Batteriser - Wonderful Alkaline Helper or This Weeks Smoke & Mirrors?

Ken_McE

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An electrical engineer by the name of Bob Roohparvar is coming out with what he states is an alkaline battery helper. It is a thin stainless sleeve that slips over the battery and put some circuitry between the battery and the load. He says it boosts voltage so the battery will work 8x longer in voltage sensitive devices.

I'm not quite sure if it should work as described or not. :confused:

http://comingsoon-tech.com/batteriser

http://www.macworld.com/article/292...e-battery-life-by-800-percent.html#tk.rss_all

Patent: https://www.google.com/patents/US20120121943
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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If a device absolutely requires 1.5v (or higher) to operate, then sure, I guess a boost circuit would help a lot to keep the device operating when the alkaline cell drops below 1.5v. Since an alkaline cell's voltage falls off close to linear between 1.6v and 1.0v, then most of the time the cell is below 1.5v.

But I would never buy a device that only worked on fresh alkaline cells. I use Eneloops for almost everything, and so my devices must work with 1.2v cells. In my case, such a gadget would be useless.
 

TinderBox (UK)

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My questions is i find battery`s are tight in an lot of devices especially nimh, so with this battery cover/booster will it still fit.

I would like to see the discharge curve and see how long it stays at 1.5v.

John.
 

RetroTechie

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There's a BOATLOAD of issues with this, and site makes several inaccurate claims:

  • If your device is designed for 1.5V batteries, but stops operating already at 1.3V, it is simply crap. Personally, I avoid buying crap. And in the rare chance I buy crap, I quickly tire of it and stop using that crap.
  • Perhaps some dumb people throw out batteries at 1.3V. But most people I know, have enough common sense to reuse batteries from high-drain devices in low-drain devices, until they're really depleted. Which makes that "80% remaining energy" claim irrelevant.
  • "80% remaining" vs. "last 8x longer". :duh2: Maybe they should ask their kids to double check the math. :D
  • Put a sleeve over the batteries (which makes it both longer & thicker), and it'll fit everywhere those batteries fit before. Yeah sure...
  • Voltage boosting isn't 100% efficient, so energy is wasted in the conversion.
  • DC-DC conversion is notoriously inefficient at the low voltages talked about here.
  • If voltage is boosted to 1.5V, that means device is running at 1.5V until battery is depleted. Meaning device likely draws more current vs. a situation where voltage is below 1.5V a good part of the total time until drained. Quite a few devices will draw less current at a lower voltage, operate fine until some minimal voltage, and thus be increasingly energy-efficient until that minimum voltage is hit.
  • In a 4-cell device, you'd put in 4x [battery + booster circuit from say, 1.1V -> 1.5V] ? 4x 1.1V bare cell + a single booster circuit from 4.4V -> 6V would be much more efficient. Best place for that booster circuit would be in the battery-using device itself. If done that way, you'd have a device operating down to 1.1V cell voltage. See point above about not buying crap.
  • Boost circuit will have some power drain if device is not used, similar to protection circuits on Li-ion cells. In a low-drain device, that could significantly shorten the batteries' lifespan.
  • "Making disposable batteries last longer, leading to less environmental waste". Okay 1st part of that sentence isn't a bad thing, but if 2nd part is the goal: rechargeable batteries? :laughing:

I could probably go on, but the above list is long enough for me to claim:

SNAKE OIL

Read: it'll be expensive... :D
 
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MidnightDistortions

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Yeah i'm not sure why anyone would bother with this, it seems better but does have some major flaws like being able to get it into the device you are trying to use it in but if you are trying to get more out of an alkaline cell you might as well go for rechargeables.
 

cland72

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This could be HUGE for your average consumer with average products. Think of a R/C car - it would keep the motor running at full speed, instead of being "direct driven" as the voltage drops.

A lot of users on this forum often tend to bad mouth stuff that isn't built/designed the way a flashaholic thinks it should. I look at it this way: if it could be used by millions of people to get more juice out of their alkalines, then perhaps it has a valid place in society. I know it isn't as good as Eneloops, and it may not fit in some devices, but think of how this could change things in third world countries that don't have reliable power grids, and people rely on AA batteries for nearly everything. This could be a game changer, from that perspective.

Also, EVERYONE loves the buck/boost driver on the Surefire L1 - this is basically the same thing.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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This could be HUGE for your average consumer with average products. Think of a R/C car - it would keep the motor running at full speed, instead of being "direct driven" as the voltage drops.

You're assuming that the battery could still provide the necessary current using this boost gadget.

If so, I'd be more interested in using it with NiMH cells instead of alkaline cells. That way, 1.2v rechargeables could be used in R/C stuff and provide the full 1.5v necessary for maximum power.

I'm skeptical it would be able to provide the necessary current.
 

MidnightDistortions

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Well that is where it would be better to go with rechargeables. That energy has to come from somewhere and the only source is the alkaline cell. If anything you'll probably only get a 5% boost from an alkaline cell but ultimately the voltage will only go down further due to the nature of alkaline technology. Would be far more effective using a NiMh cell that already provides excellent amps.
 

cland72

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You're assuming that the battery could still provide the necessary current using this boost gadget.

If so, I'd be more interested in using it with NiMH cells instead of alkaline cells. That way, 1.2v rechargeables could be used in R/C stuff and provide the full 1.5v necessary for maximum power.

I'm skeptical it would be able to provide the necessary current.

Valid point, but in low-draw devices this thing could work miracles.
 

RetroTechie

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If anything you'll probably only get a 5% boost from an alkaline cell but ultimately the voltage will only go down further due to the nature of alkaline technology.
The output voltage would be whatever this boost circuit puts it at. As the battery voltage drops, current draw from the battery increases to keep up with the power requirement, for as long as the battery is able to deliver that power. After which input and output voltage will both drop & it'll be lights out quickly.

But if you have a portable radio that stops working when its AA batteries hit 1.3V, then that portable radio is the problem not that 1.3V / cell. And fix is doing something with that radio, not doing something to the batteries you put in it. A properly designed device should drain AA batteries until they're in 0.9~1.1V range. At which point both alkalines and NiMH's are pretty much drained. Perhaps 1.1V if device depends on the higher voltage, or it wants to go easy on NiMH's where used. Perhaps even below 0.9V if it's not designed for NiMH's and can suck the last bits of juice from disposable batteries.
 

TinderBox (UK)

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Virtually everything works with rechargeable battery`s now, it`s eco friendly.

A bit off topic, In the UK, it is illegal to sell a vaculme cleaner over 1400watts, and in a couple of years that is going down to 700-800watts, so manufactures are forced to produce more efficient design`s rather than thowing more and more watts at it to improve the suction.

John
 

Timothybil

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One of the Laws of Thermodynamics says 'You can't get something for nothing!'. I can get reliable alkaline AA cells for roughly 25 cents if I buy 24 or 36 at a time. How much is this sleeve going to cost me? Is it something I can add or do I have to pay someone to add it? And if I have to buy it preinstalled, then how is it eco-friendly if I throw away (recycle) the circuit after a single use?

Besides, if it is really a low drain application, why not stick a cheap Carbon Zinc cell into it. Its about all they are good for anyway. While I was writing this I had a vision of the loud groan coming from my eight cell EA8 loaded with carbon zinc AAs when I click on the Turbo mode. Should be good for about ten seconds, then the light would probably implode and disappear forever!
 

MidnightDistortions

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The output voltage would be whatever this boost circuit puts it at. As the battery voltage drops, current draw from the battery increases to keep up with the power requirement, for as long as the battery is able to deliver that power. After which input and output voltage will both drop & it'll be lights out quickly.

But if you have a portable radio that stops working when its AA batteries hit 1.3V, then that portable radio is the problem not that 1.3V / cell. And fix is doing something with that radio, not doing something to the batteries you put in it. A properly designed device should drain AA batteries until they're in 0.9~1.1V range. At which point both alkalines and NiMH's are pretty much drained. Perhaps 1.1V if device depends on the higher voltage, or it wants to go easy on NiMH's where used. Perhaps even below 0.9V if it's not designed for NiMH's and can suck the last bits of juice from disposable batteries.

Well my question is how is the booster going to get more volts out of the cells? If you try to boost power from alkalines the voltage would be lower as most likely the booster would be taking additional power from the cells and then would drain the batteries quicker, doesnt really get "more" life out of them as I said too the most you'll probably get is an additional 5% out of them because alkalines lose voltage as they get depleted. They don't last long in high drain devices either in which case both NiMh and Li-ion cells can handle better.
 

uk_caver

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Valid point, but in low-draw devices this thing could work miracles.
What low-draw devices need voltage boosting?

A low-draw device more than anything should be designed to operate over most of an alkaline's usable voltage range, since even people who typically use rechargeable cells for most uses often put alkalines in such things.

I'd wonder about their claim to 'never lose a game again due to batteries' in game controller handsets.
The normal operation of a constant-voltage device would effectively defeat any battery monitoring a device did, and it's unclear how drastic the fall-off is at the end of cell life. Something which had a constant voltage output and did suck the last drop out of cells would tend to have a fairly sudden cutoff.

Plus a fair few of the things I have which take AAs are very tight on length, and pretty much need a screwdriver to level cells out once they're in. Even a mm more would be awkward in those things.
 
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billw

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There is also the reality that most voltage-sensitive electronics that run on batteries these days probably already contain a boost-mode voltage regulator...

It saddens me to see people with apparently reasonable credentials selling apparent snake-oil :-(
 

RetroTechie

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It saddens me that many news outlets seem to copy the marketing blurb without even the most basic of fact checking.

For example "8x longer" translates into "800% vs. 100% duration". That is 700% longer, not 800%. But somewhere, someone translates "8x" into "800% longer", and many, many other sites copy that without even thinking about it. For example in my country there's this news site Nu.nl which caters to a million+ audience. And their mention of this reads like a straight copy from the site this thread starts with. Even if you can't very the actual performance of the device, you can still read carefully through the claims, right? Basic math isn't rocket science!

I mean, I'm just a simple hobbyist, but I can see what exactly is claimed by reading carefully. Without even grabbing my pocket calculator. :) And this news site has people on their payroll who do this for a living (surely including some with their heads buried in tech sites all day), and they can't? :shakehead

Mostly I see this as a case of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". I see the claims, but I don't see the evidence. All I see is a slick website, and a few knowledgeable-looking faces/names plastered on it. But you know what? If the product has any merit, you don't need those names to back up your claims. If the products has no/little merit, those names won't do anything to change that.

What it will do though, is help to move lots of the product before people find out it's of little use (making the 'inventors' very happy :tinfoil: ). At which point it'll work for some people, in some cases, and it becomes pretty much a "yes/no" back & forth. This mode of operation is one of all ages, and if you're not recognizing that pattern, well then... it's your $$... :laughing:

Btw. $2,50 isn't very expensive... when it's out, I just might order a few to do some measurements & find out how well it works (or not). Or ehm, Batteriser people, if you're reading this: feel free to send me a couple so I can verify your claims! :poke:
 

uk_caver

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Also, the efficiency claims are all based on devices which crap out at 1.4V/cell.
Or, in other words, devices which simply won't work running from rechargeable cells.

I don't recall ever owning any such devices, and I wonder how many people do own any.
 

Timothybil

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Also, the efficiency claims are all based on devices which crap out at 1.4V/cell.
Or, in other words, devices which simply won't work running from rechargeable cells.

I don't recall ever owning any such devices, and I wonder how many people do own any.
I seem to recall some discussion about this a few years ago in regards to using rechargeable in some devices. IIRC, there were some very low drain devices that used the cell voltage as a reference voltage for measurements.
 

uk_caver

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According to the patent, 1.39V is "where a lot of electronic equipment stop operating".

Maybe I'm just lucky.
 
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