Good news, bad news, good news, good news: cat toy edition

I stum­bled across a semi-forgotten cat toy last week.  It’s one of their favorites — it’s a motion-sensitive ball that lights up in a vari­ety of col­ors when kicked.  It also eats up bat­ter­ies.  It takes three watch bat­ter­ies, but I only had two left in the pack­age in my desk drawer.  They were super-cheap on ama­zon ($5 for 30 includ­ing ship­ping, whereas Radio Shack will typ­i­cally sell you a sin­gle bat­tery for $2 or $3).  I ordered 30!  Good news!

The bat­ter­ies arrived the other day.  I popped open the cat toy, went to insert three bat­ter­ies, and dis­cov­ered they’re too thick.  I got the wrong kind of bat­tery.  Watch bat­ter­ies of this kind are all the same volt­age, but in a vast array of phys­i­cal dimen­sions.  These had the right diam­e­ter, but were just too thick.  I’d acci­den­tally ordered bat­ter­ies for the kitchen timers — the only other things in the house that take watch bat­ter­ies.  Bad news!

I looked closely at the design of the cat toy cir­cuit board and bat­tery hold­ers.  If the bat­ter­ies were too thin, I could have bent the ten­sion tabs more for a tighter fit, but the bat­ter­ies were too thick, so there was not much I could do that didn’t require surgery.  The bat­tery holder design was pretty sim­ple, though, so surgery was not com­pletely out of the ques­tion.  I grabbed my trust Weller sol­der­ing iron and assorted other tools and hacked the bat­tery hold­ers.  Good news!


Additionally, now every­thing in the house that takes a watch bat­tery (the kitchen timers and the cat toy) all take the same bat­tery!  There’s no need to stock two dif­fer­ent kinds.  Good news!

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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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