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SEI's Aluminum-Celmet, perfect for batteries

clock June 29, 2011 00:59 by author Jeremy

Simotomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (SEI) has developed a new battery based on Celmet, a highly porous metal made from nickel. Due to the structure of Celmet, it has become reknowned as a current-collecting ingredient, making it ideal for collecting charges in a battery.

Celmet has been gaining popularity recently due to its use in nickel-hydrogen batteries for hybrid cars. And now, SEI has combined Celmet with Aluminum, making the material Aluminum-Celmet.

This offers a few advantages, such as the fact that Aluminum is lighter than Celmet's frequent-partner Nickel. Also, Aluminum is used often with smaller batteries, such as AA's and AAA's. Due to its light weight, it coudl likely be added to lithium-ion secondary batteries and capacitors to improve their capacity.

With Aluminum-Celmet inside of rechargeable batteries, we could see the creation of even smaller, faster-charging batteries for our electronic devices.

Source: SEI

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Helpful Tips: Unplug Appliances and Save Money on your Electricity Bill

clock June 23, 2011 00:34 by author Jeremy

Here's a fact people don't think about too often: even if your laptop's AC adapter isn't plugged in to your laptop, as long as it's hooked up to a power outlet it will soak up electricity. Sure, it may not take a lot of electricity since it's technically not powering anything for the moment. But think about that small amount your laptop adapter is absorbing, and consider that it's doing that nonstop while it's plugged in... you've basically got a power-leech right around the corner.

Now think about how many adapters, chargers, and appliances you leave in all the time just out of convenience. Scary thought, isn't it? If your electricity bill has been high recently, you might want to consider ways to take that cost down a notch or two. And just maybe, you've stumbled upon a few quick tips on how to do just that.

Computers: Whether it be a desktop or laptop, even in standby-mode these machines are still consuming power. Especially if you've got that brick of an AC adapter for your laptop. Be sure to actually remove the power cord from the outlet in order to stop wasting energy.

DVD Players/VCR's: Ever wonder how that DVD Player of yours always displays the correct time, even though it's not on? You essentially leave it plugged in just to have another clock. If you're not the kind to watch old movies spontaneously, perhaps it's time to ditch this extra clock.

Stereos/Radios/iPods: Just like above with the DVD Players and VCR's, these musical devices are doing the same thing while not on: consuming power just so that you can be ready to listen to music in a heartbeat. Especially with those iPods! Don't leave them plugged in even though they're full on battery: you're not only wasting electricity, but also wasting away its battery.

Modems: If you work the typical 8-to-5 job, chances are that your house is empty during the day. So what good is leaving your modem on if no one's around to use it? Unless you like leaving it on without a password for WiFi-thieves out there, there's not really a good reason for it to stay on for those 8 hours of worktime.

Now, I know this sounds like a major pain. Who wants to spend the first 5 minutes of coming home by plugging everything back in? Another tip would be to buy a power strip - rather than unplugging everything, just connect it all to a power strip and shut that on/off when you need to.

Certain appliances, like a cable box or washing machine, might take a few minutes to "reboot" itself; obviously, these ones might be a bit more hassle than they're worth to shut off, but that's up to the user.

There's plenty of other electronic devices and appliances around the house (toasters, coffee machines, lamps, etc) that could go with a bit of down-time, but to me, these seem like the major ones. So try cutting back, and watch your electricity bill do the same!

Source: walletpop.com

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Battery Life: iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

clock June 17, 2011 01:00 by author Jeremy

A recent article on AllThingsD by Katherine Boehret compared the differences between the iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. While the prices are the same for each ($499 for the 16GB WiFi model, $599 for the 32GB WiFi model), differences include the camera, the physical size, and the app market.

Most importantly, however, was the difference in battery life. Boehret's testing (which included 75% screen brightness, WiFi-enabled, and a video loop) concluded that the iPad 2 would last just slightly over 10 hours, while the Galaxy Tab ran at a measly 5 hours 38 minutes in comparison.

Sure, the Galaxy Tab may be just a bit thinner (and really, who doesn't like sleek?) and have better camera quality; but is it worth half the battery life? Granted, it's doubtful people will be using the battery constantly like Boehret did in her testing, so I'm sure that the battery lasts longer than 5 hours on average. Nonetheless, it's something to consider when purchasing a tablet.

Source: AllThingsD

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E3 2011 - Microsoft's Kinect, Sony's PSVita, and Nintendo's Wii U

clock June 11, 2011 01:25 by author Jeremy

This past week hasn't been shy as far as introducing new gadgets and technology. With WWDC on Monday, you'd think we couldn't have gotten any more excited (after all, iTunes Match seems fairly spiffy). Oh, how wrong we were.

Though E3 didn't officially start until Tuesday, we were already seeing keynotes on Monday. Microsoft pumped up their Kinect-system, showing off a slew of games such as Dance Central 2 and Kinect Star Wars. Other games were introduced that will still use the basic controller, but aren't left out from the Kinect system: voice-controls used through the Kinect's mic can be utilized during gameplay.

Even the main XBox360 menu is getting a makeover. The new UI will later include Bing voice search for Hulu, Netflix, live TV, and even YouTube. With this much integration of the Kinect, Microsoft likely won't even need a new console for quite some time.

On the other hand, Sony let out a bit of news on their NGP - now officially named the PlayStation Vita. This handheld has received quite the popularity since it was introduced in January, and there were several demos to be had. Several of these games are available for both PS3 and PSVita, and Sony announced that games can stop on one machine, only to pick up on a different one (for example, switching from your PS3 to your PSVita). Most importantly, though, was their announcement of the final price and date: $249 for the WiFi model or $299 for the 3G model, hitting stores this holiday season; AT&T will be the sole carrier. That's got to be one strong battery to display the crazy visuals of the Vita while maintaining internet connection...

Aside from their keynote, Sony also introduced the PlayStation-brand 24" 3D monitor and 3D glasses, available for $499 as a bundle. With these, you'll be sacrificing the comfort of your ears for the joy of being able to play with friends locally while viewing a full screen. According to Sony's press release, letting the Lithium Ion battery in these glasses charge for 3 minutes results in 3 hours of use, with 45 minutes bringing you roughly 30 hours of wear.

Meanwhile, Nintendo took a different approach to their keynote. After a large symphony orchestra playing through a montage of Zelda-scenes to honor the 25th anniversary, Nintendo dived into showing off new games for the Nintendo 3DS and the handheld's infamous AR (augmented reality). More importantly, though, was their announcement of a new system: the Wii U, which will make use of a 6" controller with a screen. You can use the controller to share pictures and videos from your tv to your handheld, or you can use it to play certain games (for example: holding it up to the screen while playing baseball makes it act as a virtual glove). Nothing was mentioned as far as how the remote will be powered or charged, however.

 

 

Oddly enough, the actual Wii U wasn't spoken as much as the Wii U remote was, but from photos during their keynote, it looks very similar to a Wii but with rounded edges. It will be backwards compatible, so all your odd Wii gadgets will work with it. The Wii U is scheduled to release in 2012.

 

Source: engadget, prnewswire



A Dead Battery in an Electric Car

clock June 9, 2011 19:34 by author Ty

So you got yourself a new electric car that runs 100% off of the power grid? It’s green, great for the environment, comes with tax benefits, there’s no gasoline or diesel bill at every fill up, and it’s the new trend everyone wants to be a part of by purchasing an electric vehicle. But what happens when you run out of juice in your electric vehicle?

You’re stranded! You ran out of battery power in your electric vehicle. An easy solution would be to call AAA and have a tow truck fix us up. Well, your electric car doesn’t take gasoline or diesel, so it will most likely end up being an expensive tow if you are not within your 10 mile free tow limit.

However, in Japan there is an ‘EV Rescue Vehicle’ operated by Nissan Motor Co and is equipped with a 29kW diesel generator that can partially charge a Nissan Leaf in 20 minutes to increase the range by 24 miles. There is nothing available in the United States that can provide services like the ‘EV Rescue Vehicle’ in Japan. General Motors and Toyota are currently talking to AAA about offering an emergency charging roadside assistance to eliminate range anxiety and allow EV car owners to drive further off of one full charge.

 

Your electric car will most likely need to be towed back home or to the nearest charging station if you run out of battery power.  Plan your trips wisely and be conservative on your range to ensure your ride back home is not on a tow truck. Electric cars may be great for the environment, but can be a real hassle for new EV car owners not familiar with EV range capabilities.

 

More frequently asked questions about Electric Vehicles (EV) can be found on Nissan’s Web site.
http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/faq/

Sources:
http://www.caradvice.com.au/122439/nissan-leaf-evs-with-flat-batteries-rescued-by-diesel-trucks/
http://gigaom.com/cleantech/aaa-for-the-electric-vehicle-crowd/
http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110324/GREEN/110329945

Duracell Portable Power Products offer Power Inverters for Cars.



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