Water Powered Clock

I’m looking through the “Gifts for Dads” section on ThinkGeek.com, and I’m quite disappointed.

Every product looks good when they talk about it in the description, but when I do some research on it, I find it’s not quite what they claim.

So buyer beware! Even (or ‘especially’) ThinkGeek.com uses marketing tricks to make things sound better than they are.

First, I looked at the Cold Heat Soldering Tool. It sounds great, but then you read the reviews on Amazon.com.

The way this thing works, from what I observed, is there is 2 parts to the tip. The 2 parts act like an anode and cathode, and the way the tool is “activated” is when you short the anode and cathode with a piece of conductive metal, which is supposed be your solder. When this happens the tool sends high current though the solder causing it to heat up and melt. It’s very similar to welding; you can even see a spark when you short the 2 parts of the tip out.

Problem is that the normal way of soldering circuitry to a board, where you put the tip to the parts you want joined and feed solder to them doesn’t work with this tool. And when you work it the way they want its shotty at best. It doesn’t live up to its name of COLD HEAT ether, the tip is a hot as a normal iron after a bit of soldering.

I guess this would come in useful if you are in a situation where you have no access to a wall outlet and/or can’t use a conventional soldering iron. But even then I would use a butane soldering iron. This thing is useless.

Indeed, every tip has two sides to it, two parts that need to come in contact with the solder.

To be fair, ThinkGeek.com does not lie. They do not present any false information.

But they do leave out details. Important, but negative details.

Next, I checked out the Water Powered Clock. Turns out that –

The water isn’t the source of the power. The electricity is being produced by the difference in electrode potentials of the anode and the cathode which are inserted into the water (or potato). It’s just a battery, it looks a little bit different, but the clock draws a very small amount of current anyway. So its powered by a dissolving hunk of zinc.

When the zinc is gone, the power is gone. But the clock draws so little power that it can run for years on that little bit of zinc. However, the water is not the source of the energy.

ThinkGeek claims: “The internal converter simply extracts electrons from water (or other liquid) molecules and provides a steady stream of electrical current acting as a fuel cell to generate power to the clock.”

I’m not sure if this is a definite and absolute lie. But it very well could be.

Now, the vast majority of people don’t do as much research as I do before every purchase. So it’s got to be interesting what you can get people to buy.

31 Responses to “Water Powered Clock”

  1. steve says:

    I made a water clock,,from a watch that runs on water, not as pretty as the store bought ones but works good, change the water once a week or so,,no problems. Made a video on it look on youtube under the name stevensrd1 for the video water watch part#1 and water watch part#2 for the improved version. Fairly easy to make I guess.

  2. jm says:

    It’s a simple galvanic cell which lacks all the stabilizers and custom alloys that commercial batteries have, but it’s still a battery that will be someday be dead when one of the metals is fully oxidized. Since we’re talking microamps here, ordinary batteries would power this for years, save from small button cells.

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