Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dollar store fun

I love green crystal, green glass, green gems and jade. It's inescapable - I love the stuff. I don't want to fill my tumbledown hovel with it though. For one, I'd have to clean it and for another, it'd be another thing that the black widows, cockroaches and brown recluses could hide in and behind - I have enough of an issue dealing with the influx now.

A few days ago, I broke down and bought a rather nice-looking solar bottle from Dollar General. It was my little $4 luxury since I so rarely buy anything fun for myself. Look at the picture below. Isn't it cute? I was so excited to get it home. I had visions of being able to take photos of it and with it in the picture.

By now, you've probably realized that it was ultimately a crushing disappointment. It didnt work. Well, it did - kinda. I sat it under a lamp at m'lady's house and then after a couple of hours, turned the light out. A light came on in the base of the unit, shining a cold greenish-blue light upwards into the neck of the bottle. It stayed lit for a few seconds then faded to nothing.

Undeterred, I took the bottle to my home and left it in full sun all day. In the evening, I tried it and it did exactly the same thing. Puzzled, I upturned it and looked underneath. There were 4 screws and an apparent battery door. Now it's not unusual for these solar things from China to come with bad batteries. Indeed I'd say it's pretty well standard for them to have non-functioning NiCad batteries that have to be thrown away.

Inside was a tiny battery. Reading that it said 2/3AA, I hunted online. The AA Duracell is shown for comparison. It seems some lunatics have developed not only a half AA sized battery but also a two-thirds AA sized battery. Incredible! Why anybody would want to reinvent the wheel is beyond me. Needless to say, the 2/3AA cell holds just 150mAh. A standard red LED will draw 20mA. A white LED being less efficient will draw 25mA. This means that in theoretical Heaven, the longest the LED would remain alight would be 6 hours. In the real world it should be 3 hours or slightly less. Thank Heavens it's just a fun curio rather than serious illumination!

Weighing the battery in my hand proved it was way too light to be well made. It was a cheap battery with a plastic shell - the kind of battery that has to be removed every night and placed in a glass tray in case of leaks. Clearly the battery wasn't up to much. Looking online, replacements are available but only in NiCad and for an exorbitant $10 for 4. Given the lamp needs only 1 and only cost $4, that's a bit rich!

Though I really like my bottle lamp and would love to have taken photos of and with it, it is destined to go back to Dollar General. I'll re-invest my $4 in something more practical. Shame on me for buying something fun!

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