can use AA batteries to crank the engine..." Read the rest
It Betteridge! Jon Phillips reports on the Batteriser, a metal sleeve promising "up to" 8X more life from disposable batteries.
It’s essentially a voltage booster that sucks every last drop of useable energy from ostensibly spent batteries. So, instead of using just 20 percent of all the power hidden inside of your Duracells and Energizers, Batteriser makes effective use of the remaining 80 percent. Voltage boosters are nothing new, but Batteriser scales down the technology to the point where it can fit inside a stainless steel sleeve less than 0.1 mm thick. Roohparvar says the sleeves are thin enough to fit inside almost every battery compartment imaginable, and the combined package can extend battery life between 4.9x for devices like remote controls and 9.1x for various electronic toys.
Here's the published patent application, which is not a patent.
Red flag: Phillips writes that the creator proved he wasn't selling snake oil by demonstrating the gadget for him, but there's no description of independent testing. Did the guy just play with it in front of you? Who provided the batteries? What were the test controls? Boosting voltage at the expense of amperage and getting 800% more operational time, really? Turned down VC because the "money trail" led to battery companies, in favor of Indiegogo? Consumers with mountains of nearly-dead alkaline batteries want to know! Read the rest
The ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20000mAh Battery, which sells on Amazon for $80, is on sale for the next five days at Stacksocial for $50. I'm getting it for an upcoming trip with the family. Read the rest
Above is a micro-windmill that University of Texas Arlington researchers suggest could someday be used to charge mobile electronics if they were embedded en masse on the device's case. The MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) are fabricated using recesses similar to the way integrated circuits are manufactured combined with origami-like self-assembly techniques.
“Imagine that they can be cheaply made on the surfaces of portable electronics,” says researcher Smitha Rao. "When the phone is out of battery power, all you need to do is to put on the sleeve, wave the phone in the air for a few minutes and you can use the phone again.”
She adds that eventually, flat panels coated with the windmills could be mounted to buildings to harvest energy for sensor networks, wireless communications, lighting or other purposes.
Check out the video below of the windmills in action! (via Wired) Read the rest
A battery can hold a lot of energy, but it takes a long time to charge it. A capacitor can be charged very quickly, but doesn't hold a comparable amount of energy.
A graphene supercharger is the best of both: it takes just seconds to charge, yet stores a lot of energy. Imagine being able to charge your spent laptop or phone battery in 30 seconds, and your electric car in a few minutes. Also, unlike batteries, Graphene supercapacitors are non-toxic.
The Nobel Prize was awarded to the inventors of Graphene in 2010. Wikipedia defines Graphene as a "substance composed of pure carbon, with atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern similar to graphite, but in a one-atom thick sheet. It is very light, with a 1-square-meter sheet weighing only 0.77 milligrams."
(via Tony Moore at the Boing Boing G+ community) Read the rest