Friday, 22 February 2013

A Mythbusters-Style Assault On A Battery

A few days ago, I came across an amazing video on YouTube that revealed a little-known secret. Standard AA batteries cost about $5 for a pack of 4, but a 6V lantern battery costing $6-$7 can be broken to reveal 32 AA batteries packed inside! That's a saving of more than $30, or a discount of about 80%...

If Wall Street had been able to exercise such arbitrage, the Global Financial Crisis would have knocked us back to the Stone Age

Intrigued, I decided to check if this was true.

I bought one of those 6V batteries from Woolworths and subjected it to the same reverse-engineering exercise. 

Well, surprise!

It actually had four very non-standard cells inside which I can't really use anywhere else. A shame about the waste, but at least I gained a bit of knowledge for my $6.

Makes one feel a little silly, but anything in the cause of science ;-)

So I guess it all depends on the brand. Some manufacturers seem to use shortcuts that then expose them to the kind of arbitrage that the YouTube video suggests, and others don't.

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