Batteries are useful, but have a few issues. They can only carry so much load; charging takes time if it’s even an option; there are many different types and you have to insert them in a certain way. Microsoft solved that last problem, but you can’t have the solution.
The solution is annoyingly simple, to the point where it’s hard to believe someone didn’t think of it first. And if anyone else had thought of it, the days of scrambling around in the dark to replace the now-depleted batteries in your emergency flashlight would be over.
So let’s see how Microsoft solved one of the biggest battery problems and why you can only look and not touch.
Why you should place batteries a certain way
Batteries have to be placed a certain way because of the way electrical circuits work in the first place. Small appliances use “direct current” (DC), where the flow of electricity is constant and unidirectional. There are multiple reasons why small appliances are stuck on DC power and can’t use the AC power from the grid – and one of those reasons has to do with the battery.
Batteries cannot “store” AC power; they only work in a DC configuration. Since small appliances rely on batteries, it makes sense to run them on DC power. It would also be expensive and pointless to have them convert the DC output of the batteries to AC power. Even if someone designed an AC battery, there are other issues that get in the way, such as components that need a DC charge to work; LEDs are an example of this, some of the power would be lost and there would be multiple problems during the design process. We’re stuck with DC.
And if you’re stuck with DC, your batteries should be pointing a certain way, a positive terminal on one side and a negative on the other is the most common solution. Some batteries, such as the 9 volt, have both terminals on the same end, but still need to be connected a certain way so that their charge flows in the correct direction.
“InstaLoad” solved this in a very easy way
Microsoft’s “InstaLoad” has found a way to plug in the right terminals and let the charge flow the way you want, no matter how you place the battery. The solution is to modify a battery compartment so that each end has a positive and negative contact. The distance between these contacts determines whether the “positive” or “negative” part of the battery is connected.
Looking at a battery, a flat end acts as a negative terminal and one end with a “spike” as the positive terminal. It’s this form that makes InstaLoad work. Both sides of an InstaLoad connector look the same. The flat negative terminal connects to a flat C-shaped contact, while another contact designed to connect to the projecting positive terminal is positioned further back. Each point of the battery can only be connected to the correct terminal. The positive and negative terminals in the compartment are wired so that they all work together correctly.
The device that InstaLoad uses still has one positive and negative contact and uses DC power. But whichever way you place the battery, it plugs into the correct port and your power will flow the way you want it to.
Microsoft claims that this technology works with all common types of replaceable batteries, including CR123, AA, AAA, C or D batteries. The InstaLoad system also works with rechargeable batteries.
You probably won’t get a battery like this anytime soon
This article is not news. Microsoft patented the InstaLoad system way back in 2010. Many people have never heard of it except for the past 12 years to put InstaLoad batteries in our small devices.
While we can’t be sure, time and money may have caused InstaLoad’s adoption issues. Microsoft launched InstaLoad with a logo program and licensing fees, which is something many companies do when releasing a piece of advanced technology. The process involves signing a nondisclosure agreement, learning more about InstaLoad, designing a prototype with an InstaLoad battery system in it, and paying Microsoft a fee. All more expensive and complex than just designing something with a standard battery port.
Microsoft’s breakthrough may have come too late
Modern devices do not necessarily use disposable batteries. Internal rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and USB charging ports are common, even on portable radios and flashlights. A few years ago, AA or AAA batteries would have powered these devices. Even TV remotes today come with internal rechargeable batteries.
The devices that still use disposable batteries instead of an internal rechargeable battery may be at the lower end of the price scale. For example, a radio with AAA batteries costs about half the price of the $18 model I linked earlier. Traditional battery compartments use a simple system that is inexpensive and easy to implement. Not only will adding Microsoft’s InstaLoad system increase the manufacturing cost of the cheap radio or flashlight, but it could also drive up manufacturing costs and design complexity to a point where they might as well charge an internal battery. select.
There may still be hope for InstaLoad, but that hope is small
If Microsoft relaxed the rules and fees, InstaLoad could finally take off. The system has an advantage over a standard battery compartment, but exists at a time when other, even more convenient options are available. Add as
On the one hand, Microsoft may not have much more to gain than the fame that comes with the appearance of your logo on some cheap devices. On the other hand, InstaLoad’s patent has been shelved for over ten years, so they don’t lose anything by making it open source.
There may be other issues; Even Microsoft doesn’t use it
It’s been almost silent on InstaLoad for over a decade now, so it’s hard to discern exactly why the system didn’t take off. One potentially telling comment is that Microsoft doesn’t even use it.
Microsoft owns the patent and can use the system freely. Microsoft developed it and should know its applications inside out. They designed InstaLoad to be a simple solution, so it shouldn’t add much cost to a device other than the license fee.
Several Microsoft devices, including Xbox controllers and computer mice, can also use disposable batteries. So there are many areas where Microsoft could have implemented its own groundbreaking technology. If Microsoft, who owns the concept and all of their resources, won’t use the InstaLoad system, why should anyone else?