Gadgets

A Sunday tip – buy a battery tester

They could be wall clocks or torch lights or game controllers or AC remote controllers or TV remotes or the pandemic must-have the pulse oximeter, many of us have a whole lot of gadgets in our house. And all of them have one common thing… they all require batteries.

Disclosure: I write reviews about products that I have bought for my usage and paid in full. There were no sponsorship or advertisement or commission of any sort involved in this post. 

The batteries come in many sizes like AA / AAA/ AAAA / C / D / PP3 (9-Volt) depending on the device type. For example, AC remote controllers use AAA, TV remotes use AA and Portable (Philips) Radios use the large D size. Then there are the button or coin cells sizes like CR2032 or CR2016 earlier used in watches now in Apple TV remotes and NVIDIA shield remotes among other gadgets. Check the Wikipedia guide on various battery sizes.

Battery box I have in my house with AA, AAA, C, D, Nine-Volt and CR2032 button cells
Battery box I have in my house with AA, AAA, C, D, Nine-Volt and CR2032 button cells

All this means we have a lot of used and new batteries in our house. I store them in a box like the one seen above. This way it is easy to find it when we need one and to know when you have run out of them and need to buy more. It is a good idea to have a few to a dozen batteries handy. The importance of doing so you will realize during a natural calamity (think cyclone, flooding and now a pandemic).  I use to have only a few stocked, but now with the lockdowns, I have close to a dozen each in AA and AAA batteries.

The difficulty with stocking batteries in one place is that we tend to put back opened batteries without knowing whether they have juice (energy) left or wasted. Many times, say when a remote doesn’t work, we replace the batteries in them with a new set and forget the old ones. We don’t want to throw them away as we are unsure whether they might have any juice left and the gadget might be at fault or have loose contacts. So, we will put the used ones back in the box. Next time, when we need batteries since we are unsure of the state of these used batteries, we will again go for new ones. This creates a pile of used batteries which remain unused.

One small tip here, if you have opened batteries either new or used, store them in individual Ziplock covers to protect them from oxidation and to make it easy to find according to the size.

To solve this problem as an (shameless plug) electrical engineer I will use a multi-meter, but it is not the easiest to use and I am unable to teach my wife or son (who is the biggest user of batteries) on how to use them.

Recently, I found this cheap device in Amazon called “Battery Tester” in which you place the battery in the slot, move the red slider to tighten and it will give you a reading on the status of the battery: Replace, Low or Good. It works with all the commonly used battery sizes that I have described above. There are numerous sellers in Amazon India who are selling the same model and it cost from Rs.300 to Rs.500. They are available in Amazon USA as well where the price ranges from $6 to $10, for $11 there are sellers who also give you a 4-pack [you may never need 4 in your house, but you can gift them to your friends and family].

A battery tester
A battery tester

While looking for battery testers in Amazon USA, I found they have another product called “Battery Organizer”. As the name suggests these are useful to store your batteries depending on the size in individual compartments. They cost $15 to $35. Some of them (like the bottom left in the picture below) are even fireproof. To me for home usage they look like more work, maintaining them organized especially with kids in the house is impossible, so you can skip them and go for any regular boxes lying around in the house. You may go for the fireproof organizers if you are in a fire-prone area or you are a professional.

Battery Organizer
Battery Organizers

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