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Portable DVD player works! - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jun. 21st, 2009

05:13 pm - Portable DVD player works!

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Two years or so ago, I got a portable DVD player for free. See, my dad, who was a professor of nuclear physics at Rice University, had been on the staff there for 50 years, so they sent him a hunk of polished crystal glass engraved with "You've been with us for 50 years! Awesome!" or words to that effect. They also sent him a free gift: a catalog. Well, the catalog itself wasn't the gift; he was supposed to pick an item out of it and *that* would be the free gift. It was all fancy "executive" style merchandise: fancy pens, fancy cufflinks, fancy briefcases, fancy golf clubs, fancy electronic gizmos, and fancy so on.

Thing is, my dad wasn't a fancy guy; he was the kind of guy who spends the day bashing protons against each other, teaching the secrets of the universe to underappreciative med students as a course requirement, and then coming home to sog on the couch, have a Pepsi, do the daily crossword and watch "Two and a Half Mythbuster Baseballs". He didn't even *play* golf.

So he wasn't really interested in any of the fancy things in the fancy catalog. But I spotted a portable Audiovox D1718 DVD player, with built-in rechargeable battery, and I thought it would be handy to take on trips so I could watch movies in airplanes, hotels and bathrooms. So I asked him, if he selected the DVD player, could I use it? He said OK, and did that.


I think I used it once, on a road trip. I recall watching "Surf's Up" in a Best Western in Sonora, TX on the way to FC 2007.

Shortly after that, I got a Dell laptop. And I thought, hey, the laptop can also play DVDs! And it has a bigger screen! Plus it can play CDs! And it can play the internet! And give me a pedicure! So who needs a crummy ol' DVD player anyway? So I stuck the thing in a poncho bag and put it aside somewhere.

Next plane trip I went on, to Chicago for Morphicon, oh wait, Morphicon is in Columbus, I mean to Chicago for sightseeing before driving the rental car to Columbus for Morphicon, I tried using my laptop to watch movies. I managed to watch "The Producers" starring Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick... just barely; the laptop didn't have enough room to sit in a non-awkward position, and the front edge had to rest on my tummy.

Oh, and on the flight back, it was even worse. I don't remember what I tried to watch, because I didn't get to watch it. The whole laptop had to sit on my tummy! And laptops don't like sitting on surfaces that aren't hard, flat and smooth, which my tummy isn't; I'd need to buy a gym membership, a lifetime supply of stamina, a whole new metabolism, and a tummy waxing just to get it that way. Anyway, the thing started to overheat and shut itself down just a few minutes into "Whatever: The Nonwatching" starring That Guy With The Thing.

The next several trips I went on were road trips. Of course, on a road trip a laptop is no problem, because you're always in a hotel room when you're using it, with a nice desk and chair and everything. But for watching movies on planes, clearly my smaller, more compact Audiovox DVD player would be the way to go.

Well, Anthrocon is coming up soon, and I'll be flying to Pittsburgh. Audiovox time! Buuut... there was one worry in the back of my mind. See, the DVD's instruction booklet says that if you're not going to use it for a long time, you should charge up the Li-polymer battery every two months. Well, I haven't been doing that; I hadn't touched it since February 2007. So this weekend I decided to test it. Would it work at all? Would its battery hold the faintest glimmer of a charge? Or would it be ruined, RUINED, its innards melted into a gummy mess of electronic ectoplasm?

Here's the part of the story where I'm supposed to say "Guess what? OH CRAP IT'S RUINED AND MELTED INTO A GUMMY MESS OF ELECTROPLASM! So I had to have it fixed/throw it away and get a new one/throw myself to the floor and sob & whimper/other (please specify)!" ...Except nope, it works just fine. I charged it up yesterday, and today I watched all of "Horton Hears a Who" starring Jim Carrey & Steve Carell, plus all the deleted scenes and two or three featurettes (didja know Katie's supposed to be a tiny yak?), all on battery power, which lasted well past the two-hour mark the instructions say the battery is good for. I didn't even run the battery all the way down because I was starting to get a little bored...

So... it still works! Yaay! Anthrocon here I come, and I'll be bringing Mirrormask or Time Bandits or something. I gotta wonder, though... what's the deal with this business about charging up the battery every two months?

Comments:

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From:nefaria
Date:June 22nd, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
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I've heard some vage warnings about "battery memory", some people claim that if your battery stays at half-charge or so for a very long time, the battery will indicate that it's fully-charged when it's only half-charged. I've never experienced it myself, and I'm not sure what electrochemical process would cause that to happen.
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From:vakkotaur
Date:June 22nd, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
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That applied to Nickel-Cadmium batteries and supposedly not even as much as often claimed. There it was that repeatedly not fully discharging it could, under certain conditions, lead to that discharge level being the new "dead, time to recharge" level even though there ought to be plenty of charge left.

Other battery technologies generally do not have this memory effect. It depends on which battery technology as to how storage is ideally done. Some are best always kept nearly fully charged when not in use, while I think there are also some better left fully discharged. This, of course, causes some confusion as which is which?

According to this Li-polymer batteries shouldn't be left fully charged or fully discharged for extended times, so evidently they should have a partial charge for storage, and that maintained over time as all batteries will self-discharge over time. What exactly can happen if stored in a fully charged or discharged state isn't mentioned.
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From:yakko
Date:June 22nd, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
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I can relate. For over 2 years, I ran my MacBook mostly on AC with the Li-polymer (liars are Apple, the can said "Li-ion, but it was clearly the polymer type; more on this later) battery installed.

Everything was fine until one day, when the battery decided it was going to swell up on me. It looked like a football. I managed to get the case taken apart and removed the cells from the case, making a phantom battery, since the battery case was one foot of the MacBook. It swelled up over the course of a day.

I bought a new battery and charge it every few months now. It should last a bit longer. I use the non-battery case filler the rest of the time.

The funny thing is that my PowerBook G4 battery was subject to full charge for over 3 years and nothing bad happened. It was of the Li-ion persuasion, though.
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From:zorinlynx
Date:June 22nd, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
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If a Li-Ion battery runs completely dead, a protection fuse inside opens and makes the battery useless. This is because once a Li-Ion battery is discharged past a certain point it becomes unsafe to recharge it. It could catch on fire and all that nasty stuff.

Since batteries self-discharge, recharging it every 2 months is a good way to keep the battery above this "point of no return".
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 22nd, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
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It's a Li-polymer battery, though. And as I said, I left it untouched for two years and then recharged it with no problem.
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From:antimon
Date:June 22nd, 2009 09:50 am (UTC)
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like most other warnings, it's a worst case / best practice kind of thing, it's a good idea to "maintain" the battery the way they suggest but if you don't ot doesn't garuntee you"ll have issues.

plus it worked that oen time sure but you may have reduced the totla number or charge / discharge cycles, time will tell.

It's probably fine
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From:zorinlynx
Date:June 22nd, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
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This applies to Li-Poly as well. Thankfully the battery didn't self-discharge enough over the two years and you were able to recharge it. Not everyone is that lucky. :)
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 22nd, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
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That's good to hear!
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From:deckardcanine
Date:June 22nd, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
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What about a Ti-Iger battery?
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From:nefaria
Date:June 22nd, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
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It's been made obsolete by the new Be-Earsomy technology.
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From:zorinlynx
Date:June 22nd, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
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Oh, no problem here. These batteries *like* to sleep and will happily recharge after years of disuse. :)
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From:deckardcanine
Date:June 22nd, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC)
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That would be a good joke, except that real lions typically sleep 20 hours a day.
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