A Message From Someone Near…….

You ignore me. Every day, for hours on end you hold me, but it’s not me you are thinking of. No, you are off saving the universe, daredevil driving, building an empire or setting off on another great adventure to save the universe. That or you are sending messages to your friends, browsing social media, watching a film. Even when I am right there, in your hand, you ignore me.

You force feed me, starve me, demand that I do what you want, when you want. Cold, hot, whatever. Every day, all year.

But I am the link to your world. Without me you are lost. Your photo album, music collection, library, funny videos, jokes, contacts, maps, diary – all teasingly close but just inaccessible bytes without me.

So why do you feed me when I am full, starve me when I am hungry, ignoring all my subtle messages that I need a bit of attention? You wait until I can give no more – then you notice me. I get cursed, sworn at, told I am worthless and do not do my job properly. You give me no allowance for getting older and ignore my symptoms of middle age spread.

And I am just part of a much larger family. My relations start your car in the morning, show you the time, help keep transport links safe and reliable. They can be found in the depths of the ocean, in hazardous locations, launched into space and trek across other worlds. They help protect life, reduce pollution and balance energy grids. They vital in the safe operation of your ships, cars, lorries, busses, trains and planes. They help deliver other energy to your homes and offices, are there to back you up when everything else has failed. They help you put up shelves, see in the dark and change the TV channel!

Where would you be without the humble battery?

All I ask is that you treat me well. I will be your reliable and faithful friend until the day your ‘phone is no longer ‘cool’. I know my fate but, as much as you may rave about your new smartphone or tablet, it’s me and my family that make it all possible. And I can do better, if you would only treat me right.

So at this time when you think about the one you take for granted, spend a moment to


What is the battery indicator on your phone really telling you?

One of the things we have become accustomed to relying upon on our mobile devices is the little battery charge indicator. I am still surprised at the number of times I hear people say

my phone battery does not last as long as it used to, even when it is showing 100% charged!

So, what does ‘100%’ mean? On most devices the battery indicator that displays shows the relative state of charge. It has no relationship to the actual energy content of the battery. Each time you use the battery, the amount of charge it is capable of holding slightly reduces. The reduction will vary depending on many factors, such as how much of the charge in the battery you use between each recharge. Over the course of a year, a frequently used ‘phone battery may have lost 20% to 30% of its ability to store charge. But, the device state of charge indicator will still show 100% when it is ‘fully’ charged.

Another complaint I hear is that a device suddenly switches off even when it was showing that it had (for example) 30% charge remaining. This is a consequence of the same problem, the clever bits that calculate the state of charge of the battery need to know how big the energy reservoir is. The start point is known when new, but unless the state of charge indicator circuit is recalibrated, the accuracy of predicting the precise moment the battery will run out of charge will diminish. If the state of charge indicator always starts at 100%, even though the reservoir is 30% smaller the when new, it is inevitable that the device will suddenly loose battery power earlier than predicted.

Always check in the device user manual, there may be a routine it suggests going through to restore state of charge indicator accuracy. This normally involves cycling the battery between two known states of charge, normally from fully discharged back to being fully charged.

Although this will not give you any extra battery life, at least it will make predicting when it will no longer power the device more reliable. But, with a bit of extra knowledge, and some in use management, using the battery state of charge indicator can help give you more battery life. But that’s for another blog!