Tag Archives: battery

Apple Rechargeable Batteries

Last fall, I published a post which discussed the Apple rechargeable batteries. They aren’t manufactured by Apple, of course. These rebranded goodies are actually Sanyo Eneloops. They cost more when they come in the Apple packaging, definitely. The question of the day is whether or not they work better than other offerings on the market.

By all accounts, these batteries do work better than most of the others you could buy. They last longer – and cost less – than the Energizer or Duracell equivalents. Using any rechargeable batteries is a much better idea than using disposables. You’re saving money in the long run, absolutely. You’re also helping the environment by not having these little suckers fill up the landfill. They don’t exactly break down into an organic compound when they sit for fifty years.

Lithium-ion polymer batteries pack in a higher power density than nickel-based batteries. This gives you a longer battery life in a lighter package, as lithium is the lightest metal. You can also recharge a lithium-ion polymer battery whenever convenient, without the full charge or discharge cycle necessary to keep nickel-based batteries at peak performance.

The length of time that any battery will power your device depends on you more so than the battery brand. Watching DVDs will eat up your go-go juice much faster than using a word processing program. Similarly, gaming for hours on end sucks down battery power ten million times (slight exaggeration there) faster than watching YouTube videos.

Did you know that your environment can play a role in how long your batteries live? Extreme temperatures will definitely affect performance. In temps higher than about 95F (35C), your battery capacity can become permanently damaged. It won’t then power your device for very long on a “full” charge. You can actually damage it even more if you charge the batteries in these temperatures. Simply storing a battery somewhere really hot can also irreversibly hurt it.

Likewise, using your device in freezing temps will decrease battery life. Fortunately, this is only a temporary condition – quite the opposite effect of hot temps. Once the batteries warm back up, they will return to their regular capacity.

What type of batteries do you use in your devices? How well do they work?

Is Apple Really in the Battery Business?

After watching my video review of Apple’s Magic Trackpad yesterday, Tomi wrote in to give me the 4-1-1 about the “Apple” batteries I mentioned. The record has been set straight: they are not “Apple” batteries. They are rebranded Sanyo Eneloops. Tomi uses these in a Canon PowerShot SX1 IS camera and loves them. Apparently they have a much better life than many of the rechargeable counterparts on the market.

The funny thing is that if you buy the batteries through Eneloop, you’ll spend about half as much as you would buying them through Apple… for the same exact batteries. By all accounts, these batteries do work better than most of the others you could buy. They last longer – and cost less – than the Energizer or Duracell equivalents.

Using rechargeable batteries just makes sense. You’re saving money AND saving a little space in our landfills. I personally haven’t used disposable batteries in quite some time now. What about you?

Zagg Your Way to Extra Power for USB Devices

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The people at Zagg asked me if I wanted to take a look at the ZAGGsparq.Their claim is that it is the world’s most powerful battery backup and charger. They aren’t kidding, folks. This thing packs 2000mA hours inside of it! The 6,000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery has enough juice in it to fully charge an iPhone four times.

The ZAGGsparq plugs into a regular old wall outlet and allows you to charge two devices by way of USB while plugged in. The cool thing, though, is that it will hold charge inside when you unplug it from the wall. You can throw it into your pocket or bag and then use it to charge any personal electronic device that requires a USB plug for connectivity. It’s small and lightweight, so it’s easy to take with you when you’re traveling or attending a conference. If you fully charge your ZAGGspark before you head out for the day, you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet to recharge your gadgets while you’re busy and on the run. Just pull out the ZAGGspark and get the go-go juice you need.

The ZAGGsparq does have UK adapters in case you’re traveling abroad. There is also a lighted indicator on the side that will tell you exactly how much juice you have left. This thing will definitely be a part of my accessory kit from now on. I’ve done reviews on what I use when I’m moving around, and this is going to be a perfect addition to the mix.

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Get Rid of the Trojan From the Energizer DUO

The Department of Homeland Security has discovered that Energizer’s Duo USB charger left Windows computers open to remote control, thanks to a back door in the product’s battery monitoring software. The DUO is a USB and AC charger for NiMH batteries. The software that comes with the product allows one to see how much oomph is left in their batteries. Apparently, though, the Windows software for this device had a lovely little bug in it.

The software installs a backdoor that allows remote access to your computer. That includes “the ability to list directories, send and receive files, and execute programs,” according to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. If you downloaded the Mac counterpart, you have nothing to worry about. If you have downloaded this software for Windows, you’re going to need to execute a couple of steps in order to secure your computer.

  • Uninstall the software! his will remove the Windows registry value that executes the Trojan when starting Windows.
  • Reboot your computer after the uninstall has finished.
  • Navigate your way to C/Windows/system32/arucer.dll. This is the file that is the backdoor component itself. Delete this file, empty your Recycle Bin, and reboot once more.
  • To add one additional layer of protection, you can have your firewall block access to 7777/tcp. Energizer doesn’t list this step as necessary. It’s just an extra step for safe computing.

The DUO itself is a good product. The hardware is still available through Amazon. However, the software download has been discontinued. The product’s main function of charging by USB or AC still works. However, if you own one of these devices and would like to complain, I suggest you get in touch with them through the Energizer Contact Page.

Solar Power Battery Charger

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Aside from communicating with the opposite sex, what is a Geek’s greatest fear? I’d have to say it would be the fear of losing power! We are always worried about our batteries dying just when we need them most! Due to this, I spent a bit of my own money to buy a Solio Universal Solar Hybrid Charger. That’s right… it can charge from the Sun!! It also has a proprietary cable (ARGH!) that you can use, as well, in case you happen to live where the Sun never shines.

I can use the Solio to charge any number of things, including my iPod. I had to buy some iGo tips to attach to the end of the cable, but it worked like a charm. The Solio, by the way, is compatible with the Universal iGo tip system for use with hundreds of different portable electronics. I can leave the Solio sitting on a windowsill in order to keep it full of juice. It won’t charge as fast that way as it would if it were outside.

It takes about four hours in the Sunlight for the Solio to obtain about 2 hours worth of talk time on a cell phone! So, 5 minutes will give me about 15% of battery life. That’s not too bad, eh? What a great (and economic!) way to charge things!!

I will absolutely be carrying this with me from now on. If I happen to run out of battery, I will hopefully be able to find my way to the Sun!

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How to Charge Two iPods Simultaneously with a Dock

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I own only one iPod at this point. How many do you have? You may have two, or you may be with someone who also has one. To connect to charge them may be a bit of a challenge, since only one can go into the dock at a time – unless you get a Dual Dock.

You’ll get one compact charging station that can charge any two iPhones or iPods at once. It fits any of them, except for the iPod Shuffle. The blue LED trim ring lights up when you connect your iPhone or iPod. If the light bothers you, it can be switched off. Since I love things that glow, we all know I’ll be leaving it switched on.

I’m going to keep this located in the center of my house, instead of in my office. This way if anyone is over visiting, they can easily charge their devices – even if I’m already charging mine! It works very well, and it’s compact (therefore easy to travel with). What more could you ask for?

Heck, I can even charge my iPhone with the case still on. For me, that’s a huge plus – I no longer have to mess with removing the case to charge!

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How Do You Extend Your iPhone or iPod Battery Life?

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I couldn’t help doing my impression of the way my iPhone eats up battery life. It’s insanity, really, how fast the charge is just gone. I’ve yet to make it through a day of average use without having to recharge it. Either I have to charge all the time, or I have to have an external battery pack.

A few months ago, I reviewed the Richard|Solo backup battery. If you recall, my only real complaint was that it didn’t latch properly. I would put it into the iPhone, and it would just… fall out. Even when sitting on the table, it wouldn’t recharge unless I had the iPhone sitting in a certain way.

After I posted that review in all its honesty… Richard himself emailed me. He thanked me for my candor. He told me some of the things he was working on, and asked me for further feedback. That seriously impressed me. We’ve been exchanging emails ever since, and I’m happy to announce that the feedback is now likely included in the new Richard|Solo 1800.

There’s nothing quite like it. It has 1800 mAh of capacity, which is enough to completely charge your iPhone, and have reserve power left over. It is the only battery available that actually “latches” onto your iPhone, and a support brace is included to make it super secure.

In the kit, you get a complimentary 110-240 volt AC Wall charger, and also a dual-USB car charger, and a retractable USB cable. So you can charge it at the wall, in your car, from your computer, and you can charge them both at the same time. Connect the RichardSolo to the iPhone, then connect the RichardSolo to the charger, and charge both with one charger.

At night, snap the battery and iPhone together, and charge them both overnight with our charger. You’ll wake up in the morning with both fully charged. When you travel, you don’t need the Apple charger. Just take this one.

My primary complaint from the original one is no longer valid. The new 1800 attaches perfectly, and won’t come out until I make it. It will charge a completely “dead” iPod, too! No more only charging if the battery has 20% charge at least still.

Richard… thank you. You listened to what your community had to say, took it to heart, and ran with it. There are not many people these days who do the same. That is something to be proud of. Your product is excellent, and the “customer service” is, of course, outstanding.

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What Do You Do to Extend iPhone Battery Life?

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As I quickly came to discover, the iPhone 3G has relatively lackluster battery life. It has been said that of all the 3G phones out there, it does well. That doesn’t help me much at the end of the day. Some people tell me to turn off WiFi, but then what is the purpose for having upgraded at all? I also have run into iPhone issues that have nothing to do with the battery life… such as the stability of the new operating system. Every third party App I try to launch, it will crash. Even if I try to launch the iPhone remote… crash. But, back to the battery life. It’s something you’re going to have to deal with. There are a variety of external battery packs available, thankfully.

The Richard|Solo Backup Battery is one that has been recommended by many different people. What’ unique about it, is that you can plug it into your iPhone, and then into a USB port on your computer. You can then charge your iPhone at the same time as the battery pack. Therefore, if you charge this overnight, you’ll wake up to a fully charged iPhone and a fully charged backup battery.

One thing about this battery is that it’s small but powerful. In fact, it’s the most powerful battery of its size available. Keep it in your pocket, purse, or briefcase, and snap it on to keep going all day — and night! You can charge while simultaneously using your iPhone. You can charge both the battery and the iPhone together.

There’s nothing quite like it. There are other batteries, but they’re disposable AA’s, or they’re big, or have lots of cables, or are made of cheaper plastic that scratches easily. Or they are not certified, or use gray market parts, or may even damage your iPhone. Ours is the only one that is a high-quality aluminum case, which is light, but extremely tough and virtually scratch-proof. One of the best features of this product is that at night, you snap the battery and iPhone together, and charge them both with the included charger. You’ll wake up in the morning with both fully charged. So you are getting a wall / USB charger for free. When you travel, you don’t need the Apple charger. Just take this one.

This is a great accessory to keep with you all the time. The polymerized lithium-ion battery can be recharged over and over again for several years and will not develop “memory”. There are three color LED lights to show you the status of the charge. However, please remember to charge it completely for the first two nights to make sure the lithium-ion battery gets to full capacity!

The only drawback for me is that it doesn’t snap in tightly. I’ve lost it three different times now. This stinks, because there really are no alternatives. Hopefully, this is something that can be addressed. My suggestion for now is to save your money and wait for something better. It does work as advertised. The problem is is that it doesn’t take any effort to pull it out. It will just fall right off, and that can cause you some headaches.


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Do You Condition Your Rechargeable Batteries?

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I’m testing my batteries with a simple little battery checker. I simply slide the battery in, make contact on both ends, and it will tell me how much charge is left on them. The problem is that not all of these batteries have the same amount of charge left. I could just recharge them, of course. Or, I could use a LaCrosse BC-900 Battery Charger. It’s not just a simple battery recharger. The features include:

  • Works with all NiCd and NiMH “AA” and “AAA” Rechargeable Batteries
  • LCD shows capacity for each battery when charging is complete
  • Charges AA & AAA rechargeable batteries simultaneously
  • Will not charge defective batteries
  • Select different charging current for each channel
  • Automatically switches to trickle charge when charging is complete to ensure maximum battery capacity
  • Automatically defaults to 200mA charge (the optimal setting for prolonging battery life)
  • Overheat detection to protect over-charging
  • 7 Easy to Use Function Keys
  • Charge Mode (charging current)
  • Discharge Mode (discharging current)
  • Refresh Mode (time elapsed)
  • Test Mode (accumulated capacity)

Using one of these will extend the life of your batteries by quite a bit of time. Why not pick one up today? You’ll be happy you did, because you’ll save a ton of money in the long run.


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