Why does switching the batteries work?
April 26, 2012 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Why do remote controls work again when you switch the batteries around?

My TV remote has been slowly less responsive over the last few weeks, but I switched the batteries around (A and B changed positions to B and A) and now it's as good as new.

Shouldn't they be equally used if they're running in series?
posted by AD_ to Technology (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe the batteries weren't seated right?
posted by empath at 7:23 AM on April 26, 2012

It's the effect of warming the batteries - you can do the same just by opening the cover and pressing your hand against them.
posted by samj at 7:25 AM on April 26, 2012

You can get point corrosion on the contacts. Moving the batteries causes them to reconnect. You probably would have gotten the same result if you'd removed the batteries and then put them back in the same slots they started in.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:26 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

What Chocolate Pickle said. Instead of switching the batteries around, I just roll my thumb over them a few times and spin them to shine up the contacts a little and stretch the life of the batteries to the end of the day or so.
posted by rhizome at 7:28 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

Because remotes will operate from very low voltages, things like minor corrosion can have a big effect. If you're talking about a pair of 1.5v cells that are down to around 1v each, and the remote will run from 2v but stop working at 1.95v, any small amount of added resistance could be meaningful.
posted by helicomatic at 7:38 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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