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!
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
• TV Remote Control
• TV / DVD Receiver Box Controls
• Tablet Computer
• Remote Heating Thermostat
• Mobile Phone
• Car starting & remote door locking
• 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!