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Battery life is the theme of today's article. As for me, I sat in a dark room and rocked out (quietly, to myself) to Avantasia last night, so I'm all charged up too.


Whoa - my robovacuum's battery life

I started it this morning at 11.15am. It has just ground to a halt blinking it's LED green/red at 1.05pm. That's a runtime of 110 minutes.
The box claims 80.
So it has just offered me half an hour more than the box blurb. That's impressive, given that ratings quoted like that are often in carefully controlled "ideal environments" and not a living room with obstacles (it needed to be rescued a few times).

In terms of activity, it hasn't done a bad job, but it has missed anything that had a bit of heft to it. I can see a blue bit of plastic that would have been the wrapping of a neutral wire.
That being said, it did in a smidgen under two hours what I can do with a brush in around five minutes, so... was amusing to watch it trundle.

I also noticed a potential issue with the design in that the garbage collection tub doesn't fill up because the entry port is quite low down, so the bits of hair and fluff and whatever spread out from there towards the suction filter.
To save an icky photo, here's a diagram I threw together in DrawPlus to show what I mean.

Not filling the waste collection
Not filling the waste collection.

I also did a quick test just before plugging it in to charge. It does not look as if the device actually pays much attention to where its bumper is bumped, sometimes turning directly into the obstacle. A bug in the code? Or does it simply treat the bumper as "bumped" rather than trying to notice when the two sensors are triggered to determine where it was bumped? I don't think they're wired in series, though I'm not going to probe the circuit as it is currently charging the battery.


Why I was surprised about the dBook's battery

If you think, these devices will sit in a box for an unknown length of time until they arrive in the hands of their prospective user. This could be weeks, it could be months. Maybe longer. So it makes sense for tablets and suchlike to have a minimal current draw when "off". My little internet radio, for example, requires you to hold the power button to provide power until the internal ESP32 has booted and engages a GPIO pin to hold the power on itself. In this way, the power draw when the device is off is negligible. I would expect Android devices to be sort of similar in behaviour.

So here is my iPad's lock screen once it had booted. It was briefly used in 2020, I think, to take a photo of my Eurovision setup. Its primary user was mom, so it probably hasn't been charged since sometime like July 2019. I am topping up the charge.

iOS started after nearly five years, 75% battery
iOS started after nearly five years, 75% battery.

Now let's look at the first Klipad tablet. The most recent file I could see in the filesystem is timestamped May 2020. It started up with an almost charged battery, so I topped it up.

After nearly four years...
After nearly four years, 95% battery.

The second Klipad was a different story. It probably hasn't been used since around May 2022 when I got the DSlide tablet. It started up with 29% charge, and was losing 1% every minute. It slowed a little when I knocked the screen brightness down. It is on charge right now. While it's clear the the battery wasn't great, it booted, and I would imagine that plugging it into a charger would revive it should it have flaked out.

Not so great after only two years...
Not so great after nearly two years...

The DSlide 1021 has been in my bedroom for a while. It's been a few months since I used it. Around 84% charge, which was topped up.

The DSlide lock screen
The DSlide lock screen.

And, for completeness since I've been putting up screenshots, here's the new dBook...

The dBook home screen
The dBook home screen; this image
was custom made for me by an AI...

By the way, having flipped the dBook over, it says there's 32GB inside. Umm... Didn't the previous one have 16GB? So twice the Flash and USB-C for charging. Not bad, eh? (plus, it's amazing what a difference a year can make)

And, yes, you read this right. I have four Android devices (three tablets and the portable) that I received "free" with a magazine subscription. Even if these things are made dirt-cheap in China, there's still a cost involved. I really don't see how they can be making any money from this.
That being said, they haven't offered me any subscription offers this year. I wonder if they have blacklisted me as a loss, or if they're just not doing it right now because the economy is lousy?

Now, a note to myself, everything has been charged to 100% and turned off properly (not just into standby) today, the 21st of April 2024.


Oh, and as for why this rather short blog article took all freaking day to write... I honestly have no idea where the time went. I wasn't doing much else, except, you know, a little bit of...

Maybe this is why this took so long?
Maybe this has something to do with it?



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Rick, 21st April 2024, 20:32
If you are using NetSurf, is there a space between "Avantasia" and "last" at the top of the page? 
There should be. I think I've found a really obscure rendering bug. ;) [the version on this machine is 3.11]
Rick, 21st April 2024, 20:42
Hmm, nope, it's still there with 3.11 CI #5419 (the latest bleeding edge release). 
David Pilling, 22nd April 2024, 12:40
Solar charged lights seem to be an example of poor design. Unless in bright light all the time they gradually discharge their batteries. Fitting a real physical switch to disconnect the batteries seems a good idea. Maybe OK for somewhere with lots of light, but no good in gloom here. 
David Pilling, 22nd April 2024, 13:02
By 'solar charged lights' I do not mean those flimsy garden lights - I mean things akin to torches, designed for intermittent use. Seen the same problem on solar charged power-banks.
Rick, 22nd April 2024, 15:16
Solar anythings are just not designed for us in the dim dismal north. 
Maybe below the 45th parallel these things work?
Rob, 23rd April 2024, 10:26
Take a look at the circuit of the little plug in nightlights.. Generally they shut the lamp off in daylight by sorting out the lamp! Yep, light goes off, but power drain is just as much! 
On batteries.. I've got a Ryobi power drill, where both my batteries are dead - drain while not in use has pulled the cells too low, and the charger won't to them up now. I've got a guide bookmarked on pulling them apart and charging the individual cells directly, enough that the main charger will kick in anyway, but it's a faff, so I've not bothered yet. Just bought a cheap drill from Lidl to tide me over.
Rob, 23rd April 2024, 10:27
Shorting out the lamp. Damn autocorrupt..

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