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Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Roboraptor and Rechargeable Batteries

If you play with your a lot, or any other robot, you may be thinking about using rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries can save you a lot of money over the long haul, but they are a lot more expensive and you will also have to buy a charger.

The downside to rechargeables is that they frequently put out less power than non-rechargeables. Also, they weigh less. Normally weighing less would be a good thing for a robot, since moving less weight requires less energy, but the Roboraptor, especially on carpet, can have stability problems when doing certain maneuvers; especially maneuvers like the lunge and snap movement which causes my Roboraptor to fall on his face on carpet (not on hardwood or linoleum floors).

Unfortunately there is no rule of thumb here except a "use test". If you really do chew through a lot of batteries frequently, try some quality rechargeable batteries. However, if your Roboraptor falls down a lot more, or can't walk very fast or properly, you need to try a test with some high quality non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. Otherwise you may think you have a damaged Roboraptor when it's really the batteries at fault.

Also, be aware that some rechargeable batteries have what's known as a memory effect. A battery that must be fully discharged before it can be properly recharged, is known to have the memory effect. If you don't fully drain the battery before attempting to recharge it, it won't recharge to it's full capacity resulting in poor performance after recharging, and shorter use times. Read the batteries instructions carefully or contact the manufacturer to make sure. If they do have a "memory effect", you'll need to run your Roboraptor until he litterally won't move anymore, before recharging the batteries. If they don't have a memory effect, then you can just recharge them whenever you want.

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