The Tasp and Droud

The Tasp and Droud

Where I’ve Been

February 29th, 2008 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

Here is an interesting site:  Let’s see if it actually pastes into the blog.

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Argentina: Mobile lines up 28% at end-Nov

January 4th, 2008 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

Argentina had 38.7mn mobile lines in service at the end of November 2007, up 28% compared to the same time in 2006, national statistics institute Indec said in a statement….

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New Travel Restrictions on Lithium Batteries Start Tomorrow

December 31st, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

There has been a lot of press going around about the new travel restrictions on lithium batteries.  Unfortunately, much of the press doesn’t understand the technology and what it really means to the average traveler.

First, here is the link to the DOT press release on the new rules.

These regulations are an adoption of international hazerdous goods shipping norms within the US passenger market. 

These regulations are focused primarily on lithium primary cells - batteries that use lithium metal and are not rechargeable.  Some cameras use these in formats such as CR3 and others.  The button cells in watches are also primary lithium batteries.  People buying EnergizerLithium  e2 AA/AAA batteries for their cameras will also be affected by these regulations.  The other uses for lithium primary cells include high power flashlights and security systems.

These regulations are not focused on rechargeable lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries, except for those extremely high in capacity.  This means that a person using cell phone batteries, standard size laptop batteries, and other similar devices will not need to be concerned about these new regulations.

There is a cap on the size of rechargeable lithium ion batteries allowed, although your average person will not be able to effectively calculate whether or not their device would be affected by these regs.   Batteries with more than 8 grams, but less than 25 grams of equivalent lithium metal are considered “Extended Capacity Batteries”.  Passengers are restricted to two of these type of batteries in their carry on bags.  Batteries with greater than 25 grams of equivalent lithium content will not be allowed on the plane, and must be shipped as a hazerdous good.

Here is how you calculate equivalent lithium content:

Watt Hours * 0.3 X * number of cells in the battery pack

The problem for the average consumer is that they don’t know how many cells are in their battery pack unless they take it apart.  Doing so would likely damage the pack casing, and is potentially dangerous.

The good news is that the largest battery you are likely to use would be one of the the 8800 mAh capacity batteries found in some notebooks.  These packs usually have either eight or 12 cells, each rated between 2400mAh and 2000mAh. 

Therefore, a 12 cell 2000mAh pack will have the following equivalent lithium content (to calculate watt hours, just divide the mAh by 1000):

12 * 2.0 * 0.3 = 7.2 grams of equivalent lithium metal.  Therefore, no restrictions.

Notebook manufacturers are not stupid… they won’t make a pack that has travel restrictions on it, as the word would get out and people wouldn’t buy their laptops.

These new US FAA regs are extentions of existing international shipping norms that battery manufacturers have already been working with, so the end result is that most people will not be affected by these “new” regs in the slightest.

The only exception is the external extended batteries that people use for notebooks, dvd players and the like.  Some of these are rated as high as 24000 mah.  They will all have less than 25 grams of equivalent lithium, but you wouldn’t be allowed to take more than two of them.  However, given that a battery of that size could power your laptop about 24 hours, odds are that a single one is all you would ever travel with anyway.

Hope this clarifies.  Drop me a note and let me know if this helped!

257 Comments »

Student Gets Inflamed Thumb from Excessive Texting

December 30th, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

A New Zealand student, Fleur de Vere Beavis has become the first person in the country to be diagnosed with Texting Tenosynovitis - more commonly known as text-messager’s thumb. Her habit of sending up to 100 SMSs per day has inflamed the tendons along the thumb and side of the wrist and filled the surrounding tissue with fluid, the IOL reported, quoting a report in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

The report said only two other cases of the ailment had been reported in a school-aged child in Singapore and a 13-year-old girl in Australia, but the authors of the journal report, Emma Storr and Mark Stringer, said tenosynovitis was likely to be more common than thought, given the popularity of sending SMSs.

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New Blackberry Patent shows new keyboard

December 28th, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered, Technology by admin

Blackberry-angled-keyboard-Patent-application

I love the Blackberry.  It works far better than any smartphone or palm that I have tried… it is easier to punch out emails, and more important, it seems to have the rare quality of working intuitively… exactly as you might expect it to.  The blackberry is specialized for business use, and it shows.

So, having gushed sufficiently, my gripes with the newer models, the 8800 series, pearl, and company, is that they are harder to type with.  My old 7250 is so far superior to any of the new ones that I have tried - if email is all you really care about.  The keys are too close together on the new models, which makes it hard to type fast.

So it will be interesting to see if this new design makes it to market, and how it will be to actually use.  The angled idea seems genius to me, but I would still prefer a bit more space between the keys to help avoid typos and enable increased typing speed.

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Recycled Handset Shipments to Exceed 100 Million Units in 2012

December 20th, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

Shipments of recycled handsets (old handsets recycled for reuse) are expected to exceed 100 million units in 2012, according to a recent study from ABI Research. Shorter handset replacement periods, growing demand for low-cost handsets in emerging markets, regulatory requirements, and growing consumer awareness are key factors driving the market for recycled handsets.

ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey says, “Mobile phone recycling companies such as ReCellular, Fonebak, and Eazyfone are witnessing good market growth, but increasing consumer awareness and retrieving used handsets at affordable prices are still key challenges. Also, the ASP of used handsets falls rapidly, so these handsets need to be handled at the lowest possible cost to ensure decent margins on their resale.”

Handset vendors including Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and LG are concentrating more on designing and manufacturing mobile phones to ensure that they are easily recyclable and contain a minimum of hazardous elements. This is being complimented by the efforts of mobile operators, retailers, recycling companies, charities and various take-back schemes, resulting in more users starting to return their old, no longer used handsets for recycling.

ABI Research expects the market for recycled handsets to grow steadily in the next five years, generating over $3 billion in revenue in 2012. Having these handsets in their portfolios can help mobile operators and MVNOs in optimizing customer profitability by better management of subscriber acquisition costs. They can use recycled handsets to address low ARPU subscribers and use new expensive handsets to target the high ARPU customers.

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New Lithium Ion Technology offeres 10x Improvement

December 20th, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

The possibility of improving our batteries by a factor of 10 is greatly exciting to us at UpStart Battery.  We will continue to monitor this technology and look forward to the possibility of incorporating it into our batteries.

Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.

The new version, developed through research led by Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, produces 10 times the amount of electricity of existing lithium-ion, known as Li-ion, batteries. A laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers.

“It’s not a small improvement,” Cui said. “It’s a revolutionary development.”

The breakthrough is described in a paper, “High-performance lithium battery anodes using silicon nanowires,” published online Dec. 16 in Nature Nanotechnology, written by Cui, his graduate chemistry student Candace Chan and five others.

The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. Cui suggested that they could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels.

“Given the mature infrastructure behind silicon, this new technology can be pushed to real life quickly,” Cui said.

The electrical storage capacity of a Li-ion battery is limited by how much lithium can be held in the battery’s anode, which is typically made of carbon. Silicon has a much higher capacity than carbon, but also has a drawback.

Silicon placed in a battery swells as it absorbs positively charged lithium atoms during charging, then shrinks during use (i.e., when playing your iPod) as the lithium is drawn out of the silicon. This expand/shrink cycle typically causes the silicon (often in the form of particles or a thin film) to pulverize, degrading the performance of the battery.

Cui’s battery gets around this problem with nanotechnology. The lithium is stored in a forest of tiny silicon nanowires, each with a diameter one-thousandth the thickness of a sheet of paper. The nanowires inflate four times their normal size as they soak up lithium. But, unlike other silicon shapes, they do not fracture.

Research on silicon in batteries began three decades ago. Chan explained: “The people kind of gave up on it because the capacity wasn’t high enough and the cycle life wasn’t good enough. And it was just because of the shape they were using. It was just too big, and they couldn’t undergo the volume changes.”

Then, along came silicon nanowires. “We just kind of put them together,” Chan said.

For their experiments, Chan grew the nanowires on a stainless steel substrate, providing an excellent electrical connection. “It was a fantastic moment when Candace told me it was working,” Cui said.

Cui said that a patent application has been filed. He is considering formation of a company or an agreement with a battery manufacturer. Manufacturing the nanowire batteries would require “one or two different steps, but the process can certainly be scaled up,” he added. “It’s a well understood process.”

Also contributing to the paper in Nature Nanotechnology were Halin Peng and Robert A. Huggins of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford, Gao Liu of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Kevin McIlwrath and Xiao Feng Zhang of the electron microscope division of Hitachi High Technologies in Pleasanton, Calif.

Originally posted here

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How the Li-ion Replacement Battery Industry Works

December 18th, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

This is a repost of a question we answer frequently. 

Many people wonder why there can be such a massive range of prices for replacement batteries.  Others wonder why the battery they bought for dirt cheap works for a little while, but rapidly begins to fail.  The two are not unrelated.

Here is how the battery industry works.  There are a few large cell manufacturers in the world, and most of their production goes to the OEMs.  The cells they make come out in various grades - like eggs or meat.  The grade A batteries are expensive, so most third party battery manufactures, which are very small companies, make batteries from the cells that are not grade A.  These often don’t last very long, either in years or in use/charge. 

Another trick that some of these fly by night pack outfits do is create “high power” packs that only have half the cells in them.  A laptop battery pack is supposed to have 2 sets of cells running in parallel.  However, you can put one set in series to create a cell that is 8800mah.  Some even put dummy cells in place of real ones.  This battery will have an extremely short lifespan, and will subject to dangerous overheating problems.

Here is a better option if you want a high quality battery, but still want a good deal.  UpStart Battery only sources batteries that come from OEM certified factories… this means that the factory must have a production contract for at least three of the top 10 famous consumer electronics brands.  Many of these factories do not make replacement batteries at all - except for UpStart Battery - as they sign exclusive distribution contracts for the replacement market.

To back up their commitment to top quality, they put a lifetime warranty on the battery.  If it isn’t the last battery you buy for your laptop, they will replace it, simple as that.

To learn more, check out the sites below.  As far as I know, they don’t have a UK distributor, so your options would be to buy from the certifiedbattery.com website, or if you can’t find it locally there, your next best option is buying the original OEM battery.  You will pay a little more, and it won’t have as good a warranty as upstart, but at least you know it will work.

Final caution, beware of “too good to be true” deals on “original” batteries sold on ebay and some other places.  Like many things in China, the battery brands are pirated as well.  But unlike a fake Chanel bag or Microsoft Office CD, a fake battery can be extremely dangerous.

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Brazil November Mobile Phone Ownership Up 1.4% at 116.3 Million

December 17th, 2007 Filed under: Battery Powered by admin

Brazil November Mobile Phone Ownership Up 1.4% at 116.3 Million
SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- The number of cellphones in circulation in Brazil totaled 116.3 million at the end of November, up 1.4% from October and 19.5% higher than the same month one year before, according to preliminary figures released Monday by telecommunications regulator Anatel.

Net additions in the month were 1.62 million.

“November results sustain the high level of growth seen in the past few months. We credit the continued growth to extended marketing promotions, which are focusing mainly on better pricing plans and lower handset prices,” said Morgan Stanley in a research report.

A slowdown in band D net additions may mean Tele Norte Leste Participacoes, or Oi, lost some ground last month, the report added.

Brazil’s main operator are Vivo Participacoes, which is jointly owned by Spain’s Telefonica and Portugal Telecom; TIM Participacoes, the local unit of Telecom Italia and Claro, the local unit of Mexico’s America Movil.

-By Alastair Stewart; Dow Jones Newswires; 5511 3145-1479; alastair.stewart@dowjones.com

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