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Thread: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perform?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* tobrien's Avatar
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    Default Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perform?

    so my little cousins were at my parents place recently... well more like last year, so time flies haha... anyways, my mom bought an Operation game for their visit prior to them coming and the thing uses TWO D-cell batteries (I'm 99% certain I recall they were D and not C).

    but that brings me to my question: why do all old toys (not just Operation) seem to use such large batteries? Was the AA standard not around or not that good back in the 60s through the 80s or early 90s perhaps?

    For example, I think for a simple light and buzzer game (like Operation), some AAs could easily do that. It can't be that high of a current requirement, right?
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    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Capacity, I think. D cells last longer. Maybe they leak less often, too.
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Hess trucks still use C batteries...
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say perhaps to deliver the required current more than for capacity. Remember that many toys back then had incandescent lights. Even a small lamp might pull an amp or more. I'm pretty sure AAs of the time couldn't handle that.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Unless they redesigned the operation game it uses incan bulbs that and the buzzer would eat up AA batteries pretty quickly. If they redesigned it to use LED lights and electronic based noises then AAs would be fine.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    I'm going to go out on a limb and say perhaps to deliver the required current more than for capacity. Remember that many toys back then had incandescent lights. Even a small lamp might pull an amp or more. I'm pretty sure AAs of the time couldn't handle that.
    I doubt any normal incan lamp pulls close to an amp, more like 250-500ma, that being said you could get 3-4 hours of play out of AAs at 500ma. C and D cells at that level of current draw tend to have a lot higher capacity for the money. I think bigger batteries are so the kids don't constantly bug parents for batteries 2-3 times a day.
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    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    I agree with jtr, the AAs of the time probably just couldn't handle it.

    As a little kid in the 50s I really don't recall much use of anything but Cs andDs.

    They were so crappy compared to the choices we have today. Cells I remember from the fifties basically fell into two categories: Dead and Nearly Dead.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Launch Mini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    We bought my niece the New Operation game for Xmas. Sucker took 4 AAA batteries that they killed before they left our house.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Also back in the old days before the 1960's, the high powered alkaline battery wasn't the standard. A lot of people wonder why "Heavy Duty" batteries are exactly not that, well not anymore. But back in the day you needed much larger batteries to deliver a smaller amount of current because battery technology was primitive compared to today's standards. That's why flashlights were called flash-lights. You could only use them for short bursts, flashes if you will, because the batteries simply could not sustain continuous high current drain, and back then the 250 mA drain of toys was a high drain. So to factor in a safety margin for the toys, in case people used standard duty batteries which were positively pathetic, they put batteries larger than really necessary. So now put alkaline D's in old toys and they seem to run forever.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    As an additional bonus, D batteries are harder to swallow.

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    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowjk View Post
    As an additional bonus, D batteries are harder to swallow.
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  12. #12
    Thread Killer Illum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    D cells have more capacity, meaning its voltage drop under load is less apparent than its smaller brothers. Toys [and flashlights], unless designed for ultraportability, would consider the concept of minimizing the downtime of the product. That is, minimizing the need to replace batteries and for the performance of the device to remain relatively consistent regardless of the cell's remaining capacity. When selecting the largest consumer familiar battery type, D cells are the most commonly found and largest of the type.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    I think it is because AA's are much more common these days

  14. #14

    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Quote Originally Posted by AnAppleSnail View Post
    Ah! You must be a parent first and a flashaholic second. We should have thought of this sooner...
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Why do old toys use such large batteries relative to what function the toys perfo

    Quote Originally Posted by entercpf View Post
    Think about it, Eneloop Chocolate tones...even adults would think of eating it
    just don't buy your kid large licorice that is the same color as your batteries
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