July 6, 2010 AT 10:11 am

Insert Batteries Any Way You Like

from Wired:

Microsoft has come up with an amazingly obvious tweak to battery tech that should save us some headaches, as well as several trillion hours of head-scratching and peering into dark holes.

Named Instaload, the invention lets you stuff the batteries into a device any which-way you fancy, eliminating the need to read dark directional diagrams. The most impressive part is the low-tech way this is handled. Each contact in the battery compartment has both positive and negative terminals. If the fat, flat end of the battery is pressing against them, it touches the outside contact. If it is the pointy positive end then it makes contact with a slightly recessed inner contact. This, combined with some simple circuitry, makes sure the current is always running the right way.

You might be surprised that this particular company produced this incredibly simple solution to a common problem. And then you read about the complex legal restrictions, and you’re not so surprised anymore.


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4 Comments

  1. Dave Jones had a good rant about these…
    http://www.eevblog.com/2010/07/05/eevblog-98-microsoft-instaload-battery-technology-patent-busting-time/

  2. How are they handing batteries with a large area around the top terminal.

    In dealing with batteries I have found a massive difference in the height of the top terminal with some being so low that they didnt contact in several devices. If the shoulder of those cells hits the negative part of the terminal, is there any protection to stop it shorting and going all meltey?

  3. What about vertical insertions, like with my remote, where I have back to back batteries? Can I insert them them in any order?

  4. I appreciate the inventive spirit … but this is an invitation to idiocracy … how hard can it be to match + to + … wtf people?

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