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USB Batteries

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the novelty-items dept.

248

An anonymous reader writes "Tired of paying for new batteries all the time? Tired of searching for the charger for your rechargeable batteries? Worry not, because these new AA batteries will recharge direct from your USB port! This is such a cool idea, that I cant believe that no one has done it before." At $24 each I would hate to lose or break them on a regular basis.

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Yay! Yet another use for powered USB ports. (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149534)

Too bad the one in my keyboard is unpowered, and my tower is in such an awkward position. :(

Re:Yay! Yet another use for powered USB ports. (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149596)

That's nothing, I have six ports, and only the two in front are powered. Needless to say I wasn't the one who did that. Also, there is a mic port and a headphone port in front, both of which have a solid piece of plastic behind them. I mean, I wouldn't mind if they had removed the ports, but when I first got this comp I tried forever to figure out how the hell I was supposed to fit my plug in (it's impossible to see it's solid plastic unless you open up the case and look inside).

Re: CmdrTaco (4, Funny)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149825)

No wireless. Less space than a Nomad.

Lame.

Yep...and... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149997)

in addition to having less capacity, and being very much more expensive, they recharge more slowly than regular rechargables do in a dedicated charger. If you're putting them into a USB port which is ultimately AC powered, well, why not just use a faster, cheaper, charger.

And if someone plans on charging off a notebook running under battery power, do they really intend (or are they even able) to run the notebook for the 5 hours needed to recharge these?

This makes no sense at all, and are certainly nothing to be "excited about." So much for "trusted reviews."

Re:Yep...and... (4, Insightful)

snarkh (118018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150235)

Very simple -- if you are travelling, you can recharge them from your notebook when it is plugged in. You don't have to carry an extra charger with you.

how about a Hub and extension cable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150215)

how about a Hub and extension cable?

Re:Yay! Yet another use for powered USB ports. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150218)

Too bad the one in my keyboard is unpowered, and my tower is in such an awkward position. :(

I don't know whether you mean the tower is high off the desk or that the ports are in back against the wall. But you can always use a short A-type extension to bring the port to within easy reach. When I had either towers or flat boxes in a cramped space with all the ports in back, I always brought the serial, parallel and any other frequently changed ports out to the front or down from a shelf so they were always near at hand. Kinda like a grease rack, except for bits.

No, I did not, over twenty years or more, ever have a problem with the extra connecions.

Yawn (-1, Troll)

slashdotet (992348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149535)

I read this on the register this morrning! Nutting to see here move along!

Re:Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149629)

grrrrrrr what a fucktard.
If you saw it this morning, why didn't you submit it then?

Not so fast... (5, Informative)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149545)

Not so fast fellow /.ers. This new product may not be all it's cracked up to be for their price... Unless you have lots of extra ports on your computer and your electronics do not need strong batteries.
USBCELL batteries have a capacity of 1300mAH which is in line with most NiCd and NiMH batteries though some do go all the way up to 2500mAH. It takes five hours to charge a completely flat battery and an LED on the side will light up to indicate charging, flash for 10 minutes after charging is complete as an alert and switch off after that.
Uhm... First of all, using USB for this is generally a bad idea. But if you do want to charge batteries via USB: 1300 mAH is NOT in line with most NiCd and NiMH batteries selling these days. The standard for 4 off brand NIMH batteries from Walmart right now is $6 for 2000 mAH to 2500 mAH (depending on if they've restocked recently as the Generic Brand has upped their standard capacity for AA's).
Let's break this down.

4 batteries - $6 at Walmart for off brand or $10 - $15 for 4 name brand rechargables.
Cheap AA/AAA USB Charger $8 from tiger direct. [tigerdirect.com]
OR
Better AA/AAA USB Charger $20 from tiger direct. [tigerdirect.com]

The cheapest route gives you 4 batteries, each with twice the mAH for $14 plus shipping. The most expensive route gives you the same thing for $30 plus shipping. Either way, buying a battery with only 1300 mAH nowadays is like buying a midsized car with a 50 hp engine.

Bottom line? For novelty reasons, these batteries look interesting and you do not need to carry an additional charger. But at around $16 US apiece they are expensive and WAY underpowered. Additionally, you need one USB slot for each. If you buy a regular USB charger and use standard rechargeable batteries, you can charge several (up to 4) with one USB slot and spend half the money.

Conclusion? It's a neat novelty backup backup. But it is way to expensive.

These are $24 apice, not $16? (1)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149570)

Whoops, I meant $24 apice, not 16. Man that's even worse.

Re:These are $24 apice, not $16? (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149857)

To continue the misery of numbers, i'm pretty sure that the USB port doesn't allow more than 500mA to be drained from it in any position, so a 2500mAh battery would charge 5 hours ... The real fast chargers today can do it in less than half an hour for 2000mAh+ batteries, "regular" fast chargers can do it in 1-2 hours ....

  So this usb chargeable battery offering is : more price, less value ..

  Btw. a schematics and parts to charge your "regular" NiMh batteries from the usb will cost you less than 24$, time for do-it-yourself ...

Re:These are $24 apice, not $16? (2, Interesting)

alienw (585907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150050)

You are wrong. The usb port provides 500mA AT 5 VOLTS. If you convert that down to 1.5V with a buck converter, you could charge a 2500mAh battery in under 1.5 hours.

Re:These are $24 apice, not $16? (1)

rogabean (741411) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150098)

And decent chargers can do it in 10 minutes. I have a Rayovac charger I got on sale with 2 batteries for $25.00 that charges both batteries in ~10 minutes. Granted I am restricted to using the special AA batteries they make for it at around ~10.00 for a 2 pack, but charging in 10 minutes is more then worth it.

Hell I've charged non rechargable batteries in the charger and those charged up *ok*.

I just don't see any reason to use up 2 USB ports while draining my laptop's battery even faster then it's already discharging.

No $10.4 each. (1)

Spluge (888605) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150256)

£12.99 for two including VAT. So that £11.06 before tax.
The exchange rate is around 1.8887 right now so $20.88 for two.
Which makes it $10.44 for one AA.

Still massivly overpriced but not as high as you said.

Re:Not so fast... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149688)

Well sure, for AA it's pointless. But what if you could charge a laptop battery with it? With two of them you could charge the main battery and the spare and never run dry!

"In this house we obey the laws of Thermodynamics!"

You can't charge laptop batteries via USB. (-1)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149773)

Well sure, for AA it's pointless. But what if you could charge a laptop battery with it? With two of them you could charge the main battery and the spare and never run dry!
Do you understand the power and current it takes to charge a laptop battery? To convert a usb port's voltage to that which is required to charge a laptop battery, it would lower the amperage so much it would take a LONG TIME to charge it. I'm sure if someone here feels like taking the time they could explain just how long it would take to do this and just how bad of an idea it is.

Re:You can't charge laptop batteries via USB. (5, Insightful)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149831)

Well sure, for AA it's pointless. But what if you could charge a laptop battery with it? With two of them you could charge the main battery and the spare and never run dry!

Do you understand the power and current it takes to charge a laptop battery?

That sound you hear is the joke whooshing over your head. The Simpsons quote should've been a major tipoff.

Re:You can't charge laptop batteries via USB. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150086)

Ha! PWNT3D!!!!!!1111

Re:Not so fast... (-1)

goldentrout25 (954162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149794)

Hmmm.... Charge a spare laptop battery with the main laptop battery. I don't think you follow the laws of thermodynamics. Unless you meant when the laptop is already on the ac adaptor, which still is silly since there is no need to worry about running out of juice.

usb batteries are pointless no matter what .... unless you are raking in the cash for
selling a novelly stupid idea.

Yes but you can't lose it (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149769)

Imagine you are on travel. Your battery is discharged. Well it's pretty certain you know where your expensive computer is. And it's pretty certain you know where the battery is--it's the damn thing you need to charge. But where the heck did I misplace that charger. Oh damn, it's at home. Or it's at work or it's in the other computer's computer bag. Out of luck.

Bah. (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149986)

If you had spent $6 on a real battery, with double the capacity of your 'nifty' USB battery, it wouldn't need to be recharged in the first place.

Re:Not so fast... (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149809)

Conclusion? It's a neat novelty backup backup. But it is way to expensive.
Heh, capacity is only a big deal if charging / switching is a pain.

For any computer with a cordless mouse/keyboard, this sounds like a god send. Have two sets, always keep one charged, and your battery troubles will be over forever*. Sounds practical as hell too me.

* albeit the lower end of forever.

Re:Not so fast... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150041)

You're quite right. And the same goes for most of the other silly little USB toys out there. USB is a data interface. Yes, it supplies power too, but is it the best place to get it? Unless you're using the same connection for data, and want to eliminate a little clutter, the answer is no. If the USB port is in a desktop machine or a server, that means wall power is available, and that's cheaper and easier to access. If the USB port is in a portable machine, adding all kinds of useless gizmos to your system just drains a battery that already doesn't last long enough.

Re:Not so fast... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150130)

One nice thing about USB power is that it already comes in a useful voltage/current for electronics. No bulky "wall-wart" required.

Re:Not so fast... (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150167)

wow, i thought a 5 hour charge was bad. that cheap charger you linked says "The Digital Concepts USB AA/AAA jump charger full charges in 16 hours." i'm assuming that's partially because it's charging 2 instead of 1 though. the faster one doesn't say a charging time at all.

$12? Where is this from? (-1)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149552)

At $12 each I would hate to lose or break them on a regular basis.


The article mentions that they are £12.99 which is a lot more then $12.

Re:$12? Where is this from? (4, Informative)

blitz77 (518316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149581)

erm, it said 12.99pounds for TWO-which then is similar to 12 dollars each.

Re:$12? Where is this from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149729)

And that figure is including tax and shiping...

Re:$12? Where is this from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149591)

The article mentions that they are £12.99 which is a lot more then $12.

costing just £12.99 for two AA USBCELL

"An anonymous reader writes..." (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149560)

And not affiliated with the product in any way.

Thanks for another Slashvert.

Re:"An anonymous reader writes..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150001)

This is cool stuff that appeals to geeks. You could in some sense construe every article related to a product for sale as a "slashvert." That would leave slashdot with nothing but "Your rights online" articles pretty much and I doubt I would come here often if that was the case.

Just because its not a big name product like the PS3 or WII, doesn't mean it doesn't have appeal to Geeks, and if this company makes some sales off being on the front page of slashdot, then so what?

Then why not sign-off with a ./ ID? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150078)

If you're going to post product promotions and endorsements at least have the 'nads (and honesty) to divulge your vested interest in the product.

More like $22 each (4, Funny)

hudsonhawk (148194) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149561)

The little "L" like symbol means pounds not dollars.

It's what those crazy Brits use as money.

Re:More like $22 each (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149610)

At least pounds are worth something...

Re:More like $22 each (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149615)

And you guys only use dollars because

Micro$oft looks rubbish spelt as Micro£oft

Re:More like $22 each (5, Funny)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149722)

Micro£oft

that pretty much summarise my renting experience in London.

Re:More like $22 each (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150213)

Mirosoft?

Good Point (2, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149896)

So what Brittish companies can we ridicule with the £?

Obviously ££oyds of £ondon
Lets think... there's the £and Rover, although not really Brit owned now.
Virgin Air£ines?
Che£sea footba££ C£ub?
anything that has Eng£and in its name
How could anyone forget the Roya£ Fami£y?
GlaxoSmithK£ine is Brittish based and thats a good one, a drug company we know they on£y care about money
Uni£ever is also Brittish

any other suggustions

Re:More like $22 each (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149983)

Micro$oft looks rubbish spelt as Micro£oft

Maybe so, but Microso£t isn't a bad alternative.

Re:More like $22 each (1)

greenegg77 (718749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149758)

Oh. I thought they used Monopoly money...

JUST KIDDING!

Re:More like $22 each (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16150197)

Oh. I thought they used Monopoly money...

No, that's Canada. ;)

That is (1)

Data Link Layer (743774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149562)

12 pounds, so much money.

Not really new... (4, Informative)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149582)

I used to have 'D' cells that'd plug in to a wall outlet, too. Trouble is, a large portion of the volume is devoted to the connector and charging circuit. But if 50% capacity is enough, I suppose they'll work.

not as useful as first thought (4, Interesting)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149587)

I thought this might be useful, then I looked at some of my toys that take AA. My old Canon A70 takes 4AA. I use NiMH. I have a charger that can charge 4 batteries at a time. Ummm ... I don't think I even HAVE 4 USB ports :) and even if I did, I don't think they'd all fit. (Because you know how they like to cram a bunch of USB ports together and if you plug in something larger than a regular cable, the slot next to it is wasted)

So really, it's only useful for say, an MP3 player that takes a single AA battery. But then again, my brother's little samsung mp3 player has a built-in Li Ion battery and a USB plug built in that can flip up. And it's hardly bigger than a AA battery.

Hmmm .. I'm back to "I can't think of anything useful for it" :)

Re:not as useful as first thought (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149671)

It does look like a gimmick, but charging things from a USB port is not new. I have a USB 'phone charger which is great when I travel. It means I just need one power adaptor for my laptop and none for my 'phone (and since my laptop is a PowerBook, I don't even need an adaptor, I just take the US or EU plug with me).

Combine this with 15min quick charge (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149602)

I have a 15 minute quick charger (by Rayovac) and I would hate to go back to having to actually wait hours for my batteries to charge. This is a cool idea, but lets try and speed it up and then I'll be interested.

Re:Combine this with 15min quick charge (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150170)

I have a 15 minute quick charger (by Rayovac) and I would hate to go back to having to actually wait hours for my batteries to charge. This is a cool idea, but lets try and speed it up and then I'll be interested.

For the longevity of your batteries (ie, the reason you pay about 4x as much for rechargeables in the first place), you really should use an intelligent trickle-charger (around C/10) with an automatic pre-charging discharge. I seriously suspect the battery manufacturers (such as Rayovac) came up with the idea of a 15-minute charge just to drastically shorten the life of your rechargeables. It has to seriously hurt their profitability that we can now use a single set of batteries that will last for five to ten years if properly maintained.

It amazes some of my friends (who, like you, use a 4C flash charger) that I have 5 year old NiMH batteries that, after several hundred charge cycles, not only still work, but still hold over 90% of their stated capacity. Well, now you know the secret. Stop abusing your batteries, and just let them charge overnight.

Keep the flash charger in the car for emergencies, but unless you absolutely need a battery now, don't use it.

Dislexia? (0)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149603)

At $12 each I would hate to lose or break them on a regular basis.

This is what dislexia is really all about: inability to read properly. It's not $12, it's 12.99GBP, which roughly stands for $25.

For this money I can buy brand deltaV charger and 4xAA NiMH accus. Each one of them 2500mAh, or about twice the capacity of said USBCELL.

Robert

Re:Dislexia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149651)

Moron, it's 13GBP for two which is 12 dollars for one.

And it's Dyslexia, not Dislexia.

Re:Dislexia? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149724)

And it's Dyslexia, not Dislexia.

Unless you're Diselxce.

KFG

Re:Dislexia? (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150155)

How about dyscalculia?

Re:Dislexia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149830)

25 for two ... or roughly 12 each ;)

These will fail (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149609)

I predict these will fail. Today, electronics that one would typically use rechargable batteries come with custom batteries and are self charging. (For example, my MP3 player, camera, and phones use a custom battery and have the charger build into the unit.) Other electronics, like remotes, last so long on a single pair of batteries that using rechargables is pointless.

Does anyone remember the rechargable ankalines that came out in the mid-90s? (I don't remember the brand name.) I used to use them in my CD player because they'd last for hours and were cheap. These don't last long, and cost too much money.

Re:These will fail (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149880)

I believe you're thinking of the Rayovac Renewal, which is now discontinued. It looks like there are still some rechargeable alkalines [cetsolar.com] on the market though.

Re:These will fail (1)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149900)

The main reason these will fail is they aren't providing Linux drivers.

In-car rechargers (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149613)

With car-based USB-for-power-only ports, this can be a convenient way to recharge your batteries.

Now if only I could plug my Remington into my laptop for a quick charge....

lost charger (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149614)

Tired of searching for the charger for your rechargeable batteries?

Even with this, VA employees will still be looking for the battery charger.

Um.... why? (5, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149624)

In most cases, if you have USB power you have an outlet. In rare cases where your out in the middle of no where with nothing but a notebook and a GPS unit running on AA batteries, and you need to keep the GPS charged so you can make it out there before dark, I guess these would be of use. Cant realy think of any other time.

Nope, still not of any use... (3, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150021)

"Hey look, this battery dies twice as fast, but if it's dead, you can recharge it on USB!"
"Uh, yeah, couldn't I just have used a regular battery that wouldn't be dead yet?"

You can have:

- an expensive, dead, 1300 mAh USB battery that you need to recharge on your laptop (good luck on your laptop battery not going dead first!)

- a cheap, half-full 2500 mAh regular rechargable battery that you don't need to recharge at all.

The answer to a question nobody asked (0, Redundant)

rpax9000 (916267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149626)

Hmm.. $20 for a way to drain my laptop faster? If I have power to waste, I'm usually close enough to an outlet to use a cheaper rechargeable battery... has there been a clamor for USB powered power devices that I wasn't aware of? Short of recharging my iPod, most of my USB needs are computer peripherals. I think you can file this with the Java enabled toaster.

Time to get my USB powered electric pencil sharpener patented and on the market

Re:The answer to a question nobody asked (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149704)

A USB 'phone charger is great for travelling abroad. I plug my laptop in in a hotel, and I can charge my 'phone and iPod from it without having to carry a load of mains adaptors around. I would probably fall right into the middle of the target market for these devices, and even I can't see a use for them. Who buys equipment which takes AA batteries these days? I can't remember the last thing I bought that didn't have a custom Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer battery.

Re:The answer to a question nobody asked (1)

rpax9000 (916267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149789)

Excellent point about international travel. So maybe there is a market. Most of my travel is domestic, so I'm spoiled by my lack of having to own adapters.

Looking around the house, I have two devices that run on AA... my Xbox controller, a TV remote. Oh, and maybe the carbon monoxide detector. It's a bad sign that I can't remember the last time I changed the batteries.

I used to have an old analog cell phonce (c. 1993 or so) that would run on a rechargeable NiCad battery OR 4 AA batteries. That was nice... since the talk time on that damn thing was so short. I always had some AA batteries in my travel bag and I could get another few hours of standby or an hour of talk time from them. Nice when travelling, and even at the time it seemed amusing to talk on a cellphone that ran on AA batteries. I also rewired an old Atari 2600 to run on 9V batteries (you could play Yars Revenge for like 2 hours before the batteries drained!).

It's funny to think that my Razr is thinner than a AA battery and probably has more memory than the home computer I was using at the time...

As the guy who invented USB batteries... (1)

schoolsucks (570755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149631)

this gives me great pleasure. I thought no one would take notice, but finally someone did. I am so glad. My day is complete.

Engrish plz (0)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149635)

"...This is such a cool idea, that I cant believe that no one has done it before."

I can think of another 'cool' idea. How about learning the proper use of the Engrish language?

Re:Engrish plz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149728)

I can think of another 'cool' idea. How about learning the proper use of the Engrish language?

Your period should be a colon.

Re:Engrish plz (1)

greenegg77 (718749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149801)

Hey, he was using Web Cant, which is related to Thieves Cant.

Re:Engrish plz (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150181)

Well Done.
I wish I had Mod points.

Re:Engrish plz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149876)

I can think of another 'cool' idea.


You misspelled "have a tiny penis."

Re:Engrish plz (1)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150192)

You haven't noticed yet, but your head is up your ass.

Re:Engrish plz (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150198)

Here's a 'cool' idea. Stop being such a pendantic prick.

Strange name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149642)

Who ever designed this wasnt a hematopathologist. USB-CELL sounds like an obscure WHO leukemia/lymphoma classification.

Mouse already does it (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149646)

I have an aftermarket mouse for my Mac that already charges AA sized batteries for the wireless mouse. Works great and I always have spares. They tend to just last for a week in the mouse but I think that's more of a a lack of real power management. I couldn't care less since it's already outlasted virtually all my wireless PC mice. My average on PC wireless mice is 30 days and I've had several die after a week. I've tried every name brand for wireless PC mice and they all seem like crap. I went back to hardwired optical mice on my PCs but my Mac is still going strong. Wish the company made PC mice.

Enough for now... (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149647)

OK, no more about batteries unless its something like new AA cell is rated at 1200may. (note thats years, not hours).

Re:Enough for now... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150031)

OK, no more about batteries unless its something like new AA cell is rated at 1200may. (note thats years, not hours).

With your lack of capitalization for the units, I have to ask: do you mean milli-amp years or mega-amp years?

Useless junk. (2, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149663)

Let's see - 5 hours to charge so you either leave a laptop on and run it's battery dead - wait - that little 3 prong hole in the wall - AC power - I can plug my laptop in there save its battery or I can plug in a real battery charger and fast charge my much cheaper, higher capacity AA/AAA's.

A battery charger is small, small, lightweight and can be has with dual voltage. Mine is 6 years old and weighs a few ounces - including cord and EU adapter.

If you really don't want to carry a charger you can buy a dozen high capacity rechargable AA's at the price of these - and simply carry them with you. (If you really would use that many you probably would carry a charger anyway).

This is an expensive answer to a question no one is asking.

Slashdot - we now spam the globe for you...

Umm some problems...and why this is stupid (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149668)

Most computer have the usbports stacked so they would only be able to charge one at a time.

If you have access to the power brick you have access to an outlet so why not charge them from one.

Charging from the laptop while on battery power would surely drain things probably quicker than the battery could fully charge up.

You can buy around a dozen or more regular rechargables for the price of one of these so whats the point. This is definately one of those "because we can" products like usb mitten warmers and coffee warmers.

Re:Umm some problems...and why this is stupid (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150052)

If you have access to the power brick you have access to an outlet so why not charge them from one.

Depends how many power bricks for each device an international traveller wants to carry (and whether or not they'll get confiscated at the airport).

it has been done before (0, Offtopic)

micromuncher (171881) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149670)

I look at my Sony Walkman Bean (now defunct, sure); it plugs into the USB port and recharges itself. Built in rechargeable battery.

Re:it has been done before (1)

dopaz (148229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149703)

kind of like all the different flavors of ipod?

Re:it has been done before (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149712)

My usb cable for my phone will charge the phone battery while I hack it...I never knew how much on the edge my cheesy little samsung phone is.

A bit risky (5, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149696)

Unless the electronics are really well engineered (aka foolproof design) then a failure could result in a damaged motherboard, especially considering the amount of current these things are capable of drawing. Surface mount fuses aren't much fun to replace, especially in laptops. I'd wait a while to see if any horror stories surface before plugging that thing into my machines.

On a related note, the Motorola Razr cell phone's power connector is mini-USB, so it can charge off of your USB port as well.

Dan East

Not all AAs are created equal (2, Informative)

texaport (600120) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149725)

The first rechargeable AA batteries were properly 1.5V each. Then 1.25V became the norm and my devices requiring six volts from regular batteries are only getting five.

In the last couple years they've dropped rechargeables to 1.2V which means normal batteries are delivering 25% more power if the amps stay the same. I don't want 'em.

rechargeable batteries suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16149820)

they go bad very very often sometimes not lasting any longer than a regular alkaline, and then will not hold a charge again. Ive had better luck with Radio shack brand than energizer but still dont think Id buy them again.
Even had dewalt 18 volt batteries go bad, and they cost 70$ apiece, at least dewalt guarantees them for two years though.

Re:rechargeable batteries suck (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149868)

I think the problem with modern NiMH or NiCd batteries is that to make them very high energy density they have to sacrifice the thickness of the internal structures, meaning there's a higher possibility of the anode or cathode warping and causing a short, or a chemical breakdown occurring.

rechargeable batteries rock (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150063)

I own about 16 Rayovac rechargable AAs. I've never had one go bad on me. At this point I'm sort of hoping they do, because their 1600mAh is starting to look a little anemic compared to the new crop of 2500mAh'ers.

I use them in my 4AA bike lights, and in my digital camera. They've saved me hundreds of dollars.

Rayovac is a rockin' brand. They don't advertise, period. So they cost less than Duh-a-Cell or Enervizer, and in my experience they perform very well indeed.

NiCad rechargables sucked. Those haven't been around for decades though.

Re:Not all AAs are created equal (3, Informative)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150060)

I suspect this has more to do with labelling than actual capacity. Rechargeables have been putting out a 1.2v for years now. They are around 1.25V just after charge, and it's possible they were claimed as such by some manufacturer or the other. I've never seen a 1.5V NiCad or NiMH.

Anyway, alkalines are only 1.5V out of the box. When they're "dead", they're at around 0.6V, and it's a fairly linear decline over time. In fact, electronics made to run on alkalines are generally fine down to around 0.9V or so, since the decline is expected.

NiMHs and NiCads are ~1.2V after a charge, and stay there until just before they die, when they nosedive. This is why cameras recommend non-alkaline batteries--the flash actually requires that the voltage is somewhere around the maximum; alkaline batteries drop voltage so quickly that the flash only works a relatively small number of times.

Re:Not all AAs are created equal (1)

Steve Cowan (525271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150118)

The first rechargeable AA batteries were properly 1.5V each.

Um.... when was this? As far as I remember, rechargeable NiCDs, when they first appeared on the market, were always 1.2/1.25. Sorry - but I call bullshit.

Then 1.25V became the norm and my devices requiring six volts from regular batteries are only getting five. In the last couple years they've dropped rechargeables to 1.2V which means normal batteries are delivering 25% more power if the amps stay the same. I don't want 'em.

All rechargeable NiCD/NiMH batteries on the market are really the same voltage. 1.2 or 1.25 is just what gets printed on them. Inside they are the same chemical composition - nothing in there is somehow altering that voltage. That's why they all work in the same chargers.

Try measuring your regular alkaline AA cells under load. They typically produce about 1.2 to 1.3 volts once they're about 20% into their lifespan.

Almost every battery-powered device is designed to not crap out until your cells discharge to less than a volt each.

It's about the chemistry (5, Informative)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150131)

It's all about the chemistry, not some kind of voltage deflation. Zinc cells give 1.5V (alklines, etc). NiCd and NiMH gives 1.2V. Lead acid gives 2 and a bit V. You can't make a NiCd battery at 3V. A battery is a stack of cells, so it can only provide an integer multiple of the cell voltage (2.4 or 3.6V is as close as you'll get with NiCd).

WTF is the point of this? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149829)

Okay, unless I'm recharging these from my laptop battery (which is, I'd say, pretty dumb in most cases, but might have very limited utility somewhere), my charger is going to be close to my plugged-in computer, which is going to be close to a power strip with several outlets.

Where I could just plug in a more conventional charger, instead of plugging it into my USB port of my computer. Its no harder to remember where that charger is than the one plugged into my USB port. Where is the benefit?

Re:WTF is the point of this? (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149848)

I totally agree. My old MP3 player took a single AAA battery. Stick a couple in a charger overnight, no problem. Cost basicly nothing too. $24 is way over-the-top for an unnecessery product!

Y'know what would be more useful (4, Interesting)

AC-x (735297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149845)

A USB batter charger [mrgadget.com.au] . This way you can use 2500mAh batteries rather then having half the capacity taken up by the usb port and charging circuit.

1300 maH? (4, Informative)

duplicate-nickname (87112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149892)

I just replaced all of my regularly used rechargeable batteries with 2500maH sets and I will never go back to lower rated batteries again. On my vacation last week I shot over 400 photos and about 4 minutes of video on my Canon S1 IS and I only recharged the batteries once.

You don't have to worry about charging on a USB port if your batteries don't die all of the time.

Cool idea, but no thanks... (4, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16149931)

There's more geek factor here than real usability. Anyone had their charger melted to slag because of leaky batteries? Yeah, me too. Personally, I wouldn't mind too much if a $10 charger got toasted, but not my $1xxx laptop. I can garentee that they won't be held responsible should anything get toasted with your lappy...besides, there has been enough troubles with the official laptop battery blowing up without throwing something like this into the mix...

$24 (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150039)

What?!? $24 is ridiculous. A standard NiMH battery uses about 10mA at 1.41V during an overnight charge; surely a USB cable can provide that to charge stander NiMH batteries. And overnight charging does not require an end-of-charge sensor, so this is way to expensive.

Great for long flights (1)

Eadwacer (722852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150126)

Just think, you can get on the plane, plug the batteries into your laptop while you're working, and by the time you get from London to NY, your iPod is all charged up!

Mighty Mouse! (1)

Steve Cowan (525271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150135)

Lots of people here seem to hate these batteries, but I think these would be just perfect for the Wireless Mighty Mouse. My Mac Pro arrives tomorrow, and I could easily imagine keeping one of these stuck into a front USB port.

Stop fixating on the mAh's!! (1)

shanec (130923) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150203)

At least stop fixating on mAh's if you're doing anything that requires a fast discharge (i.e.:fast action photography work that requires a flash).

My main beef with how batteries (rechargeable, or disposable) are rated these days, has to do with the fact that most of them don't disclose the internal resistance of the battery. The AA battery could have 4000 mAh, but if it's resistance is so slow that my flash takes 15-20 seconds to recharge, it's useless. I'll gladly take a 1000 mAh battery that recharges my flash in 5 seconds, even if I have to change batteries three times in a shoot.

As for everyone that's going to try to say "well if you bought a better camera," well let me shoot a few holes in that theory. First off, I'm a professional photographer that does a majority of my work out of the studio. Often I'm at public events that require lots of pictures, in short bursts. In low light condition I rely on my hot-shoe flash to handle the lighting. My options in this setup are either walk around with a brick (large battery designed specifically to power camera equipment) around my neck, or use AA batteries. Consequently I go buy the Energizer lithium eight pack of AA batteries or two pack of CRV3's for about $20.

If I could get some guaranteed good, low resistance, rechargeable batteries, I would buy them in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the technical specs on most batteries just aren't available, because everyone fixates on "how much power they hold."

What if they integrated storage too? (4, Interesting)

mr_zorg (259994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150225)

Now, throw in a couple-o-dozen megs of flash built in and you might actually have something. I could store the device drivers for my peripherals in the very same batteries that run them. No more hunting for driver discs. Oh, that and increase the mAh capacity.

Charging your gadgets directly via the USB (2, Insightful)

Thomas Henden (804134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16150252)

I really wonder why charging of ALL sorts of gadgets which run on one lithium-ion cell isn't automatically done when you anyway connect that thing to the PC to transfer data?
The USB port has 5V and one lithium-ion cell has a maximum of 4.15 volts, (So there's enough voltage difference to properly charge the lithium cell).

A few gadgets already does get charged when they anyway are connected to the PC, why not ALL of them?

I would be happy to save the cost for the regular charger, and find it very practical to plug it into my PC to have it charged, and for those few who doesn't have a PC, or for whom it would not be practical to charge via the PC, a regular charger or a solar charger with a "USB"-plug, would be an obvious accessory.

(I really wonder how much extra money I have paid for all those chargers sitting around unused, from gadgets that broke or went out of use. Worst of all, all these chargers are still in working condition!)

Then we would also have gotten the bonus of a 5V charger plug being standarized, so that any one lithium cell-gadget can use any 5V charger, including any USB port, ending the trouble with the pileup of orphaned chargers.

Also, the regular plug-in of your whatever type of data collecting and/or processing gadget into your PC to get it charged, probably will be god for your (at the moment non-existing?) habits of taking backups of it before you loose it or break it - that is, if you also take regular backups of your hard drive...



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