How does the Sonicare charger work?
February 8, 2007 8:32 AM   Subscribe

How does the Sonicare charger work?

Hi there.
I have one of those fancy sonicare toothbrushes and I can't figure out how the charging works. I always assumed that you needed a connection between two conducting surfaces to pass the charge, but it seems like the base is plastic and the handle of the toothbrush that contacts it is coated in some kind of rubber. What gives?
posted by smithygreg to Technology (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia entry on Sonicare

Basically it uses a magnetic / induction field to charge, which means you don't have a risk of electric shock or fire in a humid atmosphere (such as a bathroom)
posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 8:37 AM on February 8, 2007

This might help too
posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 8:41 AM on February 8, 2007

Thanks for asking this. I got a Sonicare for Christmas and I'd been wondering about this ever since.
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:43 AM on February 8, 2007

Relatedly, Ahnold has applied this technology to a wireless mouse.
posted by exogenous at 8:47 AM on February 8, 2007

I'm waiting for a wristwatch powered entirely by cellphone radiation.
posted by jamjam at 9:08 AM on February 8, 2007

The same method is used in some electric vehicles for recharging the batteries. You slide a plastic paddle attached to an power cord into a slot on the car. There are no contacts to corrode, sparks or the possibility of exposure to unsafe voltages or current. The disadvantage is some loss of efficiency in energy transfer.
posted by JackFlash at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2007

On the subject, is it safe to use the Sonicare brushes in the shower? I grew up with manual toothbrushes which I often used in the shower. I have a Sonicare now and occasionally I take it into the shower. Should I be worried?
posted by nakedsushi at 12:10 PM on February 8, 2007

I have an Oral-B rechargable that I use in the shower. It doesn't have that fancy inductor charger but the cleaning instructions say you can run it under the tap so I figured shower was OK. There isn't any risk to you from a battery powered toothbrush, the only hazard is to the unit.
posted by Mitheral at 1:10 PM on February 8, 2007

You will actually be causing your sonicare to malfunction if you take it to the shower too often (I speak from experience). If you travel from the US to UK or Europe using an adaptor plug only for your base charger it will work a few times before frying so plan to charge your brush for ten days and then bite the bullet for the rest of the time unless you get a charger base specific to where you are at. Again, this is from bitter knowledge.
posted by jadepearl at 11:30 PM on February 8, 2007

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