Tag: battery

Harvard boffins invent decade lasting battery

Harvard boffins have emerged from their smoke-filled rooms having invented a liquid battery which can last for a decade.

Most lithium-ion batteries are ready for silicon heaven after a few years. But Harvard researchers’ solution involves something called a flow battery.

It stores energy in liquid solutions which can last for over a decade by modifying the molecules in the electrolytes, ferrocene and viologen, so that they’re stable, water-soluble and resistant to degradation. When dissolved in water, the resulting solution only loses a percent of its capacity every 1,000 cycles. It could be several years before you even notice a slight drop off in performance.

It is also not corrosive or toxic, you don’t have to worry about wrecking your home if the battery leaks. The safer materials are also less expensive than the polymers you usually need in flow batteries, and don’t require exotic pumps and tanks to withstand harsher chemicals.

It could be exactly what the renewable energy market is screaming for. You could install solar power at home knowing that the cost of energy storage won’t wipe out the money you save on your electricity bill.

Pixel has battery woes

lemon batteryGoogle’s Pixel phone might be rather nice, but it appears to be suffering from battery problems.

While these problems do not mean that they do a Note 7 and spontaneously combust, it does mean that they do an Apple and shut down when they still have 35 per cent of their power left.

It looks like they are suffering from the same shutdown bug that plagued the Nexus 6P where the device would prematurely turn off at 25 to 35 percent.

A few Reddit users are reporting that their Pixel devices are also suffering from the same shutdown bug. Some Pixel phones would prematurely shut down at or around 30 percent and would not turn back on until a charger is connected.

Vrski_15, who started the thread claimed that twice in last five days, has the phone shutdown abruptly while he was in middle of something. In both instances, battery was between 25-35 percent, and the phone under normal conditions should have lasted for at least next 3-4 hours.

In the case of the Nexus 6P, Huawei said that this was not a hardware problem but a software-related one. However, users found that the problem persisted even after downgrading to Android Marshmallow. This led Huawei to investigate further with Google, and although the company hasn’t revealed the cause yet, it is probably related to the problem that these Pixel users have been experiencing.

Samsung will not buy its own batteries again

Samsung-Z1Samsung is in talks with LG Chem Ltd to make it one of its smartphone battery suppliers.

According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper Samsung is keen to diversify its supplier base after the failure of its Galaxy Note 7 which had batteries made by its own fair hand.

Samsung currently gets its Note batteries from  Samsung SDI and China’s Amperex Technology.

Chosun Ilbo quoted an industry official as saying that there was more than a 90 percent chance of a deal being struck and said that Samsung Electronics would likely begin procuring LG Chem batteries from the second half of next year.

The deal has yet to be officially announced.

Samsung Electronics announced the recall of 2.5 million fire-prone Note 7s in early September, a fault that it attributed to a defect in Samsung SDI battery. In October, it pulled the plug on the $882 device after replacement phones using batteries from China’s Amperex Technology also caught fire.  The fact that both batteries caught fire was widely seen as a poor design on the Note, however Samsung Electronics has refused to talk about that and just focused on the batteries..

LG Chem currently makes phone batteries for Apple, so if the Note 8 goes up in flames then Samsung will take down the iPhone 8 with it.

EU fines three lithium-ion battery makers

lemon batteryThe European Commission has fined three Japanese makers of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries $176.2 million for their involvement in a price-fixing cartel from 2004 to 2007.

The Commission said that Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Sanyo agreed on temporary price increases and exchanged commercially sensitive information, such as forecasts or plans concerning bids for manufacturers of phones, laptops or power tools.

Sony received a fine of 29.8 million euros, Panasonic of 38.9 million euros and Sanyo 97.1 million euros. Samsung grassed the cartel up to the Commission.

The Commission said that all the companies had acknowledged their involvement in the cartel and had agreed to settle the case.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the fines sent an important signal to companies.

“If European consumers are affected by a cartel, the Commission will investigate it even if the anti-competitive contacts took place outside Europe,” she said.


iPhone 6 battery fault is coming in the air tonight – oh lord.

tumblr_mv4z33OR101qdqzl4o1_500Fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple has come up with another of its legendary stupid reasons for its products to fail.

Before it has covered up its poor designs by claiming that users were “holding their phones wrong” but the latest excuse really must take the cake – it is blaming the air.

Those who paid a lot of cash for an iPhone 6 found that it was starting to switch itself off a year later – coincidently just before Apple launched its iPhone 7. The batteries could cause the phones to shutdown without warning, an issue that Apple now says was caused by overexposure to “controlled ambient air”.

Apple probably means they sat out in the open in some warehouse for longer than they should have. Even if this were the case you would think that the design genii at Apple could handle the Air, after all there is rather a lot of air out there.

Apple isn’t replacing those batteries just yet, but the company says that an iOS update “available next week” will add “additional diagnostic capability” that will allow Apple to better track down and diagnose the causes of these shutdowns. Yep it it is offering an air detector, we think even Apple could write software which could do that.

It “may potentially help Apple improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown,” as well. Those improvements will be included in future iOS updates.

In the meantime don’t breathe on your iPhone 6, it is a delicate flower and does not like it.

Samsung taps LG for new batteries

lemon batteryMaker of the incredible melting Note 7, Samsung, is planning to use batteries manufactured by LG for its next Galaxy S series flagship.

Samsung is said to be in talks with LG Chem for a possible partnership to supply batteries. At present, Samsung SDI, which is a sister company of Samsung, and Chinese battery maker ATL are its suppliers. Samsung SDI supplied 70% of the batteries used in the Note 7, while the rest of the batteries were from ATL.

According to a report by Korean Herald Samsung is looking at getting lots of battery suppliers.

When Samsung announced the first recall, it was speculated that Samsung could go in for LG batteries. But sources told the Korean Herald that the deal is yet to be finalised between Samsung and LG. Samsung’s phones already use cameras from LG.

iPhone 7 has the worst battery

lemon batteryThe British consumer group Which? has pointed out that the iPhone 7 has the worst battery life than any other top smartphone.

The outfit conducted a series of battery life tests on the latest smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and LG G5, Apple’s iPhone 7 was so bad it did not even rank.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 battery lasted more than twice as long as the iPhone 7, while the HTC 10 had two and a half times the longevity. The iPhone 7 did better in internet usage tests… but it was still found bringing up the rear.

The iPhone 7 should have had all the advantages. It was the newest phone and had the iOS 10, while the three other handsets all featured Android 6.0 Marshmallow. But whatever efficiency optimization Apple put into iOS 10, it cant solve the fact that Apple put a 1,960mAh battery under the bonnet.

In a blog post, Which?’s Callum Tennent said:

“In the interest of fairness, we test battery life using our own phone network simulator. This ensures that the signal strength is consistent for each test, which is important as a phone has to expend more power when it’s struggling for reception. We also set the screen brightness on every phone to the same level. Finally, we perform a full ‘power cycle’ of each phone’s battery prior to testing — that means fully discharging and then charging it.”

For the tests we made a continuous call over 3G for the call time test and access a regularly updating special web page over 3G to measure web browsing time.


Sony thinks you can build smartphones to last

sonyOne of the big problem that keep smartphones from lasting longer is the battery and this problem is forcing users to upgrade long before they really need to.

Once people updated their smartphone every 18 months but it is looking like they are getting less interested now that the changes on each model is small. In the US it’s suggested that nearly half of smartphone users now wait at least three years between upgrades, while data from Gallup suggests more than half wait until their phone stops working or becomes “totally obsolete”.

Sony thinks that it might can fix the battery so that it lasts a bit longer and extend the life of phones.

It is not that the lithium ion cells within smartphones break, but their ability to hold their original amount of charge rapidly diminishes with repeated recharging cycles.

Sony’s new top-end Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact Android smartphones both have the company’s new battery longevity technology.

Jun Makino, Sony mobile’s senior product marketing manager said that Sony had started learning your charging cycles so that our new Xperia X smartphones only complete charging to 100% when they estimate you’re about to start using them, so that the damage caused by maintaining a battery at 100% is negated.

A battery that’s usually kept at a charge between 20 per cent and 80 per cent of its capacity is much healthier – it’s going to the extremes that wears it out at a faster rate.

The Japanese electronics firm has partnered with Californian adaptive charging company Qnovo to put technology into its Xperia smartphones. This includes the new top-end Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact, which Sony reckons will double the life of the battery to around four years.

Qnovo’s technology controls the voltage put into the battery at the same time as delaying the full charge, helping to fast charge without damaging the cells.

“Of course, we’d still like it if you bought a new Sony phone, but we realise longevity is a trend and we want to help with battery technology and services on the phone such as the Smart Cleaner and Xperia tips that learn your behaviour and help keep it running like new for longer,” said Makino.


Huawei shows off fast charging battery

fast-rabbit-runBoffins in Huawei research and development subsidiary Watt Labs have developed a smartphone battery that can be recharged to half its capacity in just five minutes.

The company said that the battery uses the same lithium ion chemistry used in mobilephone batteries today but gets its advantage from atoms of graphite bonded to the anode.

This means faster charging but not at the expense of usage life or a sacrifice in the amount of energy that can be stored in each battery, it claimed.

One of the two batteries has a capacity of 3,000mAh (milliampere hours) and can be charged to 48 percent of capacity in five minutes. The second has a much smaller capacity of 600mAh but reaches 68 percent of capacity in just two minutes.

Huawei didn’t say when the fast charging might make its way into commercial products.

The announcement is one of a number this year that all point toward faster charging or longer battery life. Advances in battery technology have lagged other areas of technology and battery life remains a limiting factor for gadgets such as phones and larger products like electric vehicles.

Hardly a week goes by without some improvement to batteries which curiously never make it to market. Last week researchers at Vanderbilt University said they had used quantum dots of iron pyrite, also know as fool’s gold, to realize a fast-charging lithium ion battery.

Battery prices to halve by 2020

lemon batteryAn energy storage study claims that prices for certain battery technologies will plunge by as much as 60 percent over the next five years.

The report was prepared by Australian consultancy AECOM and published by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) claims that Li-ion battery prices will fall by 60 per cent and flow battery tech will drop by 40 percent.

The 130-page study expects all battery technologies to drop in price. However, the largest reductions are forecast for Li-ion and flow-battery technologies.

Lithium-ion (Li-on) batteries will drop from $550 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2014 to $200 per kWh by 2020; and flow battery prices will drop from $680 per kWh to $350 per kWh during the same time.

The study said that the rapid uptake of solar provides a useful analogy to what could occur in the energy storage market. As technology prices have potential to reduce as technology development simultaneously improves, the study said.

“The behind-the-meter market segment of energy storage is widely expected to undergo a similar boom to the solar PV industry, with a tipping point expected within the next ten years as further cost reductions are achieved.”

The study also said that battery technologies offer “unique advantages” in that they can easily be scaled to suit many uses and have high cycle efficiency. A big reduction in battery prices provides real opportunity for multiple applications, including commercial and residential distributed energy.