Tuesday, 14 July 2015

08:53 – I wrote Sunday,

“As far as I can see, the only way out of this for Greece, if there is any way out, is for the EU to abolish government at all levels in Greece and appoint a receiver to oversee the bankruptcy of Greece and the auctioning off of Greek assets to pay off the creditors. Greece will have to become an EU colony for the foreseeable future, ceding all local control.”

but I didn’t actually expect them to do it. I underestimated just how much the Germans and the rest of the Northern Tier distrust Greece, because that’s essentially what they’ve gotten Tsipras to agree to. Whether or not the Greek legislators vote tomorrow to accept those humiliating terms is still very much up in the air. And, even if they do, it’s extremely unlikely that the Northern Tier will agree to fund yet another “bail out” for Greece, knowing that Greece will never repay the earlier bail outs, let alone the one under discussion. Payback, as they say, is a bitch.

My next task is to build another 60 biology kits and chemistry kits, which I’ll be working on over the next few days. With what we already have on hand, those should be enough to carry us through July and into August. Once I get those built, we’ll go back to making up solutions, labeling and filling bottles, and making up subassemblies for yet another batch of kits.

Barbara’s TV remote stopped working a week or so ago. When I popped the lid of the battery compartment, I found that the two AAA alkalines had leaked. At the time, I thought nothing about it. I just cleaned out the compartment, put a fresh pair of alkalines in, and gave it back to her. The other night, it stopped working again. When I opened it, the new cells had leaked. So this time I rinsed it out thoroughly under running tap water and put it aside to dry completely. This morning, I used a hair dryer for a couple of minutes to make sure the interior was dry, and again replaced the two AAA alkalines from a new pack of them. It works. We’ll see if it keeps working or the cells leak again.

Which has gotten me thinking about replacing all of our AA and AAA alkalines with low self-discharge (LSD) NiMH cells. We’ll use up our remaining stock of alkalines, which is around 100 of the AAA’s and maybe 40 of the AA’s, and then shift over to the rechargeables. For now, I’m going to pull the alkalines from our long-term storage stuff–flashlights, radios, etc.–and put the devices and a couple sets of alkalines with taped terminals in plastic bags.

We have a few devices that use C or D alkalines, mostly flashlights and lanterns, and those are a problem to convert to NiMH. C and D cells make up a tiny percentage of sales. AA and AAA combined are literally something like 97% of sales. So C or D NiMH cells are pretty hard to find, even on-line. When you can find them, they fall into one of three categories: ones made by name-brand alkaline companies like Duracell, Energizer and other mass-market suppliers, cheap Chinese ones that I wouldn’t trust, and the big name-brand NiMH cells like MaHa and Powerex. The Duracell/Energizer class ones are crap. They don’t want to cannibalize their alkaline sales, so their NiMH models are generally pathetic, with capacities of maybe 2,500 mAH in D (versus 10,000 to 12,000 mAH for the good brands). Their only advantage is that they’re reasonably inexpensive, roughly four or fives times the $1.25 price of an alkaline. Many of the Chinese no-name D cells have reasonable rated capacities of 8,000 to 10,000 mAH, but that’s usually grossly exaggerated and these rechargeables tend to die fairly young. Then there are the good brands, which have high capacities and are quite reliable. The problem with them is the price, typically $30 or so each. And, to top it all off, probably half of the available C and D models use early generation technology and are not low self-discharge. So I think we’ll stick with alkalines for our C and D devices.

43 thoughts on “Tuesday, 14 July 2015”

  1. then shift over to the rechargeables

    Bad idea in my opinion for remotes and especially flashlights that are used intermittently. The batteries might be dead when you need them the most. Consider Lithium AA and AAA cells instead. Long shelf life, higher power and they don’t leak like alkaline cells. I only use rechargeable batteries in high current applications such as a camera strobe.

    Leakage and self discharge is why I still consider a high end CR123 powered light essential for a survival light. Extremely long shelf life, more power per weight than any others, the cells don’t leak. The probability of grabbing such a light and having it work is extremely high.

  2. I don’t consider remotes to be mission-critical, but you have a point about flashlights, at least for someone who carries only one. What do you think of the AA-size 3.7V lithium ion batteries?

  3. Although I still use conventional NiMH cells for the highest current applications, I recently switched to Eneloop low self discharge cells for applications that need less than 2 amps from a AA cell. Too early to tell, but good so far. I have a couple of remote controls that are used infrequently, and I have switched to the Eneloops. I am considering putting them in an outdoor light motion detector that wears out alkalines in about ten months. I think high and low ambient temperature is a factor. At least I shouldn’t have to worry about leakage.

    So far, the only negative is the hokey name. Example of how far companies will go to get a trademarkable name. Wonder if its origin is from another language.

  4. Greece
    See, Dawes Plan and Young Plan, basically the same

    We were at the same point, 1991, we sold everything, to reach the same point 10 years later

  5. All our NVG’s in the Army used CR123 which were kept in a refrigerator when not in use.

    I’ve used Envelop Pros for all but flashlights for over a year. No problem with leakage. They last forever in remotes, not so long in my trackpad (which gets a lot of use).

    My new EDC flashlight is a Zebralight that uses one 18650. Expensive but I’m worth it. I like it so far. Since it’s a EDC, I’m not worried about the charge. It’s been in use for two weeks with daily use and the battery is going strong. I bought a 10 Pack of Topwell 4000maH’s on Amazon for $36 to play with. They came marked 10000maH, so I’m not sure what’s going on with that. Chinese maybe? I topped them all off with the solar panel.

    I can’t keep lights in our vehicles. The heat wipes them out fast. I always carry, though.

  6. You can get adapters which AA batteries fit into, enlarging their size to C or D. For C size you can even make them out of wood (or whatever), since a C battery isn’t any longer than an AA. That’s also, I’ve heard, where those 2500 mAh C and D NiMH/NiCd cells come from: there’s an AA inside them and the rest is filler. That way they don’t actually have to have a production line for real D cells or spend money on engineering them.

    Of course it makes no sense to buy a new device that takes C or D size batteries if you’re just going to use them with adapters; save the space and buy a device that takes AAs instead. But for legacy devices they’re quite workable, unless of course you really need the larger capacity. (How much new stuff actually takes C or D size batteries anyway?)

  7. I’m guessing C and D cells these days are all AA inside. I know 9V batts have 6 smaller cells inside. I’d try some C and D adapters in your devices with AA’s to see how they work/last.

  8. I feel sorry for any country in Europe. Now that Kerrybama has not only allowed them to develop nukes, but apologized for sanctions, they will fly. We can only hope they blow one up on themselves.

  9. And we can take a wild guess that weaponsman is in our general age bracket:

    ” Presumably Mr Magoo then returned to the range.”

    “And you know the ROs keep a bit of a closer eye on him, now that they know he sees no lights a-flashing, he plays by sense of smell.”

    With Mr. Magoo’s voice done by the late Jim Backus, check him out in that cartoon version of “A Christmas Story.” Backus started out in life as quite a character, too:

    “Backus was expelled from the Kentucky Military Institute for riding a horse through the mess hall.[citation needed]”

    And then we have the Pinball Wizard:


    Ya think Keith liked playing the drums? Just don’t invite him to yer house; I forget who it was, but some other rock star had him over one time and Keith drove a car into the swimming pool and sat in it while it sank. And I saw him collapse over his drum kit a zillion years ago at the old Boston Gahden. A real trooper.

  10. What do you think of the AA-size 3.7V lithium ion batteries?

    Never seen them or used them so I can offer nothing. Lithium anything is better than Alkaline due to leakage from Alkaline.

    I don’t use rechargeables as I don’t know the charge level and consider charging a pain in the butt. Only rechargeables are for my electronic flashes which require high ampere batteries.

    Too many times I have gone to use a flashlight (before the onset of my current flashaholic disease) where the batteries were dead or too weak to be useful. Now all my batteries are lithium in my flashlights. Alkaline is relegated to the LED candles. Even the remotes are lithium because I have been burnt too many times by leaking alkalines.

  11. How much new stuff actually takes C or D size batteries anyway?

    Acquired an LED flashlight recently, in fact a couple of them, that use C batteries. Cheap one from Costco, one from Home Depot. Both just slightly under $15.00.

    I know 9V batts have 6 smaller cells inside.

    They are actually composed of six AAAA cells, sort of. The cells are actually slightly shorter than a real AAAA cell but can be used in a pinch. Better to get real AAAA cells. And yes, I have a couple of penlights (LED naturally) that use AAAA batteries. Batteries have been removed because one was damaged by a leaking alkaline.

  12. I suspect that they’ve cost-reduced alkalines over the past couple of decades. Thirty years ago, Duracell and Eveready alkalines just didn’t leak. Now it seems to happen pretty frequently. I wonder if they’ve made the cases thinner, cheapened the seals, or something.

  13. I wonder if they’ve made the cases thinner, cheapened the seals, or something

    Seems to be my experience also. Years ago the cells never leaked. Duracell has dropped their warranty against leakage. I think Everready still has the warranty but am not certain. I have brands from both of the major battery makers leak. Destroyed a couple of flashlights, destroyed a TI scientific calculator my son used in high school, destroyed a VCR remote (tossed the remote and the VCR). I just do not trust alkaline batteries. Thus the switch to lithium and CR-123 which seem to be better made because the chemicals are a little more dangerous than alkaline.

    Just got a call from the wife unit. She is on her way to San Antonio. Flight from Atlanta to San Antonio had to make an emergency landing in Houston. They had an engine shutdown due to an oil leak. They are going to fix the plane and put them back on the same plane. Must not have been a major leak but was serious enough to cause the pilot to shut the engine down.

  14. Best summation of Kieth Moon I ever saw: He thought the drums were a lead instrument.

    I’ve seen the Who live a few times, one was to kick off the tour for “Who by Numbers”, the last one with Moon. Another was the end of the first leg of their last tour with Entwhistle. It was also my daughter’s first real rock concert. A good time was had by all. IMHO, Pete Townsend was an underrated guitar player. The “Live at Leeds” album has him using the echos in the hall as a time delay and adding notes to take advantage of it.

  15. “Flight from Atlanta to San Antonio had to make an emergency landing in Houston. They had an engine shutdown due to an oil leak.”

    Out of curiosity, was it United? The wifely unit up here has run into this plane repair/maintenance stuff more often lately, with lotsa delays and runarounds. She’s gonna be approaching a million miles of flight time soon, I think. Seems to have endless free miles.

    “He thought the drums were a lead instrument.”

    Indeed. Insane. Of the same school of rock drumming as Bonzo Bonham, of Led Zep. I saw them in the early days, August of 1969. Almost got clocked a couple of times by Plant’s microphone that he was swinging around; we were in the second row; place filled with incense and pot smoke.

    “Pete Townsend was an underrated guitar player. The “Live at Leeds” album has him using the echos in the hall as a time delay and adding notes to take advantage of it.”

    Absolutely; top ten of rock guitarists, and that album is also in the top ten of rock albums. I used to play it all the time, cranked up on four Bose 901 IV speakers. I need to get it again and run it through our tee-vee sound system when we can hear the neighbor’s stepdaughter hacking away like a TB victim yet still smoking like a frigging chimney, or the usual random rumble of the motorhead douchebags revving their engines and winding them out to impress us all here in the village.

  16. Out of curiosity, was it United?

    Nope, Delta.

    A couple of years ago I was attending my organizations annual convention in Ames Iowa. I left the hotel in the second wave of departing delegates. Imagine my surprise when I found them still at the airport. Seems their Delta plane had an oil leak. Sure enough. Looked out the window and you could see an oil trail from the gate, out to the tarmac, and back to the gate.

    They were trying to find a part for the plane. I offered to give up my seat on my flight for a first class seat on the next flight. Took some negotiation but the gate agent finally agreed. So I waited an extra three hours.

    The time for my flight arrived at 3:00 and the original plane that was supposed to leave at 6:30 AM was still there. Delta was having to get the part from American Airlines in Dallas and was having to fly mechanics in from Atlanta. I left and enjoyed my seat in first class.

    Talked to one of the delegates I know a couple of days later. Their plane did not leave until about 5:00, a 10.5 hour delay.

    I suppose if you fly enough you see almost every problem. My wife’s original arrival time of 12:30 is now going to be about 7:30 PM.

  17. lol! Our gummint at work.

    The Federal Government hack includes a million fingerprints.

    The Office of Personnel Management announced last week that the personal data for 21.5 million people had been stolen. But for national security professionals and cybersecurity experts, the more troubling issue is the theft of 1.1 million fingerprints.

    Yet the intel community wants to increase spying on citizens. Geez.

  18. Double lol!

    Trump leads Jeb! Leads all others combined!

    Trump 2016! “Stump for Trump ™ “

  19. I’ve got over half a million on continental/united, and a quarter more on other airlines.

    I’ve been onboard with an engine fire, when we were bingo on fuel and had to land a couple of miles short of our destination to take on fuel, several times with aborted approaches due to aircraft on the runway, various engine problems that required a RTB even though we were in sight of our destination, once during the worst storm I ever flew thru, the pilot came on and said they’d be trying again because the airport wasn’t where they expected it to be, once the pilot slalomed thru the mountains so the passengers could get a good look straight down at the landscape, and a variety of normal travel delays.

    I’ve also seen the sun come up over Reykjavik from altitude, seen a triple circular rainbow off the wing tip, put my hand in 2 oceans on the same day, tasted the water in the pacific, north atlantic (from land on both sides), atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Persian Gulf. I’ve been in 49 states (missing HI), and a bunch of countries (some I don’t count as I never left the airport.)

    Over a decade of 200+ days a year away from home had lots of good and bad.

    You learn to take your joy where you find it.


    And any landing you walk away from is a good landing.

  20. And so another of Jerry Pournelle’s predictions have come true, although I’m sure he is horrified and sicked by it.

    “Planned Parenthood: We Get $30 to $100 for Aborted Baby Body Parts”

    “Gov. Jindal Calls for Investigation of Planned Parenthood After Group Caught Selling Baby Body Parts

    Jim Hoft Jul 14th, 2015 3:53 pm 15 Comments

    “A lot of people want liver.”
    — Dr. Deborah Nucatola”



  21. “Yet the intel community wants to increase spying on citizens. Geez.”

    Yes. It’s the “Low-Hanging Fruit Theory” of modern “law enforcement,” only at the Fed level. They can’t stop terrorists, not really, but they can drop the hammer on you and me in a heartbeat.

    “Trump leads Jeb! Leads all others combined!”

    I’m also laughing. They keep reporting the Jebster’s money being lots more than Rodham’s in the campaign so far, yet the Donald can buy and sell them both for what he considers pocket change. The Repub nabobs will make sure he’s shut out of actual official debates, of course, and given the same short shrift they gave PJB lo, these many years ago, or worse. Maybe he’ll go third party, like Perot did. Either way it’s a done deal; Rodham will be the Annointed One, unless somehow she completely falls apart in the next few months, which is certainly possible. If so, the Dems have nobody else on the bench: Bernie? Fuggedaboutit! No way. Which means the rulers will have to annoint the Jebster after all. And ya know what the big surprise is gonna be then, ladies and germs?

    He’ll double down on Obummer and Rodham COMBINED.

    “And any landing you walk away from is a good landing.”

    Roger that. My own experiences were mostly with mil-spec, and most of that in war zones, so I have a slightly different POV, such as nearly vertical takeoffs and landings, dodging AA in midair, taking sharp turns in the choppers so I was hanging out by my straps looking straight down at the canopy, etc. On two occasions choppers took hits and crumpled down to the ground with me in them, but each time the pilot was very slick in getting us a soft landing anyway. At that point, bailing out, we instantly became infantry, which sucked.

  22. ““A lot of people want liver.”
    — Dr. Deborah Nucatola”

    I bet.

    Hey, it’s not a baby! It’s just tissue, like a hangnail, or a bad tooth!

    Paging Jonathan Swift…paging Dean Swift…

    Paging Moloch…paging Lord Moloch…

  23. At that point, bailing out, we instantly became infantry, which sucked.

    Sort of like dealing with flying today and dealing with the TSA. Yelling at you not to remove your shoes when on the last flight you got yelled at to remove your shoes. Yelled at to keep the computer in the back yet on the next flight yelled at to take the computer out of the bag.

    On my last three flights I have been “randomly” selected for additional screening with one of the checks being a manhood check. Seems like the random number generator is biased. Yet on the two prior flights I got TSA Precheck.

  24. Exactly. It’s not a baby, any more than an acorn is an oak tree. It’s tissue.

  25. “Seems like the random number generator is biased. Yet on the two prior flights I got TSA Precheck.”

    I’ll get to see how all this works firsthand next week; wife has been on the TSA Pre-Check list for a while now, but if wanna check out my junk they’ll have to take a number…


    The late Keith Relf, who bought the farm via Mr. Electricity, probably fooling around with a bad flashlight battery or something, and the young Jimmy Page.

  26. “…any more than an acorn is an oak tree.”

    Nope, the acorn is not a tree, YET. It becomes a wondrous work of nature, green in the summer, shading young lovers, orange and gold and red in the fall, later to become a sailing ship, a house, a bridge…who knows? The baby becomes another Einstein, another Hitler, or just another poor schmuck like us trying to make it through another day. With an intact liver, unsold on some market somewhere by a chattering yenta bitch munching on a salad and raking in the cash.

  27. Well, whatever your take on abortion, and even allowing for the professional callousness, the practices sound questionable.

    It is apparently legally unclear, just who owns a piece of tissue that has been surgically removed from someone’s body. As I understand it, the rights of a hospital or university to use tissue for research (without patient permission) is mostly accepted. However, if the tissue is actually commercially sold, then I am pretty certain that the courts would come down on the side of the patient.

  28. I expect that Planned Parenthood’s defense will be that these are just fees for shipping and cold storage, not charges for the actual body parts. The dollar amounts mentioned are modest enough to make this defense plausible.

  29. I had a Duracell D cell leak recently. That wasn’t too surprising, as it was dated to expire in 2011. What was surprising was that the cell was still good: it still had more than 1.5 volts output, and when I did a discharge test it had as much juice left as the three other cells in the flashlight which hadn’t leaked, which was about a couple of amp-hours’ worth. In the past, cells that have leaked on me have never had much voltage left — often because they have been reverse charged by the other cells in the device, though sometimes because they have simply died. This is the first leaking cell I’ve encountered that still had its voltage.

    Oh, and while I wrote that the other three cells hadn’t leaked, one was starting to, but the leakage wasn’t visible until I cut away some of the plastic wrapper.

    Still, this is about a ten-year-old cell, which is longer than you usually hear of alkalines living; and the flashlight was stored in a car, which is a hostile environment. So it’s not necessarily that they’ve worsened the seals; it might be that they have improved the interior contents to where the contents have started outliving the seals.

  30. So it’s not necessarily that they’ve worsened the seals

    Yes, it is about cheaper seals. I have lights leak that have been in the house, batteries less than 5 years old. AA batteries in a calculator that was only three years old leaked and destroyed the $100 calculator. Duracell said tough, no warranty.

    Years ago even the cheap alkaline batteries did not seem to leak as much as the cells of today.

  31. @OFD, out here on the Left Coast Macy’s used to be Bon Marche. I think I went into Macy’s once but the assault by a gauntlet of perfume spraying that was presented to everyone entering the store had me turning around and never entering the door again.

    I also would never go into a Macy’s since they bought Chicago’s Marshall Fields and totally ruined it. Since I grew up in the Chicago suburbs I have very fond memories of going to Marshall Fields the day after Thanksgiving to see the store windows, visit with Santa Clause, and have lunch in the Walnut Room.

    Detractors may say what they want about Trump, but he is a businessman and if you study him you will see how he has played politics to further his businesses. No one is pure.

    Personally I would go for a Walker Trump 2016 ticket.

  32. @Norman,

    perhaps your batteries were pre-chemistry change.

    I (and a lot of others on the interwebs) noticed that duracel started swelling and leaking not to long after they increased run time. The old fluid would leak and make a crusty whitish residue that was hard to remove. The new chemistry creates a more clear residue that is hard and brittle and will easily scrape off. Copper contacts turn blue with the new chemistry, and green with the old.

    If the new ones leak in storage (not under use) they can have a reddish fluid. The old ones were clear.

    Personally, I prefer the old chemistry as it was reliable and didn’t swell so much. They would die long before leaking. Now they die because they leaked, and the swelling gets them stuck in aluminum flashlights.

    If you catch it right away, the new chemistry is easier to clean, but more likely to have eaten thru the contact (which may be because the contacts are thinner, and not because of the fluid.)


    So far, I’ve had good luck with the costco kirkland branded batteries. They last acceptably long, are cheap, and haven’t leaked in anything.

  33. Trump’s busy making talking point that sound good on the surface. In reality he’s full of shit (so are most pols). Yeah he is a businessman but that’s easy when you inherit a few billion. Frankly his personality and ego suck. He’s a blowhard with a few billion dollars and bad hair.
    Walker for right now looks good.

  34. I’ll second the recommendation for Costco/Kirkland, as does Consumer Reports. They’re the brand that leaked in Barbara’s TV remote, but I think that may be because she leaves the remote on her end table and sometimes stuff ends up on top of it. I suspect that one or more of the buttons was held down for a long time and drained the cells. I can’t really blame them for leaking under that abuse. The second set leaked within a couple days of being installed. I suspect I didn’t get the battery compartment cleaned out well enough.

    My main problem with the Kirkland alkalines is that they’re only available in AA and AAA.

  35. Uh-oh…I wonder if Colonel Atoz and Mr. DadCooks are Macy’s customers…

    I actually have some Trump cuff links and ties from Macy’s

    He’s a blowhard with a few billion dollars and bad hair.

    He’s promised a new hairdo after being elected, lol.

    Trump 2016! “Trump Will Flip…His Hair! ™ “

  36. I wonder if the chemistry change introduced something that generates gas. That would make them leak more even if they didn’t change the seals. When I cut into one of the good (non-leaking) D cells I got a fair bit of hissing as gas escaped through the cut.

    Speaking of chemistry, any information on what the chemistry change actually was? I mean, in terms of actual chemical names and so forth? And any word on whether this has anything to do with the removal of mercury?

    There wasn’t any copper involved in the leak in my flashlight, just aluminum, so all the crud was just white, not green or blue. Well, except I just cut off the wrapper on the negative end of one of the “non-leaking” ones, and found some blue crud where it had leaked a bit.

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