The hottest product for the summer has to be the Batteriser. There was instant hype and skepticism about the benefits to battery operated devices. Articles, from PC world to CNN money, introduced the new Batteriser to the market. Because of these articles, Batteriser was in the spotlight for tech groups and circles around the world. Engineers, hobbyists, and bloggers from all over the world tried to figure out the technology behind the Batteriser. Since none of the bloggers or skeptics were able to get a hold of the batteriser to test it out, some of them decided to come up with their own theories. The Batteriser team, who stand by the product, claim the bloggers, engineers and hobbyists online are not familiar with the intricate details of batteries. The Batteriser team want nothing other than to satisfy customers and to sell quality products. In order to reach out to the consumers, the Batteriser team read a lot of the skepticism, questions and theories online. The Batteriser team came up with 6 Q and As, to put an end to all the guessing and hopefully inform consumers how the product works.
The Batteriser team submitted the following,
“Question 1: In the articles I have seen about Batteriser, your CEO claims that most battery operated devices stop working at around 1.3 or even higher. I have seen videos online that someone connects a power supply and shows that some typical devices work down to 1.1V or even lower, showing LED’s on a device still blink at that level. What is the explanation?
Answer: There are multiple aspects to this issue. Let’s start with the less complicated aspect:
- Just because LED in a device is blinking, it doesn’t mean the device is fully functional. In one of our experiments with an RC remote, at 1.3 volt the car would only go forward, but not backwards. We use the voltage that the device is no longer fully functional as the cut off voltage rather than the voltage that the device’s LED is still blinking. In yet another example that most people can relate to, we all have had experience with our TV remotes. Once a battery gets to a low level, even though the LED blinks, you literally have to walk right up to the TV for it to work. Again, the batteries are considered dead by most, long before LED’s stop blinking. So the levels demonstrated in experiments like that are artificially too low.
- Using a Power Supply to detect, where a battery operated device stops working is wrong and misleading at best. A power supply has 0 ohm impedance and can supply high current at a constant voltage. A typical AA battery has internal resistance called ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) which is vastly different than an ideal power supply. Most electronic engineers are not very familiar with intricate details of the inter-workings of batteries and its equivalent circuit models. Batteries have an internal impedance or resistance (ESR) that plays a major role in operation of a battery in a system. To Quote from Wikipedia: In use, the voltage across the terminals of a disposable battery driving a load decreases until it drops too low to be useful; this is largely due to an increase in internal resistance rather than a drop in the voltage of the equivalent source (source: Wikipedia). In other words, when a battery is perceived to be dead in a device, it is most likely NOT because the battery is fully depleted of energy, rather it is largely due to voltage drop across this internal resistance of the battery. I will get into more details below.
- The third aspect may be the difference in definition of the voltages being quoted. There are two distinct ways of looking at voltages that people discuss but sometimes mistakenly interchange. One is the Open Circuit Voltage (referred to voltage at no load condition) and the other one is the Closed Voltage Circuit (referred to voltage under load condition). The two numbers that are quoted from the CEO and your question is an example of this incorrect interchange.
To fully appreciate the totality of the picture, Let us talk about ESR (Equivalent Series Resistor). To understand how ESR interacts at a circuit level, let’s go to Wikipedia:
A practical electrical power source which is a linear electric circuit may, according to Thévenin’s theorem, be represented as an ideal voltage source in series with an impedance. This impedance is termed the internal resistance of the source. When the power source delivers current, the measured voltage output is lower than the no-load voltage; the difference is the voltage drop (the product of current and resistance) caused by the internal resistance.
A battery may be modeled as a voltage source in series with a resistance. In practice, the internal resistance of a battery is dependent on its size, chemical properties, age, temperature, and the discharge current. It has an electronic component due to the resistivity of the component materials and an ionic component due to electrochemical factors such as electrolyte conductivity, ion mobility, and electrode surface area. Measurement of the internal resistance of a battery is a guide to its condition, but may not apply at other than the test conditions.
In use, the voltage across the terminals of a disposable battery driving a load decreases until it drops too low to be useful; this is largely due to an increase in internal resistance rather than a drop in the voltage of the equivalent source.
To learn more, please, visit Energizer’s technical Bulletin at http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/BatteryIR.pdf. The data from this bulletin shows that the typical effective resistance of fresh Energizer alkaline cylindrical batteries will be approximately 150 to 300 m-ohms at room temperature. It further shows that at very cold temperatures, this initial internal resistance value could be as high as 900 m-ohm, or roughly 1 ohm. This resistance further increases as the battery is used. Therefore the ESR value of a fresh new AA battery has an approximate range of 150 m-ohm to 900 m-ohm depending on temperature, chemistry, types and brands of batteries. While a resistance of 1 ohm may be considered insignificant and ignored by some people, we will see that it plays a major role in the final analysis as highlighted above in the Wikipedia description in the paragraph above.
For the sake of this analysis, assume 0.5 ohm as the internal resistance, which is a typical value for a battery at 1.3v (Open Circuit Voltage). If a device draws 400mA of current, the drop across this internal resistance is around 0.2v. This means that the device would see only 1.1V at the terminal of the battery.
The third aspect of the question is that when Batteroo’s CEO talks about batteries stop functioning at 1.3V, if you place that battery in a device described above, under load, the terminals of the battery would provide only 1.1V to the device and that is where the questioner agrees the device stops functioning. This is most likely the source of the discrepancy between what you stated as the low range of operation of devices vs. what is quoted as the open voltage of the batteries by the company.
Going back to your question that there are devices that operate at 1.1V but based on what we just showed this device will not function because it needs to have current supplied from a battery with terminal voltage of 1.1 V. This means that the device would not be functioning properly around 1.3 V open voltage circuit (i.e. open circuit voltage of 1.3 v minus about 0.2v drop across ESR would produce a battery terminal voltage of 1.1 v seen by the device) …. Therefore the battery open voltage circuit must be 1.3 v or higher.
This is an important point which plays a significant role and has been missed and ignored. In other words, once a device with the operating point of 1.1v stops working, and the battery is pulled out and measured without load, the meter would show 1.3V. This has been a source of confusion for some people that hopefully is cleared.
To emphasize the point, ignoring the internal resistance of the battery leads to wrong conclusions. For example, some who ignored the ESR, would wrongly assume that a device that has an operating cut off voltage of 1.1V, can be serviced by a battery at 1.1V Open Circuit Voltage. It is noteworthy that the internal resistance of the battery increases to over 1.5 ohm in a non-linear fashion at room temperature (depending on many factors, and could be significantly higher at colder temperature.
Question 2: I measured a used battery voltage using volt-meter and showed 1.2v. This toy can work all the way down to 1.1v but it is not working. Why?
Answer: The fact that your battery is not working indicates that the closed circuit voltage is seen by the toy when is turned on is less than 1 volt. This suggests that your voltage drop across the internal resistance (ESR) is greater than 0.2 volts.
This 0.2 voltage drop is multiplication of load current and the ESR value of battery which indicated that the battery has high ESR and/or your toy is drawing a few hundred milliamps of current…
Let us say your toy is drawing 300 ma and the battery ESR is about 0.7 ohm, then your toy sees the terminal battery voltage to be under 1 volt; (i.e. open circuit of 1.2v minus the voltage drop across ESR 0.7 ohm times 300 ma is equal to closed circuit voltage of about 0.99 volt which is under 1 volt)
Question 3: The relationship between current and voltage makes it impossible for a boosted battery to deliver such great gains, up to 8x. Besides the example below, there’s this one from Reddit: “In order to increase the voltage supplied to the target electronics, you would have to draw more current. Therefore as the battery voltage droops, the current draw will increase. Alkaline battery capacity is greatly affected by the current the cell is subjected to, with effective capacity dropping off a cliff as the current consumption increases.”
Answer: Every system, boosted or not, has voltage and currents relationship and to say: “The relationship between current and voltage makes it impossible for a boosted battery to deliver such great gains, from 5x to 8x” is meaningless. However the most important aspect of extending the life of the battery has to do with how much of the energy left in the battery and how much of that energy can be harnessed after the battery is considered dead, depending on the specifics of devices and load conditions. Obviously to get these types of gains implies that there is significant amount of energy left in the battery as it is discarded. That could be improved by better device design that allow the circuitry to work at lower voltages, and there are devices in the market that are better than others and therefore the mileage would vary based on such factors.
It is true that as the voltage drops, there is some increase in the current. However that current is being consumed from the energy that was in the battery and was going to be discarded at the point it was perceived to be dead.
Question 4: How does flash light benefit from Batteriser?
Answer: There are two types of devices, one with Passive load and the other with Active load:
- Passive loads such as Flashlights that draw the current out of the battery until it is depleted, but the intensity of the light becomes too low for it to be useful. We measured the intensity of the light from a flashlight on a side by side comparison of, with and without Batteriser. They both started at 60 lux and after two hours, the flashlight utilizing the Batteriser maintained its 60 lux light intensity while the flashlight without Batteriser decreased its intensity to 25 lux.
- Active Loads such as electronic devices that usually have a cut off voltage.
Question 5: There are some well-built devices have dc-dc conversion (or similar power management) built in, so Batteriser wouldn’t help. For example, this comment was made on Reddit: “For something like a GameBoy, it actually DOES include a good switching power supply, which is why it got great runtime out of those batteries. The DMG01 was quite happy down to nearly 3V (less than 0.8V per cell, anyway).”
Answer: The question above is an actual proof of why the Batteriser is going to extend the life of the battery. The assertion that a GameBoy device is benefiting from a DC-DC and getting “great runtime” is a validation of the concept of the Batteriser. There are systems that have or may have designed these types of converters inside their electronics. Such devices are usually expensive and putting the added cost of the electronics is offset by the competitive advantage gained relative to their competition. As well, this example implies that the system must have 4 AA batteries. There are regulators in the market that would boost voltages at these levels. Batteriser uses a boost circuitry that can work down to 0.5v. You will not find any solutions in the market that allows systems with single battery boosting capabilities. Batteroo had to design a custom IC that allows boosting of the voltage from 0.5V and currents of over one Amp steady state at very high efficiency. In many systems that use one AA battery, there is no solutions in the market to provide the same benefits of extended life.
Question 6: In low-drain devices like (I assume) a TV remote, the actual shelf life of the battery will be over before the Batteriser delivers noticeable gains. For example, this comment on Macworld: “Since most batteries (excluding some lithium types) have shelf lives of say 5 years or less, then taking a low drain application scenario where the batteries will naturally last two years or more (i.e. a remote…), then boosting the battery life by the claimed 8X would mean your 5 years shelf-life battery would be “good-to-go” for up to 40 years! Doesn’t take an engineer to tell you “it ain’t gonna happen!!”
Answer: Batteriser does work with voltage and current, regardless of the chemistry. We have seen improvement even with lithium battery. For those folks that change a battery every 5 years, we recommend not to utilize Batteriser technology. However if you are like most of us living in an average household having 25 battery operated devices and having to continuously change batteries, Batteriser would certainly be a good choice to extend the time between battery changes by 8x depending on the end device.”
Hopefully, this article will put an end to all the guessing and skepticism coming from the market. All the official testers and researchers found the product to be extremely effective. Only those who have not seen or tried the product are claiming the product can’t work. The Batteriser team suggests all skeptical hobbyist or engineers should buy the product and try for themselves, starting at only $2.50 per unit.