More like endless chances to show I personally don't know sh*t. Especially painful in my field of electronics.
Short background. Since about 1997 or '98, I had a TI-86 graphing calculator at my hand, primarily because of its complex number support and my field uses a lot of complex numbers. I bought it when I had problems with the calculator I used before that for 10 or 15 years, a TI-85. I had a half dozen or so programs in it which I had written to do everyday job-related tasks for me. When I retired, it was mine, so it came home with me and it stayed by my side at the computer.
A week ago, I knocked it off its temporary perch near my left knee and it fell a foot to the hard tile floor. As it has done at least a dozen times before. This time it didn't turn on.
Bear in mind, the calculator was in perfect condition; the batteries were relatively fresh, and I had no reason to think anything happened other than a fall.
I took it apart and looked for something loose, but that's like opening the hood when your car dies on the road and looking for the spark plug fairy; that magical obvious thing you see like a loose spark plug wire that you move and your car goes back to running perfectly. No magic calculator fairies to be found.
So I went on eBay, found one that looked to be in good shape, and ordered a replacement. Under $25 with shipping. That was Friday the 20th. It arrived yesterday. I transfer the batteries from the old one into the new one and ... nothing. Won't power on.
Remember I said the batteries were fine? The '86 has a built-in battery check of sorts; the display dims as the battery weakens. You press a key combination and it gets darker or lighter. There are at least 8 levels it displays with 2 or 3 sublevels for each of those 8. I was on level 3. At some point, the calculator starts issuing warnings that the batteries are weak and that starts at level 6 or 7. No, the batteries behaved fine before the fall. So I grabbed four fresh new AAA batteries out of storage and it turned on. Now I looked suspiciously at my original; the one I replaced. Nah, it couldn't be.
It was. I now have two fully functional TI-86 calculators, although my programs got wiped.
I have never seen batteries fail by being dropped, but one of them did.
That's a new one for me too.ReplyDelete
I swear you and me have the same kind of luck man.
What's missing here is that I ordinarily would have made a complete ass of myself by saying "it can't possibly be the batteries" to someone. But it was just my wife and I and we never even considered the batteries.Delete
What brand of battery was the suspect one?ReplyDelete
I've never seen a primary cell fail like that one did, and I've seen/used some pretty beat up looking batteries!
Duracell. As are the replacements (different date code, though).Delete
I had a similar issue a few years ago. The watch battery that retains memory had failed and a drop dislodged the AA batteries dumping my programs and changing it to an almost imperceptible brightness setting. I almost gave up on it. Did you check voltage on the AAs?ReplyDelete
I didn't (almost embarrassed to say that). I wanted to throw them out so that I didn't mix up the two handfuls of batteries.Delete
When I took it apart the night I dropped it, I reseated all the batteries, including the coin cell. I tried increasing screen brightness, though.
Cue the old Hee Haw song: If it weren’t for bad luck I would have no luck at all.ReplyDelete
You know, sometimes if you throw the failed batteries as hard as you can against some very solid object, they magically start working again.ReplyDelete
And even if they don't, you generally feel better...
Yes, I have used that test on many devices over the years, not just batteries. Unless I had a hammer close to hand.Delete
My guess was Duracel first thing. Their quality took a dump several years ago, when they fiddled with the chemical guts. Even their 9v batteries are junk. Their batteries are very very leaky, and that can be very sudden. NEVER put them in anything you care about. Same for Kirkland, as I think they are made by Duracell.ReplyDelete
I have had a rash of leaking and corroded batteries in remotes and flashlights in the last few years. Some of the batteries, less than a year old. Every single one: Duracell.Delete
I've had the same experience - but every single battery I had bought was Duracell so any battery that leaks has to be a Duracell.Delete
I buy them because Costco or Sam's sells them by the bucket full at a discount.
Re Costco buckets: you get what you pay for.Delete
(Actually, it's BJ's Wholesale Club and not Costco, but same difference)Delete
Costco buckets: you get what you pay for. Granted, but the alternative is their house brand (Berkeley Jensen?). Which is going to be made by some big battery company because you can bet your butt BJ's doesn't make anything. Who makes them? I can't find it with a web search.
Costco sells Kirkland as their house brand. A few weeks ago I read a "AA Battery Shootout" article, and the Costco (Kirkland) batteries didn't test as "good" as some of the others. Duracell and Energizer were both rated "better" as far life running with different loads.Delete
Problem is, I just don't trust Duracells anymore.....
I just go with Publix house brand and make sure I change them regularly when they have a sale. Made the mistake of buying Duracell for my MagLites (4 D cells) and left them in for about a year. Tried to use one of them and found out the batteries had leaked. Checked the other and same thing. Contacted Duracell and they said no warranty if battery is in device - or words to that effect.Delete
Not sure who makes Publix, but they seem to be reliable and the price is right. At least for those of us too cheap to buy a Costco or Sam's or BJ's membership...
I've been using a variety of batteries the last 3 or so years: Duracell, Energizer Rayovac. Only the Duracells have leaked and corroded over a short term. Not making a blanket statement, nor was I in my previous comment; only relating personal experience.Delete
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyDelete
A good thing to file away in the "Things To Check While Troubleshooting."ReplyDelete
My usual battery problem is cleaning up after the magical electrical potion has leaked from the battery.
I quit using duracells a far ways back now, I kept hearing something like a .22 being fired, turned out that the duracell 9Vs were exploding. Not real voilently in that they just cracked the case, but it sure wasn't a warm fuzzy feeling that it sounded like gunfire :-).ReplyDelete
Had good luck with the Amazon brand since.
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ps. would you consider adding CC to your blogroll?
Your blog doesn't seem to have a "contact me" link, an email address posted, or any other way to contact you, so I'll try here.Delete
Email me: SiGraybeard at gmail. You can figure out the rest.