Batteriser Bollocks
Friday, June 12, 2015 at 6:06PM
Anthony May

Earlier this month the tech media (& even mainstream media) piled on to a story about a “revolutionary” $2.50 gadget that would “extend the battery life of your AA batteries by 800%”, the ‘Batteriser’, with the side-loaded claim the battery industry had been ripping us off for years. Or the gadget makers. Or someone… cuz there always has to be a boogyman, right? Wrong.

When I read the first few paragraphs of the story that underpin this product’s claim - that your 1.5V AA battery is declared ‘flat’ by “most” electronic gadgets once it discharges down to “1.4 to 1.35 Volts”, I knew it was - if not completely bogus - at least grossly overstated for the majority of gadgets. I stopped reading in disgust.

Any electronic gadget designer worth their salt knows that such batteries have useful capacity down to at least 1.0V, to as low as 0.8V, and to design the power supply to operate as far down into that lower voltage as possible. Indeed, gadgets that are stated to work with NiCad or NiMH rechargeable batteries by definition will operate down to these lower voltages, because that’s the difference in the voltage produced by their different chemistries. There are various means to do this. Indeed, the Batteriser itself uses one such technique (a ‘boost’ switch-mode voltage regulator to keep the output at 1.5V with a varying input down to 0.8V), and they admit there’s nothing uncommon about their technique, that the Batteriser is far moreso distinguished by its svelt design that slips over the battery, and indeed it is a nice bit of physical engineering & miniaturisation.

The problem is their claim that “most” gadgets complain about a flat battery at 1.4V-1.35V, leaving as much as 80% of the battery’s capacity unused. It just ‘aint so. Sure you might find the occasional shitty gadget that cost you $5 off eBay, and if you look hard enough you’ll probably find the odd few brand-name gadgets that behave like this. But the vast majority do not call it quits on your AA batteries at that voltage, and will indeed, as they should, work down to 1.1, 1.0, even down to as little as 0.8V. Thus, they leave bugger-all chemical energy unused. There’s further BS in Batteriser’s 800% claim, but I’ll stop here for a disingenuous attempt at brevity.

That’s the big fat lie in the Batteriser’s marketing claim, and they rely on Muggle’s (a) ignorance of the technical details, and (b) inability to assess such claims with the necessary (basic) electroncics bench equipment.  It’s worse than Snake Oil, because the problem doesn’t even exist for the vast majority of gadgets.

What’s worse, they either concocted, or at least grossly dramatised, a story of industrial espionage to get the gushing review of PC World’s editor-in-chief to write this puff piece, from which most other media took their cue.  The utter credulity & lack of fact-checking by qualified reviewers (other than the press release’s own “independent” reviewer) is a whole other problem.

So I was glad to see this EEVblog (video podcast about electronics) that thoroughly debunks, & explains why, the Batteriser is as bogus as “Solar Roadways”, because even for those few % of products that might be able to benefit form it, the average consumer is not able to determine for themselves whether the Batteriser could be beneficial, & certainly not without buying them & conducting measurements themselves.

EEVblog also pointed out that the Batteriser will actually NEGATIVELY IMPACT your battery life for products that have very low power draw (i.e. for gadgets that operate continuously for weeks or months, because of the poor efficiency of such boost-switchmode regulators under light loads. Double-thums-up.

Article originally appeared on Techydude Consulting (http://techydude.com.au/).
See website for complete article licensing information.