The Battery Experiment

In the middle of navigating a few pages on my web browser, my mouse pointer started to get erratic in its performance. It started stalling as I attempted to move it across the page.

I immediately assumed it might be attributable to the pages that I had just opened. This is also after I had just powered off my computer because of the slowing of the system I had attributed to playing so many U-Tube videos, which I have noticed seems to slow down the system after a substantial amount of video play.

So, I closed the pages I had opened, then powered down and restarted my computer again. Immediately I could see that this did not solve the problem. With that, I figured it was time to clean and inspect the mouse itself. I noticed that the power in the mouse was, indeed, failing.

I removed the old batteries and grabbed the new batteries, but before I installed the new batteries I decided to test the voltage on the used batteries and compare it to the voltage in the new batteries. The voltage in the old batteries measured 0.9 volts (V), which is just about one half the 1.6V of the new batteries.

I noted that I was getting usage from one half the voltage available from a new battery and proceeded to put the new batteries in my mouse when it immediately arose in my mind, the question I had already been pondering, how can I get more use from the power still locked inside a used battery? I would only be getting the use of half the available power in the battery otherwise. That is quite a waste of energy.

So I thought, what if I put a new battery in the mouse paired with one of the old batteries? So, I paired one new battery and one old battery in my mouse and turned it on. My mouse performs as well as two new batteries make it perform as far as I can tell. Now, it is for me to observe how long, from this date, 3/19/2019, this pairing will make my mouse’s performance serviceable.

On 3/30/2019 my mouse failed to work again. I took the batteries out of the mouse and tested them for voltage. The new battery was 1.4V. The old battery was 0.57V. I cleaned the batteries and placed them back in the mouse; as sometimes, this is sufficient enough to get more use out of them.

The mouse attempted to function, but, then immediately failed. I removed the batteries from the mouse and measured the old battery. It measured 0.35V. Now, this is an interesting development. Remember, before we cleaned the battery and placed it back in the mouse to retest its useful capacity, it measured 0.57V. What this change in voltage illustrates is that the measurement of the voltage in a battery can be deceptive if not done while at work, not at rest. It is called testing the battery under load.

You see, voltage is not energy. You can have a voltage that has a large source of energy to tap into, or a small source of energy to tap into; and of course, you’ll get different results when that voltage is applied to a circuit.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is with an analogy. Let us say, you are sitting on the couch resting. A friend comes by and asks you how you’re doing. You say you feel fine. Why wouldn’t you? You’re sitting on the couch resting. Your energy level feels just fine. You feel like you have all the energy you would ever need. By taking note of the level of energy you are experiencing you are, in essence, measuring your energy level. But remember, you are taking this measurement at rest.

Now your friend says, β€œGreat, then you should have no problem helping me move some boxes up to the attic.” You reply enthusiastically, β€œI would be happy to help you do that.”

So you get up, you grab one of the boxes, and you start up the stairs on your way to deposit it in the attic. About halfway up the stairs, you start feeling tired. You’re feeling a little weak. By the time you are three-quarters of the way up, you are exhausted. You can’t go any further. Taking measure of your available energy you realize, you have very little. The feeling of ample energy you had on the couch was misleading. You can see, of course, that the energy you have while working would be the real measure of your energy. Not the energy you feel resting.

This is why, when a battery that measured 0.57V at one moment tested only 0.35V after being retested by the load of trying to make the mouse work. Although, when remeasured, the battery was measured at rest, not under load, it illustrates the effect the load has on the measurement of the voltage. The battery being tested under load would probably measure something more like 0.2V. This would take a meter made to test batteries while under load, and it is a more accurate way to measure a batteries voltage.

That being said, stressing the batteries under the load of the mouse and then taking it out and measuring it, gives us a good enough idea of its true voltage for our purposes here.

So, when we started this experiment the mouse stopped functioning when the two batteries in it measured 0.9V. The two batteries together, joined together, one at its positive terminal and one at its negative terminal, and measured at the positive and negative terminals on the outside ends would double the voltage to 1.8V. So, we know that the mouse stopped working at a combined voltage of 1.8V, so when we pair up batteries to place in the mouse, the voltage of the two batteries together has to be more than 1.8V to make it work.

To continue the experiment on 04/04/2019, I placed the .35V in the mouse with a new 1.6V battery. It tried to work but quickly failed. The old battery had dropped to 0.2V when taken back out and measured. Do you remember that phenomenon; and also, remember that our batteries, when joined together in the mouse, fail at a combined voltage of 1.8V? The combined voltage of the batteries now measures 1.8V. This is consistent with our previous measurement of failure at 1.8V.

I then placed a relatively new 1.4V battery and an older 0.78V battery in the mouse, totaling roughly 2.2V. It is 04/04/2019. When my mouse, once again, starts to show signs of failing, I will remove the batteries and measure their voltage to see how much more of the available voltage I was able to access from the previously used battery.

But, up to this point, we can see that we were able to get eleven more days (03/19/2019 to 03/30/2019) and from 0.9V we got the use of about 0.6V to 0.7V more out of the battery, taking our battery down to 0.3V or possibly 0.2V. I put it aside to experiment on it further, in a continuing effort to see how much more use I can get out of these used batteries. I will continue the experiment from there and update this report on my results. If you are interested in the outcome of this experiment, keep an eye out for updates which I’ll be posting here, in future posts. See you then.

To be continued…

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SEO Reseller
3 years ago

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3 years ago

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