It’s not on Kickstarter yet, but this product is already making its media debut, with features in all the tech blogs, an astonishing amount of print outlets, and spouted from the gaping maws of easily impressed rubes the world over. What is it? It’s the Batteriser, a tiny metal contraption that clips over AA, C, and D cells that reclaims the power trapped inside every dead battery. Yes, every dead battery you’ve ever thrown away still has up to 80% of its power remaining. Sounds like complete hogwash, right? That’s because it is.
[Dave Jones] put together a great video on the how comes and why nots of the Batteriser, and while doing so gives a great tutorial for debunking a product, heavily inspired by [Carl Sagan]’s Baloney Detection Kit. The real debunking starts by verifying any assumptions, and the biggest fault of the Batteriser campaign is claiming 80% of a battery’s power is unused. Lucky for us, [Dave] has tons of tools and graphs to demonstrate this is not the case.
To verify the assumption that battery-powered devices will brown out after using only 20% of a battery’s available power, [Dave] does the most logical thing and looks at the data sheets for a battery. After using 20% of available power, these datasheets claim these batteries should be around 1.3V. Do devices brown out at 1.3V? Hook it up to a programmable power supply and find out.
It turns out every battery-powered device [Dave] could find worked perfectly until around 1.1V. Yes, that’s only 0.3V difference from 1.4V claimed by the patent for the Batteriser, but because of the battery discharge curve, that means 80% of the power in a normal device is already being used up. The premise of the Batteriser is invalid, and [Dave] demonstrates it’s a complete scam.
If a through debunking of the Batteriser’s claims wasn’t enough, [Dave] goes on to explain how it may actually be dangerous. The positive terminal of a battery is also the metal can, while the negative terminal is just a tiny nib of metal seperated from the rest of the battery by a gasket. Since the Batteriser is made of metal and serves as the ground for the boost converter circuit, it’s very, very close to shorting through the branding and logo emblazoned on a mylar wrapping each battery is shrouded with. One tiny nick in this insulator, and you have a direct short across the battery. That’s going to turn to heat, and there’s a lot of energy in a D cell; a failure mode for the Batteriser is a fire. That’s just terrible product design.
144 thoughts on “Crowdfunding Follies: Debunking The Batteriser”
Also another thing not noted here is that overdischarging batteries can cause them to leak because they corrode beyond their rated limits. Money saving and environmental friendliness ends when your device ends up ruined by leaked battery juice.
I can confirm this… Found a quite discharged battery in some forgotten electronic thing and thougt “It is possible to achieve 0.0V? Let’s try!”. While being discharged (resistor) the battery got bubbles on the outside, maked scary noises (i thougt it will explode!!) and leaked some chemical, according to Wikipedia it’s potassium hydroxide solution. I touched it really short time before washing my hands but it was enough to attack my skin a little… Quite dangerous!
(Sorry for bad English.)
Very informative, thanks! I hope you performed your experiment safely. :-p
For the record, recharging them, tho it works great the first few cycles, causes them to leak too.
There is no disagreement that battery voltage can be stepped up, but the debunking argument is that most devices work fine down to 1.1v, which is very near being totally drained. What if instead of trying to step up the voltage to an unnecessary level, you intentionally stepped it down to say, 1.2 volts. Could you get more power out of your battery by drawing a lower voltage over a longer period of time?
No, you need basic physics lesson. Power is Voltage x Current. The lower voltage, the higher current is required for the device to keep the same amount of Power.
Example: The same bulb 50W can be 220V and 0.23A in uk or 110V and 0.45A in US or 12V and 4.2 Amps (car bulb).
Also the lower voltage the higher power loses due to the wires and elements resistance. This is why electricity is transferred for long distances in high voltage and transformed near the buildings..
Well, semiconductors dont obey the v=ir law. You can definitely make a computer chip use less power by putting less voltage into it. Just ask any overclocker.
…what? But less voltage leading to less power _is_ obeying V=IR.
Sure – up to a point though. Beyond that the thing no longer function.
Besides, undervolting is the art of lowering the voltage in a controlled manner – often with reduced performance, i.e. nothing like a rapidly draining alkaline cell. And you have to live with the inherent instability of undervolting.
That’s a different thing really. The thing that computer chips deal in is transitions. Chips primarily consume power when a bit transitions between 0 and 1 or back, mainly because they’re overcoming capacitance and inductance to try to flip that bit. The lower the voltage, the smaller the heat wastage during a bit flip. That’s why chips now run on a fraction of a volt instead of the old 5v, then 3.3, then 1.8, etc. The downside is that as the difference between a 0 and 1 decreases, the more complex it gets to make a gate that can tell the difference.
They ARE still obeying the v=ir law – you can no more avoid that than you can avoid thermodynamics. However you’re measuring the wrong thing.
If you take a light bulb and cut the power to it by half, it still glows, and if all you care about is whether someone can tell if it’s on or off, it’s still good enough, but you’re not violating v=ir.
Perhaps he meant in the linear Ohm’s Law sense. But that still doesn’t make sense, in that linear or not, lower voltage equals lower current. Just not linearly.
It’s not a matter of Ohm’s law. As the battery voltage falls, the power output of your device falls. So your battery-powered radio gets quieter, or your torch gets dimmer. Devices that have internal voltage converters won’t suffer from this, but then yes, they’ll draw more current to make up for the falling voltage.
Re Tim’s comment, there’s so much bullshit and half-understood stuff spread by overclockers and people who are capable of putting PCs together, but don’t actually understand electronics. They’re a bad thing to learn from, for anything outside the specific area of PC hotrodding.
Nock some sense into those PC hackers!
no, not more power, not even more energy, but in devices that use more power when operated at higher voltage (eg: filament flashlights) you could get a longer run-time at the cost of reduced power (ie reduced brightness)
Batteriser actually turns out to be safe and effective after doing further research on them. The Batteriser team did a Q and A to respond to all the skepticism. I also did research and there are no electronic devices on the market with similar built in technology. Start Up Dope published an article with the Q and A today, itanswered / my questions. The Batteriser turns out to be effective after all… http://startupdope.com/the-batteriser-hype/
Okay, Dave P reposted the same comment about 8 times in this thread. I trashed all but the earliest one.
In addition, I will only point out the first few words from his link:
The Batteriser Hype
by Guest Post – Jul 1, 2015
Any conflicts of interest you ‘d like to declare?
Oh look there is a Batteriser representative here, maybe you can answer this question:
Would devices powered up using the batteriser lose ability to report the remaining battery level? In fact, you do not need to answer that. OF COURSE THEY WOULD. The batteriser will raise that voltage up until the current in the battery gets so low that cannot power the device anymore, at that point the device will simply die without any warning. The battery usage display will also remain at 100% all the time until the device dies.
I do not doubt the people behind batteriser will succeed selling their product, most people will use their stuff without even realizing that the batteriser is in fact reducing their battery life – why? because the batteriser itself also needs to be powered and that energy does not come from anywhere else other than he battery. There surely will be lots of people complaining that they lost ability to monitor their battery level and there is nothing the batteriser people can do about that because this limitation is intrinsic to their product. This product will be useful for a very small niche of applications but with the increasing democratization of switching power supplies and regulators, that niche is getting really small. Heck, my bluetooth keyboard works for an entire year with just 2 AA alkaline batteries!
Yes, since we obviously have a rep from Batteriser here, perhaps you could explain the massive numbers of downvotes on videos critical of the Batteriser. I mean the ones that show up all in one day, all from Vietnam.
“There are no electronic devices on the market with similar built-in technology” WHAT? Only, like, thousands of them. Heck I regularly use a dirt cheap (I pay about 75 cents each in 10 quantity) switching boost converter in my projects, allowing me to run 5V circuitry from a AA cell all the way down to about 0.6 volts. This circuitry is AMAZINGLY common. ANY device that runs off a single AA cell has a boost converter in it and they will all run until the battery is nearly exhausted. They mainly have a DELIBERATE cutoff in them to keep from causing damage to the cell that would result in the cell leaking and damaging the device. They could remove this cutoff and do exactly what Batterizer does – if they wanted to engage in dodgy engineering and make a potentially dangerous device, or one that destroyed itself by having battery juice leak all over the inside of it.
I work in the medical industry, repair and maintenance of patient monitoring devices, life support devices etc, and the batteriser scares the living crap outa me, nearly every device driven by AA battery’s in a medical situation they range from pain management pumps, to small insulin pumps, even external pacemakers (used before the implantable one goes in) and EVERY one of these devices have a low battery alarm that will be circumvented by the batteriser, I can just see someone’s family member going in for a pacemaker and then the batteries in the external just cut out with no low alarm. or because they are a boost converter, they over drive a dug pump and someone is dead in recovery from an OD (all this is unconfirmed at the moment, but that is my main concern)
It’s handy to have folks like Dave Jones out there looking out for the rest of us. I just hope that the ridiculous media hype around this particular product doesn’t override the common sense of the general public… Oh, right. What common sense.
Those were the days … when common sense was … well common.
I’m not sure I’ve ever lived those days. When do you think they occurred?
I always wonder if things have always been this way and we just put glittering golden memories in place of our actual historic memories.
Sadly, you are probably right, Mike.
However, it’s nice to imagine that people weren’t always so stupid.
Roughly half of the world population has a below average IQ. And that’s a pretty low bar
@ Mark: Exactly half. It’s a normal distribution, and tests assign a z-score, not a number.
@Brian: A quantized normal distribution will have a bunch of people at the mean/median/mode (which should all be the same if the distribution is forced normal), so some of the half you’re referring to are going to be in the median slot, not actually below it. How big a percentage difference that ends up being, I forget. It’s been a while since Stats 101.
@Erin: Yeah, there’s going to be a whole bunch of people who have an IQ of exactly 100, but again, the tests don’t give a number. It’s a z-score that goes to at least the hundredths place.
I honestly can’t wrap my head around the George Carlin quote, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” when it comes to IQ tests and z-scores. Since the tests measure standard deviations from the mean, so it’s like the score is backwards. What we really need is some psych person to assess the Carlin quote on the basis of stats and theory.
well, when you life was simpler common sense applied. Common sense does not apply to complex problems as easily – which is why they had God for all that. Now we have science, math, statistics etc. Well beyond the common sense of professionals in many cases. So here we are…. we definitely need snopes and such sites to be integrated into life as easily as reality TV and all the other crap. Once people believe something it’s tough to change their mind – such as with GMO’s, Virus’s or Ethnicity/DNA….
They were in the days when you had to complete grade 10 with at least enough skill to start in a trade or go onto senior. Then you at least could tell enough to know when things where safe to use what a car can’t do like swim!
In the days when parents were responsible for children without expecting the world to be sanitised for their children’s safety and people assessed the consequences of decisions and erred on the side of safety when the consequences were great because suing someone from your hospital bed isn’t going to give you your legs back.
When people knew that a ‘right’ was something you could fight for if you weren’t dead because you assumed a ‘right’ like right of way on the road.
Maybe it’s was just a local thing that comes from living on a country where children get eaten by crocodiles on the way to school, spiders are so large they eat snakes, a lizard can rip your intestines out, snakes are so verminous that you wont make it to an antivenin. Basically, if it’s an animal or insect and it can’t kill you then it’s been culled out.
This man is talking about Australia.
So, it is common sense that allows them to survive or common sense that tells them to move someplace safer?
I’ve had many a beer with an Aussie and some are my mates but I have never come to the conclusion that common sense runs strong in that country!
LOL, It’s Darwin Theory around here.
About the time when they had to start putting signs at the edge of cliffs stating that it might be dangerous taking one step further. Or signs saying that wet floors are slipery.
Or when people had to have their car pulled out of a creek because the GPS said …
Ah, that occurred before the rise of modern medicine where what are now trivial events were potentially fatal leading to common sense being a requirement for continued existence.
Common sense has never been common. Mundane stupidity doesn’t get remembered because it’s…mundane. If you go back to primary sources, common sense has always been at least as rare as it is now.
My suggestion is that everyone take the money they were going to waste on crowdfunding and Internet of Things and use the money to locally help someone you know is having a tough time. You can always waste money and poison the landfill next year. My ventures of Amwayzon and Johncoin support this in the form of not existing to steal people’s money. Give it a try, you may enjoy it. +10 life points for helping someone and NOT blogging about it.
+10 charisma for helping AND spreading the word. It’s good to hear from people doing good. It does not change the world, but it changes you if you do it.
The product description says “Uses no chemicals.” Umm…..
On the AA batteries I just looked at, the metal can is marked negative and the little nib is marked positive.
That’s probably a Zinc-Carbon battery, where the negative electrode is a zinc can and the positive electrode is a carbon rod ( https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Zincbattery_%281%29.png ). Alkalines have a manganese oxide cathode (positive terminal) which is bonded to the metal can, and a zinc anode (negative terminal) like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/04/Alkaline-battery-english.svg/800px-Alkaline-battery-english.svg.png
That doesn’t mean that this is true of all batteries. If this thing causes fires with even a small percentage of batteries, it is a terrible product.
Depends on the cell type. that is the case for nimh and dirty old carbon zinc “heavy duty” ones, but alkalines have the can as positive and the cap is on the negative end.
Doesn’t matter which is positive and which is negative. This thing could short it out either way if there is an imperfection in the battery. The problem is all cells in the aa, aaa, c, and d have very little insulation between the two poles. Google prison lighter.
Ugh. Unverified tech journalism is an infoplague these days. Thank you Hackaday and Dave Jones for being sane voices in the fray.
> Unverified tech journalism is an infoplague these days.
Get to the root of the problem. It used to be that weird niches were reported on by… guess what… niche publications. That’s why there used to be thousands and thousands of different magazines on topics you didn’t even know existed. Somehow or another, tech itself became mainstream, and the latest bauble people throw their wallets at is what gets reported on.
It’s not that tech journalism is horrible, it’s that it doesn’t exist. Everybody who picked up the Batteriser was a general audience publication, reporting on tech. It’s the difference between trade journalism and journalism, and there actually aren’t many people doing tech trade journalism. Techcrunch is doing startup journalism, Wired is doing journalism on what you can put up your nose, but there really isn’t much tech journalism out there.
I guess my beef is with the language they use. Everything is being reported as truth. Rarely do I see language like “alleged” or “claimed.” At least with that kind of writing the audience is prompted to detect bias.
As a person who was up until recently a journalism student, I feel that journalism in general is seriously struggling. A lot of what I read looks more like a press release than critical journalism now. I don’t know if it was like that prior to the last decade but I am only 26, I am not meant to be cynical yet! The cost cutting of dedicated news desks and a perceived demand for 24 hour coverage of EVERYTHING just muddies the water and creates needless noise.
> As a person who was up until recently a journalism student
Good for you.
> I am not meant to be cynical yet!
Give it time.
>The cost cutting of dedicated news desks and a perceived demand for 24 hour coverage…
That’s not the problem. The problem is with the consumers of media. Everyone says Buzzfeed is terrible, clickbait, and a pox on the Internet, but they’re actually extremely profitable. Consumers cannot or do not take responsibility for their consumption, and there are case studies that prove this.
The media isn’t going to give you what you say you want; the media is going to give you what you actually want, and a failure of media is a failure of consumers to take responsibility for their choices.
With the internet, nothing is niche. It’s all there, available to all in a flat model thanks to Google. Unfortunately, the whole world is now in a state of permanent september…
The last I saw the “Doomsday Clock” ( think that’s what it’s called; look it up on Goo…, er, DuckDuckGo), we were at four minutes to oblivion.
I guess he means Eternal September.
Does Dr. Kiumars Parvin have seen this video?
This is a variation on the old Joule Thief, and the new joule thief. The old one uses a flyback coil that is interrupted 20,000 or so times per second. As it starts a current runs through the coil to ground. This then magnetizes the coil = stored energy.
The battery is then disconnected and the field collapses, the stored energy can not go back to the battery, so it enters the load. Since an inductive field collapse forces the continuation of current flow, which forces the voltage to rise to the point the load will accept by starting to operate (= normal operation draws current).
Now a battery is built with a known amount of Zinc and Manganese, with less manganese than zinc so at the end the zinc container will stay together when the manganese runs out. With too much manganese the cell will eat out all the zinc container and fill the equipment with battery electrolyte = damaged equipment.
As these operate, they produce a steady 1.5 volts. As it runs out, there are local shortages = less voltage = higher internal resistance.
So no batteriser will make 800% more milliampere hours. What it can do is extend the battery life, AT VERY LOW CURRENT, for a lot longer.
The break in described is a fake set up by the owner of the batterizer. Battery makers can easily make cells last longer = more manganese and more zinc = more money for the cells. Whey do you thing cheap chinese batteries do not last long and corrode – less zinc and less manganese = thinner walls that corrode sooner.
The new joule thief charges 4 capacitors from the battery in parallel. It then disconnects the 4 capacitors and re-connects them in series. It uses fet switches to do this with a controller that controls the connection times to give 1.5 volts out. At first, when the voltage is 1.3 volts, it draws less, and can make 1.5 volts all the way down to 0.375 volts. fets, when on have near zero volttage drop
Hi Bill, Just a quick question. You use the term ‘Flyback’ and I am interested to know what this term means and if it is commonly used. Where I am the only time this term is used if for ‘Flyback Transformer’ and this term specificity relates to the line output transformer (LOPT) in old glass tube screens. This tern is not used here for anything else. So I guess I am asking – what specificly about a transformer makes it a flyback transformer and what’s the reason for the name ‘Flyback’?
When they refer to flyback, it refers to how the transformer is driven. As the name implies, transformers in televions are usually driven in a flyback topology. For comparison, other common driving methods can be seen here.
OK, I think I have this sorted.
What is called a flyback transformer here in my country is specificity the line output transformer (LOPT) of an old glass tube TV.
What you (I assume America) call a flyback is any transformer that dumps primary current to magnet flux and then separately dumps the magnetic flux to the secondary load in such a way that the secondary is *not* loaded while the primary is driven.
We call the above a Buck-Boost transformer where you reserve the term Buck-Boost for a specific type of circuit that uses an inductor rather than a transformer.
Straightly speaking, it is not a flyback topology. It is a non-isolated boost converter which happens to use a secondary coil for the oscillator.
Actually based on the curve I have posted below, it would do poorly for a light load. It is probably best when your load is moderate where the regulator is near its peak efficiency and not drawing more current than than the battery could delivery. (i.e. if your power supply impedance is smaller than the battery internal resistance.)
These days high tech battery operated electronics if they are designed with battery life in mind. If they could get more battery life with a boost converter, they would have one already. Most them them are using Li-ion anyways.
I was hoping someone would mention the Joule Thief. The idea that only 20% of the battery has been used at the time that equipment drops out sounded pretty suspect to me but I thought there was some potentially usable energy in those ‘dead’ batteries because I remember the Joule Thief.
Of course that doesn’t say anything about the fact that it only works at low amperages and that it increases the likelihood of a leaky battery.
The Joule Thief, by its nature, is only capable of producing periodic pulses, not a continuous output. It’s only related to the batteriser insofar as both of them are boost converters.
FYI: the patent document you linked to is for a published patent application, not an actual patent. The published application hasn’t gone through any kind of review; inventors can put anything they want into the application. My guess is when the USPTO actually does pick this up for examination, they’ll reach the same conclusion [Dave Jones] did: “You guys are full of shit.”
The question is, what numbskull at the patent office didn’t recognize this as a joule thief and not grant a patent for lack of novelty? The responsible party is about as foolish as the creator.
Oh thank Odin, STH answered this before I hit the post button.
The patent isn’t on the circuit, it’s on the assembly/packaging of said circuit. As noted in their publication and application.
A simple Design patent and not the more coveted Utility patent
Quote: “The positive terminal of a battery is also the metal can, while the negative terminal is just a tiny nib of metal seperated from the rest of the battery by a gasket”.
Back to front. The metal can is negative and the nib is positive for the common sizes like AA, AAA, C, D etc.
Button cells and the like are the other way around.
True for a zinc-maganese (“heavy duty”) battery but an alkaline battery has the metal can as positive, just try peeling off the plastic and see.
Which ever way, the end with the bump is positive, flat end is negative. Dunno why that’s reversed for button and coin cells.
Probably because button cells are alkaline or silver oxide.
No, it’s not, go measure it. I tested Energizer, Duracell, Maxell, and Varta AA’s and all of them have positive metal cans.
This is like the skit based on the story of a poor scholar who could afford candles, so he studies at night from the light of fireflies.
“It is great that you study hard at night, but what do you do all day?”
“I was collecting the fireflies…”
The circuit is active all the time and cannot be a 100% efficient, so it chews up juice at all times. Let’s be generous that it consume close to zero quiescent current when your electronic device is off.
When the battery is running low, its internal resistance increases quite a lot. Since a boost converter actually try to delivery a constant voltage output, essentially it’ll need to delivery constant power. At low voltage, it has to draw more current to maintain constant power output.
Energizer has detail datasheets for their alkaline battery. Look under the curves “Constant Power Performance” to see how much more battery life you can get from 0.9V vs 1.2V. To use the graph, draw a vertical line where the X axis is your power consumption. The intersection points of that vertical line and the 1.2V and 0.9V curve are the respective battery life.
Now also take a look at the voltage discharge curve at how sharply the battery voltage drops under 0.8V. Essentially they are telling you at 250mW, there is no difference in battery life whether you are draw down to 0.8V or 0.9V.
At no point, the battery life shows 800% difference. You might get slight 130% more depending on your load. Heavier loads gets a bit more. Now that’s without taken the efficiency of the boost converter which tends to get less efficient as you draw more load. The PMOS/NMOS have horrible r(on) when you only have 1.5V or so vgs to work with.
I have work with switch mode power supply a bit to say this: (ref: my Hackaday.io projects)
The simple Joule Thief circuits are crap when you compare them to chip based designs as they do not have good inductor current control or use more efficiency PFM during low load. Further more, they use bipolar transistor that have high saturated voltage.
Good summary. Joule thief type circuits are indeed not great for this kind of application in general, and they also tend to get worse and worse as the size of the inductor is shrunk – so I think we’re all being very generous with how good their tiny device will be :)
Reminds me a bit of this scam: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shawnpwest/30-second-charging-rechargeable-battery
Read the backer comments to see the eventual outcome of this one.
This isn’t a capacitor manufacturer selling me their prototype. This is a capacitor manufacturer, making MY prototype. I made the graphene and they built the capacitor. Need details? Online you’ll find people who are making graphene in their blender. I use a ball mill with 6, 1/4″ ceramic balls, running for a week. Then the graphene is placed on a film that is electrostatically neutral and the graphene is give time to dry, in which I’m left with very long chains of carbon nano tubes”
Yah this guy was full of it, you dont get CNT’s from ground up graphite, you dont even get graphene. Just using buzzwords to swindle hipsters, eh I digress
I love it how they talk about suing the developer. Take responsibility for your own actions backers!
Kickstarter is just that, crowd investment. It carries the same risk that comes from any form of investment. If you don’t have the foresight to see something is infeasible, don’t back it or wear the consequence. Don’t blame the developer.
I almost hope the batteriser is successfully funded, just to see the backlash afterwards. “The damn thing wears out mah batteries faster dang nammit!”
There’s a big difference between fraud and an inability to deliver. Kickstarter is risky, but it’s not a license to defraud your customers with no consequences.
I just can’t call kickstarters an “investment”. It’s pre-purchasing at best, unless the developer is selling a portion of their company, it’s not a true investment.
Why did you bother writing something that seems so full of misdirection and strange logic?
1) Investors sue all the time if they are DEFRAUDED
2) As others said, its not a investment in a corporation – it is a pre-order. For unestablished companies it also acts as “an investment” – but really we start to strain the semantics of these words and their meanings.
3) As others noted, there is no excuse for stealing. It is not only a crime, but it is repugnant to blatantly take advantage of people who are willing to take a risk to support a company by (effectively) pre-ordering a product and assuming SOME RISK..
This is really just scratching the surface of what is wrong with your statements.
How little empathy do you have? You sound scary.
The other issue I have with this is that most devices have multiple cells in them. So that means the inefficiency of all those boost converters idling is greater since you have more of them running.
A single boost converter sized to go into something that takes 2/3/4 AA cells and powers it off fewer cells – that would be a useful product. This however. Well despite the not working on most devices problem, you are getting many times more points of failure.
I dont think most devices will have additional space at the end of the cell for this to fit in, and if it does you will be over compressing the negative spring making it not fit a bare cell properly in the future. Im certainly not risking mangling up the battery sockets of my things to get a little bit more life out of cells that cost under a dollar each.
“So that means the inefficiency of all those boost converters idling is greater since you have more of them running.”
Er, well, no. If it’s 90% efficient, and you have three of them, it’s still… 90% efficient.
er, well, no, if it really was 90% then you’d be right, but there’s nothing such as a fixed percentage efficiency, efficiency vary with the load and you can generally achive more efficiency with a single, more powerfull converter, than three lower power ones… through there is no fixed rules.
I use boost converters in circuits when I want to power something that has low drain from a single AA rechargeable instead of 2 or more. I don’t usually care too much about extending life as the shelf life of the NiMH battery is not that great in the first place. I absolutely hate circuits on the web that use the crappy 9V.
The problem with the external regulated boost circuit (vs integrated into the device) besides mechanical issues is that there is no low battery warning. When it is out, then you are SOL.
lol, equipment stopping to work at 1.4V? should we remember them that NICD and NIMH have a 1.2V nominal voltage… while a minority of the equipment have problem running at 1.2V most of the device operate just perfectly using these…
I have yet to find a thing that does not like my nimh since I started using them (when “gen2” showed up some years a ago with the self discharge problem greatly improved). I think it safe to assume that they are either full of it and/or mixed up the word “many” with “a very few” and “usually” with “very rarely”. Especially when they use well known products as on their homepage, like the apple wireless keyboard. I don’t have one, but a quick google shows that apple themselves sells nihm and charger as assessor for those keyboards, it’s not like they would do that if their keyboards cut well above 1.2V :).
A nice done study on the remaining charge of batteries taken from recycling boxes in Switzerland.
They had me at the claim “most batteries contain 1.5V of energy” Interesting they got a patent on this. Sad state of things…
Now, just to be fair, the person who wrote the marketing wank is likely not the same person who wrote the patent.
Be glad about so many people being easily fooled by this (and this one may actually be marginally useful, unlike most contraptions using magnets and magic smoke). It means that even basic electronics and some napkin physics is still a rare skill-set in 2015, which means more work for most of the hackaday crowd.
Loved watching Dave rant about this, so satisfying.
This becomes a problem for all of us. The general population seems incapable of detecting BS. See the crap about solar roadways and that solar bike path.
“Al Jazeera reports SolaRoad’s 70-meter test track near the town of Krommenie outside Amsterdam has generated over 3,000 kilowatt-hours over its first six months of operation, or “enough to provide a single-person household with electricity for a year.” That translates to 70 kwh per square meter of solar road per year, which the designers predicted as an “upper limit” during the planning process.”
If you use batteries in digital temperature sensors until the LCD is too dim to read, you should watch the temperature jump when the battery is replaced :-)
“One tiny nick in this insulator, and you have a direct short across the battery. That’s going to turn to heat, and there’s a lot of energy in a D cell; a failure mode for the Batteriser is a fire”
especially with lithium batteries
So now I’m curious. The batteriser is a… let’s just say a great idea. Somewhat functional, definitely better than nothing, but nowhere near its claims.
So why aren’t things like this built into rechargeable batteries? They’ve already got some circuitry in there (which eats up cell space, and therefore delivers a lower voltage), so IMO they’d be a perfect candidate to have a little boost converter built-in… right?
Because you don’t know what your operational characteristics will be when you design the battery. What peak current should you design for? Higher current will take up more space, but if you design for lower current, you’ll limit your battery’s applications. What if the battery is going to drive something that doesn’t care much about voltage, such as a PWM motor driver? Then you just wasted 10-15% of your power.
> So why aren’t things like this built into rechargeable batteries?
The question you should be asking is why this circuit isn’t built in to products. The answer to that is, ‘it is.’
Funny, that’s exactly what I was thinking. I’ve used boost converters to drive 5V microcontroller projects off of a AA, and they work great (because low current) and drive the batteries down just like the “batteriser” would.
But I haven’t seen commercial devices with boosts inside. What type of products are you thinking about?
Building a boost in could be a total win for low current devices, but it’s not in the interest of the electronic device manufacturer — I’m the sucker buying the batteries.
Because current low cost tech to build electronics can do 1…1.2V CPUs/Micros. If you need to throw in a radio or something, you need close to 2V, so 2 cells are better. A linear regulator to drop from battery to required is the cheapest solution and it is also pretty efficient.
Weight, size, battery life are important things consumers look at too.
Who in their right mind would buy a MP3 player that uses 4xAA or even a 9V battery vs one that have a boost converter and needs a single AAA or AA?
It’s rechargable lithiums that have circuits built-in. And they really don’t enjoy being over discharged, in fact one reason for the circuit is to cut the power before they’re over discharged. So a circuit designed to run them into the ground would be the opposite of what they’re after.
“They’ve already got some circuitry in there ”
No, they don’t. (At least if you’re talking about AA cells.) NiCad & NiMH rechargeable cells have a lower voltage because they use a different chemistry to alkalines, etc.
Apart from the crap,No-one seems to have noticed it’s the SLEEVE of a battery which is negative,the tip being positive.Even the author is clueless..
Really? Because you can just look at a damn battery and see if the sleeve is positive or not.
But keep arguing that point. Evidence in the contrary never stopped anyone…
Have you actually measured it? I did. Energizer, Duracell, Varta, and Maxell AA’s all have positive cases.
I noticed when I drank some beer yesterday after I had finished the beer 80 percent of the glass was still wet. So most of the beer must still be there. I think beer companies and venues are ripping us off. But I know better. I use the slurp-o-matic. By slurping into your beer glass you can recover this 80 percent of beer. You can verify this by measuring the height of the whetted part of the glass from the table. I mean I started with 6 inches of beer and even though no beer was coming out, I know there’s still around 5 inches of beer based on my measurement.
Also version 2 of the product is called bernerizer. You burn the battery and then a thermopile and jewel thief bring the voltage back up. Smells good. And I heard version 3 of the product is called cancer-o-matic…
Love this guy. Always have to say that I would love to see him revise his uWatch as-is or as an updated 2.0 version. A scientific calculator watch must exist! I would even help him with the kickstarter if he did it that way (for US customers)
Also, although he reckons that batteries start to brown out at 1.3 volts, rechargeable batteries peak at 1.2 volts and they work fine.
All the Information that the batteriser claims are TRUE. I had an opportunity to talk with physics scientist and they informed all the information that the batteriser claims are TRUE. This product is one of the best innovation.
Obvious troll is obvious…
more seriously talk with an electrical engineer, not a physics scientist…
I talked with few other engineers also, they say the product works as per the claims. These persons (engineers) have fully tested the products.
Then where are they? Name them. Point us to websites.
Funny cos I talked to some engineers, and a physics scientist, and they said this device is a scam, and that LAKSHMI on Hackaday was full of shit.
The Batteriser may improve battery life in a very narrow set of circumstances. That is the only thing that is true here. But you go have fun believing otherwise…
“All the Information that the batteriser claims are TRUE”
The 800% calim is untrue, so your statement is FALSE. Pretty easy to unprove if you frame it that way. They even teach that in high school math class.
800% claim is false, the way he claims that is ridiculous. 80% capacity left, that is also untrue. The two statements contradict each other.
Are you the person who is running this scam?
Nerd humor at 9:24
Punch 5318008 into your calculator & turn it upside down. What does that spell? BOOBIES
I have seen a handful of negative comments from so called “Engineers” around the web about this product. I would think that an Engineer would at least want to test the “actual product” before going on these tangents or reach out to the company for comment so we could all at least get a clearer understanding. But iI doubt Energizer or Duracell or whoever is behind this wanted that.
The battery companies -want- you to get the maximum out of their cells. Then you’ll buy their batteries.
Ridiculous. If someone uses bad science to try and sell me a product, I don’t need nor have the time to test every scam or poorly designed product that comes along. The crap about “steps” proving 800% is outright ridiculous. Energy capacity of a cell does not drop off as a linear function of voltage.
…have you got any conflicts of interest you’d care to declare, here?
There is no product to test, yet. There is only marketing materials for a crowdfunding campaign, which may or may not produce a product for sale at some point in the future.
But when a product’s marketing claims can be proven to be contradictory to the First Law of Thermodynamics, we don’t need to hold the product in our hands to discern that the First Law is more likely to be correct than the marketing materials.
And if the marketing materials are self-contradictory, that’s even more reason to disbelieve them.
The batteriser website claims their product will increase battery life by a factor of 8. It says the product will cut the total amount of battery waste in landfills by a factor of 8. The First Law guarantees that this product doesn’t create energy out of nothing, so the only way the claim could be true is if people are throwing away batteries while the batteries still have 87.5% of their capacity remaining. The batteriser website, on the other hand, says that batteries have 80% of their capacity remaining when they’re discarded. So the batteriser claims are self-contradictory. But even if you ignore the self-contradiction, a look at any battery discharge curve will reveal that either claim of 80% or 87.5% is baloney.
But let’s ignore the laws of physics and pretend they’re right about the 80% and 87.5% claims. Since by their own information, the only novel thing here is the packaging of the ordinary boost converter technology that has been around forever, why haven’t product makers incorporated that old technology into their products, and why haven’t battery makers incorporated it into their batteries? The major battery makers compete against one another, and would love to gain any advantage over their competition.
But even if you think the battery makers are all bonded together in one evil worldwide conglomerate that tries to keep batteries weak in order to boost sales (a theory absolutely contradicted by the way alkaline cell technology replaced zinc-carbon technology not long ago), why wouldn’t every device manufacturer put this technology into their devices? Wouldn’t flashlight makers love to sell flashlights that lasted eight times longer than the competition? How about the makers of any other battery operated devices in competitive markets? Do you think every single one of them wants to give up the opportunity for an 8x advantage in battery life?
In reality, boost converters are already used in those products where they provide a significant advantage.
There are a few very well know website that does battery testing of all brands. Send them the samples and let them do an independent testing. If you want more formal testing, there are also labs that does all kind of consumer product testing.
Show actual test result instead of insulting people here.
One point he didn’t bring up is the wattage of the battery itself. If we use his research that a cell drops out at 1.1v then its lost 25% wattage no matter what’s done with it. Now assuming we use a 75% efficient up convert, then were left with 55% compared to a new cell’s wattage. So the converter will have to use more current in order to up convert the voltage, causing a accelerating cyclical cycle further depleting the cell at a faster rate, which regardless of the drop off point in a typical cell, this process will deplete a cell pretty fast. I imagine it would have the same results or close to the joule theif, which isn’t much. My guess with all the numbers done, a pre-charged nImh from sanyo (eneloop), best rechargables on the market in my opinion, are less than or close to $2.50 a cell, but would be easier, and more effective than one of these things, yet the same price.
That’s the problem with most “breakthroughs” these days, they first make the assumption that big corporations have stifled technology, when in reality, 90% of the time or more, the reason something is the way it is, is because it honestly is the best way to do it, for that application. People need to inovate in application, design, etc, not usually in mechanics.
Perfect example here http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/26/kill-the-cord/
I mean perfect example in another “advancement”. Another waste of time that could have been easily remedied by an understaning of logic, physics, and math.
As far as marketing hype goes, I was struck by the phrase repeated several times in the press releases: “taps into that 80% of unused battery capacity”. Precisely, exactly correct — the Batteriser “taps into” the battery’s unused capacity. Whether that unused capacity is actually 80% or 65% or 17.43% is somewhat debatable. What they aren’t saying is how much of that unused capacity the Batterizer can extract and make usable. (I’m not addressing the technical issues, just the hype.) If the Batteriser only utilizes 10% or 7% or 3% of a particular battery’s remaining capacity, well, they can nonetheless claim to have “tapped into” it, and their claim is still technically true. Misleading, incomplete, and slippery, but true. Superbly deployed hyperbole.
The Batteriser is perfectly capable of living up to its promise.
They refer to ‘up to 800% improvement’ in battery life.
So anything less than 8x is ok, and meets the proposition.
If you want to be righteous, do your due diligence, and take responsibility for your own decisions, not random offerings of others.
By that standard, a piece of metal, or a sticky label, would meet the requirements. Yes, a 0% improvement is “up to 800%”, but entirely misleading.
That’s the legal standard they’re will be held to. Their commercial benefit claim stands by that phrase. Welcome to the 21st century.
Will this device work? Yes. Will it work as advertised? Hell no. Specifically high amperage drain devices or devices that don’t have a “threshold” cutoff – this device is useless. Tricking MCU inside the keyboard that is programmed to notify “battery low” at a substantially higher voltage than required – well, that keyboard should have been designed smarter IMHO and not cut off at a 40% of the drain curve. If anything, manufacturers of digital electronics are probably working with battery manufacturers to force people to throw away batteries that aren’t mostly discharged while racking up the prices of the batteries. No wonder it’s a $4B+ industry in US alone. They want you buying batteries so thumbs up for sticking it to them. For low current digital electronics where this “cutoff” is present – oh yes, given this is a boost converter or whatever type is used, you’ll get some more life out of it – just don’t expect it to be linear.
I wouldn’t buy anything from this company, even if it worked, because now they even start threatening commenters:
I see they’ve skipped Kickstarter and are on IndieGoGo. Probably because IndieGoGo has a lower bar for entry.
And they’ve already made over 7 times their goal of $30k. Sad.
Dave is an idiot and you should wonder who is behind his support and finances. Duracell !!!!
You’ve said nothing. Insults and innuendo. How about you debunk the debunkers? How is Dave wrong? Come on, do the math.
Has anyone ever thought of a device that would drain “old” batteries into a capacitor like device (rechargeable battery) that could then be used ???
No, because by the time you have a rechargeable battery and a charger, why would you bother scavenging energy from almost-dead batteries?
Well, here it is, late June 2016 and this thing still hasn’t shipped. I wonder why…
I’ve done a real world test:
Watch the video, read the video description and judge for yourself.
It’s very easy to extend the life of alkaline battery
5-10 times just with simple recharging with a timer.
I do it regularly with alkalines for my wireless mic.
Yes, the transmitter shows dead battery at around 1.3 V
But it’s not if you simply get back the voltage.
I use slow charger (sanyo) and mechanical timer.
And a voltmeter of course.
I set the timer in 15 min intervals and charge 5-6
rounds. Then I check the voltage. At 1.7 volts it’s ready
to go. Then it drops to 1.6 V as a new battery.
That way I always start the show with a full battery.
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