Princeton Power:  The Best Batteries

Princeton Power: The Best Batteries

Look, I get it, no one wants to think about batteries. We’re forced to think about batteries when they abruptly run out of juice, and there is never a good time for that to happen. It can be a minor annoyance at home when your favorite song cuts out in the middle and you have to dig out the power cord and plug it back in. But a dead battery can mean the death of the party when it happens miles away from an electrical outlet. Trust me, think about it now, so you don’t have to worry about it later. Along the way, I will entertain you with a long list of gratuitous insults about the musical tastes of Princeton Audio’s principal engineer, Howard Eglowstein.

Exploding Batteries!
We’ve all seen the sensationalistic stories about mobile phones bursting into flames because their batteries literally had a melt-down. Such cases are nearly always a manufacturer defect, and those defects are more prevalent when companies install cheap rechargeable batteries in their low-end electronic equipment. When considering the purchase of a portable audio speaker, however, you’d be wise to read a little further.

The Best Batteries for the World’s Best Portable Speaker
While I wanted to keep everything local, out of curiosity I did look at the possibility of working with a battery supplier in China. While they were certainly the cheapest, their products simply didn’t make the cut from a quality standpoint. They didn’t have the fail-safe technology that I wanted, and they lacked the long life and power to make the Site:1 a portable speaker that could truly go the distance. When we did find our perfect battery, we were pleasantly surprised to find the perfect supplier for it practically right next door.

Battery_0292.jpgLocal Wins Again
Fedco Batteries is, like us, a family business, located right down Rt. 23 in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Fedco has a long and deservedly great reputation for upholding the highest standards of quality in their products, so it turned out to be a no-brainer to go with them. Fedco’s Brian Sparks (yep, that’s our battery rep’s actual name) set us up with a lithium-ion power-pack that uses the same premium cells used in Tesla Automobiles. Hey, if they’re good enough for Elon Musk to hang his reputation on, well, they’re good enough for us. And they are very good, indeed.

“Our premium-quality batteries come equipped with a safety circuit that monitors the battery to guard against it being over-charged or over-heating,” Brian told us, “Not only does this prevent the risk of overheating, but it ensures that the batteries’ original life cycle can be preserved, and that they can be quickly and effectively recharged.”

Okay, we were sold. But how long would this custom battery pack keep the party going in our Site:1 speaker? To get the answer, we tasked our principal engineer Howard with setting up a marathon listening session to push that battery until it died -- or we did. Little did we know…

Howard - round-1.jpgHoward’s Revenge
The morning of the test, Howard set up a fully-charged Site:1 in our offices, cranked the volume all the way up, and pushed play. We were all excited to see how long this new battery would last. What we were not prepared for, however, was the
excruciating awfulness of Howard’s taste in music. Good God almighty, it was bad. But we were all too polite to say so because we all love Howard so much. And we couldn’t stop the music to change it as it would interrupt the experiment. So we gritted our teeth and gamely waited it out. 

Agonizing hours went by. The Site:1 kept going. It played full blast all day long. And then into the night! At this point, we were all in the curious situation of rooting for the battery to keep going and passionately praying for it to die so that we would no longer have to be subjected to Howard’s terrible, terrible music. Also curious was the experience of hearing Howard’s so-called “music” played through our remarkable audio speaker, like hearing crystal-clear, beautifully reproduced recordings of a third-string kindergarten violin recital. (Sorry, Howard, you know I love ya but—dude—I’d rather listen to a feral-cat serenade, honestly.)

FINALLY!
BW_Gloss_Nickel_Reflection-0187.jpgWhen the battery in our Site:1 was finally exhausted, we had endured Howard’s ghastly music at full volume for 15+ hours, though it seemed much, MUCH longer. (Months later, when the time came to test our expanded 40+ hour battery, I made damn sure that I was in control of the playlist.) The good news was that all the pain of Howard’s music had been worth it: we had a battery pack that was first-class, reliable, safe as milk, and truly worthy of powering our revolutionary Site:1 speaker. So, whether you opt for the 15+ hour battery, or the ginormous 40+ hour battery, your Site:1 is going to have the power to go the distance – and back.

Stay Tuned,

Mike