Two sets of AA batteries suddenly drained

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by mshuggys, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. mshuggys

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 9, 2006
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    This seemed odd to me. My spouse and I operate our internet business from home. We both have a wireless mouse we use with our laptops.

    My mouse is a Microsoft mouse that takes two AA batteries. It is very good on batteries, lasting about a year. This is very good, considering I use the mouse about 10 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. My batteries are about one month old, and they are duracell.

    My spouse has an IBM mouse, and he goes through AA batteries like crazy, in spite of the fact that he uses the mouse much less than I do. His batteries were about two weeks old, from a different pack, purchased from a different store, in a different state.

    Yesterday, suddenly, at the exact same moment, both mice suddenly died. I am not talking within minutes of each other, I am talking the exact same second. Now, I found that so odd, that I tried both sets of batteries in remote controls for the TV and VCR and sure enough, they were both so dead there was no power at all. While this could be coincidence, I find it highly unlikely, knowing the performance track record of both mice and their battery drain.

    What could have caused this suddenly loss of power in both these sets of batteries, at the same time? As a note, there were no electrical problems at this time. The radio, television, and lights were still working. Perhaps some sort of force that affected the batteries but not electricity?

    Thanks for your help in solving this mystery.
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    Hi,

    Rent the movie "Batteries Not Included". It's as good an explanation as any.

    As for the one mouse that goes through batteries fast, it probably has a problem that causes it to transmit continuously, rather than as it is moved. Replacing the mouse will cure that.
     
  3. mshuggys

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 9, 2006
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    0
    Seriously, please.

    I am thinking it was a sudden increase in EMI. I am just wondering what might have caused the sudden, strong increase in EMI.

    It seemed to me it was directional. There was a remote control for the television, about 36 inches away from nearest mouse. It was unaffected. Had it been a wider EMI, that remote control would have been affected as well.

    So, I am wondering, what (as in product type) would have possibly have a high power, narrow, directional EMI field, if the products was working properly, or perhaps improperly?

    Could it be a narrow, directional beam of a very low frequency signal, that passed through the two mice, which did have a line of site path to each other, 30 inches apart? If so, what products would have that capability?

    I am trying to narrow this down, and have run a list of hundreds of products, and came up empty handed. Certainly, there is nothing here that would do it. It would have to be on the other side of an adjoining wall or nearby. We do have a window that is directly across from the two mice, and there is line of site to dozens of buildings, and thousands of suites. We are in an oceanfront resort at this time, traveling across the U.S.

    By the way, I have been a ham radio operator for many years, and work with projects continually, and have for over 40 years. So, I do have some experience on this topic. I may be female, but I am not a total idiot. I am looking for a serious discussion of the possibilities.

    He likes his mouse, there is no changing it. It is not the concern here.
     
  4. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    Hi,

    Seriously, EMI is about the last thing I would suspect. Batteries need a conduction path to discharge through. That much ionizing radiation would have caused very visible effects in the room. The tv's crt and any lamps would have lit up very brightly, for instance. You and a number of other people would be dead. Anything metal in the path would have either welded or melted down. Shorting even a small battery with a copper conductor takes minutes to completely drain it. They get very hot, too. You use two 9 volt batteries shorted together to make a hasty IR ranging mark for artillery. They stay hot for about 20 minutes.

    Electronics has elements of the unexplainable in it. I've seen a copper lug the size of a tire lug vaporized away with no trace inside a closed computer case. Out of thousands of PN junctions in a computer, I've seen almost 25% blown, with no evident cause. Both these occurences took place inside a radiation-hardened and grounded steel case(two different computers, thousands of miles and years apart).

    Wanna get paranoid? I've got UAV's running loose out here in the country. They are very quiet and very low and way too close for comfort. I get to be a practice gunnery target for A-10's, too.
     
  5. mshuggys

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 9, 2006
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    0
    Well, I don't know what caused it. It just seemed odd to me, and I wondered what the logical explaination was for it. It was like another event.

    About six years ago I felt the need to vacumn the carpet about 10pm one night. I was putting up Halloween decorations, had made a mess, and was cleaning it up.
    As I was plugging in the vacumn cleaner the wall outlet arched, and sparks flew, as I had difficulty getting the plug in the outlet. It was an old home, and the outlet was loose in the wall, wiggling around, as I tried to plug in the vacumn cleaner. (later I replaced the outlet) I pulled away the plug, looked at it, checked it to see the plugs were not bent, looked at my daughter and went to try again. She screamed at me, "No Mom, you are going to make a fire!". Not swayed by this comment, I tried to place the plug in the outlet again, again, there was difficulty getting it in the outlet, it arched again, and the lights in the house all went out at that very moment. The outlet was charred.

    We lived in a very rural community, on a very rural road. The house was so dark I coudn't see my hand in front of my face. I reached out for my daughter, took her by the hand, and went for a candle and match, I knew was nearby, lit it, and went to the breaker box. There, I checked all the breakers, and none were tripped. But, I have seen breakers tripped and not be really noticeable, so I flipped all the switches and flipped them back and nothing happened. So, I fipped the two main breakers and flipped them back, and nothing happened. Finding that odd, I took my daugther with me back to the livingroom, and opened the front door, to try to get some light into the room, from the secuity light pole near the center of my driveway

    The streets lights were out as well. Since I had no neighbors, I couldn't tell if anyone else was out of power, or not. So, I exclaimed, that all the lights were out. My daugther, in awe, says, "Now you've done it, mom.", thinking that my fussing with the outlet had made all the lights go out in the area. That is crazy, of course, and I told her as much. Yet, I had no explaination for how that happened. So, thinking I had a problem at the pole, perhaps a transformer, though I never heard the transformer blow, I called the electric company and asked them to come out. They refused.

    It seemed the power was out in the entire county. Later, in the newspaper, I read the substation, five miles from my home, that brought power to the county, from a nearby county, had suddenly gone down.

    Was it coincidence, that at the exact second sparks flew in my outlet, the substation went down? How could what I did affect an entire county, by shutting down the substation? Why did the breaker, main breaker, or pole transformer not blow instead? This made no sense to me, knowing what I know about electricity.

    My daugther believes that I made the lights go out for 10,000 residents that night. Still, I wonder because it was one of those coincidences, where things happen at the exact same second, that really make the odds of things happening at the same second, and not being related, very remote.

    Coincidence? Probably, but I still search for answers, in both cases. It is not that I think the it is spooky, just that I like to get answers for questions, to know things, to know how things work, and see effects of causes, when the causes are finally discovered.
     
  6. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    5,072
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    One of the basic principles of logic is that correlation does not imply causation.

    I pulled on my miscievious uncle's finger once, as a child. Did I really cause his flatulance? I'm told that this is a repeatable phenomenon - unlike batteries or power outages.
     
  7. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
    4,670
    804

    I have one explanation of this: what about opposite cause and effect direction? I think it must have been overvoltage in power lines, causing HV arcs in the outlet and then shutting down, breaking fuses, destroying, or whatever it did to the trasformer.
     
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