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Batterylife Activator Reviewed 213

Posted by timothy
from the grandly-mocked dept.
Daniel Rutter writes "Slashdot chewed over the BatMax Battery Life Booster - a nanotechnomagical sticker that's meant to rejuvenate lithium ion batteries - a while ago. Now I've reviewed the strikingly similar Batterylife Activator, and subjected it to actual empirical testing, with automated datalogging and everything. The results confirmed my original suspicion -- that the local Batterylife branch made a serious error of judgement when they decided to send me their product."
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Batterylife Activator Reviewed

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  • Myself? (Score:4, Funny)

    by bryan986 (833912) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @01:59PM (#11991975) Homepage Journal
    If I put it on me will it help me get up in the morning?
  • Hmm.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by methangel (191461) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:03PM (#11992006)
    Why even waste time verifying if it's true? What's next, a test of whether penis enlargement pills work?
    • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by christopherfinke (608750) <chris@efinke.com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:10PM (#11992054) Homepage Journal
      What's next, a test of whether penis enlargement pills work?
      Already been done. [zug.com]
    • Re:Hmm.... (Score:3, Funny)

      by deglr6328 (150198)
      DUH the test was a waste of time and everyone here already knew it was BS, but people, have you SEEN the "cow taser" page linked [transbuddha.com] to from the review article?!! I think I just pissed myself from laughing so hard.
      • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by badasscat (563442) <[basscadet75] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @03:03PM (#11992372)
        DUH the test was a waste of time and everyone here already knew it was BS, but people, have you SEEN the "cow taser" page linked to from the review article?!! I think I just pissed myself from laughing so hard.

        Then it wasn't exactly a waste of time, was it?

        Part of the reason people read Dan's stuff [dansdata.com] (just in case anyone missed the main link to his site) is his entertaining writing style. I almost always learn something from his articles, even if it's got nothing to do with what the article's supposedly about. Dan is obviously fully in on the joke himself or he wouldn't even be linking to things like cow tasers in his articles. It's people like you - who think reviews have to be a "waste of time" simply because the products in question are such obvious bunk - who don't seem to quite get it.

        In a world where product reviews often offer little or not information at all, and where the strongest and most specific statement you might read is how one product or another is vaguely "generally good" [pcmag.com], writers like Dan are a refreshing change - he writes pieces that are always entertaining in and of themselves, often more informative than they need to be, and with plenty of useless but interesting trivia to keep you interested when the product in question is less than worthwhile. I only wish he'd review more stuff that I'm actually interested in buying (though I've become interested in buying a few things I would never have even known about but for his review).

        As for this particular review, I think it's worth reminding the Slashdot crowd of the dangers of pseudo-science every now and again - pseudo-scientific articles do occasionally slip through the editing process here, and are often accepted as fact.
        • Hi Dan! :)
    • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by jon787 (512497) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:29PM (#11992186) Homepage Journal
      Sean Connery (reading the categories): I've got to ask you about "The Penis Mightier".

      Alex Trebek: What? No. No, no, that is "The Pen is Mightier."

      Sean Connery: Gussy it up however you want, Trebek. What matters is does it work? Will it really mighty my penis, man?

      Alex Trebek: It's not a product, Mr. Connery.

      Sean Connery: Because I've ordered devices like that before - wasted a pretty penny, I don't mind telling you. And if The Penis Mightier works, I'll order a dozen.

      Alex Trebek: It's not a Penis Mightier, Mr. Connery. There's no such thing!

      Nicholas Cage: Wait, wait, wait...are you selling Penis Mightiers?

      Alex Trebek: No! No, I'm not.

      Sean Connery: Well, you're sitting on a gold mine, Trebek!
    • Well, such a product exists for Lead-acid car batteries. And it does actually work according to lots of people who have built them. It will actually desulfate dead lead-acid batteries that have been sulfated a while. The best part? Its free- the plans are out free on the internet you just have to buy parts and build the thing.

      Free plans doesn't necessarily mean that it definitely works, but if people say it does and the plans are free then it raises my confidence about it significantly since they have

    • Just because something is obvious bunk doesn't mean you shouldn't test it. Occasionally something is 'obvious bunk' but actually works. The rest of the time, the fact that the maker of the bunk can say that [i]they[/i] can prove it works, means you should probably get a counter argument. Sometimes you even learn something from it.

      And sometimes, like in this case, you just like to read the write-up.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    not on slashdot, they are just fraudsters and your local trading standards should be stopping these types of scam companies from operating in the first place and protect the consumer/citizen
    truth in advertising should be all they need to shut them down, all of the products are false and provably so
  • Yeesh. Can't we find something a bit more plausible to test than this? Something that any rational person might think would actually work?
  • by Gunsmithy (554829) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:03PM (#11992014) Homepage
    Does it function well as a sticker?
  • by tquinlan (868483) <tom&thomasquinlan,com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:06PM (#11992028) Homepage
    ...they actually did some testing instead of just assuming various things. I'd have to say that it's a step in the right direction, even if the outcome was largely going to be known beforehand.

    • by asavage (548758) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:59PM (#11992344)
      I agree of course the sticker is garbage, but his testing was quite poor. His four tests used 3 different charging times. The first two trials he did an overnight charge. The third test was the official charge time. The only test with the sticker was 2 hours longer than the official charge time. If you look at his test results [dansdata.com], The battery lasts longer with the sticker than a shorter charge but not as long as with a longer charge. He didn't really prove anything. Just that a shorter charge with the sticker isn't as good as a longer charge without the sticker.
      • by Daniel Rutter (126873) <dan@dansdata.com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @04:19PM (#11992809) Homepage
        > His four tests used 3 different charging times. The first two trials he did an overnight charge. The third test was the official charge time.

        You misunderstand how LiI batteries work. As you say, I did a run with the battery after it'd been sitting uncharged in my camera bag for N weeks, then I gave it an overnight charge before testing again, then I charged it again right after that run - which presumably accounted for its not-so-good third-run result.

        I gave the battery a decent chance to recover from its 10 cycles before doing the final, "Activatored", test, which is (again presumably) why it did reasonably well - in fact, just as well as you'd expect if the sticker were just, um, a sticker.

        The important point here is that overnight charging of a LiI battery should be no better than shorter "full" charging, because LiI chargers pump lots of current into the battery in constant current mode over a relatively short time, then tail off in constant voltage mode, then sit and do nothing - no trickle charge. It's plausible that a LiI charger will report a full charge before the constant voltage mode is quite complete, but that mode will _not_ take more than an hour or two. Any further benefit is solely due to giving the battery time to rest and cool down.

        • You can't make assumptions that it will be the same if you charge it overnight or for just the rated time.

          The time before the charge and the length of the charge were not consistant between the control tests and the test with the sticker. Therefore I don't think you can draw any conclusions.

          Also if anyone gets the wrong idea I am not trying to defend this product (I think it is BS), but I think it should be tested properly.

          • If he is correct, then this is the same as running a centrifuge for five minutes and then turning it off and letting it sit overnight versus setting it to turn off in five minutes and then leaving the lab for the night.

            Who cares if he turned off the charger after a certain time or if it automatically shut off after a certain time?

            --
            Evan "Note the 'if he is correct' part"

    • In most tests the outcome is largely believed beforehand. Most tests are to confirm or rule out theories. Very few tests are truly exploratory in nature, as the exploratory nature of such tests rules out a lot of controls that one should put on such things.

    • I read about filtering cheap vodka with cheap Brita water filters that should produce pretty decent tasting vodka. I put it to a test, invested about 15 euros for that and YES, it works. The first thing I read on teh intarweb to impress my friends. Feel free to use any filtration system you like, but I can assure you, cheap vodka is going to be quite okay. It's not going to be first quality, as it will certainly not gain any quality taste, but getting drunk with the resulting liquid lends a lot less headach
  • by Man in Spandex (775950) <prsn,kev&gmail,com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:06PM (#11992031)
    A thousand monkeys working on a thousand typewriters. At least they get their energy back unlike robotic monkeys running on batteries with those stickers.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:07PM (#11992032)
    It's worth it just for all the amusing links alone. The author liberally sprinkles links throughout his text, and it's not ads, it's some links to some odd, and often amusing websites. It's worth the read, even if you aren't interested in the actual test.
  • Li-ion hype? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grqb (410789) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:09PM (#11992047) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me that there's a lot of hype going on for Li-ion batteries. Remember the breakthrough that increased the power of existing Li-Ion [thewatt.com] batteries by three times and reduce the recharge times to a few minutes rather than hours and all this without compromising price? What happened to that?


    I guess in the age of high tech toys where batteries are the real limitations, every body's trying to get a one up on the battery front. I mean, can you have a super PDA that acts as a cell phone, GPS, mp3 player, movie player, connects to the internet etc etc? Sure, they can make it but the battery that powers it will only last for about 5 minutes.


    There's a big market for batteries and anything that can make them better but pretty much, I think their maxed out technology wise. Fuel cells are the next big hope for tech toys.

    • I mean, can you have a super PDA that acts as a cell phone, GPS, mp3 player, movie player, connects to the internet etc etc? Sure, they can make it but the battery that powers it will only last for about 5 minutes.

      Check out the i-mate PDA2K. With the exception of GPS it can do all of that, as long as you don't mind watching your movies at 320x240 and highly compressed. :) I'm using one to post this reply over a GPRS connection. And the battery life is quite respectable too. The downside is that it's certa
  • Good job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot AT monkelectric DOT com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:10PM (#11992064)
    Good job proving this. The real question is why aren't the governments in places where these are sold stomping these people to bits?

    Here in the US they just recently started looking into the "Enzyte" (penis growth stuff) people, I knew it was a scam 4 years ago when I saw the first commercial. I read the enzyte people have made 50 million dollars so far (and that was sometime last year). Would you goto jail for a couple years for 50 million dollars? I would.

    • by DragonHawk (21256) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:41PM (#11992241) Homepage Journal
      "The real question is why aren't the governments in places where these are sold stomping these people to bits?"

      Ya know, while I'm not one to worship at the altar of free market and deregulation and all that crap, I really have to wonder at this statement. If people are stupid enough to pay money for something like this, maybe they deserve to loose their money. It isn't like there's a big potential for collateral damage here. Stupid people get punished, smarter people make some money, and maybe with time people will start learning to think for themselves for a change.
      • The government is supposed to provide a fair and safe playing field for companies to do business on. If company A cheats to make a profit, then company B will have to to compete.

        Reminds me of when i was in college -- the flunk courses were graded on a curve. And there were these fuckers who were always cheating and I could never score half as well as they did. So i worked hard for C's and D's, while people who were cheating were getting easy A's and B's. Then I realized -- the people who were cheatin

        • That's a truly frightening story. Fortunatly, I haven't encountered that yet in school.

          As for the gov intervention thing, don't we have false advertising laws that would cover this?

        • "The government is supposed to provide a fair and safe playing field for companies to do business on."

          Where the hell did you get this from?? I've never heard of this before; did you think this up yourself? Is this some sort of an american tenet? I've never talked to anyone to my knowledge who feels that the government should do this before.
        • Reminds me of when i was in college -- the flunk courses were graded on a curve. And there were these fuckers who were always cheating and I could never score half as well as they did. So i worked hard for C's and D's, while people who were cheating were getting easy A's and B's. Then I realized -- the people who were cheating were *SETTING* the curve which I was being judged by. So I became a cheater to.

          Why didn't you just rat them out? Or where they the football players and the school didn't care?
      • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:58PM (#11992340)
        "Ya know, while I'm not one to worship at the altar of free market and deregulation and all that crap, I really have to wonder at this statement. If people are stupid enough to pay money for something like this, maybe they deserve to loose their money."
        I used to feel the same way. When you're dealing with something that is so obviously stupid and fraudulent it's very easy to say "if people are stupid enough to buy this crap then they deserve to get ripped off".

        But what if it was something that was fraudulent but not so obvious? Should there be a difference in how they are handled? Obvious or not, fraud is fraud. These guys shouldn't be cut any slack just becasue their fraud is a little more obvious.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Unless those "stupid people" are your parents and you suddenly find yourself having to house them because they "stupidly" invested their life savings in what turned out to be a scam. The world is a big place, you can't know everything and sometimes you too will make mistakes. Be careful what you wish for.
      • >Stupid people get punished, smarter people make some money, and maybe with time people will start learning to think for themselves for a change.

        Yeah, because that approach has been proved to work in the past. Wow, I never get spam anymore.

        First off, what is "obvious" to one person isnt obvious to another. We live in an age of technological miracles, so the idea that a magnet could affect your MPG or whatever isn't so crazy. Or that someone can create a cheap viagra substitute. Hell, I buy generic and
    • Would you goto jail for a couple years for 50 million dollars? I would.

      Surely the courts would sieze as much of a person's assets as possible in a situation like this? I don't know about the US, but here in the UK we are (apparently) very keen indeed on seizing a convicted criminal's ill-gotten gains. That is, commit fraud like this and get caught, and you can expect to lose the money and anything you bought with it.

      (I say apparently as I've never been through the process myself, so can't testify to it f
      • I don't know about the US

        In the US very frequently criminals are allowed to keep the proceeds of their crimes, more frequently if they are a company then an individual. A few years ago the music labels were convicted of price fixing and fined an order of magnitude less then they *MADE* from the scam. The message the government sends with toothless prosecutions is "don't get caught next time."

    • Good job proving this. The real question is why aren't the governments in places where these are sold stomping these people to bits?

      Good question. I can only guess for the same reason they don't bust ISPS who offer 'unlimited' internet access and then set limits on it, or the many other amazing and highly unlikely commercial claims made these days.

      I'd report the FTC for false advertising, but I'm sure they won't fine themselves either.

    • Here in the US they just recently started looking into the "Enzyte"

      Heh. Honestly, anyone should be able to see through such outrageous claims, but people assume since it's on TV it must have been through some sort of testing.

      TV is not GOD, nor is any other form of advertisement (read: Internet). Trust your senses.

      On the light side, Enzyte has a list of the countries least well-endowed men. :( Could this have the potential to be a coveted national DO NOT DATE list?

      Something to ponder.

      Inject.
    • Re:Good job (Score:3, Funny)

      by DickBreath (207180)
      I read the enzyte people have made 50 million dollars so far (and that was sometime last year). Would you goto jail for a couple years for 50 million dollars? I would.

      One question: will cellmates be taking Enzyte?
    • Re:Good job (Score:2, Insightful)

      Here in the US they just recently started looking into the "Enzyte" (penis growth stuff) people, I knew it was a scam 4 years ago when I saw the first commercial.

      Perhaps you're just not bothering to type out a long explanation, but it looks like you've fallen for one small part of the commercial. Technically, it's not a penis growth product. It's a "male enhancement" product. And that's part of why these people are so hard to nail to the wall.

      (Side note for those not in the know: "Smilin' Bob" is the s

      • Perhaps you're just not bothering to type out a long explanation, but it looks like you've fallen for one small part of the commercial.

        You're right. I was fooled by a commercial intentionally designed to be misleading :) Doesn't mean its still not false advertising. Our economic system is not supposed to work on the level of a 5 year old.

  • that the local Batterylife branch made a serious error of judgement when they decided +not+ to send me their product."

    This is, of course, giving the company the benefit of the doubt.
    It may have been a packaging problem. (not that I'm suggesting anything to their lawyers (ahem!)).

  • Cheap is best (Score:5, Informative)

    by HermanAB (661181) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:13PM (#11992082)
    Actual tests of batteries always show that the cheapest batteries are the best value for money, in terms of watt hours per dollar.
  • by syousef (465911) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:13PM (#11992086) Journal
    Praying to the he-God Nemod on the 3rd day after a new moon, and dancing for him the great triumphant nerd dance of Praytor which involves spinning around in a circle and yelling "hemannamannamanna" at the top of your lungs works much better to bring batteries back to life. Everyone knows that!!!!
    • Have you tried storing the batteries under a tantalum-wire scale model of the Great Pyramid ligned precisely 3 degrees off Magnetic North during the vernal equinox?

      If not, you better hurry, it's almost over.
  • by sachins (833763) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:16PM (#11992113)
    Well, he says that big institutions like Osaka University, NTT DoCoMo have certified this sticker. How could the BatteryLife people have managed to get this certification. Isnt someone smelling foul play or something? Cant they be sued over this?
  • by Quietas (545619) <culley&oddalaskan,com> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:24PM (#11992161)
    http://www.bit-tech.net/review/395
  • Flawed Results (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kevlar (13509) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:37PM (#11992225)

    I hate to say it, but he has flawed results that do not demonstrate that the sticker is a placebo.

    He used only one battery to do his test. He should have used two; one with the sticker and one without. By only using one battery, running 3 tests, then putting the sticker on and running a 4th test, he's introduced an additional variable into the equation. It could thereofre be argued that his graph (http://www.dansdata.com/images/batterylife/activa ted.gif [dansdata.com]) showed that the sticker IMPROVED the battery life (because it WAS an improvement over his 3rd test run).
    • Re:Flawed Results (Score:4, Informative)

      by rainwalker (174354) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:55PM (#11992321)
      Except that, if he used two batteries, then he can't compare the results of the batteries to each other. Using two different batteries, you are introducing a much larger amount of experimental error than serial tests of the same battery. Can you guarantee that the internal chemistries of two old batteries will cause them to perform in *exactly* the same manner? The differences he saw in the runs were very small, less than a standard deviation (at least it looks like it to me, I wish he'd done some statistical analysis).
      • 2 batteries is the bare minimum he could've used to demonstrate that the sticker is bullshit. If he had averaged his test over N batteries, then that would be statistical data. The data he's got now is nonsense.

        That in itself does mean that his data doesn't support the fact that the sticker is bullshit. He just didn't do the proper test on it.
    • Re:Flawed Results (Score:3, Informative)

      by asavage (548758)
      As I said in another comment, he didn't even hold the charge times constant. His test was completely useless. This review doesn't help show the sticker is useless.
    • he has flawed results...
      He used only one battery to do his test. He should have used two; one with the sticker and one without.


      How about X "control" batteries without the sticker.
      And X more batteries with Duct Tape as the sticker.
      And X more batteries with the BatteryLife Activator sticker.
      (Where X >= 2) No batteries from any group are re-used in any other group.

      Run multiple trials of all three sets of batteries.

      Then put your data into OpenOffice.org Calc spreadsheet, and generate various ch
  • by adeyadey (678765) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:40PM (#11992238) Journal
    Dont worry, I have invented a Homeopathic version of this device - thats right - based on the principle that the more dilute it is the stronger it is, you can place a single-atom sticker on your battery which will yeild UP TO 2000% improved battery life!!! It will extend the working life of your mobile phone by UP TO 1000 years!!!! Not only this, but your erectile function during intercourse will be improved by UP TO 700%!!!!

    Yes, just click on the Nigerian PayPal link below, and I will send you that miracle homeopathic atom!

  • I recall seeing something similiar in a Popular Science mag, back in the classifieds for a miracle efficiency improver that uses magnets to clean up the ethane and octane chains in your gas.

    Heh.

    When you have oceanfront property in Missouri to sell me, let me know.
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:46PM (#11992269) Homepage
    Some months back, I received a spam promoting the stock XLPI. Checking the web site for the company, "XcelPlus", which sells a "lubricant additive", I found this claim of FAA approval. [xcelplus.com] It even had the FAA seal, which they've since removed.

    I wrote to the FAA district office that covers Waco, Texas, asking if that endorsement was legitimate.

    A few weeks later, I received a call from an anti-terrorism investigator at the Defense Criminal Investigation Agency. Apparently, someone had looked at the claim of FAA approval and the claim of U.S. Army approval [xcelplus.com], and decided that this might be a case of selling unapproved aircraft lubricants to the Department of Defense. So the case was referred to the sabotage/anti-terrorism investigators.

    I'm not sure what happened then. But the spam has stopped, and XLPI is down from $0.50 to $0.04.

  • by jhylkema (545853) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:53PM (#11992309)
    Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the Activator doesn't work, how come so many people say that it does?

    It's very simple, really. Placebo effect [skepdic.com] and confirmation bias [skepdic.com]. These things drive all manner of quackery (naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.) and other pseudoscience. Confirmation bias is particularly powerful here as people don't want to admit they're stupid enough to have been duped into buying an overpriced sticker, even though they are.
  • Inconclusive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zebra_X (13249) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @02:57PM (#11992335)
    A great piece of writing, but there are a massive number of variables that he failed to control:

    1. Charging/Discharge period between inital tests and activator test were completely random.
    2. Only one battery was used.
    3. The setup was not similar to the conditions under which the activator would be used.
    4. The battery type was not similar to a cellphone.
    5. The device handling the charge and discharge of the battery was not a cellphone.

    I certainly don't think this product is any good but a more controlled test would have been better.

    Also, according to his test the activator gave a 3% boost to the battery. What is interesting is that it is 13 discharge cycles away from Run 1. The first three charge/discharge cycles clearly showed a dependency between # of cycles and battery life. To help clarify, it would have been nice if he kept the data from the intermediate 10 runs.

    Maybe it did do something? I find it hard to believe though.
    • Re:Inconclusive (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Random Data (538955)
      1. Charging/Discharge period between inital tests and activator test were completely random.

      With a smart charger that cuts all input once the battery is charged, that should have a negligible effect. Of the order of 1% total difference in run time, if any

      2. Only one battery was used.

      It's not conclusive evidence, but given the data failed to show any dramatic changes before/after the sticker was applied, I don't blame him for not repeating it with more batteries.

      3. The setup was not similar to

      • With a smart charger that cuts all input once the battery is charged, that should have a negligible effect. Of the order of 1% total difference in run time, if any

        Hmm how is one to qualify "should"? Do you know for a fact that this is the case? Can you prove it? Although, what I was speaking to was the time between test and run.

        Yes, there were replicable conditions and measuring equipment. Pity that Pons and Fleishman didn't have those either.

        Replicable conditions testing a dead camera batteries wit
        • Re:Inconclusive (Score:3, Informative)

          by Random Data (538955)
          Riight, nice over exaggeration. All this guy had to do was test the product with a cell phone. Is that so difficult? The product is clearly designed to work with a cell phone - he didn't even make an attempt to test it under it's normal working conditions.

          As explained in the article (you did read it, right?), there are serious variations in mobile phone power consumption, even on a phone that's sitting in one spot. They may average out. They may not.

          Power consumption into an identical load is a const

  • I like to tell electrical engineers that Ferrites on the data cable do jack squat. Always good for a laugh.
  • by mcbevin (450303) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @03:11PM (#11992422) Homepage
    The test by no means disproves this device. The tester chops the sticker up so he can use it with his smaller digital camera battery. Something that the manual apparently claims should work, but this is clearly not its intended use, and thus quite possibly not its optimum use either.

    He also fails to repeat the experiment at all or do a control experiment, and even the one test run he does isn't exactly thorough. Also, he does appear find some improvement when using the sticker, just not as much as the company claims, so I don't see how he thinks he has shown that it doesn't work at all (except through his scientific arguments with which he apparently convinced himself even before he did the test of the impossibility the thing could work).

    Most importantly - according to the company's website the device has been tested by TÜV and found to work! I'm MUCH more likely to believe the results of TÜV certification than some hobbyist's tests (TÜV is a government body which tests + approves almost everything in Germany - cars, buildings etc. People trust it to tell them if their car is fit to drive, so it is presumably capable of sufficiently thoroughly testing in determining whether some battery enhancer works as claimed.

    Of course, given the incredibility of the claims regarding the device, I'm still not neccessarily convinced. I'm just saying lets not discard the possibility that it might actually work to some degree so quickly.

    Instead of doing some quick hack-up test of the device, it would be much more useful if someone could start by looking at the TÜV and A-U-F tests (A-U-F is another independent body which allegedly found it to give a 31% increase in battery life to an old Nokia phone) and seeing whether they are for real, or whether there were any flaws in their method etc etc.
  • I actually first heard about the slashdot story about the magic sticker when I was reading one of Randi's weekly commentaries [randi.org] where one of the readers comments about certain Slashdotter's inability to seperate reality from fantasy. BTW, the sticker qualifies for the Million Dollar prize [randi.org] along with evidence of psychics, homeopathic medicine, or other bullshit.

    --
    Want a free iPod? [freeipods.com]
    Or try a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [freegamingsystems.com] (you only need 4 referrals)
    Wired article as proof [wired.com]
  • It is called MDQ55 (another dealer call it "Fuel Shock"), it is a magnetic tube you put in a specific place on the engine and you will save gas. It "works" by aligning particles before entering in the combustion chamber. You should save up to 30% of fuel. Here is a report (in Spanish) about this fraudulent stuff:
    mdq55 [geocities.com] (PDF). I wonder if it is only an Argentiean scam or it is worldwide.
  • When will you review it?
  • I know, even calling this thing "pathological science" is elevating it over its true status (plain old fraud). I think that a) it is time for Slashdot to create a new category called "pathological science" where people who care about such things can discuss them and laugh at them and b) everyone should read this classic paper about pathological science [princeton.edu]. Pathological science has quite a few recurring themes and hallmarks which would should all be aware of, and when we see them, we should be extra-skeptical
  • ... where can I get me some of those Science Nails?

    I am still waiting for a call back from NASA's purchasing department.

  • Sticky Bit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @03:55PM (#11992661) Homepage Journal
    As I've documented before, I tested one of those cellphone antenna booster stickers. I found that it did indeed boost my signal enough to keep calls connected at nearly-zero signal strength, while its removal immediately left the phone unable to connect - nearly every time, for months. I don't believe the sticker boosts the battery - and will not believe it, until credible double-blind tests are performed. But I wonder: if this sticker also "boosts signal" (reduces noise, I expect), won't that drain the battery less? Which would look like battery boost. Maybe they've taken their flimsy product advantage (actually worth $10 for tipping me over to useable calls in my RF noisy apartment) to the wall, with more and more unsupportable claims, with a grain of salt. If it keeps phonesex calls "up" longer, can they also claim "penis enlargement"?
    • It's possible it slightly extends the range of the aerial by simply by having metal parts to it - this will reduce the power needed to reach the cell and thereby extend battery life (although probably only in the countryside - cities are well covered anyway).

      OTOH it could just be complete bullshit.
    • Re:Sticky Bit (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ltbarcly (398259)
      And sometimes on old tv's you have to make someone sit next to it to get reception.

      The other side of this is that if you rotate the phone 180 degrees it will get worse. At best this is shielding your phone from noise from other more distant towers or other phones/other sources of noise, thus making the antenna more directional.

      To completely shield your phone from noise wrap it completely in aluminum foil and put it in the microwave. (Microwave optional)
  • by Slashcrap (869349) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @03:57PM (#11992673)
    Bit of revisionism going on here isn't there?

    Slashdot didn't "chew over" the original story. Slashdot simply re-posted the company's bullshit press release in it's entirity.

    Was the story posted in the funny section? No.
    Was there any comment from the editor regarding the product's obvious scam factor? No.
    Was there an update to the story to say, "Whoops! We got suckered! Sorry." No.

    So you see Slashdot didn't chew it over - Slashdot swallowed it whole.
  • by ltbarcly (398259) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @05:20PM (#11993268)
    Of course the sticker works, when used as directed. Then again, if you power cycle a lithium ion battery 5 times it will work the same as if you power cycle it 5 times with the sticker.

    You see, the instructions quoted in the article tell you to fully charge and discharge the battery like 4 times.

    Here is why:

    If you discharge a lithium ion battery completely to 0 it could explode when you charge it. So there is a meter in the battery (usually) or on the logic board of the phone (not usually) that prevents total discharge. That is, at a pre-defined level of discharge, it turns the phone off. Now, the meter can get out of callibration. When you fully discharge and recharge the phone it can put the battery meter back into calibration, and doing it repeatedly will fix it better.

    So you see, you might get up to about 30% more battery life, because the meter is out of whack and is cutting off your phone when there is still plenty of charge.

    Basically they are selling you the instructions to fix your battery, plus a sticker that does nothing.

    Computer batteries are the same way.

    Disclaimer: Fully discharging Lithium batteries is bad for them. They do not develop memory like other battery types. However, when the meter is out of calibration it pays to do this a few times, just don't over do it, since you only get between 500 and 1000 full use cycles out of the batteries regardless of what you do.

  • Dan always has great stuff, I check it regularly.
  • by idlake (850372) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:44PM (#11994084)
    While I'm fully convinced that the Battery Life Activator is nonsense, the experiments trying to prove that it is are as poorly done as those trying to prove that it works. Grabbing a random battery out of a photo bag and cycling it a few times with and without the sticker isn't a good experimental test.
  • Is this some sort of new fad? Magical stickers? They are marketed for cell phone range [buycellfones.com] and lowering emissions [oceancitynetwork.com] (Only $299!?, no wonder they want you to think about THC, you have to be smoking it to buy this!) Aren't there laws against making false claims in advertisements?

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