Battery Day 18th February 2017

Saturday 18th February is Battery Day

 
Yes, you read that headline correctly. The 18th of February every year is Battery Day, prefixed by National or International in some on-line calendars. The date is chosen (probably) to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Alessandro Volta in 1745, the inventor of the Voltaic Pile using copper and zinc discs separated by salt water soaked card. You may have performed the experiment at school, or at least had it demonstrated.

 
But why have a Battery Day at all?

 
Certainly in this day and age we are surrounded by equipment that needs energy and power to enable it to operate. Fine if you can plug it in somewhere, but we live in a highly mobile age where connectivity does not include access to endless energy. As a result, we rely on batteries. It is a testament to the abilities of the chemists and engineers that design them that they are considered so much as a commodity item. Rarely thought of, unless they go wrong! Any scan of social media will reveal many posts moaning about the lack of battery performance, or sudden drop off in capacity, exhibited by their (mainly) phones.

 
In a large number of cases these are situations bought on by the user themselves by not doing some simple health checks. I have written other blogs about, for example, keeping the fuel gauge on batteries accurate. Following that advice would help people who have tweeted messages like;

• Battery went from 50% to 5% instantly!
• Why does my battery last as long from 5% to 1% as 100% to 50%?
• Last message, battery dying…

Follow the word ‘battery’ on Tweetdeck for a while and you will see what I mean!

 
Battery Day

 
So, on Battery Day take a while to consider the number of times you use equipment that relies on a battery to make it work. Then just spend a moment to think how you can help it work better for you. Here is a little list of things that you will probably use at some point during the day;

• Alarm Clock
• Radio
• TV Remote Control
• TV / DVD Receiver Box Controls
• Tablet Computer
• Remote Heating Thermostat
• Mobile Phone
• Car starting & remote door locking
• Camera
• Calculator
• Watch
• Cordless Payment Terminal
• Cordless Power Tools
Maybe, even your domestic electricity if that is sourced from renewables!

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, you may indulge in other battery powered* activities!

 
Looking after your batteries

 
Battery technology has come a long way since the original Voltaic Pile. There are many different battery couples that have been used and are still being developed. There are even adaptations of some battery technologies to match the characteristics to very specific applications.

 
If you are an equipment designer the selection of the best battery can seem complex and bewildering. It may be that for your market the highest capacity battery requires a degree of management that the user group will not be in a position to implement.

 
Careful thought needs to be given to the interaction of the battery, the device it is powering, the environment it is operating in and the skill set of the user. The availability of ever more powerful and energetic batteries, and the rules and regulations regarding transport and disposal, mean that battery selection is not as straightforward as seems at first. The use of an independent expert to give guidance to your design team can save a huge amount of time and cost to new project development. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact DM Power Solutions using the contact form on this website.

 

 
*such as using an e-bike!

Seasons Greetings

Okay, okay, so there was no blog in November. Sorry about that but it just goes to show how easily it is to interrupt a sequence and let regular activities slip. So here is a battery powered clip to bring you a festive smile!

 
It is the time of year to be cheerful and jolly and so I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all of you in battery user land (that is everyone!) the best of seasons greetings and a happy and prosperous 2017.

 
I hope that you return next year fully charged and without too much of a start up delay!

 
Remember, nothing beats a bit of experience when it comes to selecting a battery for your new project. Getting it right is more demanding than many people think. It is always worth having an expert on hand to help guide you through the process, even if it is just to provide a ‘sanity check’. It is a lot more cost effective than a product recall! To find out more about ways having an independent battery expert on hand could help your business please contact me using the form on this website or email enquiries@dmpowersolutions.co.uk

 

Thanks to Pixabay for the image & video

Still think it is only a battery?

It’s Only A Battery!

 
The number of times I have heard that said over the years. Product development programmes tripped up over leaving the battery selection too late and then wondering why the kit does not work as intended. Well, once again, we have another example of what happens when something goes wrong with the battery. It has been the subject of many of my recent blogs, and now someone has got bitten – badly.

 
Something has gone wrong, the name of a large company is hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons. What seems like a well thought out product, acclaimed by many reviewers, has hit the buffers because of the battery. Someone, somewhere, made a bad call.

 
But was the battery really at fault? Certainly it has taken the brunt of the blame. Headline writers have had a field day with reports of ‘exploding’ batteries, a great word when grabbing attention. It is unlikely that many of the reported events are true explosions, however if you have an overheating battery that catches fire it does not really matter what you call the event.

 
There are many articles speculating on what went wrong. Some focussing on construction of the battery, others the general issue with the chemistry of rechargeable lithium batteries, and others looking at the way the battery was housed in the kit. I am sure all this will be thoroughly investigated by the manufacturer in question.

 
Once the investigation has run its course, the cause will likely have been found to down to multiple factors. The way the battery was packaged in the product, how hard it was being used, the details of the charge control are potential issues. There will have been a trigger that started the process leading to battery failures. Hopefully this will lead to a better understanding of how to safely provide power to our mobile devices in future.

 
Now the product has been withdrawn from production due to the battery issue. An action in itself that may suggest it is a system issue rather than the battery in isolation.
And it is not just exploding batteries that have been making the news. One of the worlds largest on-line retailers has been fined for not complying with regulations on shipping dangerous goods by air, including lithium-ion batteries.

 
All this goes to show that it is not ‘just a battery’ but an integral part of the product. As such it should be a major item in the development plan so that it can do its job safely, and be transported legally. Then once in production not bother anyone at all!

 
Nothing beats a bit of experience when it comes to selecting a battery. Getting it right is more demanding than many people think. It is always worth having an expert on hand to help guide you through the process, even if it is just to provide a ‘sanity check’. It is a lot more cost effective than a product recall! To find out more about ways having an independent battery expert on hand could help your business please contact me using the form on this website or email enquiries@dmpowersolutions.co.uk