Tag: battery

The Case of the Bloated Apple

The Case of the Bloated Apple

Ok, it’s technically not an apple in the most real sense of the word.  God or Eve or even the devil had little influence on this fruit.  We are talking about an iPhone.

Let my experience with this device be a cost-saving measure for you.

With the lockdowns and subsequent lack of leaving the house, the phone, which usually lives on my person, hardly ever left the desk.

Since it never left the desk, it also never or hardly ever left the charger.

The physics that goes along with these batteries is somewhat elusive, but batteries are designed to be used.  Said another way, unlike car batteries, these batteries in your laptop, cell phone, and tablets are designed to cycle on a larger scale than your car.

They are rated in how many times they can be ‘cycled.’

On my desk laid the iPhone plugged up to a constant source of energy.  Monitoring the current from the power supply to the phone, I noticed no appreciable current draw but, something was happening.

Simultaneous events occurred during February and March.  The phone seemed to split apart.  Something inside the phone was expanding.  It could only be the battery.  Knowing that these batteries can be volatile, a new phone seemed to be in order.  Repairing an old phone makes little sense by the time you find a place to take it and so on.

Another thousand dollar phone later seemed to be the right approach.  Trying to leave the house presented a whole new challenge.  The car battery was dead.

With all the electronic ‘stuff’ in cars today, there is about a 250 ma constant draw on the battery.  If you don’t drive it weekly, put a trickle charger on the battery.

Here we juxtapose the two different technologies.  Lead Acid batteries are designed to give you that current with a small amount of discharge in the process of starting the engine.  Once started, the alternator puts the energy consumed, back into the battery.  Hence one cycle is complete.

In Texas, anything over three years is considered a win. Heat is detrimental to lead-acid batteries.

Switch gears to the phone.  The Lithium Polymer battery will provide the correct voltage and current until depleted.  Translated, if you puncture a phone battery while trying to remove it while still charged, it very well might combust into flames.

Battery 1

The battery in my older iPhone expanded much like a balloon while living on my desk. Not having taken one of these phones apart before, I felt the proper thing to do would be to recycle it and forget it.  (but It still worked.)

The longer it sat there with its screen popping off, and the more time I had to think about it, google became the go-to source of information.

$22 later, I had a new battery and the tools to change it on the way to my home.

While the procedure is not for the faint of heart, if you were to follow the directions to the letter, the odds are, you too could save your phone.

The older phone still provides a platform for Zoom, music, and yes videos.  The newer phone now lives on an inductive charger, which, according to the manufacturer, will not overcharge your battery.

Since the older phone is repaired and looks great, I unplug it from the charger as I use it like one usually would.  Even without actual ATT service, with wifi, there are many ways to use the phone as a phone still.

The trickiest part of the procedure is removing the old battery. It is glued to the phone.  This is where you could create an explosive situation if you are not super careful.  One tip I would offer is, drain the battery completely before you attempt a procedure like this.

How? Turn the phone on and listen to music until it is dead.

Regarding your car, make sure the trickle charger is rated at least an amp.  The trickle charger I bought from one of those box stores used a little wall wart as the supply.  It did not provide sufficient current to keep the battery charged and run whatever stand-by devices were drawing minuscule amounts of energy.

I now use a zero-point charger that shuts off when the power drain falls below a few milliamps.  As the devices draw enough current to trigger the charger, a cycle is developed, keeping the car ready for when you need to escape from quarantine.

I hope you find this information of some value and that you stay safe during these trying times.

-Best

Don’t throw it away just yet!

Don’t throw it away just yet!

 

Batteries are a troublesome thing and can be a real source of irritation.  Batteries used in devices like this keyboard, for instance, can be in there a long time before they need to be replaced.  The Current draw is small so the battery could last years.

My mouse was recently acting squirrely so I decided to change the batteries.  When I opened the battery cover the familiar white crystals of “leaked battery” were everywhere.  Managing to clean the contacts I decided to change those in my keyboard as well.  Also leaked everywhere but not near as easy to clean.  Removing about 25 screws to separate the keyboard I was indeed able to clean the contacts and remove the crystals which had formed.

The batteries had a shelf life until 2023.  They were indeed still working.  I had another device that I had used at Christmas last year and put up with the batteries in it.  Retrieving it from the closet I took pictures for you.  Also still had power in them which was amazing but defective.

batt5

Duracell has been my go to battery for decades.  Occasionally I get the other brand and it is a good thing that I did.

Another apparatus that I depend on is a lightening defector by Acurite.

As a radio enthusiast and a bit of an outdoor nut, I want to know if there is weather around.  Here in Texas, we get some rather nasty cloud to ground lightning.

The backlight in the detector was dim so I decided to replace the batteries before the last storm.

Installing the new batteries the apparatus did not work.

batt2

Taking a closer look at the batteries it became apparent that the new version of Duracell AAA batteries has a smaller tit on the positive end.  This means that it may very well not make contact with the battery contacts.

batt1

If you look carefully you can see that there is a gap of a few thousandths of an inch between the end of the battery and the terminal.  This is a common type of connector in radio’s and other battery operated things.

If your device fails to work after replacing the batteries, check this!

If you happen to know anyone at Duracell you might forward this to them.

Houston you have a problem!

Save the landfills and your hard earned money, check the batteries and the connections.

-Best

Cell phone / tablet

I have decided that the cell phone needs to be redesigned. Apple and others need to make the phone in such a way that the battery can be replaced by the end user.

These things cost hundreds of dollars and the “normal” person is ill equipped to replace their battery. Secondly and most importantly, if I want to make sure the damned thing is off when I turn it off! If I can remove the battery, I know it is indeed off. Currently these phones, tablets, and other smart devices could be hijacked by who knows who and used for nefarious purposes.

Apple, Samsung and the rest need to make this happen!

While I would truly love to have an app that would tell me what my phone is doing or has done, I am not certain that the app (log) could not be circumvented by the hijacker. The only way to know for sure is to ” kill” it!

Without electrons it cannot be hacked. Maybe people will think I am being paranoid but , I am a security guy so paranoia to some extent is a good thing. Trust no one or nothing that you don’t have 100% control over.

These devices accompany us everywhere. They live in our bedrooms, bathrooms or wherever and if hijacked , video and or audio could be transmitted to who knows where!

Give me a replaceable battery Apple! I don’t need a new $400 phone and a new contract every 2 years, I need a $10 battery!

-best

Electric Cars, a Case for the Combustion Engine

Image

I went into an office the other day and noticed a small car parked up front, rather stylish but the name caught my eye, “Volt.”

As an electronic gadget loving guy, not to mention one who designs circuits for one thing or another, I was rather intrigued. Walking around the other side of the car there was this device sticking out of the fender with a long thick cord attaching it to some sort of box with another cord extending from the box to the outlet outside the building.

I really don’t want to rain on the electric car parade but, I think that this technology is too immature for prime time.

When an electric car is fully charged you are going to get a maximum of 100 miles (maybe.) That most likely is predicated on perfect road condition, traffic etc. The radio, air conditioner, windshield wipers and stop and start traffic all play a role.

100 miles to empty in most peoples cars is like somewhere between a quarter and an eight of a tank of gas till empty. Put another way, the little gas light is either on, or about to come on.

Now think about this, you go to work 15 miles each way. You go to lunch maybe 5 miles to lunch and 5 miles back. So far this is good, only 25 miles used. Add to this the trip to the school or the store and then home again, you might make it happen. After work and back home now you have errands to run, but you can’t because the car has to re-charge.

Add to this that each and every night you have to get this cable out of the trunk, drag it across the driveway or what have you and plug everything in or guess what, the next day you will be calling a cab to get to work.

As these cars make more of an impact on society, office buildings and possibly stores will provide a place to hook up your car for a little boost while you are working or visiting the doctor or even shopping.

We are not there yet.

Propane powered cars never took off as there are few places to get propane. It was a natural for cities as they can house the filling station for their fleet. Propane now cost more that gasoline however; and most probably because it can be used for transportation instead of only heating and cooking. Those using propane that live in the country, know exactly how much that has changed in the last few years.

I would imagine that if and when someone makes an electric car that will go further than 100 miles, and they become more ensconced in our way of life, the price of electricity will skyrocket as well as there will be more demand it.

One other thing that the dealers don’t talk about regarding the electric car is the replacement cost of the batteries.

There is a huge difference between the batteries that goes into the Prius (Hybrid) vs. a pure electric car or EV. The Prius battery has been known to go 200000 miles. That is mainly because the Prius battery assist a gasoline engine and is charged every time the vehicle brakes.

Not only are the chemical differences something to be considered, but lets say you “kill” your batteries. That is known as a deep discharge and will in fact damage the battery over time.

Secondly let’s say your drive is only 50 miles a day. When you charge your car every night the batteries will in fact loose some of their ability to hold a charge and before long you may not be able to make it even the full 50 miles.

While GM and Nissan both offer a warrantee on them, they do consider that the batteries diminished capacity is not a warranted item.

You laptop battery uses the same technology. Does it last as long as it did on battery the day that you bought it?

The lithium ion battery which the EV uses, needs “lithium” which this country does not have in abundance. The interesting part if this equation is that Afghanistan is loaded with it. Chile also has large deposits as well as Bolivia. If this country as well as others start driving EV’s in any quantity guess what the cost of lithium will do, not to mention its availability.

Since this is earth week, are EV’s “green friendly?”

Pure Ev’s are charged from the grid. That means that the same power plant that burns coal to create electricity is now putting energy into your car. Since there are no tailpips to allow exhaust to get out and pollute the planet, remember that the “juice” in your batteries came at a carbon cost.

If I were really concerned about getting better mileage and not adding to the carbon foot print I would purchase a hybrid of some sort. No limits on miles, charges from the vehicle braking and can be charged from the grid.

If my mileage was incredibly predictable I might consider an EV at some point. The battery technology and the eventual disposal of them is still to new and since I don’t have thousands of dollars to piss away, I will stick with what I know.

If, and this is a big if, you could get an EV, charge it from your solar array or wind farm, you might have something. Alternate forms of energy producing things are way too expensive for the normal guy, not to mention take up lots of real estate.

It is a free country “still,” and your mileage may vary.

-Best to you and those that you care about.