Batteries. There was a time when spring forward and fall back was change the batt3eries in the smoke alarms. I switched to the connected Nest smoke detectors that have rechargeable batteries. You need to change every three years. That said we still consume a King’s ransom in batteries every month. I suspect we buy 20 dollars of batteries on average per month. (Interesting, a King’s ransom in the US would be a lot less – as in why do we need a King, than it 2would be in a country that has a King now and wants to keep him. Old phrase, interesting modern application).
As the number of devices in my home increases the number of devices that need batteries increases. The other side of that is the risk. Frankly most devices shouldn’t have batteries in them all the time. The batteries go bad. So then you have the concept of devices without batteries. The goal for that is to reduce the risk of batteries consuming devices and frankly the device consuming the battery for no value. How often do you need to use a devices remote?
I have an Epson projector in my basement. I haven’t used the remote for that, ever. The OSD works fine for adjusting the projector’s display. I have a laserdisc player in my basement as well. I haven’t used the remote for that in more than 10 years. I can’t get rid of the laserdisc because there are four movies I have on Laserdisc that were NEVER released on tape or DVD.
So this has thinking first off all about the future. A topic I struggle with. It is easy to guess when peering over the horizon. This may happen. That may happen. Que Sera, Sera. What scares me a little is the number of devices that don’t have batteries today that may have them tomorrow, and the reality of remotes and connections.
1. I store remotes that I may need, without batteries in them.
2. Batteries today last about a year.
3. I have a running capacity of about 10% of the batteries I need in total if I were to fill all devices but roughly 40% of all devices in my hosue could have new batteries tomorrow.
4. I have about 1% of my needed battery capacity as rechargeable batteries.
I worry about power. My hosue has a solar installation on it. When the sun is out I have power. I also have a generator. Why? Because in the area where we live there are a lot of people. When the power goes out, it doesn’t go out for 2 hours. It goes out for 5 or more hosts. So many people, so many different ways for the power to fail.
So batteries scare me.
I could invest in rechargeable batteries and have 100% of the capacity needed. But every three years there would be a considerable expense. I could move to the new wireless power systems but those are expensive and don’t work with everything.
You can move to a universal remote, I have one upstairs and one in the basem3ent. That works for the vast majority of remotes. Just keep the universal remote charged and everything else isn’t needed. Reducing batteries by reducing remotes.
In the end I am beholden to batteries and light bulbs. Form the outside of the hosue to the inside of the hosue the reality of lighting and technology are bulbs and remotes. So even if you have enough batteries you never have enough lightbulbs.
Perhaps what we need is two distinct businesses to evolve. The first a near field battery sensor. By their nature batteries give off a small field when they are charged. The field declines as the battery declines so perhaps a battery operated hand held sensor you can simply wave over your remotes to discover which one needs new batteries. Easy for you then to quickly evaluate the stash of flashlights you have right before the hurricane hits.
The other interesting business is the light bulb of the quarter club. I know there are purists stuck in the 20th century that don’t replace the original Edison designed bulbs with LED bulbs. For the rest of us that have moved on from the past, a quarterly box with 4 LED bulbs for a year. By the end of the first year you should have a good start on replacing all the light sin your house. Then you can decide if you want to renew. Or move to a lower 2 bulbs a quarter shipment.
Now please excuse me. I have to run to the store and get batteries and LED light bulbs.
Looking for a lightbulb at the end of the world…