Tag Archives: Batteries

What Happened to the Good Ole Days, When We’d Hand Crank the Ice Cream Maker

I look back through time to the many implements that run on power, from weed eaters to toothbrushes and everything in between. In fact, there are very few devices that do not use some sort of energy to drive their core, making them easier to operate than their manual counterparts.

Electric power in the form of batteries seems to be the fuel to which we are migrating. What used to be driven by AC (plug in) power were the first to go portable. Drills took the plunge from AC to DC with outstanding results. Soon to follow was gasoline substituted with an alternate fuel, the battery cell. As I recall, weed eaters, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers and now, lawn mowers have all succumbed to portable power. Even our most common mode of transportation, the automobile, has finally developed a practical electric car.

In our day-to-day lives, batteries have grown to play a pivotal role. Batteries run everything from watches, to smart phones, heart monitors, pedometers, IPod & MP3, portable DVDs and the list goes on.

We have electric powered railway engines, battery powered submarines,and other industrial forms of transportation that utilize the all might battery. I wonder what they’ll come up with next, cause I ain’t ready to step aboard a battery powered airliner?

If I continue to write long enough, will they come out with a battery powered desktop computers, and if so, will I still require a battery backup ?  Only time will tell.

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Don’t Climb That Tree, Mario’s Choking that Monkey Again

As I sit in my writer’s room incorporating the favorite genre of the day into my latest work (my favorites being fantasy, science fiction, dystopian and Christian fictionplaying in swamp) I stop and think how the worlds in my imagination correlate into the one in which I reside.

Think… Think… Think.

It doesn’t take long to realize that although there are similarities, for the most part, it’s like trying to drive a wooden nail through a concrete slab. So instead of taxing my depleted supply of brain cells, I switch my internal dial-up modem (to quote a cooking phrase) to a “low and slow” method of extracting information from myself. In no time, I feel better, less tense; it’s 1994 all over again. I make an executive decision if you will, to compare my childhood to my son’s childhood.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Kids of today lean more toward filling their free time with video games, smart phones, computers, and iPods and lean less toward physical activity. Everything they own has a battery. Simply plug the device in straight from the package and it’s ready to use in a few hours.

In my day, during the summer months, we would leave the house in the morning and not return until nearly dark (occasionally pillaging neighboring villages for lunch items). As far as batteries, all we had were flashlights. The batteries were not rechargeable and we liked it!

Oh, we’d receive Christmas gifts with words in bold type across the box, “batteries not included,” which meant we had the pleasure of removing our gifts from said box and watching them not work. It taught value, instilled in us the hope that we would someday own batteries and that you can make a toy last long enough to give to your kids with no appreciable wear. I can’t rightly say what else it taught, but I can tell you this–we liked it!

When my son was small (between a toddler and the age of 10) we lived in a log cabin that I built, surrounded by woods and no other houses close enough to see. We had a creek to explore, catching salamanders, frogs and the like. A playhouse, plenty of land, cleared and wooded with rolling hills and acres of flat land. My son also had a PlayStation and later on, a Sega Genesis.

Even though he had the best of both worlds, sadly he eventually chose the one that turned a normal everyday television into a cyber-world of wonder.

I, myself, spent my tween years, until I began to drive, in the swamp, fishing, hunting, swimming, catching snapping turtles, dodging snakes and frog gigging, just to name a few. Every once in a while we’d hook up with the bigger kids on a camping trip, and it was drink-til-you-puke palooza! Thank goodness those days didn’t last too long. Of course, then came the days of four wheels and chasing girls.

When I think back to my son sitting safely in our house pushing buttons in front of the television and then compare it to my jungle-Jim lifestyle as a kid, the video games they claim keep our kids from enjoying the great outdoors….Well….I guess all things in moderation.

And then again, some things are better left alone.

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Lithium? Kinda Sounds Like You Talk With a Lisp.

English: Duracell battery

English: Duracell battery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portable power, instant electricity, wireless wattage and cylindrical acidity.  We’re constantly reminded of its value to humanity by bunny rabbits  beating drums, sayings such as “coppertop,”  and reminders that we can transport ourselves more economically if we own a hybrid .

What am I talking about?  The battery, of course.

Now imagine for a moment the possibility that batteries are a thing that exist only in science fiction novels and in the mind of futuristic beings for use in strange, as yet to have been created, unimaginable devices.

What would we do?  No more wiling away the hours listening to our portable radios.  No more digital watches to keep us on time or digital pictures to take photos of us being on time.

When storms come (as they are often wont to do), what is left to light our way? Candles?  Hand held torches?  Have you ever tried to shine a flashlight that contains no batteries?  Let the power go out and it’s goodbye Johnny Beam-O-Light.

And you might as well get use to hand cranking your car, hand cranking your camera and hand cranking your television remote, because push as you might them buttons ain’t gonna change the channels.

Just to drive the point home a little deeper:  your toothbrush wouldn’t work, so all your teeth are gonna fall out. Your alarm clock no longer has backup power so it will constantly blink, causing major problems with your eyesight. And lastly, your invisible fence no longer shocks your dog to keep him in the yard, so he’ll be run over by a car.

And worst of all, no more Christmas presents with “batteries not included” stamped across the box!

Now consider my solution for this life altering problem.  A few years ago (somewhere around 250 AD) an enterprising young man (we’ll call him Ugg) took a ceramic vessel, slid a copper tube into the vessels opening and inserted an iron rod through a stopper and into the copper tube. The stopper acted as an insulator, keeping the iron and copper from touching.  An acid such as lemon juice or vinegar was then poured into the vessel.  A strange reaction occurred, causing electrons to flow and producing 1.1 volts of power.  Viola! The Bagdad battery.

Problem solved.  All we have to do is work out the kinks.  Issues such as weight and the number of vessels it would take to power the smallest of appliances would need to be considered. A digital watch, for example, would only take about 30 vessels. Yessiree, back in the saddle again.

It seems that we have come to the end of another post and I have failed to include anything witty or informative on the subject of writing.  So I guess I’ll end with this bit of hopefully useful information.  If you happen to use a battery operated word processor, make sure to reinforce your floor boards, ‘cause the number of Bagdad batteries you’ll need are gonna tilt your neighborhood a few degrees one way or the other.

So warn the neighbors and invite them over for a little juice.

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Portable Power

Remember that single great Christmas present, the one you’d been hoping for all year? You rip through the paper and there it is. Imagining the hours of endless fun, you carefully begin to open the box and then it slams home like a ton of bricks. The three words that bring terror to the hearts of kids everywhere. Batteries not included.

Batteries have been around for quite a long time, in fact, possibly as long as two thousand years. A clay pot with an asphalt plug which had a copper cylinder and an iron bar inserted through the plug hanging into the pot, when vinegar or another acidic liquid was added, the device would produce 1.1 volts of electricity. It was dubbed the “Baghdad battery” since it was found in Iraq in the nineteen thirties and the best scientific speculation as to what it was…you guessed it…a battery.

I wonder if the Mesopotamian children woke up Christmas morning (remember Christmas was brand new because Jesus had just been born) tore into their papyrus-wrapped gifts and dejectedly wondered where their clay pots were to power their toy pyramids?

The first true electrochemical cell was invented in 1800. It is now one of the most useful and yet frustrating objects we employ, by necessity, day after day. When we need a size D, all we can find are size C’s. When we want a AAA, AA’s roll out of the cabinet by the gross. When we need a 9-volt, if there were such things as 8 and 10-volt batteries, they would be falling from the sky, denting our cars, which use 12-volt batteries.

One interesting characteristic is that batteries produce DC, or direct current, which means it moves in one direction. If you apply this same principle to the written word, it becomes kind of boring, don’t you think? As you read, you should be able to enter the story in a symbiotic give and take relationship.

Uh oh. The power just went out. Good thing I have a battery back up…Hmm irony. No time to stop and ponder, gotta shut down before the battery dies. Oh great, my flash light is dead. Oh well, it can’t last forev……

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