The choice of CR2032 Batteries

Hi Blinks community!
I got my set after the first Kickstarter, and I have been lurking on the forums for a while, but I haven’t been compelled to post anything myself until now.
This is a weird first post, but here we go.

I shared the Blinks kickstarter with another online community that I’m a part of. The Future of Coding comunity

The thread started a heated but interesting argument about the choice to use CR2032 batteries instead of a charging solution.

Would @bigjosh or @jbobrow or someone from Move38 mind giving some insight into that design decision, both from a manufacturing point of view and from an energy management point of view?

One of the most interesting responses is below. What are your thoughts on something like this?
I’m sure you considered charging solutions, I’m just curious what the process was.

What they could have done is put a small supercapacitor in each one, so that when disconnected it has some number of seconds of life left before you have to reconnect it; and then have an outboard power brick, possibly using the super cheap laptop power bricks that can be had for $10 at the wholesale level, that would supply enough wattage to power all the connected modules. With a hex grid you can easily put a pairs of pins on each of 6 faces, and thus allow them to be powered from a single AC adapter. You can recess the pins so you don’t shock people, but if you distribute 5V safety would not be a big problem. A 50W laptop brick would probably power 50 cells if they are the approx. 1W that i expect they are. Or maybe have a special cell which is the hard drive for the the cells so you can disconnect and reconnect them at will, by rebooting the nodes from either the neighbors or the special NAS cell. If you pump the flash memory too often it will wear out, so best to have what might be considered a NAS cell. With a communication system between the nodes, and a super cheap cell, the toy would be hella fun. If you want in the game to have the cells separated by space, you can include blank spacer cells which just have wires inside with no electronics.

From the rest of the community, how has battery life been for you? Has it been a problem for anyone?

I am getting 30+ hours on CR2032s. I also have a full set of LIR2032 (rechargeable equivalent), these seem to output slightly higher voltage, but have less capacity overall - maybe 8 hours on a charge. I picked up some chargers with 4 slots, so at least can charge 8x at a time.


Great question! We actually spent many hours laboring over this decision!

Some important factors included size, weight, capacity, cost, service life, ease of use, and shippability.

While CR2032s are not perfect in all of the these, they are a great combination. Second runner up was LiPO rechargeables, but sadly the LiPos that would fit into a blink are just not that great right now. Maybe soon this will change as the technology quickly improves!

As far as having some kind of power feed in system, it is a cool idea but probably incompatible with many games. You’d have to have this power wire coming into the group from somewhere and so whatever blink is the “power feed” blink would have this awkward tether connected to it. And you’d pretty much rule out all of the games where the blinks are not all typically connected together in a single group.It would also significantly reduce the portability of the system since you’d also need to carry around this wire and power pack.

One alternate power system I do think you may see in the future is an inductive/capacitive power mat. You’d place this on the table and it would automatically wirelessly power and charge any blinks on top of it. This is nice because the blinks are free to move and can be located anywhere on the pad area and there is nothing to interfere with gameplay.