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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Lost Your Charger? How to Charge any Battery

My camera shut down from low battery just when I needed to take some pictures.
The light was perfect. I suddenly remembered where I'd left the charger - 3000 miles away.
Everyone's had this experience, or the similar experience of spending one's vacation searching for a cellphone charger.

Here's how to charge any battery enough to keep doing the important stuff.

Fact 1: All past and future rechargeable batteries can be safely trickle charged if you don't overcharge them. Trickle means low current, like half an amp for an average camera or phone battery.
Fact 2: Small incandescent bulbs such as flashlight bulbs and christmast tree mini lights make great current regulators.

This is the battery to my Canon S30. It's got three terminals, labeled "+", "-", and "T".
I've clipped alligator-clips onto the two obvious ones.
You don't need clips, you can just hold wires on it for as long as it takes to charge, that's probably better anyway, so you can tell if anything is going wrong.

Warning! Wear eye protection and if anything weird happens don't breathe the fumes!





What was that other terminal marked "T" for? TIMMY of course, just like in the nursery rhyme!
It's for Timmy to to hold his finger on the battery. If it gets hot you're doing something wrong.
Actually it's "Thermistor" or similar names. Temperature sensor. Some batteries use that to regulate charging current, some just for a safety feature.

"Digital sensor, huh?" would be a running joke back when Americans knew Greek and knew that digits are fingers. But then numbers got so much use we forgot about counting on fingers, and now people barely know how to do anything with their hands.

Anyway, here's a finger used as a digital thermometer. Which reminds me of the joke about the doctor

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