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  1.  
    Do the claims look reasonable for this device? Any comments?

    http://www.batteriser.com/
  2.  
    Posted By: PeterStarckDo the claims look reasonable for this device? Any comments?


    As an electronics engineer, I can say definitely yes! But, and this is the but, it will only work on low-drain "active" devices and will make no difference on passive devices like torches etc. Active devices measure battery voltage to determine charge level so it will definitely help here - will also help boost lower voltage chemistries of some rechargables so that they don't have to be recharged as often (thus extending their life).

    The device is very simple - it's just a charge pump based voltage booster with some kind of regulator. The clever part is making it small enough to fit around a conventional battery.

    The battery companies are going to hate this!!

    Paul in Montreal.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2015
     
    I do wish they would get someone technical to help write up the website.

    1.5V of energy
    Batteriser uses no chemicals

    Couple of capacitors and some switching does this don't it.

    Nice idea though
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2015 edited
     
    Yeah, “1.5V of energy” made me cringe, too.

    The “up to 8x” claim is probably literally true in that there may well be a few horrible devices which conk out when only one eighth of the battery's energy has been taken but they must be pretty exceptional. Wouldn't surprise me to find quite a few for which 2x is a reasonable guess, though.

    Most new batteries contain 1.5V of energy when first bought. The problem is that many devices stop functioning at around the 1.3V mark. Batteriser uses micro-circuitry that lets you instantly tap into the 80% energy that is usually thrown away.
    This is horribly misleading. Firstly, it sort of implies/assumes that the voltage drops linearly as energy is taken out of a battery [¹]. This isn't true, at first the voltage drops quickly then much more slowly for the bulk of the life of the battery then tails off quickly at the end.

    If you have something that conks out in the first part of the flat bit (like my Fujifilm pocket camera did when it had some grit or something in the lens pushy-outy bit so it could only open with a brand-new battery) then the 8x claim is reasonable.

    More devices will stop as the battery begins to fall off the cliff at the end of its life. In that case there's only a small proportion of energy left in the battery. As the battery voltage drops this device will draw more current from it to make up the difference so it'll all go downhill pretty quickly.

    Something else to wonder is how much power this thing takes when it's idle.

    In general, I think it'll be a good device for some applications but only marginally helpful or actively harmful in others.

    I'm not sure I agree with Paul about torches if you want full brightness. In particular, with LED lights it could make a big difference, I'd have thought.

    His point about using it with rechargeable cells is interesting. I wonder why the site doesn't mention it.



    [¹] A battery is a number of cells but that number can be one.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2015 edited
     
    I'm also an electronics engineer. I say it's of very dubious value for this simple reason..

    Rechargeable batteries such as NiMh cells have a lower voltage (1.2V) than non-rechargeable types (1.5V) so any device that works reasonably well on rechargeable batteries cannot possibly "stop working at 1.3V". They must keep working down to 1.2V and will probably work just fine down to 1V - by which time most of the energy has been extracted.

    This is a graph of voltage vs time for a Duracell. You can see that by the time it's down to 1V there isn't much left before the cell is empty and the voltage drops to zero..

    http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/01/drawingskey2.jpg
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2015
     
    Not really an electrical question, but why is that. How comes the chemistry is not a bit more linear (I hated chemistry).
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2015
     
    It's all about band gaps and energies in chemical bonds and things, which set the energy of the released electrons.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline_battery#Chemistry

    Part of the reason it's not actually constant throughout the cell's life is that as it discharges there's less area non-discharged so the internal resistance goes up - some of the voltage is dropped internally. I expect there's more to it than that.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2015
     
    Posted By: CWattersRechargeable batteries such as NiMh cells have a lower voltage (1.2V) than non-rechargeable types (1.5V) so any device that works reasonably well on rechargeable batteries cannot possibly "stop working at 1.3V".
    Indeed. But some things don't work well off NiMHs; they're probably the target market for this sort of thing.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesIt's all about band gaps and energies in chemical bonds and things, which set the energy of the released electrons.
    Yes, that occurred to me when I thought about it in bed. Really should think about more exciting things in the early hours.
    • CommentAuthorsnyggapa
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    I applaud the intention, but I can't see the mass market

    I use rechargable AA NiMh's for pretty much everything - coupled with a half decent charger (not the plug in with an LED type, but one that has a "brain" to charge and discharge correctly) , batteries are a "buy once last forever" type prospect. I even have some "slip on cases" to turn the AA batteries into C or D types. Modern AA NiMhs last plenty long enough that I don't need the extra capacity of the bigger units . Presumably these won't work in NiMhs as it could potentially drain them too low so that they won't charge back up again? The website doesn't say, and because it doesn't say, I guess that it doesn't :)

    So I can see the "greenies" already running from rechargeables, and the mass market doesn't give a flip because batteries, like most other forms of energy, are too cheap, hence wasted without a second thought being given.

    -Steve
    • CommentAuthorsnyggapa
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    Posted By: CWatters
    http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/01/drawingskey2.jpg" rel="nofollow" >http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/01/drawingskey2.jpg


    interesting - so using those graphs, if devices cut out at out 1.3v then there would, in theory, be about 80% of the capacity unused in the battery. But as CWatters says, most devices work fine on NiMh batteries (everything that I own does) so by definition will work at 1.2v and it will be less than that otherwise they would stop working almost immediately - so let's be generous and say they stop at 1.1v , the trouble here is that we already have extracted 80% of the energy of the battery and if they work down to 1v then you have taken almost all of it

    Is this a real product, or a fundraising scam / scheme?
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    Posted By: snyggapaPresumably these won't work in NiMhs as it could potentially drain them too low so that they won't charge back up again?
    Ah, yes, good point. That's probably why the don't suggest use with rechargables.

    But, AFAIK, NiMH isn't like various lithium types which don't like being discharged too much. What it doesn't like is reverse charge which can happen if a battery of two or more cells are fully discharged. The first cell which goes to zero is then reverse charged by the others in the battery.

    In general, I wonder how a battery of two or more cells fitted with these works. If one cell goes to zero does it actually start reverse charging off the others or does the charge pump bypass the current and the other cells do all the work for the last bit of the battery's life?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    Posted By: snyggapaI use rechargable AA NiMh's for pretty much everything - coupled with a half decent charger (not the plug in with an LED type, but one that has a "brain" to charge and discharge correctly) , batteries are a "buy once last forever" type prospect.

    Got any links to specific products, please?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesBut, AFAIK, NiMH isn't like various lithium types which don't like being discharged too much. What it doesn't like is reverse charge which can happen if a battery of two or more cells are fully discharged. The first cell which goes to zero is then reverse charged by the others in the battery.

    I know absolutely nothing about the subject but don't understand what the 'reverse' is here? Surely the first cell that is discharged is charged by the others? I expect a link to an explanation would help me to understand.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015 edited
     
    When you're charging a cell you put current in backwards - conventional current flows in through the positive connection which is the opposite of what happens on discharge.

    When a multi-cell series battery (e.g, 2 AA cells in a torch) discharges to the point that one cell is at zero but the other(s) are still producing some power the current continues to flow in the normal discharge direction through all of the cells. Therefore, the cell at zero gets charged backwards; if it actually worked like a capacitor it would finish up with a negative voltage on its positive terminal.

    The gliding club I used to belong to wrote off quite a few NiCd hand-held radio battery packs in the late 1980s and early 1990s because we wanted to discharge them to avoid the memory effect. I'm pretty sure that with NiCds discharging down to a low voltage is the right thing to do, at least once in a while, but if you do it to a pack as a whole you'll kill it by this reverse charging. You need to do it to each cell individually. In the end we switched to NiMH (which were newish, then) and stopped doing the discharge.
  3.  
    Re smart chargers- I have had one of these for a few years now and can't recommend it highly enough. The "refresh" function has returned some abused cells to useful which alone justifies it on environmental grounds.

    The one thing it won't do is charge an over drained Nimh battery - ie one that's probably been reverse charged in use. If you put one of those in it just shows an error or doesn't recognise it.

    However, I keep a cheap dumb charger for those cases - a few minutes in the cheap charger will kick the battery onto life then transfer to the smart charger to fully charge.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015
     
    Posted By: Ed Daviesa multi-cell series battery

    Ah, that's what I was missing. The cells are in series, not parallel. Thanks.
  4.  
    • CommentAuthorsnyggapa
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2015 edited
     
    mine was this. looks eerily similar

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004Z5XXZU/ref=pe_385721_51767431_TE_dp_1

    get real eneloop batteries or maplin "hybrid" types so high capacity and hold their charge

    AA to C or D type adaptors from that well known auction site, cost almost nothing including postage from some faraway place

    job's a good'un
    • CommentAuthorSeret
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2015
     
    Posted By: Simon Still
    However, I keep a cheap dumb charger for those cases - a few minutes in the cheap charger will kick the battery onto life then transfer to the smart charger to fully charge.


    I do exactly the same. I tend to put them onto a "refresh" cycle after they've been treated that badly. Rechargables are definitely the way forward but I can see some edge cases where this Batteriser could be useful.

    I don't like the picture showing it in a remote control though. In my experience they'll drain a rechargeable down to flat as a pancake before they give up, and only get charged once in a blue moon. A remote doesn't seem like a good application for this technology at all.
  5.  
    I haven't used anything other than rechargeable anywhere for many years. The new eneloop type remove the loss of charge in storage problem. (Other bands seem just as good - GP ReCyko, UniRoss Hybrio)

    The only alkalines I use are those that come pre installed - you can buy rechargeables eBay for little more than high street Duracell
    • CommentAuthorSprocket
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2015
     
    Lately I use a VOLTCRAFT Charge Manager 410
    It came with eight NiZn cells... 4xAA and 4xAAA all for £31.99 from Conrad.

    NiZn are 1.6V so they work very well in things that don't like the lower voltage of NiMH or NiCd (like cheap digital cameras that take AAs). They don't hold their charge well for low-discharge devices (keyboards, mice, smoke alarms etc) or things left on a shelf though. And they don't like being discharged really flat.

    But the charger will automatically recognise cell chemistry and can do refresh, measure discharge etc and can charge different types of cells together. It looks very like that Technoline charger above in format and specification, just with added support for NiZn.

    I have also used mostly rechargeables for years. I don't think I've saved much/any money though as I have spent anything I have saved over those years on chargers :-/
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2015
     
    I have taken around 10,000 pictures over the last 10 years with my various digital cameras.
    I have just bought a new set of rechargeables, 4th set in that time.
    Probably cost be around 50 quid with the UniRoss charger.
    So that will be about half a penny a shot.

    So I think I have probably saved by using rechargeables.
  6.  
    Any up to date recommendations on batteries and a charger? Just for AA's and AAA's at the moment...
  7.  
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