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Why arent DAPs using AAA or AA batteries?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Just curious.

 

Since an era of cassette players & discmans passed on using such batteries, why aren't DAPs adapting to it?

post #2 of 10

If you have one such player, try taking it apart. Measure the dimensions of the cage, then weight that cage with the batteries. Next, see how much total voltage the batteries make.

After all that, look at a modern smartphone battery, measure and make all comparisons for the specs cited above.

post #3 of 10
Using AA & AAA rechargeble batteries is a slightly rough solution for DAPs today. There probably isn't much demand for replaceable batteries from the masses. Enthusiasts just prise open the players when the battery has had enough. Very few DAPs would really benefit from the durability benefits as there is always a new interface or display or bigger storage or higher resolution files that a ten year old player will miss. Some sealed in batteries are also very durable and will last with reasonable care. The obsession with thinness goes against circular section batteries. My Samsung YH-999 has a (non replaceable) type 18650 circular section battery that has shown very low deterioration after 7 years.
post #4 of 10

Another consideration - while some portable amps use 9v batteries, even those moved to non-disposable chassis type batteries (NiMH, Li-Ion, etc). That means even if you still had, say, a CMOY or a D4, the DAP manufacturer would still have to package a charger, which nowadays is your typical 5v 500mAh USB charger. Not only will that increase costs for the manufacturer or the consumer (unless you're a photographer, in which case surely you have some way of charging your Eneloops, and maybe it has provision for 9v batteries), but that's another (possibly large) in your bag. When I travel nowadays I just have one Belkin charger for my iPad and Android phone, and if I bring my laptop, I might leave the charger behind since my laptop can charge through USB while switched off (some aftermarket laptop power supplies also have a USB port). If I bring a Fiio X3 with me it will share whatever charger I have since it also charges through USB.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the clarification.

 

I just thought how slimmer & smaller CD players & walkmans were getting, although we had to put hardware (cassettes & cd) into it. Now that we dont need them, music can be stored digitally (HDD, SSD, usb flash drives etc etc) which is so much smaller.

post #6 of 10
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by AUDIOBREEDER View Post

Thanks for the clarification.

 

I just thought how slimmer & smaller CD players & walkmans were getting, although we had to put hardware (cassettes & cd) into it. Now that we dont need them, music can be stored digitally (HDD, SSD, usb flash drives etc etc) which is so much smaller.

 

Yes but the demands of the wider market also demands that the entire package be smaller, so it's not a simple case of taking the components of a Discman, replacing the transport with flash memory, then rearranging the components and circuit board into a shape that isn't made for a CD. Also, all the moving parts? Look at how well made the iPod is compared to, say, the Zen player of the iPod up to 4G era. Even with that kind of battery in it, not only was the Zen larger because it has to have that cage to accommodate the contacts on it, but while I can swap out the batteries, at some point it was coming loose and so was the battery cover. The iPod basically says you just wear out the same battery, then you or some guy will just take 10mins (plus travel/shipping time to the shop) to open it, desolder the old battery, and solder in a new one.

 

Even "audiophile" players can't just use those Energizer batteries. As much as an HM801 isn't pocketable, if you take it apart, what makes it large are all the other components inside it - putting in a cage to accommodate a 9v isn't that simple. I mean, I can take out the 4xAA battery cage on my camera's speedlight, and I know I don't want that in a music player (then again I'm not the sort to walk around with a 9V CMOY strapped to my player either). I don't even want to have extra batteries that would take EIGHT hours to charge in a huge, dedicated charger - unless I buy a fast charger with a monitor on it, which again is added cost. Heck even that has parts that can come lose over time, including the door on the removable amp module. Chances are given equal number of years in use a DX100 over time will retain its solid feel compared to that.

 

Still, there is a case where new media storage formats have resulted in players smaller than CDs while retaining quality playback.

 



 

 

 

Unfortunately, those don't use batteries, except for this one...and it doesn't use disposables either:

post #8 of 10
I think the original question is redundant. I have three personal audio players: Sansa Clip+, iRiver H140 and iRiver H340. The H140 is the oldest (2003 I think) and does require a mains charger. The Clip+ and H340 can charge via USB. The H340 was even supplied as standard with an external battery pack to supplement its internal Li-Polymer battery. The external pack runs/charges the player via the power jack, not the USB. You can see the external pack clamped on the back of my H340 here:

It takes 4 AA cells. It's big and is clumsy to use because you can no longer use a case with belt clip, but it does give more than 50 hours use from one charge and one set of 4 AA Duracells.

My two and a half year old Clip+ lasts maybe 10 or 11 hours in real use. I can extend that at least twice (or charge the battery twice) by using this extremely cheap and small external battery pack which uses 2 AA batteries and connects via USB:



In practice with the iRivers I preferred to upgrade the internal battery so now I get about 25 hours play back from one charge. The battery pack I use with the Clip+ is small enough that I strap the items together with a rubber band and it has proven useful and convenient. I think that if/when the internal battery fails in the Clip+ I will be able to run it fine with the external pack. With the iRivers end of life isn't a problem because the internal battery is easily replaced.

In effect I have the best of both worlds. I have a couple of devices which have long battery life but also the option to supplement that with widely available AA cells if I can't be near power point for a few days. This is ideal imo. I used to travel a lot in places where mains power was unreliable and occasionally unavailable and at the time I did appreciate the convenience of a MiniDisc Walkman which got a long life from a single AA cell, but when I changed to an iRiver H340 I didn't miss out because that same conveneince was still available as a fallback if required.

My point is that almost any modern device which can charge via USB also allows you to use a small, cheap external battery pack so if you're going to be away for a few weeks without power you can get by with a few packs of AA or AAA cells just as easily today as you could 10 years ago with stuff that could only use AA or AAA cells.
Edited by julian67 - 7/29/13 at 9:16pm
post #9 of 10

"My point is that almost any modern device which can charge via USB also allows you to use a small, cheap external battery pack so if you're going to be away for a few weeks without power you can get by with a few packs of AA or AAA cells just as easily today as you could 10 years ago with stuff that could only use AA or AAA cells."

 

USB charging is wasteful though. Something like 30%-40% of the power is lost in the charging process. There should be be a standard 3.7 volt input jack on players, and a standard battery case that holds one cheap high capacity 18650 battery(these are up to 3000mah and typically under $5 each. Charger to charge one or two at a time are $10 or less). Being able to power the player from an external battery bypassing the charging circuit would be great.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JK1 View Post

USB charging is wasteful though. Something like 30%-40% of the power is lost in the charging process. There should be be a standard 3.7 volt input jack on players, and a standard battery case that holds one cheap high capacity 18650 battery(these are up to 3000mah and typically under $5 each. Charger to charge one or two at a time are $10 or less). Being able to power the player from an external battery bypassing the charging circuit would be great.

On a Clip+ the battery is only 300mah so, while 30% wastage sounds like a lot, in practice, to the user, it hardly matters because you still get a full charge quickly. The Clip+ can be powered by external source even with the internal battery removed. see http://anythingbutipod.com/2012/11/how-to-fix-a-missing-battery-on-a-sansa-clip/

On the iRiver H340 there is a separate charging input jack and the ability to use the USB port to trickle charge is an extra feature which can be toggled on/off by the user. The iRivers will run from external power with the internal battery absent. Annoyingly iRiver use a different, incompatible power jack for the H140 and H340 despite the power requirements and wall plug being identical.

Overall though I agree with you, but it's a pipe dream because competing manufacturers never agree to a standard connection or method unless it is enforced by legislation (like in the EU for mobile phone charging) or impossible to avoid in some other way..
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