Microsoft bigged up a technology yesterday that simplifies the battery installation process by forgoing the need to lopsidedly peer at the plus and negative signs on the energy gizmo. InstaLoad is a patented battery contact design that Microsoft has made available for licence by third party device suppliers. Redmond said that …
Microsoft know their target market!
(...idiocracy). 'nuff said.. it's friday.
Anyone who can't figure out which way round to insert a battery shouldn't have bought anything that needs them in the first place.
Never heard of small human beings, called children? Younger kids know batteries go in toys, but, don't have the knowledge of the polarity of the 4 AA's that just fell out of their favourite toys' battery compartment. Cue crying because it's broken...
The blind or partially sighted?
Those with arthritis who can't manipulate fiddly little batteries easily?
Ooh, a think of the children comment. Children also swallow batteries so why don't we make then too big to fit in their mouths.
a learning experience.
It also works on several levels:
1. How do I make it work? It only works with the cells in "right"
2. Why does it work? Electricity, positive, negative, electrons... stuff
3. Where are we going with this? There's lots of things in life where understanding is important to success.
Acknowledgement: Douglas Adams. Forget the coat, where's my towel.
Was this really a problem that needed solving?
Put some diodes in and bam!
You have a design that takes a battery in any direction.
Fail, because this has been done lots of times before.
== energy wastage. Especially in one-cell and two-cell designs.
As a typical low-Vf diode drops 0.2V, the wastage for a 2-cell device is 14%.
that explains that then.
knew we couldn't have been that clever
Only works with one battery
If you have two cells and only one is backwards a diode will not help.
For that mater I don't see how the MS tech will work with anything that stacks two or more cells in series. If they are all backwards yes, but if only one is backwards?
Re: Diodes & Efficiency
So, the diodes are in the battery itself. No worries then.
You think a battery company that WANTS you to buy more will really be concerned that the batter doesn't last as long? Really?
What's that? Reputation? If they can sell the convenience of installation (even by children(tm)) then what would parents/guardians/nurses care? Let the botherers do it themselves. Isn't the latest rage (hehehe) in customer service not "Self Service"?
(assuming if there's a patent that there was no prior art to dispute...)
The Nipple technique
When I insert batteries in a dimly lit place I use the nipple technique - simply feel which end has the nipply thingy on it and then in the battery receptacle, feel which end has the springy thingy. No need for some crap Microsoft invention here, not with the nipple technique!
title goes here
But in said dark room how do you tell what way round the device expects them if they both use springs like, for example, my daughters camera. Putting batteries in that right is hard enough when I can see the very cunningly hidden polarity symbols.
I've had that once
I had that happen once on a cable box remote - the answer - turn the living room lights on and some good old trial and error!
The nipple technique rarely lets me down I can tell you!
is normally pretty good, too.
And this seems like a perfectly valid invention, especially for XBox remote controls.
isn't this just a full-wave rectifier?
forgive me its been a long time,
but isn't this just four diodes?
Re: Full Wave
"Bridge" rectifier, yes. And probably self-contained in each battery, too.
What's wrong with...
... a bit of clever plastic molding, it's probably patentable, just, but probably too expensive for mass market use.
ps I was originally going to say that the built-in bridge rectifier might be good for rechargable batteries - but it definitely isn't.
This is the same kind of idea as cutting a key on both sides so you don't have to care about which way you stick it in. Its cheap and makes life that tiny bit easier.
An old mechanical hack...
Yes, cutting the key on both sides makes the task of inserting it into a lock foolproof. In the 1970's and 80's Ford (in North America at least) used a double sided key like this. You would be surprised at how many people think that both sides needed to be the same for the key to actuate the lock! A pal of mine had two Fords with only one set of keys, and most people were amazed to find out that this could be done. Even better, in the dark you could easily orient the key correctly for the car you were going to use simply by running your fingertip down the length of one of the cut sides, much like the "nipple technique" mentioned in another post, but this is more akin to braille.
But isn't this ....
.... just a few diodes?
Just wait for the idiots to ...
... insert batteries incorrectly in series: "Instaload means I can put them in any way".
It's actually quite a clever idea, just wait for the naysayers to say it shouldn't be patentable as it such an obvious solution. It's a simple solution, but at least it's a hardware patent rather than some business process or one-click rubbish.
Actually I reckon that's the one where it's probably going to be a big win.
I've puzzled a few times over the "which ones go up and which go down" bit badly stamped in a miniscule pictograph on the inside of a battery cover. The ability to shove 'em in any which way is a good thing.
That's also why it ain't "just four diodes". That method would still require you to get 'em in consistantly in one configuration or the other.
I reckon I might know why this has come from MS though. I bought a Wireless Desktop 7000 set on FleaBay a while back dirt cheap. Obviously new, obviously opened and fairly obviously a returned product. When I installed it, the mouse didn't work. The *reason* the mouse didn't work was that the rechargeable NiMh "AAA" was in the wrong way round. The vendor had umpty-something similar units for sale and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they all had the same "fault"....
Looks like a nice simple solution to a problem, not a major problem admittedly.
>The technology is compatible with CR123, AA, AAA, C and D batteries.
But you can't put any of those cells in the wrong way round!?
Or are M$ going to follow this up with a more expensive patent for battery compartments that doesn't use a spring to clamp them in place?
What are you talking about? Of course you can put them in the wrong way round the spring makes no difference at all.
course makers of battery powered things could just restrict themselves to springs = - tits/studs = +
for one the designer of eveready 2 AA battery phone chargers (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)could do with an ergonomics 101 swift kick in the pants.
paris cos she knows what her tits are for.
If you bother looking at the pictures at: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/mouseandkeyboard/licensing/instaloadoverview.mspx
You'll see it's mechanical.
There are two seperate contacts, a wider one at the bottom for the negative connection, and a slightly recessed upper contact that the negative end of the battery will never touch. If it wasn't from Microsoft, you might almost call it an innovation...
That is very good, blindingly simple, my hat is off to the designer.
Well son of a gun.
That is pretty clever. Now, I wonder hard it is to mess it up by putting the batteries in too quickly and bending one of the tabs?
However, if not a tab and rather a layer of metallic connector on rigid substrate, then how would the ends hold tension on the battery to hold it in place? You couldn't just have the ends the exact size of the battery - notice the mouse (from page above) has one end of the batteries concealed in the case - that means the batteries must have been inserted at an angle, with one end or the other "springy".
Perhaps a spring on the inner side of the connector, so its not exposed? If that's not part of the patent I hereby claim first publishing rights! ;)
Someone was thinking...
Nice simple design using existing form-factor. I like it, but you still need to tell the kids about polarity and why it is important, you could use the design of these contacts to illustrate that it was so important that someone came up with this design.
Kudos to the designer.
I have several times found myself wondering which way batteries go in, if they all go in the same way, or if half go in one way and half the other way (especially where you've got four batteries in a 2x2 matrix). Sometimes it's not easy to read the + and - signs, even with pretty good vision. I've got a few devices with custom batteries that won't insert incorrectly, but I'd never thought of hooking up a system to negate the need to put them in the right way round.
I think this is probably one of those cat-flap moments - it's really simple and so blindingly obvious that it took a genius to invent and a thousand people to say, "I could have done that".
Also - for reasons of efficiency, as mentioned above, I suspect it isn't just a bunch of bog standard diodes.
Both contacts at the same end...
sounds like a short path to a hot time to me... Current batteries can be tossed loose into a drawer and be generally expected to not land in a way that puts both terminals in contact with the same bit of metal. I'm not sure how these are going to manage that. (I'm sure that tossing out even a "spent" 9-volt has has started fires in trashbins more than once already...)
no change to the battieries
this is the holder the battery goes into, not the battery... so the contact points on the battery don't change, just recepticle.
Easy to use solution
Once you've entered your 25-character Battery Product Key online, had it rejected, made a call to India, written down an even longer activation code, entered that online and finally been deemed a suitable person to use the product you handed over good money for, then yes, it's really easy to use!
But then, of course after about 2 days, you'll take it out and put it in a second device only to be alerted that your painstakingly typed activation code is no longer valid and that your battery may not be genuine. The available voltage will drop by half a volt as a courtesy until you provide a blood sample for DNA matching to prove you're the original purchaser.
.... you're confusing it with a battery for an iPhone
Wow, microsoft figured out how to put diodes in a circuit. A 10 year old could figure out how to do it.
can't you read ... or at least look at the picture
no diodes. it's a clever mechanical solution.
why is it so hard for people to accept that MS sometimes come up with a good idea?! If this was from Apple it would be hailed as the second coming of portable electronics and a triumph of elegant design (even if it made your radio controlled toy car explode!)
That's an even worse solution than using diodes.
If this was from Apple it would be hailed as the second coming
Well first off I think Apple would have to explain the concept of a replaceable battery to their users. They'd also have to adapt it to coin cells because I can't see Apple producing anything that a D-Cell will fit in.
It is me or is this not going to work?
The current setup involves a spring on the negative end which ensures a good contact and allows for minor variations in the battery's length. This version doesn't (seem to) do either.
With no play in the mechanism getting a battery in there it is going to be damned difficult and getting it out again will be an utter bastard....
Also, rechargeables tend to have a thick plastic jacket which exends partly over the bottom of the battery, negative contacts tend to be pointy springs or plates with nippley bits, wheras this is just a flat plate.
If I may be permitted a spaced quote:
MS Guy: "Oh ah had-na fort ov dat."
holy sh't - Msoft innovates!
This is a first - (if, indeed, it proves to be their idea) - a genuine innovation, clever and elegant. How uniquely un-Msoft. Oh the irony - that it's pure hardware!! Poor old Mhard.
you're still going to have loads of devices without this "instaload" doohicky, especially as it's patented. So you're still going to have to put your batteries in the right way anyway, unless you want to go to the additional trouble of remembering which devices don't care about battery configuration and deliberately putting the batteries in some weird configuration just to get your monies worth.
The Logo Is The Answer
Officially licensed InstaLoad products will sport the InstaLoad Logo!
Adding this to a product tells the customer...
...that you think he's an idiot unable to put in batteries in the right way and you even spend probably considerable amounts of money on telling him.
Almost a brilliant idea
It is a great idea, but in the way it is shown it requires much tighter tolerances than batteries are made to.
There is a reason why most battery holders have a spring on one end that allows for several percent variation in battery length.
It will also be hard to prove that it will not short circuit any type of battery.
Of course there are ways around both these problems, but either the mechanics will become fiddly or it will only work with some battery brands.
There surely has to be prior art though.