Sanyo Eneloop AA BatteriesRecently when listening to the Daily Giz Wiz netcast (easily the most jingle-laden netcast ever to grace my iPod) Leo and Dick got into a discussion about rechargeable batteries and their typical shortcomings like the need to charge them before use and their tendency to loose their charge over time. Recently Sanyo has released a new battery called Eneloop which does not suffer from these problems.

Sanyo eneloop batteries are a rechargeable NiMH battery which claim to only loose 15% of their charge in a year. That means you can charge them and use them when you need them. Like other NiMH batteries they can be recharged hundreds of times, but one of the big advantages is that they come pre-charged! You could buy a set in a drug store, use them that day, then take them home and recharge them.

I’ve only seen these on Amazon so far, but I’m using them in just about everything I have that takes AA batteries, especially my Wii remotes. At first I was disappointed that the Wii remote didn’t come with a rechargeable battery but now it seems much more clever that they went with an industry standard (AA size) battery which can be easily replaced without having to look up a model number.

Eneloop batteries are available in four packs of AA and AAA and 8 packs of AA, but I recommend starting off with the charging kit which comes with the charger and four AAs. The charger will charge AA and AAA sizes and can charge one, two, three or four batteries at a time.

I have been using these rechargeable batteries for over a year now in my Wii controllers, talkabout radios, remotes, wireless computer accessories and more. They have cut my AA consumption down considerably, and when they do eventually die they are recyclable like other NiMH batteries. While there are AA rechargeables which have a higher capacity the low self-discharge of the Eneloop batteries makes them last longer in all but the highest current applications.

Love Tester ProjectFor those of you who are interested I have now posted the complete Bloc-Troic manual in my gallery!

From cover to cover (well, not really, the back cover was blank so I didn’t scan it.) the manual contains 163 electronic experiments. Each experiment illustrates the block layout for the kit and also includes a standard schematic for those who want to breadboard or permanently build any of the projects.

The experiments span from a simple conductor/insulator tester to a sound level meter to a basic radio with microphone mixing. While the Bloc-Tronic set was designed for children completing every, or even most projects in this book would be quite an accomplishment!

Unfortunately I have not transcribed the text from these pages to make them searchable. Perhaps someday I’ll get around to that, or better yet, maybe some fan of the set will volunteer to do part or all of them for me. (It took me a year to even get the images up, so don’t hold your breath on my account.)

If you’re having trouble making out something in the images notice that you can switch to a high-res version. The shadows in the image are the experiment on the back of each page bleeding through which should give you an idea of the quality of paper used in this manual. I have made it available because it seems to be orphaned. It is no longer made or distributed, the company named on the manual and box seems to have disappeared and there isn’t a copyright to be found anywhere in the materials.

I hope some others can find this useful with either the set or for building experiments on a breadboard.

electronic, toy, project, make, build, build your own, electronics kit

RC Battery ClinicWhen I’m not tied up maintaining Oracle or blogging one of my favorite hobbies is flying (read crashing) radio controlled airplanes.

Filled with information about everything from lead acid to lithium polymer, Red Scholefield’s R/C Battery Clinic is a great reference for battery information for R/C and non-rc applications.

Red’s unique knowledge comes from years of working in the battery industry (for GE) and even more years of building and flying models. The one thing to keep in mind is that R/C flyers take their batteries more seriously than almost any other group. Loss of a battery in flight means a loss of control of the airplane which all adds up to a crash. With hundreds to thousands of dollars in the air there’s no room for error on your battery pack.

The concepts Red presents can be applied to other devices. Knowing how to properly charge and use rechargeable batteries will extend their lives considerably and though this site could be organized better there is still a wealth of information here.

rc, rc flying, batteries, battery, rechargeable batteries, nicd, nicad, lithium ion, lithium polymer, nickel-metal hydride

Nearly a month after iLounge reported the settlement schedule for the iPod battery claims there is now a schedule posted on the official settlement website.

The dates are a bit different than originally reported, but it’s good to have official notification. Here are the highlights:

March 24, begin fulfillment of generation 1 and 2 claims which requested $25 cash settlement.

April 7, begin fulfillment of generation 3 battery replacements in the order claims were received.
Begin mailing discount codes for store credit settlements.

Those eligible for a claim under AppleCare should have already received their $25 check.

So I look forward to having a functional iPod again, but I can’t help but feel cheated for the year I’ve been battery-less. Oh well.

ipod, battery, apple, apple computing, mp3

On December 22, 2005 the Apple iPod Settlement Administration website posted that the settlement of the iPod battery class action suit was final and that “the Settlement Administrator can move forward with claims administration and claims fulfillment.” In the two months since then there have been no updates on what exactly that meant.

Today on my routine web crawl for information on the topic I found this article on iLounge.com which outlines the following timeframe for settlement:

February 17, 2006 – The Claims Administrator will mail $25 checks to Class Members who purchased the AppleCare Protection Plan and obtained battery repair/replacement under the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Beginning of March 2006 – For Class members who own a First or Second Generation iPod and who selected the $25 cash payment, the Claims Administrator will begin mailing $25 checks to those who submitted valid claims.

Middle of March 2006 – For Class members who own a Third Generation iPod and who selected battery/iPod replacement, the Claims Administrator will begin mailing letters containing instructions for battery/iPod replacement to those who submitted valid claims.

Middle of March 2006 – For Class members who own a First, Second or Third Generation iPod and who selected a $50 store credit, the Claims Administrator will begin mailing letters with certificate codes for the $50 store credit to those who submitted valid claims.

Around March 17, 2006 – The Claims Administrator will begin sending deficiency letters to Class members who submitted an incomplete/incorrect claim.

End of March 2006 – The Claims Administrator will send denial letters to those individuals who do not fit the class definition or who submitted their claims past the claims deadline.

It’s been almost a year since claim forms went out, but hey, at least there are signs of action. Thanks iLounge for reporting on this. Now why couldn’t the settlement administration have posted this timeline on the official website?

ipod, apple, apple computing, battery, technology

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