Whole Leaf Tobacco

Changing the Batteries -- How Hard Should It Be?

deluxestogie

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#1


It was indeed a spectacle to see astronauts in full space suits, floating outside the International Space Station (ISS), performing a "space walk". They successfully changed some of the batteries for the solar panels. It required only 6 hours of life-endangering, gravity-free labor.

Changing the battery of my laptop or cell phone or camera requires 20 seconds, and I can just wear a t-shirt and jeans.

In the many spots of news coverage of the ISS battery change, I saw no mention of why the battery locations were engineered to be so damn difficult to reach. Why weren't they placed on the exterior of the ISS crew cabins, with an interior access panel?

Of course, some of you have phones and computers that were manufactured intentionally to make it quite difficult if not impossible to change their batteries. Presumably those engineering choices were dictated by sartorial considerations (thinner, lighter), rather than the more nefarious motive of encouraging consumers to replace the device when its battery is spent.

My fascination with the ISS battery change is that not one single journalist who reported on the space walk seemed to find it odd that a battery change should be so fraught. And that lack of puzzlement may be the same cultural anesthesia that enables consumers to purchase products with so short a life expectancy that battery changing is only an afterthought.

Perhaps it's the same phenomenon that leads consumers of tobacco products to just accept what they are offered by the marketeers. As a member of this forum, I want to be able to easily change my own Nicotiana tabacum batteries

Bob
 

davek14

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#6
Twenty years ago, I was "up there", you know, and I remember looking at basic household items and saying, who the %¿¡|¶? engineered this *$&#@!
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are Solid Rocket Boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Morton-Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs, therefore, had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.

That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (including England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

So the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Now, the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses. Thus, we have the answer to the original question. We know why the shuttle booster was designed to that particular size.

And the next time you are handed a design and you wonder what horses ass came up with it. Remember this story.
 
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#8
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are Solid Rocket Boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Morton-Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs, therefore, had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.

That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (including England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels, were first formed by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

So the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Now, the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses. Thus, we have the answer to the original question. We know why the shuttle booster was designed to that particular size.

And the next time you are handed a design and you wonder what horses ass came up with it. Remember this story.
Thank you. Reading that was like a James Burke Connections moment.
 

deluxestogie

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#10
I don't know how many of you remember the 1959 Pontiac Wide Track.



The bench seats were wider (could comfortably fit 4 adults), and the ride was smoother, because of the increased track, never mind the gargantuan wheelbase. Unfortunately, many alleyways in older cities (like in Philadelphia) were designed to barely fit a standard-width car. The wide-track Pontiac would have to drive down such alleys with the wheels of one side riding on top of the curbing.

And then there were all those standard-width parking spaces. Cars of that era were all beasts, but the Pontiac Wide Track won the prize. And like the giant mammals of yesteryear, they faded from history.

It was only the economic pressure of massive cargo ships and massive tankers that led to the fairly recent "widening" of the Panama Canal, which originally opened to shipping (designed for the "largest ships afloat") over 100 years ago.

Bob
 

fimbrew

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#11
The ISS is modular and was put together over several years. I believe that some of the solar panels were later additions. They probably added the batteries as a design change and weren't integrated into the original design.
 

fimbrew

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#13
Yep. My house is the same. The light switches in the kitchen are for lights in another room. But now I don't have to go outside to get to the laundry room.
 
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