View Full Version : Batteries I have Known...

Boss Raptor
20th Apr 2004, 10:20
Just going through my batteries and other useful junk draw and it occured to me that many of the battery manufacturers I remember as a kid in the 70's are with us any more;

Ever-Ready...now Energizer...not the same
Those horrible Chinese ones with the card case called 'Flying Palm' or 'Eastern Moon' etc. that used to leak after standing around 2 weeks...

Sure there are more

20th Apr 2004, 10:48
Aaahh! The good old U2. Whatever happened to that?

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 11:01
I can remember me grandad using accumulators(sp?) for his wireless,one took em to a garage to be charged up.


20th Apr 2004, 11:07
Varta batteries are still available (new ones, Honest!!)

20th Apr 2004, 11:10
and so are U2s.

Remember when their casing was cardboard and when finished it was easy to remove the carbon electrode?

20th Apr 2004, 11:50
Varta and Rayovac batteries are still available.

Although the 'Energiser' brand is far more common, I recently bought an Eveready 6V torch battery (model no. 996, 4R25).

20th Apr 2004, 11:56
My God, battery nostalgia.

Only on Jet Blast, eh :}

20th Apr 2004, 12:14
[GEEK alert]

One of my prized possessions is a Leclanche' brand 9-V battery I picked out of a Paris gutter.

[The ordinary primary battery technology is called the Leclanche' type. Invented by Georges Leclanche' in 1877.]


Aileron Roll
20th Apr 2004, 12:17
Just brought some new "DURACELL" don't know if they was around in the old days !

20th Apr 2004, 12:34
Just brought some new "DURACELL" don't know if they was around in the old days !

Yes they were! But usually referred to as 'Mallory Cells'.

20th Apr 2004, 12:41
I remember when the little flat 9v jobbies were called PP3's. I can't remember what they are now. And what about the bigger flat things that were I believe 4.5v with one long and 1 short copper contacts. I believe their name began with a 4 (4100?) and they used to fit nicely into the flat torcg with a side switch that ever ready used to make

I have just doen a search on google - there are loads of items on batteries and the Ever Ready company.


Is a good one.


Oh my god, there is a lightbulb museum

I am just trying to decide if these and the torch museums are sad or not ??

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 12:51
Something that has always puzzled me, as I recal a cell was classed as a chemical device that stored or produced one volt,batteries were collections of cells coupled together that produced voltages in multiples of one volt,ie 9 cells = a 9 volt battery, from whence comes the half a volt??


Boss Raptor
20th Apr 2004, 12:51
I am so glad to see that classic eccentricity and passion for nostalgia and collecting still exists...was going to say to say classic British trait but see some of our overseas bothers also partake :)

Has to be said though it could happen only on Jet Blast :ok:

a is dum
20th Apr 2004, 12:52
Fancy that Phnuff, I also knew 'the little flat 9v jobbies'
Have not seen them for a long time though.
How are they doing these days? Still in the same job, same house? Kids still a flaming pest?

20th Apr 2004, 13:05
I remember when the little flat 9v jobbies were called PP3's. I can't remember what they are now. And what about the bigger flat things that were I believe 4.5v with one long and 1 short copper contacts. I believe their name began with a 4 (4100?) and they used to fit nicely into the flat torcg with a side switch that ever ready used to make

9V PP3s are still called 'PP3s' by some manufacturers - alternatively 6LR61, or MN1604.

4.5V Flat square shaped battery with long/short copper contacts still available as MN1203 (3LR12).

20th Apr 2004, 13:06
I recently needed a 3v battery that was a cylinder about 2.25 inches long and .75 inches in diameter. I think its called a number 8. Looked everywhere, the specialist type shops had not heard of them but then wandered into a local hardware store and there they were, and only 55p.

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 13:07
A AC battery would be good.
Most interesting are the small 18 volt batteries as in ones Burglar alarm fob, hard to come by they are, leastwise yer average corner shop don't stock em, thats fer sure.

20th Apr 2004, 13:08
A cell does not have to produce 1 Volt. A Ni-Cad rechargable will produce 1.2 Volts, and an alkaline cell (Duracell etc) produces 1.5 Volts.
Lead Acid cells are 2 Volts ,which is why a car battery ( A battery is a collection of cells) has 6 cells, = 12 Volts.
Hope this clears it up for you.


20th Apr 2004, 13:09
.How are they doing these days? Still in the same job, same house? Kids still a flaming pest?

Sure, they're fine - I went out for a beer with the eldest last week. He's going out with a cute little rechargeable who lives in WATTon on Stone. We had a great time, one conversation SPARKing off another and then got a ride home ion a VOLTswagon taxi. He still sees his family who live in

20th Apr 2004, 13:10
Mr Draper

[pedantic ON]

The Leclanché cell produces 1.5 volt, hence the standard battery tensions :

1.5 V : 1 cell
4.5 V : 3 cells
6.0 V : 4 cells
9.0 V : 6 cells

You are probably making some confusion with lead-acid accumulators whose nominal voltage is 2V per element.

To make things even simpler the Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) or Nickel-metal-Hydride (NimH) accumulators have a nominal voltage of 1.2 V per element

[pedantic OFF]

419 you beat me to that one :ok:

20th Apr 2004, 13:41
Pedantics On/Off whatever .Batteries were found in Iraq dating back to around 200 B.C. They were tested and found to output 0.8-1v.So how is it that the French can lay claim to the invention and saying Leclanche cell, surely they should be called pre Saddam cell.

20th Apr 2004, 13:54
Probably got something to do with the marketing guys:

Would an 'Iraq cell' sell well? :p

20th Apr 2004, 14:01
And were those ancient Iraqi batteries used for the headlamps on their camels?

Maybe batteries are like some other techincal thingies. Most major countries have their own inventor of radio and the aeroplane - why not batteries?

I forget the chemistry of the "Edison cell", but telephone switching offices used to have rooms full of those glass jars down in the basement. As M. 901 correctly states, they were accumulators - secondary batteries - rechargeable.


20th Apr 2004, 15:04
Many years back, a colleague discovered puerly by chance that a new "C" flashlight battery was getting warm. Then it got hot so he chucked it outside into some snow on the drive. It proceeded to melt the snow around for about 30cm ....it didn't explode but got VERY hot.
Now why would that be?????
There was no connection to it, it was new, not used in any equipment.....

I have heard about getting a bit of life back in cell by taking it to bed with you over night...not 100% but a tad more juice than before (or is it just that it needed the rest ??)

a is dum
20th Apr 2004, 15:11
Phnuff: :ok:

DishMan: taking it to bed? :eek: Watch those sparks!

20th Apr 2004, 15:45
I've got a "Jupiter" 4.5 square one!

now how about extending this to real power packs...car and truck batteries!:8

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 16:21
Hell of a lot of energy tied up in a battery, had one go red hot on me once as well,luckily said energy tends to be released slowly, exploding car batteries can be lethal though.


20th Apr 2004, 16:44
You must remember the way you test a PP3 to see if it's any good - stick the terminals on your tongue and see if you get a shock!

20th Apr 2004, 16:45
There's nowt wrong with taking batteries to bed. A lot of women do it these days. They just happen to have them encased in bits of plastic at the time:\


tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 17:03
Big softy Dop, thats how we used to test three phase 440.


20th Apr 2004, 17:56
I seem to remember it's your dialectric plates that matter for voltage produced. These are doubled up in a typical 12v car battery. The nominal voltage of the battery is 14.4 volts. With 6 doubled cells you'd get 14.4/6 = 2.4v which is the original 1.2v per "cell" doubled.

The old VWs had a six cell 6v battery, which presumably was from the pre-doubling days.

What puzzles me most is that I can remember all that from an automobile electrics course I did in 1975. Still got the certificate. What a pity I can't remember useful things like umm... y'know... umm...

Windy Militant
20th Apr 2004, 18:05
What were the big square lantern jobbies with the coil spring contacts on the top? As Kids we used to dare each other to stick our tongues on them in the old village stores. They packed a fair wallop! :p :\

Slightly off topic, but a mates dad used to stop their old TVO tractor by putting a finger on each of the spark plugs (brass tag connectors in them days)

20th Apr 2004, 18:22
A - AA - AAA - C - D - PP3

20th Apr 2004, 18:44
When I was at university, shortly before the start of recorded history, one of the school's electricians was called "Short Circuit". He had apparently been a been a skilled electrical engineer installing electrical systems in South America - but the disaster of the Great Depression had pretty much coddled his mind. He would make his rounds in very tired clothes and sneakers, when only the extremely poor wore sneakers as everyday shoes. A sad case.

He would stick his thumb into a fuze or lamp socket as his test equipment. It was said he could distinguish between 110 and 220 V.


Out Of Trim
20th Apr 2004, 20:21
I seem to remember a 9v pp3 style battery in the 70's called a (gulp) "Flying Bomb" It was Red (maroon) with a gold bomb motif with feathered wings..

Don't know where they came from? :suspect:

20th Apr 2004, 21:21
Tony draper wrote:

Hell of a lot of energy tied up in a battery, had one go red hot on me once as well,luckily said energy tends to be released slowly, exploding car batteries can be lethal though.

On a slightly serious note, as I’m sure you’re aware, it’s not only lead-acid batteries that give off hydrogen when charged (or discharged) - ni-cads / li-ion etc emit flammable gases. Just in case anyone reading this is unsure of the protocol: always make sure to disconnect the mains from the charger BEFORE disconnecting the clips on the terminals. I am speaking from bitter experience - as a yoot I used to enjoy radio controlled a/c. One day I disconnected a 7.2 pack without turning off charger, the whole thing exploded in my face with an enormous bang, I am truly lucky not to have been scarred for life. I can well imagine that there must be a few hundred or even thousand A+E cases up and down the country every year due to battery explosions.

Who wants to talk about batteries anyway? Valves? (toobs to the septics) Now yer talking!

Eye Tubes (a personal fave) (http://w1.871.telia.com/~u87149908/eyes/)

A pictorial guide to many species: Nixies, Hexodes, Thyratons, the whole gamut. (http://www.tubedata.com/ )


20th Apr 2004, 22:46
If in car crash, always remember to remove key from ignition. Otherwise, battery likely to make car catch fire. I learned the hard way (looked impressive though).

Presumably Sov batteries were different so that their peeps couldn't use degenerate transistor radios etc. Any info?

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 23:01
Tubes are making something of a comeback in the world of live music,WG997, anybody with a Fender is howling for valve amps,dozens on bits of digital kit are available to make your Amp sound like a sixties valve job and I understand that Electro Harmonix has opened a brand new plant to maufacture long forgoten tubes, who'd a thunk it.


20th Apr 2004, 23:51
If in car crash, always remember to remove key from ignition.

Good, sound advice, you know where the key is, and no chance of anyone moving the vehicle without you knowing.

Otherwise, battery likely to make car catch fire.

Er, No.

Fires following RTA's are rare, fires caused by the battery even rarer.

Much more likely to be caused by fuel spilling onto a hot manifold. I have been to several hundred RTA's, and have yet to attend one involving fire.

(not doubting your experience in anyway though, 42)

21st Apr 2004, 09:40
Back in 1983, when I was in the sixth form, I bought a calculator, a Casio FX-82. I used it solidly for my final two years at high school and through varsity; then left it in storage for three years while I was overseas.
Upon my return, the reliable FX-82 went back into service as my work calculator, and has remained the stalwart of personal and business finances since then.

Not so interesting a story perhaps; except for the fact that today, 21 years after I acquired it, it's still running on the original two plastic-wrapped Casio AA batteries which came with it. No solar cell. No bull.

21st Apr 2004, 10:01
As a junior L/cpl on my first posting many moons ago,your first responsibility was i/c battery shop.Ours in Omagh had 3 lots of bus-bars and we connected all batteries in series up to a maximum of 10.This gave 120v at any one time on the bus bar.In I walk one morning after a particularly heavy night before to see a Sgt waiting outside the shop. "Can you charge up my car battery for me?" "Sure Sarge,pick it up at 5 tonight,don't forget the beer!"
In I walk still in a stupor and connect said battery across the bus-bar without looking how many were in series. 12v across 84v doesn't work,trust me. The resultant bang produced by igniting the hydrogen gas which had accumulated over night, had all the rest of the workshop running like scared chickens thinking we were being mortared.This continued until I emerged from battery shop,deaf, eyebrows gone and hangover miraculously disappeared!
Extra duties were promptly awarded by workshop A.S.M.(Warrant Officer to you RAF types)

21st Apr 2004, 10:04
Second that!
I too had an fx-82 bought around 1982....the batteries died on me sometime in 1988 after almost daily use. Rather than new batteries I bought a new fx-180PA. That has seen me through to today also daily use - 12years....

Boss Raptor
21st Apr 2004, 10:05
I remember when everything inside a home radio had 'Mullard' or 'Phillips' written on it...before the days of the little things with coloured bands :uhoh:

I still have my school calculator and I still use it...again a Casio FX something, must have got it when I was 13 at secondary school so that was... 1980/81 :ok:

21st Apr 2004, 10:45

So why was my experience so unusual? I suppose somersaulting a car in the UK is fairly rare.

I knew someone who had a fairly minor accident with a tree in the UK, mid-80s. Battery terminals were not covered and battery caught fire, destroying vehicle.

a is dum
21st Apr 2004, 11:02
You lot still at it?

"Yeah, I've known a few batteries in my life, they don't make em like that anymore" :cool:

BuTTTT, with the aid of Mr LUKENHEIMER (ta pall!) I can also contribute :ok:

"".....you can use a 387S silver oxide battery. It won't hurt your watch even though it is 1.55 instead of 1.35 volts. Only risk is that your watch might run fast. If it does, it will be obvious, it will run almost double speed. In that case, you can have the watch indexing mechanism adjusted to work properly.

There are also adapters that use a diode to drop the voltage back down to 1.35 volts if you prefer.

A 387S battery is about $3.50 US so it's a cheap way to go if it works. The adapters are higher ($10-$15) and some of them aren't reusable...""""
(stolen from the Breitlinthingy thread)

How about that then?


tony draper
21st Apr 2004, 11:10
Ha! thats nowt, the light bulb in my front passage,(thats the house front passage not Drapes personel front passage)has been burning for one calculates at least 18 years, unless of course some scallywag has broken in to Draper towers and changed the buggah, because I definately int changed it,all the rest of the light bulbs one has had to change over the years.
hmmm good idea for a facinating thread that could be,"How old is yer oldest light bulb"

PS, One is not sure if one has mentioned this before but the electric light bulb was invented not half a mile from Draper towers, and not by that plagerist Tommy Edison either.


a is dum
21st Apr 2004, 11:13
Someone told me that Miss Weed's backpassage has no lights.
Maybe I should get her to contact Mr Draper for advise........ PC Plod would be very pleased!

21st Apr 2004, 11:14
Oohh Lasernigel - that reminds me of my apprenticeship days ....

We had to spend time with the "Power Group" on our site.

As telecomms was, back then, considered highly important "must have 100% availability" we were totally self sufficient. Could even generate electric for the local grid on occassion...anyway this availability necessitated HUGE banks of batteries and converters.
All this DC power was, as you indicated, fed around site by bus-bars. Aluminium bars 6"x3/4" type of size. The +ve bar was always coated in plastic. Or MOSTLY coated in plastic on the later installations. The early bars were bare. No-one was allowed in battery room alone. Had to be paired for safety....gas, acid (yes lage glass bottles of acid for topping up cells occassionally instead of the de-ionised water....) etc. To impress on us the dangers associated with these battery rooms we were all shown the two small dents on the +ve and -ve bus bars left when someone dropped a spanner from above down across the bars. these two little indentations where the alluminium melted were all that remained to show where the spanner fell as it simply vaporised! (Can't remember how many Amps involved - but it was some thousands....)
Also since the +ve bar was now sheathed, were were reminded not to be complacent....someone had drilld a new hole for a new rack connection and as he went through, the drill didn't quite stop and he carried on through the plastic sheath of the next bar and his drill blew apart in his hands.....

Sort of made me wince whenever I checked out a PP3 for life with me tongue from then on!

WindyM - you can still get them they are as you say called "Lantern Batteries" 6V - spring terminals!

The Invisible Cat
21st Apr 2004, 16:18
one would be pleased to introduce one's new friend (http://www.appealinggifts.com/cat-clock-battery-operated.html) :p

21st Apr 2004, 16:41
One smiles gently at that brash kid Draper swanking about old electric light bulbs and his Gramp's accumulator radio.

I remember we ourselves, not our Gramps, had an accumulator radio or rather "wireless". What a misnomer. The tangle of wires was undisentanglable. It was awful. It would fade in and out at the peak moments of "Into Battle", a BBC program during the war, late night. Great program, if you got to hear it all. We eventually got a "charger", but it did not seem to work very well.

As for old elecric light bulbs, we had from time to time, depending on where we were, (a) candles, (b) oil lamps, and (c) gas mantles, and then electric light bulbs.

Some bicycles (not mine, because I did not have one) still had naphtha lamps. I do not recall the exact details, but I seem to remember the naphtha, and water, and a match being applied.

Then transportation. The steamer was met at Tighnabruaich, in the Kyles of Bute, by a horse-drawn bus or carriage. This was not your twee tourist attraction. This was how they did it.

Ah, kids!

21st Apr 2004, 18:01
Space Batteries (http://spaceplace.jpl.nasa.gov/en/kids/st5_bats.shtml)

Technologies that refuse to die (http://www.impactlab.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2927)

If you want the full report on the technologies that refuse to keel over you'll have to subscribe unfortunately :-( Needless to say, vinyl and valves make the list!

tony draper
21st Apr 2004, 18:26
Ha! Drapes can remember when the miners could only work down the pit in daylight hours because the safety lamp had yet to be invented.

21st Apr 2004, 18:35
The mists are parting. It was not naphtha. It was acetylene. Or was it? For sure, it had nothing to do with batteries.

I am not surprised the sunlight got down to Mr D's tiddly-piddly shallow coal mines. My own days, mercifully brief, underground were in the hard rock deep mines in the North. Ah lad! 'Twere long ago. ZZZZZ.

21st Apr 2004, 18:39

If it was acetylene, then it was indeed a carbide lamp (http://genchem.chem.wisc.edu/demonstrations/Gen_Chem_Pages/22organicpage/carbide_lamp.htm)

Still used by speleologists

21st Apr 2004, 18:42
They give 1.5 volts per cell, that's why you get the odd half volt.

Progress is wonderful aint it? Modern cells make much less mess then the old ones when they go rotten, but the residual gunk is more toxic. Hey Ho.

21st Apr 2004, 19:04
Bre, thank you. That's the word. They were commonplace on bicycles in the mid-Scottish mining districts.

simon brown
21st Apr 2004, 19:10
I'm somewhat nostalgic about the battery some scrote nicked from underneath the bonnet of my car the other day

henry crun
21st Apr 2004, 22:51
If memory serves me well the acetylene gas for bike lamps was produced by placing a lump or two of carbide in the water container of the lamp.

One could also place a lump of carbide in a weighted bottle containing some water, and then very quickly screw the cap on and throw the bottle into the river.

I am told that the explosion could stun nearby fish. ;)

21st Apr 2004, 22:56
henry crun

putting some carbide in water would have the same effect on bicycle riders as on fish, I guess. :uhoh:

Carbide lamps always have two compartments, with water dripping on the carbide, so that the reaction rate can be controlled

tony draper
21st Apr 2004, 22:57
Carbide was great for making bombs,take a pop bottle fill three quarters with water,drop in a handfull of carbide ,screw cap on firmly, then scuttle away at a high rate of knots, sometimes it was necessary to send a volunteer back to encourage detonation with half a brick.

Mirkin About
22nd Apr 2004, 07:57
Dad delights in telling the story of how, in his younger days ,he would wrap a bite sized chunk of Calcium Carbide in a piece of bread and toss said bread to the seagulls , result was usually somewhat interesting .
Off topic slightly but he also used to put a bit of bacon fat onto a piece of fishing line and feed it to one of his chickens, apparently bacon fat passes through the digestive tract of chicken very quickly , coming out untouched at the far end , whereupon it would be consumed by another chicken and so on .End result is several chickens strung up on a piece of fishing line beak to tail .