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Surfin’: Got Batteries?


Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor
June 4, 2010

This week, Surfin’ solves the mystery surrounding our little friend -- the battery.

When I was a kid, I had a love-hate relationship with batteries. I loved those circa-1959 D- and C-cells when I powered up a toy and that toy performed as expected. I hated them when I powered up a toy and nothing happened.

I hated them even more when I popped the battery cover of my immobilized toy to find that not only had the battery died, but that it had taken the toy with it, spilling its rust-colored guts all over the inside of the battery compartment and beyond!

As an adult (also known as a “big kid”), not much has changed. I still have a love-hate relationship with batteries, but instead of D- and C-cells, AA-cells, AAA-cells and oddly-shaped mystery-cells power my current collection of toys.

In addition to a cornucopia of battery shapes and sizes available today, there have been improvements in battery technology since the “good ole days.” Some of the batteries I use are one-shots, but many are rechargeable and I can recall none that have leaked since an errant cell ruined my favorite toy, Robby the Robot.

Although I have been a battery consumer for more than a half-century, their workings were a mystery to me. Truth be told, as long as they worked, I did not care how they worked. But recently I needed to learn how batteries worked, so I turned up a couple of excellent Web sites that educated me on the matter.

Battery University rightly claims to be “an online resource that provides practical battery knowledge for engineers, educators, students and battery users alike. The papers address battery chemistries, best battery choices and ways to make your battery last longer.”

The Electropaedia of battery and energy technologies “contains a comprehensive knowledge base about energy supply and battery technologies, battery applications, chargers and ancillary equipment.”

Whether you are a battery novice or veteran, both Web sites are worth a visit. Until next time, keep on surfin’.

Editor note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, wonders if someday he can revive Robby the Robot. To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog.




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