Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Battery Blocks

Blocks of batteries provide power flexibly.
  [vote for,

The product is a power source for use with electronics that you might want to take on the road and that require a substantial amount of power (audio, lighting, whatever). Nothing new there.

The idea is to design a scalable system of "blocks" of power. A master block contains a single battery and control circuitry. Slave blocks can be connected in parallel with the master block when more power is needed. The blocks are designed with contacts on all sides so that they can be interconnected in any configuration: e.g. stacked vertically, horizontally, in a cube. That way, you can fit them into the space available. Stacked vertically in a corner, in a cube in your trunk, horizontally under a park bench, etc. Take with you as many blocks as you need; leave the rest at home.

EvilHomer, Apr 14 2003


       Attachments, a flashlight for instance, just snap onto a stack of blocks? I like it. Have a scaleable pastry.
Don Quixote, Apr 14 2003

       So in order to produce 120 volts AC, you need 10 12-volt batteries and a power inverter? Today's battery technology would make this very large, heavy and cetainly un-portable if large currents were required.
Cedar Park, Apr 14 2003

       To tell you the truth, I had 12 volt applications in mind. I guess "substantial" was a little vague. I'm thinking of things like car stereo systems, DC lights, mobile office applications, etc. I wasn't so much thinking about things like powertools and floodlights, where a gas-powered generator might be more appropriate.   

       Another interesting thought would be to scale this down to blocks of say, 36 cubic inches, that you can use to run smaller electronics and laptops.   

       Scaling up, as you suggest, could be hard.   

       Oh, and half - if I deleted your comment it was unintentional. Please repost if you care to.
EvilHomer, Apr 14 2003

       As you suggested, IMO, the ideal battery should be cuboid, like the Sony lithium rechargeables or cellphone batteries, or 9V batteries (but without those awful contacts).   

       Engineers won't like your configurable system, though. They don't like you messing with their voltages, their mAh capacities and other stuff, especially on the fly. That's why engineers like battery compartments, and not the old-style batteries that had contacts that you screwed wired into.   

       A big problem you will find is if you mount cells of differing voltages (due to charge loss) in parallel, you will risk the higher voltage cell charging the lower voltage cell. This could, damage the batteries and even start a fire.   

       The only application I have seen something similar to your idea used is in specialist flashlights. These use C-Cell or CR123 batteries loaded in serial and you can screw an additional section on the barrel for higher power. The problem is the bulb must be suitably rated and running a higher-rated than necessary buld is actually less bright (my impression) than the lower, but correctly rated bulb.
FloridaManatee, Apr 14 2003

       Modular, expandable UPS?
Shz, Apr 14 2003

       Serious UPS systems are, generally, modular and expandable.
bristolz, Apr 14 2003

       "Legos" filled with raw potato or lemon, plus two metal terminals... finally a toy with batteries included!
Prof Manitou, Apr 14 2003

       Some portable electronics devices today use as much as 18 volts DC, so I'd be more inclined to give this idea a croissant if the principle behind adding more blocks was to add more capacity, not more voltage. For example, each block is rated 18 volts DC @ 500 mah (milliamp-hours). There would be an attachable output control module where you would "dial-in" whatever output voltage you need, and if your device used 2 amps of current, you would snap together 4 blocks (4 x 500mah = 2amp-hours) for each hour of running time (approximately).   

       What the heck, I'm feeling benevolent today. I'm giving you a chocolate-dipped croissant because I know Homer loves chocolate, and he's a dip :)   

       Prof Manitou, I wish I could give you a pastry, too.
Canuck, Apr 14 2003

       Baked! Black and Decker calls it Versapak.
belg4mit, Apr 14 2003

       Versapak is just a system of cordless tools that all use the same rechargeable battery packs. That's nothing like this.
waugsqueke, Apr 14 2003

       UB, only if you can attach your category 5 cable to it.
Canuck, Apr 15 2003


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