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[03-29-17] The WGAN Morning News


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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

Airing date: 03/29/2017

Is Samsung’s New S8 Phone Going to Have Battery Problems?


Craig Peterson: This morning in WGAN I was heard throughout the state of Maine with Ken and Matt. And of course we talked about batteries because they were interested in them too and I keep teasing Ken about his Tesla which, of course, he doesn’t have. But he does park cars for a living sometime. I guess that what happens when you’re a lawyer. And we do answer a couple more questions when it does come to your batteries including the new announcement today from Samsung. So here we go.

Matt Gagnon: We are pleased to be joined now by Craig Peterson who joins us every Wednesday at this time. Craig, how are you?

Craig: Good morning. Doing really well thanks.

Ken Altshuler: So Craig, should I charge my phone every half hour or so?

Craig: Well, yeah. What you should do really Ken is about every 5 minutes you plug it in and unplug it.

Ken: Well there you go.

Craig: That’s the most efficient way. Well you and I Ken, we’re both old enough to remember the days of the batteries that develop memories. Remember those?

Ken: Yeah.

Craig: Nickel cadmium, NiCads and NiMHs and all of these. And so because of that, a lot of people had misconceptions, right? Because it used to be you would charge your batteries all the way up and you run it all the way down. So you wouldn’t develop memory. So if you’re charging your phone every hour you would just destroy the battery in no time, right?

Ken: Right.

Craig: Is that kind of where the question is coming from?

Ken: Yeah.

Craig: I remember that. That was the rule.

Ken: Well I literally, every night, I put the charger on. Sometimes I use 50%, sometimes 90%, sometimes 10%. But so, is there anything wrong with me just charging it every night?

Craig: No. These are new batteries. And I want to talk about the next generation of batteries that’s probably going to come out. These lithium-ion batteries and their variance, those batteries are completely different from all the other batteries we’ve ever had. And these batteries are in your laptop, it’s in your smartphones, it’s in well, Ken, it’s in your Tesla. Your car. You know, they’re all over the place now. And they’re designed to be charged whenever you want to charge them for as long as you want to charge them. You know you do want to use them every once in a while. But they have absolutely no memory effect at all. Which is really, really good. And they have about a thousand charging cycles. Now, don’t think of it like the old batteries again. Because in the old days, you know, every time you plug it into power, that was considered a cycle. Nowadays, it’s a lot different because a cycle is a 100% discharge, and a 100% charge. Let me explain that a little bit here. So you mentioned, I think Matt, you said like sometimes that you’re down 10% right?

Matt: Oh yeah.

Craig: Sometimes you’re down 50, 90%, etcetera. So if you had a 10% day where you discharged at 10% and you plugged it in at night and you got that 10% back. And then the next day you did 90%, you used 90%, you add those together. And that equals 100% and that is 1 cycle. So if every day you’re down about 25%, for instance, after 4 days, that’s 1 full cycle. Because 25% one day, 25 the next, etcetera. 4x is a hundred percent, right? So, you get a thousand of those cycles. So that means if you’re using 25% of your battery a day, that’s 4,000 days that your battery is good for. So these batteries are way, way different. So charging your phone overnight is fine. You can charge your battery all the way up if you want and let it drain all the way down. There’s no problem with doing that. if you only want to charge your phone every 3 days because that’s all you need, that’s fine. You can use your phones nowadays while they’re charging. They’ve got smart charging circuits. In the old days you couldn’t use it at all because it will get confused about the power consumption because you’re using it and you’re charging it. Oh no. Obviously, there’s problems with using your phone with cheap chargers. Be careful with those. A lady in Australia a couple of years ago that died because she was using her phone in the bathtub, which is probably not the best idea to begin with.

Matt: Generally speaking, yeah. Not wise.

Craig: Yeah, not wise. And this cheap charger just ended up electrocuting here. And she died. So, you know. But the other problem is catching fire. We know for instance, Samsung today is going to release their latest phone. We know they’ve had some real problems with batteries in some of their phones.

Matt: You’re killing my segue Craig. I was going to say, speaking of batteries, exploding batteries.

Craig: Exactly.

Matt: I was going to ask you about the new release from Samsung.

Craig: Well everyone has had a problem with batteries, right? Everyone. Even Apple iPhones have had some problems. So, let’s talk about the batteries. Samsung’s problem with the Galaxy Tab…

Matt: The Note. It was the Note.

Craig: The Note 7, was that they were trying to beat Apple to market. So Apple’s coming out with the iPhone 7 and they want to get their Note 7 out before Apple got their new phone out and so they rushed, rushed, rushed. There were some problems with the manufacturing of the batteries. And here’s what happens. If the batteries don’t have space to expand, this type of battery, they develop little, you know stalactites and stalagmites, you know, that you see in caves?

Matt: Uh huh.

Craig: They develop these little things inside that looks like stalactites that are hanging down that short out the battery internally because the battery is not made particularly well. So that’s the problem with lithium-ion batteries and you can deal with that in a few different ways. So Samsung has really pulled up their socks and the new phone should be fine. But I got to tell you about this guy. His name, he’s a professor. In fact, he’s head of the Department of Science and Technology in the University of Texas. His name is Goodenough. Professor Goodenough. And he’s the guy that invented the technology behind lithium batteries. And he’s 94 years old and he just came up with a follow-on battery, to the lithium-ion. The guy is brilliant. He’s a genius. And at 94 years old, the new battery, guys, holds 3x to 5x the charge, at least. Ok, there’s some estimates that might be 30x as much charge as the current lithium-ion batteries. And so think of that with your phones. So you can charge it once a week or once every 2 weeks. It will not catch on fire. It will not overheat. It’s using a completely different technology. It’s using glass, which is usually an insulator. So it’s the lithium glass battery. And it also, by the way, charges up in minutes instead of hours or even longer. So again, think of Ken’s Tesla. Ken’s Tesla right now is good for maybe 300 miles on a charge. But with these new batteries, you could drive all the way from Portland to Washington, DC on one charge. And the plug it in to a normal outlet when you’re at your destination and take off the next morning and drive another 10, 12 hours with no problem, ok? So battery technology is changing in some big ways. This is going to be fantastic for all of us.

Matt: We’re talking to Craig Peterson, our tech guru. Joins us every Wednesday at this time. Craig, we got about a minute left so short answer for you on this one. Did we made allusions to that new Samsung Galaxy S8, and I suppose they’re going to have a Note 8 as well coming out. Do you think that the damage from their previous battery problems enough to kill them or to recover from this?

Craig: Well, the big problem that they have is a lot of people have left them, right? So their phone’s bad. They don’t want to deal with this anymore, thank you very much. So they would have gone to another vendor. And Apple definitely picked up a little bit of market share from that whole thing. So, bottom line yes. Samsung is definitely hurt by that whole battery scandal. I did not like the way they responded and a lot of people didn’t like it either. They denied, denied and then they said ok. And then the battery manufacturer seemed to have the biggest problem for their last phone was themselves. It was another Samsung division. So they’ve got some internal problems they got to fix and I don’t know that they fixed them all frankly.

Matt: Alright, Craig Peterson.

Ken: Thanks Craig.

Matt: Our tech guru. Thanks a lot for joining us. We’ll talk to you again next week.

Craig: Gentlemen, take care. Bye-bye.

Ken: Thanks.

Matt: Thank you.

Show Notes

Joined Ken and Matt for another Wednesday of tech updates. We talked about why the new Samsung S8 will have battery issues, including some myths of battery charging.

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