News & Media

Life Hack: Remote

You know the scenario – the batteries in your TV remote control have run out and you can’t find any the right size to replace them? Watch this video to find out exactly what to do…

Let’s say you need AA batteries and typically you can only find AAA ones. What can you do? Well, if you also have two pieces of foil you can solve the problem easily!

Simply put the AAA batteries into the AA slot and place the aluminium foil in to bridge the gap. Just make sure to keep the two bits of foil separate to avoid short-circuiting. Due to aluminium being such a good conductor, your remote control should now work! Clever, eh?

Batteries are awesome because they make things portable without needing to be plugged into a power supply.

 

How do batteries actually work?

There are two electrodes in every battery – both made of conductive materials. One is the cathode which connects to the positive end of the battery and is where the electrical current leaves; the other is the anode which connects to the negative end of the battery which is where the electrical current enters the battery. Between them is the electrolyte with ions that produce chemical reactions in the electrodes, allowing an electrical current to be generated. A separator keeps the anode and cathode separate – otherwise a short-circuit would form. When you switch the device on, you complete the circuit and the stored chemical energy converts to electrical energy which travels out of the battery and into the device.

 

Why do batteries run out?

Eventually the reactions that fuel the battery stop happening and the electrodes can no longer create an electrical current – the battery is fully discharge or ‘dead’. There’s nothing else you can do besides throwing it away because the processes cannot be reversed. Rechargeable batteries, however, such as those in your phone or car, are of course different.

 

Did you know?

  • The word ‘battery’ was originally borrowed from the military word to describe a group of weapons working together!
  • You can make a battery out of a lemon!

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  • You can make a battery out of potatoes – quite weak but enough to power a clock apparently!

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  • The world’s smallest battery was made with a 3D printer and is the size of a grain of sand!
  • There is a size B battery – but there are just not many items that need it! Some places in Europe still use them to power lanterns and bicycle lamps!