Archive for April, 2011


Build A Better Battery Pack: Use Rechargeable Batteries With Solder Tags

AA rechargeable batteries with solder tags

Any rechargeable electronic device, from cordless power drills to cordless phones, has a battery pack. Often the replacement of these packs is extremely costly. The interesting facet to these battery packs is that they look like single, monolithic structures. This leads most people to believe that the entire battery pack is used for energy storage. Anyone with a screwdriver and a little time is able to deconstruct a battery pack to discover what once seemed to be a single object is actually a multitude of smaller objects — namely, rechargeable batteries —  set into a housing. The housing is the costly part of any battery pack.

Whenever the battery packs on one of these devices fails, many corporations will tell you that you must replace it only with their patented materials, or risk harming your device. There is a grain of truth to this claim, and to be fully safe, one should not necessarily step outside of the bounds of company recommendation, especially if there are concerns about abiding by the rules of the product’s warrantee. If you are not worried about voiding the warrantee and want to both save some money and learn an invaluable new skill, then you can make your own battery packs.

Making battery packs is not very difficult, and it is certainly cheaper (usually about half the price) than buying a whole new battery — but up until recently, it was easy to do it wrong without extensive practice. Formerly, battery packs were made by soldering wires or small plates to the ends of the batteries to create a comprehensive whole. These wires would allow the power from one battery to flow into the next battery to create greater power.

Those days are long behind us.

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When It Comes To Smoke Detectors, Don’t Use 9-volt NiMH Rechargeable Batteries

rechargeable batteries and smoke detectorsAs Australians adjust to rolling back their clocks for the end of daylight savings, there is another facet of life that should not be overlooked. Everyone should take a moment to change the batteries in their smoke detectors. It seems a simple enough task, but it is easily forgotten in the daily hustle of life. It is also not as simple as it may seem on the surface. Changing a battery with the wrong kind of replacement battery may place your home and family at risk from the dangers of fire.

Strange as it may sound, batteries have needs, just as people do. They perform in specific functions and fail in others. There is a reason for all the different sizes of batteries. AA operates very differently from AAA, and while D and C batteries might seem cosmetically identical, their power output and connectivity are as different as men and women.

As such, you must make sure you are putting the correct kind of 9 Volt battery into your smoke detector.

9 Volt batteries are meant for passive usage, rather than active. Most batteries are meant to operate only when the device they are attached to is turned on. 9 Volts are special because rather than using a large amount of power at one time, they can last for many months in devices that might need them at any moment without using up all their power. That is why they are so effective in smoke detectors, as well as backup power for necessary items, such as alarm clocks.

It is for this reason that 9 Volt batteries are nearly twice the price of others.

Continue reading ‘When It Comes To Smoke Detectors, Don’t Use 9-volt NiMH Rechargeable Batteries’


Alert! Cheap, Dangerous NiMH Rechargeable Batteries Sold On eBay!

The world of ecommerce can be a marvelous place to get great deals on outstanding products. It has also become a bazaar for the snake oil salesmen and greasy swindlers that cat call their wares out to online shoppers, hoping to garner some ill-gotten cash for defective, dangerous, and poorly conceived products that do not fulfill their promises. Every seller knows that a little exaggeration is to be expected. That is just good sales. It is when the technical specifications become outright lies that consumers need to be concerned.

Unfortunately, lies are precisely what some sellers trade in.

Last week EW reported about the dangers of some poorly designed battery chargers from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. While these items were dangerous, even the rechargeable batteries that are used can become deadly hazards when put into a perfectly healthy charger that meets all the necessary design requirements. Some eBay sellers have rechargeable batteries that are not out and out dangerous but also do not perform according to the specifications they report to have.

“SCAM. These are 600mAh, not 3000mAh. Tested all on MAHA C9000 analyzer. RUN!” read one concerned eBay buyer that had been reeled in by a seller after having paid for batteries that did not live up to their promises. “Keep out of these batteries capacity is 450 mAh NOT 3000 mAh!!!!” said another, in the hopes of warning others away from these underpowered and overpriced rechargeable batteries.

The explanation of these concerns is that the batteries are being promoted as having a higher mAh value than they actually possess. MAh stands for Milliamp Hour and is a measurement of how much power a battery can hold. Batteries with higher mAh ratings can last longer, or produce more power over a sustained period of time.

When a seller lies about their batteries mAh value, they are making the rechargeable batteries sound better than they are.

Continue reading ‘Alert! Cheap, Dangerous NiMH Rechargeable Batteries Sold On eBay!’

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