Battery Engineering Hack Chat Gets Charged Up

Turn the clock back a couple of decades, and the only time the average person would have given much thought to batteries was when the power would go out, and they suddenly needed to juice up their flashlight or portable radio.  But today, high-capacity batteries have become part and parcel to our increasingly digital lifestyle. In fact, there’s an excellent chance the device your reading this on is currently running on battery power, or at least, is capable of it.

So let’s get to know batteries better. What’s the chemical process that allows them to work? For that matter, what even is a battery in the first place?

It’s these questions, and more, that made up this week’s Battery Engineering Hack Chat with Dave Sopchak. Our last Hack Chat of 2022 ended up being one of the longest in recent memory, with the conversation starting over an hour before the scheduled kickoff and running another half hour beyond when emcee Dan Maloney officially made his closing remarks. Not bad for a topic that so often gets taken for granted.

Continue reading “Battery Engineering Hack Chat Gets Charged Up”

How Low-Power Can You Go?

[lasersaber] has a passion: low-power motors. In a bid to challenge himself and inspired by betavoltaic cells, he has 3D printed and built a small nuclear powered motor!

This photovoltaic battery uses fragile glass vials of tritium extracted from keychains and a small section of a solar panel to absorb the light, generating power. After experimenting with numerous designs, [lasersaber] went with a 3D printed pyramid that houses six coils and three magnets, encapsulated in a glass cloche and accompanied by a suitably ominous green glow.

Can you guess how much power and current are coursing through this thing? Guess again. Lower. Lower.

Under 200mV and 20nA!

Continue reading “How Low-Power Can You Go?”