Hugsies Blog!

October 29, 2013

D Cell Battery flipped on me, or have I flipped out?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Hugsie @ 11:05 pm

I have this old MAG flashlight that takes three D sized cell batteries. The flashlight started to flake out on me as if the bulb was about to burn out.  Hitting it a few times made the light work again but after several smacks it just stopped working. Thought it would be dead batteries but it wasn’t that long ago when i changed them out.

Later on when i had the time i decided to to fix it. MAG flashlights keep a spare bulb inside the base under the spring. I swapped it out and it still didn’t work. So then I assumed the batteries were dead even though it was less than a month since i had changed them out, and maybe used it less than a dozen times. So i pulled out my crappy old school Volt/Ohm meter which uses an meter with a needle; not a digital read out. It’s hard to get an exact reading on this old meter from a battery that can only give you 1.5volts, a new fully charged battery will barely move the needle even on it’s lowest setting.

Anyway i checked the 1st battery and it it had a charge. The 2nd battery made the needle move to the LEFT, instead of the normal right. The third battery was completely dead. I had to double check to see if i was putting RED on positive (the end with the nipple), and black on negative (the end that is flat) just as I’ve been doing all the other batteries, and yet the needle moved to the LEFT. WTF? Did this battery reverse it’s polarity?

This is a common everyday Duracell Alkaline D cell battery. It came in a pack of four I got at my local supermarket. How can a battery like this reverse polarity? I looked it up on the internet and saw that only wet cell batteries (like car batteries) could do this, but mostly done out of error by hooking up the charger backwards or something silly like that.

The really ironic thing, for me anyway, is for the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about how electricity flows. I’ve taken electronics classes back in high school and I’ve learned that electricity flows from negative to positive, even though you construct your circuits as if the flow is coming from positive side. since you often set ground to be on the negative side of your power source. Since electrons are negative them selves, it just works out backwards like that.

So after pondering this, after 20+ years since my high school electronics classes. I come across this article on the web about how electricity isn’t just about electrons, it’s also about protons that flow in the other direction. However for the most part, most metals used in electronics only allow the flow of electrons.  But this was still a bit of a mind blower. Then later the same day discover this little D cell Duracell battery has flipped polarity on me.

Has physics gone apeshit today? ..or am I finally breaking down and going nuts in the most nerdy geekiest of ways where I believe Ohms law seem to be a work of fiction.

[hour later]

I guess I’m not crazy after all, as this forum thread explains why a battery would reverse polarity.


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