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Sonicare E5000 Toothbrush: Battery Decline

Being that type of guy, I noted each date when my Sonicare toothbrush needs recharging, at least after the battery had declined to about a week between charges, specifically so I could produce this graph:

Sonicare Runtime

Sonicare Runtime

The peaks include trips where I didn’t use the toothbrush and I’ve certainly blundered a few dates, but you can eyeball a trendline: those cells are kaput!

In round numbers, I bought the thing in early 2010, so the cells lasted maybe 2-½ years. I routinely run the toothbrush until the blinky light indicates that it needs charging, then fill it up overnight, to avoid having the cells fail like the ones in the beard trimmer.

Somehow the notion of discarding the whole toothbrush seems wrong, even though the instruction manual describes how to remove the battery for recycling before you junk the carcass. Talk about planned obsolescence!

Ah, but I know what to do about that

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  1. #1 by George Martin on 2012-07-05 - 08:47

    I’ve been working on a very low power application. We’re using a type of Lithium batteries. These are the size of postage stamps. Really! The are a bit different in chemistry that the typical Li Ion. The manufacturer recommends constant recharging. I started doing this with a new Oral B tooth brush. Always on the charger.
    Whenever I take it on trips w/o the charger the life seems to be 7-10 days and it’s been about 1 year of this type of operation.

    • #2 by Ed on 2012-07-05 - 10:07

      Always on the charger.

      The only thing I know for sure is that all the old rules of thumb don’t work nearly as well as they used to!

      I’ve been recharging my Kindle Fire (which is basically a display pasted atop a huge lithium cell) every night. I suspect the cell will last until the thing becomes hopelessly obsolete… which may take, what, a year?

      Given the permutations of cell chemistry / charger algorithm / discharge cycle, it’s a wonder they work at all.

      • #3 by George Martin on 2012-07-05 - 10:09

        At some point it the change is so rapid that it all goes vertical.
        I don’t have a plan for that.

  2. #4 by Aki on 2012-07-05 - 10:08

    “Talk about planned obsolescence!”

    Or arms race…

    http://www.gumbrand.com/dental-health-for-kids-teeth/gum-star-wars-power-toothbrush/

    • #5 by Ed on 2012-07-05 - 10:43

      I suppose the notion of jamming Hans Solo in your mouth, head first, didn’t please the focus group…

      • #6 by Aki on 2012-07-05 - 14:31

        Still using a manual toohtbrush, but then if I were a car designer folks would be still starting their cars by a removable crank handle too (if it was good enough for my grand-father it’s good enough for me)…

        • #7 by Rob on 2012-07-05 - 18:56

          [quote]… if I were a car designer folks would be still starting their cars by a removable crank handle too (if it was good enough for my grand-father it’s good enough for me)…[/quote]

          LOL

          Hurry up and apply the MOLTEN FIX, Ed, I have one of these!
          Can’t Wait!

          • #8 by Ed on 2012-07-05 - 20:15

            Hey, that’s what I need: a crank-operated toothbrush!

            Or maybe a toothbrush powered like a shake-to-charge flashlight?

            Hmm…

        • #9 by Frans on 2012-07-11 - 14:28

          The rough equivalent works fine on lawn mowers. My parents’ previous lawn mower actually also had some kind of battery-operated starting procedure, but that worked for all of about a month and besides it’s just no fun.

          Being born in the mid-’80s I’m old enough to remember when cars had manual chokes, unlike most who were born in the early ’90s.

          • #10 by Ed on 2012-07-11 - 14:33

            battery-operated starting procedure

            I rely on a shot of starting fluid to raise the dead: one yank on the cord is all it takes!

            As nearly as I can tell, no rational amount of small-engine maintenance will actually make the [mumble] things work better. The older the engine, the worse it runs on contemporary 10% ethanol oxygenated gasoline…

          • #11 by Rob on 2012-07-11 - 21:37

            {Being born in the mid-’80s I’m old enough to remember when cars had manual chokes, unlike most who were born in the early ’90s}

            Wow, Where are You from, Frans?
            I was born in 1964 and and VAGUELY remember manual chokes on some cars, WOW

            {rant}That’s your US EPA I guess, something works fine but it has to be automatic so
            some goofball will not drive with a closed choke and waste a little fuel and maybe
            create a tiny bit of smog {/rant}

            • #12 by Ed on 2012-07-12 - 07:06

              but it has to be automatic

              On the other paw, cars today pretty much Just Work. You sit down, turn the key, and the engine starts and runs well. Hot, cold, wet, dry, none of that matters: the automation figures out what to do and makes it happen.

              The Good Old Days weren’t nearly as wonderful as we remember and the time scale compresses more every decade. Whatever new car we eventually buy will be much better than our 12-year-old van: better fuel economy, reliable traction control, brighter lights, maybe even active cruise control and auto-parking.

              But it’ll have a dashboard I can’t figure out… [sigh]

        • #13 by Frans on 2012-07-11 - 15:04

          They’ve always started with just one decent yank. I really have no idea why a lousy electric starter system was present at all. The reason that lawn mower had to be replaced was due to structural integrity issues. A crack had appeared and despite some makeshift metal plate attachments and some welding it kept spreading to the point where dangerous things might’ve happened while using the machine. Btw, for some reason they’re only selling bigger and heavier lawn mowers these days, unless you count electric ones.

          The 1980s lawn mower was more robust; it lasted up to the early 2000s. Frankly that thing was better in many ways than anything I’ve seen since.

        • #14 by Frans on 2012-07-12 - 05:00

          Wow, Where are You from, Frans?
          I was born in 1964 and and VAGUELY remember manual chokes on some cars, WOW

          I’m Dutch, but I think saying Western Europe would imply pretty much the same range of available cars. (I’d be tempted to say EU or even Europe instead of Western Europe, but I remember visiting the former DDR in the early ’90s and most cars on the road were Trabants. I visited again a few years later and there was barely a Trabant to be seen. Quite understandably of course, seeing how that was at best a mediocre car, even by 1960s standards.)

          The car I’m thinking of specifically was probably a Volvo 345 or 360 (300 series in any case), but in my very early years my parents had a green Peugeot which I’d swear had it as well — but I was really too young to remember. This forum at least wholly confirms that the Volvo 300 series had a manual choke.

          I decided to take a look at some online car listings and I’m seeing a number of Peugeot 205s from the late ’80s/early ’90s that came with an automatic choke, but were fitted with a manual one because the automatic was malfunctioning. Not that my parents had one of those; I imagine they might’ve had something like a ’70s Peugeot 404 (it looks about right on Wikipedia, but then I only know that car from pictures and possibly the first year or two of my life).

        • #15 by Frans on 2012-07-12 - 05:09

          To be completely clear, I mean that they would’ve had that car for probably over a decade by the time I was born. The Volvo 3xx was purchased in probably ’87 and lasted only till ’93 or ’94, after which the Volvo 440 lasted until ’06. The inspection claimed the chassis (is that English?) or something had started rusting through so the car wouldn’t make it through the APK check the following year. APK means Algemene Periodieke Keuring = Common Periodical Check (of vehicles, for the protection of road safety and the environment — and also to aid sales of new cars, I hasten to cynically add).

        • #16 by Frans on 2012-07-12 - 07:56

          The Good Old Days weren’t nearly as wonderful as we remember and the time scale compresses more every decade. Whatever new car we eventually buy will be much better than our 12-year-old van: better fuel economy, reliable traction control, brighter lights, maybe even active cruise control and auto-parking.

          To be fair though, driving a stick is also cruise control. When driving in a 30km zone I find it really hard to remain driving slowly enough unless I manually stick it in second gear. Older automatics tend to have a first and second gear for that purpose (or rather for driving in mountainous terrain I suppose), but my parents’ current Peugeot can actually switch between manual transmission and automatic transmission on the go. Alright, the manual transmission isn’t all that manual since there’s no clutch or anything, but you can go up and down in gears electronically kinda like in some race cars I suppose. In practice I think cruise control and speed limiting is more useful at higher speeds (like 80 and 120).

          But yeah, driving a modern car is significantly more pleasant. Traction control as you say, but what about ABS? “Pumping braking” (dunno what it’s called in English; is cadence braking the right word?) is annoying and I’m glad it’s ancient history. ;)

          • #17 by Ed on 2012-07-12 - 08:39

            what about ABS?

            The van has it and I like it a lot… even if it’s only engaged two or three times per decade. Somewhat like the horn: I regard having to sound the horn as a failure on my part to anticipate a problem.

            I would never get enough practice to pump the brakes effectively…

        • #18 by Frans on 2012-07-12 - 09:46

          I really couldn’t say.

      • #19 by Aki on 2012-07-12 - 08:46

        Driving & braking a modern car is a simple matter of firmware. ;-)

        • #20 by Ed on 2012-07-12 - 09:26

          It seems the wipers start automatically after a crash to brush off the dust. Nice touch, that.

          • #21 by George Martin on 2012-07-12 - 09:54

            I was riding through Death Valley CA (REALLY HOT 120F in the shade). There were engineers form VW testing brakes. A long story but later I was talking to them at the local cafe. Seems that all car makers use the area for testing. Honda mounted a front of a new car above the bar and the remote worked all the different pieces. Wiper Flasher etc. Now it seems that engineers from another car company came in and rewired the controls. So the left turn signal now worked the right wiper and so on. We all need to get back to work this minute!!!!!

            • #22 by Ed on 2012-07-12 - 12:10

              riding through Death Valley CA

              On a bicycle, I trust… [grin]

            • #23 by George Martin on 2012-07-12 - 12:17

              Motorcycle….Close enough??

            • #24 by Ed on 2012-07-12 - 12:31

              Bah! Stink bike!

              (This seems to be the worst thread drift so far. Thanks to everyone for making it possible, I think.)

        • #25 by Aki on 2012-07-12 - 10:17

          “(REALLY HOT 120F in the shade)”

          No sweat Dude…

          http://www.northernmosttesting.com/

        • #26 by Aki on 2012-07-12 - 12:53

          “This seems to be the worst thread drift so far.”

          It just proves that we are not monomaniacs. ;-)

          • #27 by david on 2013-02-05 - 17:30

            Well, I do always prefer a good polymaniac.

  3. #28 by Rob on 2012-07-12 - 20:32

    notice the “reply to post” bars are missing, Ed…

    Minimizes Drift I guess :-)

    The newer cars are also harder for the older guys to modify for better MPG’s
    but easier for the younger crowd that can use laptops and ECM software to
    get the same results… My beloved Ford EEC-4 used a nifty little 10% rich
    setting to keep it “safe” and the beginner tunerz would start here and eliminate
    the richness. Across the board. Now I have read that these “engineers”, to keep
    the converters warm, dump excess late cycle fuel to achieve this feat. We (they)
    are producing more CO2 to avoid producing unburnt HC (hydrocarbon) when all
    we really need is just keep it efficient and lean at all times.
    Easier to drive, but drives a self-trained ICE engineer nutz! :P

    • #29 by Ed on 2012-07-13 - 07:58

      the “reply to post” bars are missing

      I set the maximum thread depth to four (IIRC), which works fine for most topics… it’s a tradeoff between the crappy theme layout that doesn’t fill the width of your screen with the comments and the desire to allow unlimited yammering. [grin]

      modify for better MPG’s

      Or you can just drive like an Olde Farte, which I’ve been doing forever. Nowadays they call it Hypermiling, so it seems I’m back in style!

      • #30 by Rob on 2012-07-13 - 18:39

        Olde Farte, LOL!
        had a guy on one of my car bbs’ that liked to tool
        around on the backroads in high gear @ 20 mph…
        Olde Farte Style!

        • #31 by Ed on 2012-07-13 - 19:36

          high gear @ 20 mph

          Barely 20 rpm away from stalling: lug that engine!

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