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Battery pack heat-prevention hack

Battery pack heat-prevention hack

The audio in the video is a bit hard to understand, because it was quickly filmed with an iPhone next to a loud exhibit, so you might want to turn on the closed captioning… Enjoy!

In recent weeks a couple of reports came in from visitors playing with our Circuit Boards activity on the floor. Apparently, battery packs have been occasionally overheating due to short circuits, and someone suggested we look into a resettable fuse to prevent that problem. It is a bit of a mysterious component, described as a resistor that will break a circuit when it heats above a certain point, as happens during a short circuit. We started debating possible mechanisms by which it could work, and at some point we had the idea of bringing a regular battery pack and one outfitted with this PTC fuse in front of Heat Camera, one of our favorite exhibits at the museum.

Although our hypothesis for how this thing works was wrong (you can read about the actual mechanisms here, if you’re curious) it wasn’t too far off, and it was still a fun exploration of something we are actively tinkering with, aided by this great museum we happen to be working in.