Author Archive for Mike


Fewer, Not More Rechargeable Battery Brands By 2017

sanyo eneloop

A report on the future of the rechargeable battery market is suggesting that there will be only a handful of relevant brands by 2017. Read how fewer rechargeable battery brands could affect you, the consumer.

For quite a long while now, NiMH rechargeable batteries have been mass produced and marketed by a wide range of companies, leading to a rise in accessibility for rechargeables that never existed in the past. Decades ago, when NiCD rechargeable batteries tried to penetrate the marketplace, the issues with the battery design itself, together with the top manufacturers’ unwillingness to commit to a sustainable battery design, kept NiCDs on the periphery. But with NiMH and LiON becoming so universally used, even big brands have gotten into the game, expanding the market considerably.

However, according to a thorough study, the rechargeable battery market is due for a significant contraction of brands and options for consumers. Continue reading ‘Fewer, Not More Rechargeable Battery Brands By 2017’


A New Take on Rechargeable Car Batteries

volvoLeave it to Volvo to do something new, innovative, and challenging to any other car maker. Or, to anyone within the electronics industry for that matter. It seems that Volvo recently unveiled a potentially game-obliterating technology for electric and hybrid cars. The multi-year project, funded by the EU and conducted in coordination with the Imperial College London, has created rechargeable batteries that can be embedded into a car’s outer paneling.

This new technology relies on something called “structural supercapacitors”. In working with this new technology for their batteries, Volvo claims that they are not only lighter and less voluminous than a traditional car battery, but can charge and store energy faster.

The real draw to the battery is not just the power and faster charging, but in the way that it can be integrated within the body of the car itself. The new material that the rechargeable battery is made of utilizes reinforced carbon fibers and pliant nanostructured batteries. This means that the manufacturer now has the ability to mold the battery into the various parts of a car’s exterior including doors panels and trunk lids.

Don’t be fooled by what the battery is made out of. It still works just like any other rechargeable battery found within electric or hybrid cars. Like current rechargeable batteries, the moldable batteries can be juiced up by using brake energy or by plugging into the grid.

How Does it Work?

Of course, whenever there is a new battery powered car on the market people inevitably want to know how well it works, how much does a car get in distance on full battery and if there is any type of power associated with it. In the course of the study, the research engineers tested a Volvo S80 in which the boot lid (or for our American friends, “trunk”) and plenum cover were replaced with the new batteries. These batteries were powerful enough to supply energy to the car’s 12-Volt system and delivered plenty of mileage and speed.

This means that there may be a new horizon within the hybrid, or completely electric car, that is here today. There has been some conversations that this new type of battery could essentially replace the entire electric car as we know it today.

However, that is not the only good outcome of this new battery, and material, technology. Whit the new battery, Volvo is now able to bring this new material into different aspects of their vehicles and actually lighten the car by 15%. This would mean a lot in areas where there is heavy traffic on older roads and bridges.


Leaving Electronics Plugged In Leads To Wasted Electricity


The environmental benefits of rechargeable batteries is undeniable. But recent reports on how “vampire electronics” — devices and cables that are left plugged in on a regular basis — can waste much more energy and money than what rechargeable batteries can save.

Once consumers get past the initial “sticker shock” of rechargeable batteries’ price tag, it becomes apparent that a quality set of rechargeables can save you a lot of money. 3 AA rechargeable batteries, which might run you AUD$21.99, pay for themselves after just a few recharges. Battery chargers can be a bit expensive at the outset, but it doesn’t take long before your battery charger becomes a money- and environment-saving machine.

However, no matter how good your environmental and money-saving intentions are in investing in rechargeable batteries and battery chargers, “vampire electronics” can erase any savings that you might gain from using renewable energy in your electronics. Continue reading ‘Leaving Electronics Plugged In Leads To Wasted Electricity’


Can Band-Gap Engineering Change Batteries?

band-gap-engineeringAnyone who has worked with Lithium-ion batteries knows that, as convenient as they are for recharging, they do not last that long. Which, requires the need for recharging them. However, with new technologies, being introduced all the time, batteries last longer and charge faster.

For example, one of the answers to this problem has been to replace the graphite with silicon. However, the expanding and contracting that occurred as the lithium ions transported in and out of silicon electrodes quickly cracks it. As researchers went back to the drawing board, the next solution was to create “nanostructured silicon” electrodes, sometimes with the help of graphene or good old carbon nanotubes.

Today, the advancements in battery technology, especially that within Lithium-ion batteries, comes from University of California San Diego. Researchers as UCSD have begun taking what is happening with band-gap engineering, in which heterostructures are used to create energy barriers between electrons and holes, and applied the concept to creating barriers to the ions as they enter into an electrode so they diffuse in a very specific way.

This new research has been published in what is called the Nano Letters. The article describes the process of band-gap engineering as a typical surface diffusion of lithium ions into a nanowire electrode is blocked and instead the ions are diffused layer-by-layer along the length of the nanowire.

This sounds much different than any other method, but researchers are very optimistic over the long term affects it will have on rechargeable batteries. To follow up on this inforamation, Shadi Dayeh, a professor at UCSD, explains in a press release that this control of how the ions diffuse could result in “an effective way to tailor volume expansion of lithium ion battery electrodes, which could potentially minimize their cracking, improve their durability, and perhaps influence how one could think about different electrode architectures.”

According to Dayeh, the new electrodes would allow for battery designs in which the expansion of the electrodes would not cause any shorting between the cathode and the anode.

With all of the new ways that researchers are discovering how to create batteries, prolong their lives, add more power, and create faster recharging times, it may be possible to have incredible powerhouses within the palm of your hand, or smartphone, or car.


News Is That the New iOS7 is a Battery Drainer

ios7-battery-drainThe big news last week was the release of the newest generation of Apple smartphones; the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. One is the standard offering from Apple, although with three different back cover colors – black, gray, and gold. The other is a budget version with five different colors, but the actual phone housing is made of plastic rather than the aluminum we all know. But, a week out from the release of the iPhone 5S and 5C – which sold 9 million units in its opening weekend – is not the biggest news.

It seems from many reports that the other new offering from Apple, the revamped, redesigned, and rethought, iOS7 is stealing the limelight from the new handsets. The reason? It is draining the newly boosted battery faster than the previous OS.

Many people have suddenly experienced a rapid battery drain on their iPhone 5 phones after the iOS 7 update. Not only is this limited to older generations, but the same thing has been found to happen to the iPhone 5c (which has virtually the same internals as the iPhone 5). The iPhone 5s has not developed such a problem though.

The routine is mostly the same. The iPhone 5 would be at 70+ percent charge in the evening and the battery will be completely flat in the morning. This is for iPhone 5 units bought at different times from different places and the iPhone 5c review unit (in the middle of our battery test too, so we have to repeat it now). The worst case has to be when an iPhone 5 battery was getting drained while the phone was hooked up to a charger.

There have been many instances of then the phone would be caught at around 10% of battery life left, but felt very hot to the touch as if the CPU was working very hard, or for a prolonged period. One of the things that many people wish for when it comes to the new iOS 7 is that it would include Android’s extensive battery info – when an Android phone pulls the flat battery in the morning trick, it’s easy to see which app held the wakelock for hours, keeping the chipset from going to sleep.

While this does not seem to be a battery issue at all, it does seem rather strange that many who are on an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5C – which are practically identical – experience the same issue. It has not been reported that anyone running iOS7 on an older iPhone 4 or 4S have experienced any of the “battery drain” issues.

Batteries with the new iPhone 5S seem to be working alright.


Apple Boosts Their Battery Sizes for Upcoming iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C

iphone-5sThe soon to be released iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are going to be sporting more than just an updated OS and shiny new colors. The newest offering from Apple will be sporting a new “boosted” battery to give users longer usage.

The point of a long lasting battery has always been one of the gripes from Apple enthusiasts. While the devices themselves are very strong and robust, the battery life was always something to be desired. After prolonged use, it just seems like you could watch the battery meter go down. However, at the event held on Sept. 10th, Apple did mention something to do with the battery. But, they did not go that much into detail.

With some snooping through recent FCC filings we can see that perhaps there is going to be a little more juice under the iPhone hood. The last iPhone, the iPhone 5, included a 5.45 Whr, or 1440 mAh, battery. According to the FCC documents, the iPhone 5S will jump up to 5.96 Whr (or around 1570 mAh), while the iPhone 5C will increase to 5.73 Whr (around 1507 mAh). Of course, an FCC filing document could also be off–these aren’t publicly announced battery capacities from Apple–but the increase looks believable.

With these ratings, and what Apple did reveal at their media event, the newest iPhones yield up to 10 hours of 3G talk time (two more hours than iPhone 5), and 250 hours of standby. If this is true, then the iPhone 5S will definitely be king of the line.


In the above picture, (courtesy of MacRumors) we can see what the reported battery may look like. There is only way to be sure, and that is to wait until Friday to pick one up ourselves.


Hydrogen-Powered “Reactor” Offers Perhaps The Cleanest, Greenest Battery Power Yet

brunton hydrogen core

To be sure, there’s a lot of continued debate over the use of nuclear power in generating electricity. Whilst some people say that it is by far the “cleanest” form of power available — in that nuclear reactions don’t belch smoke — others say that the nuclear waste is a major problem in disposing of, and the possibility of a core meltdown is just too risky.

Fortunately for us, this new concept in battery power technology is not exactly “fission” or “fusion” — even though the name might suggest it. Continue reading ‘Hydrogen-Powered “Reactor” Offers Perhaps The Cleanest, Greenest Battery Power Yet’


Will Panasonic Bring LiON Rechargeable Batteries To The Sanyo Eneloop Brand?

Panasonic LiON rechargeable batteries

Sanyo Eneloop continues to be the clear quality and performance leader in NiMH rechargeable batteries. But with Panasonic continuing to push its industrial line of LiON rechargeable batteries, will the company eventually add LiON into the mix?

When you think LiON rechargeable batteries, what comes to mind are proprietary battery packs for electronic devices, such as laptop computers and mobile phones. However, LiON rechargeables are not relegated to being mere battery packs — the technology can also be developed into cylindrical battery forms that could fit just about any device.

Case in point: Panasonic’s industrial line of LiON rechargeable batteries. Continue reading ‘Will Panasonic Bring LiON Rechargeable Batteries To The Sanyo Eneloop Brand?’


Panasonic, Sanyo Fined $56 Million For Price Fixing; Sanyo Eneloop Not Involved In Scandal

Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries x 4 AA

Sanyo, and its parent company Panasonic, were recently fined over $56 million dollars by the U.S. Justice Department, along with  a smaller company called LG Chem Limited, which will pay $1.06 million. Both companies were involved in a battery price fixing scheme that was considered so serious that the U.S. DoJ’s fines and charges are criminal.

The battery cells in question were part of a larger issue of the companies price rigging a wide range of auto parts for Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas, and Mazdas between July of 1998 and 2010. Because the conspiracy was so deep-rooted and dominated the market for these components for so long, the charges brought forth were among the most serious ever seen levied in the battery sector. And it isn’t over: Panasonic/Sanyo executives could go to jail over the scandal.

Continue reading ‘Panasonic, Sanyo Fined $56 Million For Price Fixing; Sanyo Eneloop Not Involved In Scandal’


Electrocution In China Using Unauthorized iPhone Battery Charger Underscores Dangers

iphone battery charger

Here on the Electronics Warehouse blog, we’ve talked more than once about the dangers of cheap, unauthorized, or otherwise dodgy rechargeable battery products made in mainland China. Usually, we’ve reported on rechargeable battery brands that are known to catch fire, explore, or at best, underperform, such as BTY rechargeable batteries, or Ultrafire rechargeable batteries, which actually catch fire!

The biggest story to hit the news about dangerous battery products, however, came late last week, and this time, the story involved battery chargers.

Continue reading ‘Electrocution In China Using Unauthorized iPhone Battery Charger Underscores Dangers’

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