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The batteries we used to love or hate

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The batteries we used to love or hate

Posted by Arran Cameron on Dec 26, 2019 1:24 am

Christmas is renowned for being the day when a very large number of kids receive battery powered toys where batteries are not included. Parents are then faced with the task of finding somewhere that sells batteries or else their kids will pull batteries out of existing devices, including the TV remote control and the smoke detector, because otherwise Christmas will be ruined for them. I have long suspected that many shops which open on Christmas day deliberately increase the price of batteries for a day or two - and they still sell out.

I make an intelligent guess that over 90% of batteries sold on Christmas day are AA, AAA, and PP3 types. On Christmases of the past several other types of battery were in regular use but are now largely obsolete including:

Every Ready No. 8. A cylindrical 3V battery containing two 1.5V cells often called a duplex or bijou battery. Mainly used in torches.

Every Ready 126. A cuboid shaped 4.5V battery with screw terminals. A higher Ah version of the 1289 / 3R12 4.5V battery. Sometimes called a doorbell battery but also used to power train sets and slot cars.

Every Ready No. 800. A 3V battery comprised of two cylindrical 1.5V cells side by side. Used almost exclusively for bike lights.

The PP3 battery is ubiquitous and its big brother the PP9 is always available if you know where to look, although it may be a bit tricky to buy one on Christmas day, but there were once other members in the PP family. The PP6 and PP7 were intermediate in size and energy capacity between the PP3 and PP9. There was also a 6V PP1. The PP8 is a very large 6V battery used mainly for electric fences and was very rarely found in domestic products. The PP4 was a cylindrical 4.5V battery with a snap connector at each end. I have never actually seen one or a device which uses them.

531 / PX19. A cylindrical 4.5V battery with a snap connector at each end that looks like a longer version of a PP4. Used in Polaroid cameras and a few models of industrial controllers.

Mercury oxide batteries. Mostly produced in the form of button or coin cells but battery packs with higher voltages were also available. The output voltage of a mercury cell was very stable at 1.35V until it ran out and it had a higher energy capacity than an alkaline battery of the same size. Production ceased in the 1990s due to environmental reasons.

Do you remember any other batteries from bygone Christmases that we used to love or hate?
 

Re: The batteries we used to love or hate

Posted by David Parr on Dec 26, 2019 9:49 am

That's very comprehensive, nostalgic and anoraky for boxing day :)
I can remember a 90v battery used for valve radios but can't remember the number. 
Best Regards, David Parr

Re: The batteries we used to love or hate

Posted by Arran Cameron on Dec 26, 2019 10:30 am

I missed the 918 cuboid shaped 6V battery with screw terminals. Truly a monster the size of two 6V lantern batteries side by side. Probably the largest commercially available non-rechargeable battery. I'm not sure if anybody has actually bought this battery on Christmas day, or even needed to buy this battery unless their kid has a 6V train set.

Re: The batteries we used to love or hate

Posted by AncientMariner on Dec 26, 2019 7:39 pm

Here is a selection of batteries as used in valve radios. https://www.classicradioshop.info/valve-and-transistor-radio-batteries/
I am not so sure about some of the dates shown because I can remember buying some of them during the 1960s.

Clive
Clive S Carver GCGI IEng MIET MITP

Re: The batteries we used to love or hate

Posted by David Parr on Dec 26, 2019 9:01 pm

Thank you Clive,

Ever Ready B126 was the one I was thinking of. £19 each now!

I'm surprised that they are allowed to sell them nowadays because of the voltage.
Best Regards, David Parr

Re: The batteries we used to love or hate

Posted by Denis McMahon on Jan 12, 2020 9:26 pm

Here is a nice selection, snapped at the Amberley museum, near Arundel.

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Note the type R1662. Remember them? They were used in AVO meters to provide power for resistance testing. Utterly unavailable nowadays, I think. My own AVO used to use one but I have adapted it to take a type C cell. (That is what used to be called a U11.)
Denis McMahon "There is always a better way."

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