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back to article Assault on battery

When working on-site, I like go into the office early on Thursdays because I have to leave by 5pm. It’s simply essential that I get away in good time on Thursdays. And on Wednesdays. Oh, and Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Weekends are completely off-limits, by the way. Empty phone battery 'Heylp! Heylp!' Source: Pratheek …

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Anonymous Coward

Put in the dishwasher?

You deserve it!

You let it dry, and perhaps clean it by hand. The contacts are not rather keen on chemicals AFAIK. But water can just wash off the tea and dry well. Usually advised to use distilled water too, sparingly. :P

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Re: Put in the dishwasher?

when trouble shooting old arcade machines the first step wash usually remove all pcb's, scrub them with baking soda made into a paste and then rinse them under the tap, fixed the problem 90% of time.

Getting electronics wet isn't a big deal, it's getting them wet when they are switched on that fucks them up, that said I imagin the average dishwasher would be a bit harsh on a keyboard (lots of fiddly mechanical bits and such...)

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Happy

Re: Put in the dishwasher?

SOP for some older IBM keyboards apparently.

Of course you could also beat someone to death with it as well. They were pretty tough.

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Pint

Re: Put in the dishwasher?

I've recovered many PC parts from dirty and smokey environments. I've cleaned video, network cards and motherboards in the dishwasher many times with success. I would even rinse power supplies in the sink, but I used this method when recovering power supplies from heavy smokers or very dusty warehouses.

All parts were first allowed to discharge, then washed, and allowed to naturally dry after for several days. I used compressed gas to check for any remaining moisture between components, then the parts were put back in service. It's much cheaper than purchasing specialty electronics cleaners, but only if you have the time for the parts to dry.

I did not bother with keyboards. I did it once with success, but always found the chassis had a spot of water I missed - too much effort for what it's worth.

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S, E and X keys?

Oh I can't be bothered. Someone write a punchline for me.

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Joke

Re: S, E and X keys?

From what we've read of your home-life at the moment, you don't need those anyway...

Will that do?

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Re: S, E and X keys?

yes :(

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Coffee/keyboard

...the ‘A’ key still doesn’t work. And now neither do ...

Are you sure you're not pressing them wrong?

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Boffin

Re: ...the ‘A’ key still doesn’t work. And now neither do ...

He is pressing all the right keys.

But not necessarily in the right order...

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: ...the ‘A’ key still doesn’t work. And now neither do ...

It's an Apple keyboard? Ah, he's holding it wrong!

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Cow Orkers

Unless you are on the Settee watching a media centre the cabled keyboard and mice makes more sense.

There are two more reasons than just the batteries. Some of the cordless mice/keyboards even need their own USB micro dongle anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

What a cushy place....

...oh motto, you want a cordless mouse and k/b, buy your ruddy own (we are pioneers in BYOD), then when the batteries die out, buy your own.

6 months later do an office move and feel free to pick up the discarded mice and k/b's

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By coincidence, all my rechargeable AA batteries have resurfaced in the last few days, so I'm sorted. I'm surprised, as matched pairs of rechargeable batteries generally behave like socks- one twin loves to elude the other. My mouse takes one AA battery, but my torch, game controller and beard trimmer take two each, and that's fine.

What does my nut in that gadgets that take AAA cells usually require THREE of them (so as to be close to USB voltage). Three! I can't buy alkaline batteries in threes, and my chargers will only charge two at a time, no more, no less... Grrr! Am I supposed to buy four, and sling one? Am I supposed to charge four, and then drain one, so that it can be charged with its brethren when they expire?

According to Which?'s tests, Lidl's 'Aerocell' brand are the most cost effective- they don't last quite as long as the big brands, but are far, far cheaper. A few years back they noted that Sainsbury's homebrand AAs lasted longer thn the big brands, but that no longer appears to be the case. For the dark winter nights, Tescos sell a homebrand 2xAA aluminium torch with a CREE LED for a tenner; bloody bright, pocket friendly.

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Anonymous Coward

Am I supposed to buy four, and sling one?

Thanks for proving that math standards are indeed declining. Just buy three packs.

Alternatively, buy a mouse that uses 2 AA. Not only does that take an even and lower number of batteries, they last longer too. AAAs hold little power. Personally, I can only recommend the Logitech Anywhere MX.

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Happy

You shouldn't really use the chargers that only do pairs, well they're OK as long as you use two equally discharged and similar capacity cells, but that can be quite an ask. Oh, and you should take them off charge after the allotted time, the trickle charge can be pretty high - if its more than the "water cycle" in the NiMH can handle then it will erode capacity. the not-quite-best cells (i.e. 2300mAh not 3000mAh) are more robust against overcharge.

its best to spend (shit, my powerex charger is £60 - I thought it was £30) on a decent charger/cycler. - it allows you to nurture the cells and alerts you to dud ones, they will go dud all of a sudden. thanks for the torch tip.

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Wireless in the office is jsut a waste of resources.

You either need a lot of rechargeable batteries (since they can't be used whilst charging) or a stock of ordinary "let's ruin the environment pointlessly" batteries.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an eco-nut or anything and I do use a wireless keyboard on a PC used as an entertainment centre but using batteries in an office is just a waste of energy for no real gain.

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WTF?

Rechargeables, for Gaia's sake!

Not a lot of rechargeables. One spare set, or maybe a few shared sets and a charger kept by the person who volunteers to swap your discharged ones for recharged ones.

Rechargeable NiMH has come a long way. The last excuse for not using them was that they self-discharged in about six weeks. The latest ones don't. (The ones that come pre-charged in the packet).

The government ought to raise the tax on non-rechargeables so that they cost more than the rechargeable ones, and start a public-awareness campaign. I guess a few dim light bulbs will still throw them away after one use, but one has to start somewhere.

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Boffin

Wireless for mice, yes please

I'm a fan of wireless for mice. I find the cables get tangled, or catch on things, or are just never as long as you need. Keyboards, though, certainly not, with the exception of the venerable media center box. My Logitech M705 is an awesome mouse for which the manufacturer claims 3 years on a single set of AA batteries. This seems to be holding true so far (one year in and counting). And yes, I do play games.

As to the iPhone comment in Alastair's footnote bio thing, I have the same ethos with my Android phone (Galaxy S Plus). I use Elixir Widget to put some functional buttons on my phone's main screen, so I can turn Wifi and 3G on and off very quickly. I can also disable sync, so that 3G won't check emails or marketplace updates when activated, if all I want to do is check one app or surf on the browser. I can go several days easily without running out of battery, and if I use this strategy in combination with the excellent EBB-U10 (Samsung's official battery add-on pack case thing), I can get a week's use out of it easily (this combination is great if I go out hiking for a long weekend, up to 4-5 days). And the power and connectivity of the phone is still available whenever I want it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wireless for mice, yes please

Re. the iPhone footnote comment thing, I'm glad you brought it up - I prefer to use my phone and the functions of it like it was intended (email, weather, location services, etc, all updated in the background), and simply charge the thing overnight.

Sure, maybe making a smartphone last 5 days is good for the soul or something, perhaps cathartic, like a priest taking a vow of abstinence, but come on, just use the phone as it's intended and charge it overnight (assuming you're not out camping or travelling or something).

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Sanyo Eneloop Batteries

Brilliant for keyboards and stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Genuine thanks

No ass groveling here. I can honestly say i look forward to these articles on a Friday. A quick read and a few smiles and laughs. Great thanks!

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Bronze badge

Re: Genuine thanks

Blimey, so wonder you chose to stay anonymous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Genuine thanks

And risk the hordes attacking and questioning my sexuality?! ;)

Im sure admin can see who i am, keep up the good work anyway

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Alert

Just run iOS 6.0.1

And you'll have NO battery at all, and no data allowance left either.

Damn you iPhone, you've sucked horribly badly at both this time!

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4310494?start=1635&tstart=0 110 glorious pages of Epic Apple Fail.

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Don't buy cheap bluetooth devices

Get the more expensive ones that have their own chargers and stands.

My Logitech DeNovo Edge has been going strong fot the past 6 years or so, no worries, put it in the stand once a month and its good!

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Re: Don't buy cheap bluetooth devices

That's good that you lucked into a long-lasting one, but my experience is that they rapidly lose their capacity and range after a year. After two, even a full charge only lasts 2-3 minutes at 1 meter max.

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Anonymous Coward

"... it’s barely even a Children’s Christmas Lecture at the Royal Institution."

Although generally a fine article, this comment is a little unfair. The RI Christmas Lectures of my youth were engaging and intellegent. It is true they went through a phase of treating the audience as "clueless with the attention span of a dead goldfish", but the last four or so have been quite good.

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Re: "... it’s barely even a Children’s Christmas Lecture at the Royal Institution."

Criticism accepted. My favourite ever was Carl Sagan's lectures about Mars. Epic lectures, epic man.

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Bronze badge

Washable keyboards...

Spotted in a local branch of Furet du Nord[*]: Logitech k310. It is, indeed, a washable keyboard. It's not likely to be dishwasher-safe, but the box showed it being stuck under a running tap.

[*] Furet du Nord - a French bookstore chain originally from the Nord département. The literal translation of the name is "Ferret of Nord" (technically "the North", but Nord here refers to the département, not the geographic direction). Those of you capable of reading French might take a look at http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furet_du_Nord for more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Washable keyboards...

We use a lot of washable keyboards and mice where I work (a hospital). They are effective against all sorts of liquids!

For other keyboards, stick the KB under the tap immediately and wash down but keep the cable out of it.. Give a really good shaking and put face down somewhere warm for many days. This will not work for those bodily fluids mentioned above. They tend to be rather acidic. Bag it and chuck it!

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Back in reality

Yeah, batteries are jolly nice. But

People steal them for their home remotes and bring the duds back in for IT to kindly swap out

Wireless devices are relatively tempermental. Yes, only now and again individually, but multiply my several hundred pissy users who are angling to get some flashy new mouse they saw on the manager's desk. Endless waste of time support calls for what is basically a - nice to have - gimmick.

Why the hell do people in offices need wireless keyboards? majkes no sense at all.

Waste of money and environmental resources

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Re: Back in reality

Yeah, like my situation at home: the Other Half doesn't like the noise mice make - you know, the clicky clicky noise of the buttons - so that lead me to finding that only Microsoft makes mice with quiet buttons, and most of them are the little teeny ones meant for using with laptops, except the Arc. Anyway, when I had one of the lesser 2.4GHz wireless MS mice, I found that it was horribly flaky until I picked the wireless USB knob up off the desk so the line of sight between it and the mouse didn't go through the (wired) keyboard.

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Re: Back in reality

Security by obscurity. To stop your minions doing a crafty swop of the batteries for home, use some obscure brand such as the "industrial" versions of the well known brands, they'll probably save money as well.

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Re: Back in reality

Agreed regarding people stealing your batteries. I teach at a nightschool at which some tit regularly empties the batteries from the projector's remote control. Mind you, it amuses the students when I operate the (ceiling mounted) projector by standing on one of their desks in the middle of the room.

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Re: Back in reality

You never thought of carrying your own set of batteries for this eventuality?

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Re: Back in reality

clickyness... Ahh the good old days. The first keyboard i ever got has to be by far the best I've ever come across. It costs an absolute fortune to get one like it now. If only i'd kept it and got a ps2 to usb converter...

Solid, heavy, very clicky keys, nice feel and feedback, shame they are all cheap nasty plastic nowadays.

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Holmes

"sharp-witted and similarly misanthropic guys from customer services"

Wait, how can a person who works in customer services not like people?

On second thought, forget I asked.

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Anonymous Coward

Does rather beg the question...

Why does a wireless mouse need an on/off switch?

Surely there's enough power in a mouse click or move to flip a transistor? Time it out after 5 minutes of disuse.

You normally wiggle the mouse the first time you touch it just to make the pointer reappear anyway.

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Re: Does rather beg the question...

I used to have a Bluetooth KB/Mouse combo that did that.

30 seconds of non-use turned them off. You then had 5-10 seconds of waiting for the Bluetooth handshaking to complete before either switched back on again. Upon which, the keyboard buffer would dump itself and you'd end up with all the keys you mashed in frustration being input.

Annoying would be one word for it.

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iPhone Battery

I normally get 5 days on my iphone. this is because I try to only use it as a clock.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iPhone Battery

Actually I can not imagine what people do. Why leave wireless or GPS on if not using them or have push email. Suppose such people would be pleased to wear one of those tags so the police can track people on bail. Even using my iPhone for email, some Internet reading, timetables, the occasional direction finding and, now here's a surprise, phone calls and messages, it lasts two to three days and if abroad, so tending to avoid internet, four or five. Nightly chargers must live on the thing.

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buy extra batteries

I have little sympathy with anyone who insists on letting manufacturers continue with their silly sealed battery compartment devices unless the battery life is particularly long (a kindle). Buy a phone that has swappable batteries.

The big issue with wireless keyboards/mice though is either interference, or the battery reporting level. A phone will tell you how much battery is left, but some. of Logitech's earlier kit warned you only when it was about to die.

Apart from some fairly specialist cases (media PC, and that's better with a remote control) I don't see the point of wireless. Tried it, went back to wired, don't really miss it.

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small phone , shame about the batteries

To keep my HTC Desire running , I've now acquired an external 7AH battery pack. It seems to do the trick , although it is about twice the size of the phone. So I suppose I'm reverting to the decade when I was young slim and good looking , i.e the 80s. All I need is a Motorola DynaTAC case to mount it all in, and shout down the phone "BUY BUY , SELL SELL "

on the subject of AA alkaline battery powered wireless keyboards, my logitech-something lasts for frickin' ages.

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Pint

iPhones

my boss's iPhone lasts that long too, and is actually used as a phone too.

The main reason for its longevity is that all it's used for 99% of the time is dumbphone stuff, but he really, really needs the smartphone bits in the remaining 1%. I am amazed how well it's surviving actually, it's a 3GS that has been dropped on concrete on numerous occasions, dropped in muddy puddles, dropped in slurry... and it still keeps going.

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Re: iPhones

iPhones will usually land on something hard and are weighted to hit on a topside corner to completely spider the glass. Your boss must have super powers or is genetically lucky. Apple didn't build them to be robust, they WANT them to break so you have to buy another one at full pop.

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Devil

Re: iPhones

>Apple didn't build them to be robust, they WANT them to break so you have to buy another one at full pop.

Yet strangely they'll happily replace bust ones for £140, no questions asked - making it cheaper than insurance policies...

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Re: iPhones

The grilfiend drops her iPhone regularly, and keeps it in her bag with keys, work badge and other scratchy things. No breakage, no scratches. Dinged corners, though. (Her battery lasts six days - it's my original '07 iPhone with the original battery)

I've thrown my iPhone 4 at concrete due to pocket mishaps at least four times, as well as various MTB off-road crashes and other softer impacts. Pitted steel corners, a rough patch on the plastic trim, and one small scratch on the back. (2.5 day battery, unless I use GPS which eats ~15% per hour)

On the other side, I've seen someone drop a 4s on carpet and shatter the front, it was only a month old too. Am I lucky, or are they unlucky? Shrug.

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Coffee/keyboard

Put it in the fridge

Hopefully, you don't take your tea with 12 sugars. That will kill anything electronic. Washing up from an accident should be with distilled water. If it's messy enough to want a dishwasher, it's completely buggered. If you are comfortable with taking the kit apart, you can rinse it out a bit better. Some keyboards will disassemble into three or four hundred parts if you take the screws out. Mice are on the impulse buy rack as you check out at most shops and not worth trying to fix unless you bought the uber-deluxe GameMaster 9000 model for half a weeks pay (sucker).

For drying in the summer, just put it in the sun upside down if it's not too humid. At other times, put it in the fridge with the keys facing down on a rack shelf (just not on a solid glass or plastic shelf). It sounds strange, but I'm sure you have noticed that anything put in the fridge that isn't wrapped up is desiccated by the next day. I've found that any warm place in the house is usually over something electronic that I'm not real confident about dripping water into.

Fizzy drinks often have phosphoric acid in them and will eat electronic parts quickly. If you have doused your laptop, tear it down and yank the hard drive and memory out to give them a good wash. The remainder is likely not going to survive. Get the data off of the hard drive as soon as possible. Beer and juices will gum up mechanical stuff like keyboards and optical drives with almost no hope of reclamation.

I've worked fixing musical instrument electronics previously and have loads of experience with this sort of cock up. Don't set drinks on your electric piano or guitar amp. Tube amps will put on a good but brief light show if you spill stuff into them sometimes. Guinness doesn't mix well with 450 volts. If you have a beverage while working with your computer, get in the habit of keeping the cup a couple of diameters away and looking when you pick it up and put it down.

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WTF?

3G and wifi turned off on his iPhone

That's like having a sports car but leaving the valet key in all the time, only removing it when you decide you want to get the full power of the engine. i.e., it begs the question of why have a smartphone at all, when it would seem that a phone from the turn of the millennium would be adequate for what little he apparently does with it.

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Re: 3G and wifi turned off on his iPhone

I'm surprised Alistair can go any length of time without 3G/Wifi - I consider myself an average user but even I use 3G / Wifi dozens of times a day for work and leisure - flipping into Settings every time would get tedious quickly!

I have to charge daily since replacing the battery which is easily accommodated in my routine, before replacing the battery (with the phone at 3-4 years old) I'd struggle to get eight hours out of it.

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