New Portable Fuel Cell Charger

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Nectar Portable Fuel CellResearch into alternative power sources and the development of new technologies in this area has been intense by Universities and corporations.  Some time ago we brought you news of electronics giant Toshiba’s Dynario mobile fuel cell.

Pictured, is the new Nectar portable fuel cell charger by Lilliputian systems.   It can charge your smartphone, mp3 player or digital camera directly through the USB port. The Nectar uses “hot-swappable”, cartridges or pods containing Butane to produce power. This portable fuel cell charger is due to be released later this summer and is rumoured to cost around $300 with the pods costing around $10. It’s definitely not an affordable option to charge your USB enabled devices.Duracell Portable USB Chargers

However, there are solutions close to hand with the Duracell Portable USB Chargers. They are convenient, handy and definitely affordable. You can read more about these chargers in our previous posts, “Stay Connected with the Duracell Portable Charger” and “The Most Powerful Duracell Portable USB Charger“. The 3 hour charger and the 5 hour charger provide upto 3 hours and 5 hours, respectively, extra talk-time in smartphones.

New from Duracell, Ultra Power Batteries with integrated Powercheck

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New from Duracell, Ultra Power batteries with an integrated Powercheck.

You can always see how much power is left in your battery with the integrated power tester.

Checkout the TV commercial below:

So, if you are always on the go, and need power for any purpose Duracell Ultra Power battery is the ideal solution.  Check how much power your Ultra Power battery has, pop it into a MP3 player and then run a marathon.  Wonder why the Duracell Bunny did not take part in this marathon?  Probably not his event, or maybe it was too easy for him or did he just want us humans to win something for a change.

Duracell is also running a special promotion with a 4 + 4 Free offer.  You can get these special promotional packs of batteries in both AA and AAA sizes, while stocks last.

Watch more videos like this on DuracellDirect’s YouTube Channel.

How to Maximize your Android phone’s Battery Life?

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As phones get smarter and cooler like the new breed of Android phones, inevitably play, showing off to friends and colleagues and even competing with iPhone users is going to have it’s drawbacks.  The culprit here is the dreaded battery life.

Well, you cannot have a small, sleek, Android smartphone and a battery that lasts for a month on a single charge.  That is going to be one bulky battery, not very practical at all.  So, we will have to live with some limitations until advances in technology are made.

However, it does not mean play time on the Android phone is limited to only an hour a day.  There are several things you can do to maximize the battery life.

1.  Use Wi-Fi when you really need it.  If this is enabled then the phone scans for available networks and this uses a lot of battery power.

2.  Turn down screen brightness or the backlight.

3.  Check the apps that are running and especially the ones that are syncing far more frequently.  This applies to email (not Gmail) and soical-networking apps like Facebook or Twitter.  Use the Android power widget and the task manager .

4.  Disable bluetooth if you don’t need it or use it.

5.  Animated wallpapers may be cool and fun, but these require a lot of battery power.

6.  Tried some fun apps when you first got the phone and have forgotten all about it now.  Then it’s about time you disabled them as it is probably still running in the background.  This uses up both the phone’s CPU and battery.

7.  Kill those unused widgets on your home screen, especially the ones which pull data from the web constantly.

8.  Do you really need to GPS turned on when you are stuck in the office or relaxing at home?  There are a lot of applications that use the GPS location to provide content like weather.  GPS services via satellites drain the battery quite quickly.

This is in no way a comprehensive list, but it can certainly go a long way to keep your Android phone running without losing power.  Also take a look at our previous post, “How to Maximize your Smartphone’s Battery Life?”.

If you need a quick charge or a boost of power then do consider one of the many USB chargers and USB external batteries from Duracell.  That is, if your Android phone can be charged through the USB port (most likely to be a mini or micro USB port).

Nokia's Self-Charging Batteries

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Have you heard the latest?  Nokia has filed patents on the concept of self-charging mobile phone batteries.  We all know that Nokia is very innovative, but self-charging batteries, is it possible?

Self-charging technology already exists, it has been used in Seiko Kinetic watches for over 20 years.  Seiko’s Kinetic watches make use of Piezoelectric crystals to generate an electric charge.  As details are sketchy at the moment, it is unclear how the mobile phone will be setup.

However, one thing is for sure,  the movement of the phone will generate electricity to charge the main battery or if it generates enough electricity it may even power the phone, doing away with the battery altogether.  The latter is unlikely as mobile phones these days are packed with features that are extremely power hungry.  Features like touch sensitive colour LCD screens and digital cameras with flash, to name a few.

So, does this mean we can give the mobile phone a quick shake during a call, just to keep it powered until the end of the conversation.

Windows 7 Killing Laptop Batteries

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Microsoft Windows 7Is Windows 7 killing laptop/notebook batteries?  Windows 7 was supposed to enhance mobile computing by maximising battery life.  It boasted loads of power saving features and enhancements.

However, it has been widely reported in recent weeks that Windows 7 is actually draining battery life much quicker than the user expects and it also displays the following message:

“Consider replacing your battery. There is a problem with your battery, so your computer might shut down suddenly.”

According to Microsoft, Windows 7 uses firmware information of the laptop battery to determine whether it requires to be replaced and is currently working with it’s hardware partners to resolve this issue.

There’s a very long thread on Microsoft TechNet forum on this issue.  The problem also seems to affect a wide range of laptop manufacturers including, Acer, Dell, HP, Sony and Toshiba.

If you are considering getting a spare laptop battery, just to get a little bit more out of your Windows 7 laptop, then don’t forget DuracellDirect carries an extensive range of laptop batteries.   However, the universal external battery pack may be a better solution as it plugs into the laptops power socket with one of several special tips supplied.  So, even if you change your laptop or have an old one gathering dust, the external battery pack may still work and keep you powered up for longer.

How to Maximize your Smartphone's Battery Life?

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You may have read our previous post, “Extend Your Digital Camera Battery’s Life“.  It was by no means an exhaustive list, but some useful tips to get more out of your digital camera battery.  Since smartphones are very popular, these days and not all built equal.  Indeed some have a very questionable battery life.

We are so attached to our smartphones now, that our lives would be unbearable without it.  Not a second passes by without checking emails on the Blackberry, playing with the latest app on iPhone, browsing the web, playing games or simply making calls.  All of these tasks eats away at the battery life at varying levels.  So, how do you maximize your smartphone’s battery life? Stop using it, well there is no need for such sarcasm.  A smartphone’s battery life is a very serious issue.

  • Switch off WiFi, Bluetooth and IR, turn it on only when you need to use them.  The auto-scanning, auto-search features uses a lot of battery power.
  • Limit wireless use if you really want to save battery life.  Use the your PC for updates, apps, music etc and then sync your smartphone by connecting to your PC.  This is usually faster.
  • Depending on your device, set a longer period for fetching emails.  Unless you are really busy and need to see your emails as soon as they are sent.  Setting it to fetch every 2 minutes maybe a little excessive and is sure to contribute to lowering the battery power.
  • Lower the backlight and screen brightness levels, especially with the new swanky LCD screens which just eat battery life like there’s no tomorrow.  Sure the photos don’t look the same, but you have to compromise, if you want to use your smartphone for longer periods.
  • Check battery usage to see which apps or functions are using the most battery power.  As some apps may be running in the background and some may not have stopped properly.  In some smartphones if an app is not exited properly it keeps working in the background.
  • GPS and A-GPS functions are cool and in some cases very helpful, but playing around with these on your walk home or to your friend’s house is going to drain the battery faster than you expect.  Limit the usage of these functions to when you are really lost or maybe a quick peek when you are showing off to your friends.
  • Turn off vibrate when playing games on your smartphone.  If you really need to have a complete gaming experience then, you really should be using a Sony PS3, Xbox 360 or a Nintendo Wii.

You can always carry a spare battery or use clever battery chargers from Duracell.

The Duracell Pocket Charger or the Instant Charger are ideal, compact products that can be used to recharge devices that are powered through USB.  It may not provide power for a full day’s worth of surfing using WiFi and playing games, but it will certainly provide power to make a few quick calls, send a few text messages and check emails.  Perhaps, it will last till you get to a power source.

Keep your smartphone charged up and stay connected, so that you don’t feel as if all your limbs were cut off.

Duracell Instant Charger Honoured with Engineering and Design Award

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The Duracell Instant USB Charger has been named International CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree.  The Design and Engineering Awards program is judged by a pre-eminent panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 36 product categories.

Duracell Instant USB Power Charger
Duracell Instant USB Power Charger

This is another product in the SmartPower range from Duracell.  No wonder it got an award, with it’s sleek lightweight design, it looks a lot like a smart phone than a USB charger.

The Duracell Instant USB Charger has a built in Lithium Ion Battery which can charge USB powered devices like BlackBerries, iPods, iPhones, smartphones, mobile phones, digital cameras and more.

You don’t need to look around for a power socket to recharge the Instant Charger.  A laptop or a PC with a spare USB socket would be more than adequate.  Making this a very handy portable power solution.

The Instant USB Charger is due to be released in the UK soon, so watch this space for news of the launch.

If you are after a USB charging solution and cannot wait for the new product to be released the older version of the Instant Power Charger is still available.  It is still lightweight and compact but not as sleek as the newer product.  There are a whole range of charging options available from DuracellDirect, including battery chargers.

Pedal Power in New York

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New York’s at it again or should it be Duracell.  In the earlier post, “Duracell and People Power in New York“, we were wondering what Duracell and New York had planned for New Year’s Eve 2009.

Well, pedal power is back.  The stationary bikes are in the Duracell Smart Power Lab in New York for you to generate power to light up the “2010” sign.  This time around the sign is made up of 9W LED bulbs instead of the 40W Halogen bulbs.  Yes, New York is going Green with these LED bulbs made by Philips.  According to the article on, the new sign is saving about 36 trees with the use of LED bulbs.

So, the question remains, How many people would it take to light up the Big Ben or the London Eye on New Year’s eve in London?

Last minute Christmas shopping, have you got all the batteries for the toys and gadgets?

Check out our hot deals on batteries and other accessories on at the moment.

Duracell and People Power in New York

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Duracell New York
Duracell Power Lodge New York

It took 137,228 tourists in New York to light up the “2009” sign on New Year’s eve 2008 according to The New York Times.

Duracell setup a “power lodge” where six stationary bicycles, something like a cross between a snow mobile and a pedalo, were connected to electric generators which charged four large Duracell batteries.  These batteries were then used to light up the sign.

For those who like numbers:

The 2009 sign was made up of 608 halogen light bulbs.

The bulbs require 7.25 kilowatt hours of electricity to light up for 15 minutes.

It took 137,228 people to pedal the required power.

The original goal was 230 pedal hours (surpassed by more than 20%).

So, after a green new year in 2009 with people power, what does Duracell have planned for 2010? and what about London?

How many people would it take to light up the Big Ben or the London Eye on New Year’s eve in London?

Fuel Cells to charge your Mobile Phone – Toshiba Dynario mobile fuel cells

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Refilling Toshiba Dynario Fuel Cell
Toshiba Dynario Fuel Cell
Toshiba Dynario Fuel Cell and Refills
Toshiba Dynario Fuel Cell

Electronic giant Toshiba has made mobile fuel cells called Dynario.  This fuel cell falls under the category of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC), where methanol is used as the fuel.  The small handheld unit contains a lithium ion battery, which is charged by the fuel cell to store electricity.

Methanol, comes into contact with air inside the unit.  The chemical reaction between Methanol and Oxygen produces electricity.  Toshiba says that on a single refill, the Dynario can generate enough power to charge two mobile phones.  The power from the Dynario is supplied via a USB cable and is able to charge a variety of products like Mobile Phones, Smart Phones, MP3 players and PDAs.

Unfortunately, Toshiba is only producing a limited number to gauge consumer reaction to the product and it is going to be available only in Japan.

Duracell Pocket Charger
Duracell Pocket Charger

Not sure if Toshiba is planning to release this fuel cell in the UK  at all, probably depends on the success in Japan.

If you are worried about handling Methanol, dropping the Dynario, or carrying it aboard a plane on a long haul flight then look no further.  Duracell has lots of options for recharging your mobile phones, MP3 players and PDAs like the Instant Power Charger, the Pocket Charger and the Powersource Mini.

These external battery chargers are extremely easy to use and are ideal when you are on the go.  The Instant Power Charger and the Powersource Mini are in fact an external lithium ion battery packs which charge and deliver power via USB.  The Pocket Charger can take 2 AA size batteries either Alakaline or Rechargeable and also delivers the power via USB.

So, until fuel cells become easy to use, readily available at your local store and no fears of unwanted chemical reactions or even explosions you can count on Duracell for safe, effective power even in a long haul flight.