One may think that passive and magnetic components are the most overlooked aspects of an electronic design, with too many engineers just filling in the boxes when it comes to choosing and specifying. Yet, there are minimum design parameters usually set out that need to be followed when it comes to passives and magnetics as you can’t change the laws of physics. However, when it comes to metal hardware like a device’s battery clips, the decision often is based on finance instead of physics.
They may seem mundane but subsystems like battery clips can often make or break a design. Designed, specified, and installed properly, they can enhance the performance and perceived value of a product by giving the customer a reliable and quality experience in an often-overlooked consumer interface. Most everyone has had problems changing batteries, or has had battery holders that did not hold batteries very well, or inadequate retention pressure that allowed them to move about in a device, or even fail and lose contact at the slightest impact or vibration.
All of these things not only irritate the user but directly impact the functionality of the product itself. Many consumer products failed because the creators did not anticipate the myriad challenges in a household environment, much less in the real world. Even something as seemingly mundane as a product with non-intuitive polarity orientation in its battery well can result in lack of device function at the least, and catastrophic failure at worst.
A poorly chosen battery clip can cause all kinds of problems in a circuit. Intermittent power can cause unintentional peaks in a system. Battery disconnect during rough handling can erase information and reboot devices, often at the most inopportune times to the user. A portable device with batteries rattling around inside of it sounds cheap and broken.
Just because some may think battery clips aren’t “really” electronic components doesn’t mean they aren’t critical to the design. Just think of it as the junction where the user, package, and circuit meet (often). Proper attention here will pay off big dividends elsewhere. A tidy, clean device, with clear and intuitive battery storage and replacement will please the customer and serve the application best.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping