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Rechargable Batteries

At my office, the most common form of Mouse/Keyboard combination at any given desk is Apple’s wireless Magic Mouse and Wireless Keyboard. These use AA batteries, and there’s consistently a shortage of extras lying around. Recently I tried to take matters into my own hands and get people to use rechargeable batteries, but unfortunately the program failed miserably. Here’s a quick response I wrote addressing some of the issues.

Team-

As a followup to the rechargeable battery system, Toby was right:

“And please note that hardly anyone is currently using the rechargeables because the system failed. These rechargeable batteries only lasted a few weeks before they died. People were furious because they’d be on a call and their mouse would suddenly die.”

The system did fail because the rechargeable batteries died too fast and it took too much diligence to keep them charged. Clicking them into the charger every week isn’t actually that hard, but still it’s a pain in the ass and people didn’t want to have yet another random maintenance task. Completely understandable.

The reason the batteries died so quickly is because they were the wrong kind to be using in mice and keyboards – albeit really the only option at the time. The batteries that were being used were standard NiMH AA batteries. These batteries are great for high drain devices, are relatively inexpensive, and can be recharged many times. However, their fatal flaw is they have a relatively high “self discharge rate” – that is, when they’re just sitting there doing nothing, they’re actually losing their charge at a fairly high rate. This means that in a low drain (meaining not using a lot of energy very quickly) device like a computer mouse, often times the battery is discharging itself faster than the actual mouse is using its power. This leads to very short battery life. These types of NiMH batteries are better suited for higher drain devices, such as flashlights, and children’s toys with lots of motors and lights – sucking up a lot of juice.

However, in recent months, a new breed of rechargable batteries has been introduced: Lo Self-discharge nickel metal hydride (LSD NiMH). These batteries function almost the same as traditional NiMH batteries – except that they have a very low self discharge rate. This allows them to be used for a long time in low-drain devices like a computer mouse, and have performance closer to that of a disposable alkaline battery. The one caveot of these batteries is since they’re relatively new to the market, they are priced a little bit higher than traditional NiMH batteries. These LSD NiMH batteries are now sold by most major battery manufacturers, usually using “pre-charged” or “ready to use” marketspeak to differentiate them from their older counterparts.

More information can be found at: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Low_self-discharge_NiMH_battery

If MM wants to “recharge” the rechargeable battery program, I would recommend investing in sets of these LSD NiMH batteries, and appropriate chargers. Here are some popular choices:

https://store.apple.com/us/product/MC500LL/A?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY
https://goo.gl/8r5cz

-Jeffrey

Listening to: Daft Punk – Derezzed (The Glitch Mob Remix)

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