#215 Prison Drop Test (retro)
Prison Science: The Drop Test
How many of you ever heard of that…the Drop Test? I’ll tell you more about it in a little bit…
My thanks again to those who email me and ask me about my books and other products; the goal in a humble way is to create a financial support for my writings so I can spend more time writing books, blogs and other things to make available for those with loved ones in prison.
I am working on a blog book, which will be about 100 pages long, give or take. I am using blogs originally wrote in my very first prison blog back in 2005. Most of you never read those; some have not read my second reincarnation of blogs either.
At the pace I am working on, 100 pages is almost too easy to do, and won’t even scratch the surface of the books I am writing. But I have to limit my works so that expenses won’t be too much when I go to Staples to get binding, and then to ship them off, so I am keeping the books to about 100 pages.
When I make a little more progress, I will give you a heads up on what some of that content includes. Right now I am already 1/3 of the way through, and I haven’t even been working on it a whole week.
Anyway, I was sitting here thinking of a subject to blog about, when I heard my brother saying something. I went in the living room and saw him changing batteries on the remote game controller. As he switched out, taking out the old batteries and replacing them with new ones, I went to get the older batteries, and mentioned to him about the “Drop Test”.
So what’s that about?
I never heard of it myself until I went to prison, and when I heard guys talking about it, I thought it was the dumbest thing I ever heard. But where are my manners? Let me set this up for you:
Say you’re in prison and you have a small radio that requires 2 AA batteries. You find out one day that your batteries are going low and you don’t have the money to buy new ones. You go to one of the other guys and ask them if they have any batteries you can use, and he pulls out a cup full of batteries. He says to you, “I know some of them are good, some might not be, you’ll have to find out for yourself”. What do you do?
Well, you can do the Drop Test.
The test is supposed to determine whether a battery is strong enough to use or too week to bother with, and thus likely thrown away. An inmate can determine which batteries are best to use to extend the use of his radio.
“That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard!”
Well, I used to think that too, but there apparently is some value in it.
Now I can go online and look up the properties of batteries and how they are made, but that wasn’t practical to guys in prison, so I’ll just leave the true science out of it. But I will tell you how this test works.
Basically, you are literally dropping the battery to the ground to determine if it still has some “juice” in it. But there is a proper way to go about this, so pay attention:
First, get the batteries in question, and find a hard floor surface. It has to be a very solid and strong floor, so don’t look for a wood floor or carpet. Brick or cement floors are best because they don’t absorb much impact. They don’t “give” if you understand that terminology.
Once you get your batteries, take ONE battery, hold it the long way, so your fingers are touching both ends of the battery. Stand and hold the battery about knee high, and drop it.
If the battery bounces and turns a few times, that means the battery is weak. If the battery bounces and does not turn, it is strong, and can be used.
“I don’t get it”
When you drop the battery, you’re looking to see what it will do once it makes impact on the hard surface. Every battery is going to bounce, much like almost any other object that impacts a solid surface. But if the battery is “weak” then it won’t have as much “juice” in it, and thus the battery (in theory) is more hollow, and more prone to “flip”.
The more “flips” it does, the weaker it is.
If however the battery makes impact with the floor and does not “flip” it then would appear to have more density, and thus not as likely to “flip”. Replace the word, “density” with “juice” and you can see where in theory a battery with more juice is less likely to “flip” and thus is a strong (or stronger) battery.
Try it yourself. Get a brand new battery and one that you know is weak. Try the drop test and see which one “flips”. If you do it right, you should know immediately which one is which.
Now, granted that sounds like backwoods stuff, and I scoffed at it too. I thought those guys were nuts to do that stuff, but after awhile I tried it. After several tests, I realized that maybe there WAS something to it. And if done right, the accuracy of a strong and weak battery was very high.
When you are in prison, things just have to last longer because we didn’t have the means to run down to the nearest store and buy fresh batteries. I know when I was in prison during my more financially challenged times, batteries had to last as long as possible until I could afford to buy fresh ones. It’s important because for a lot of guys, the radio was their only personal means of the outside world. Sure there was television, but in NC you are not allowed to own one; they were always in the dayroom of the dorm. Sure we got newspapers, but most guys don’t read anything except the sports section (or the funnies, like me).
But in prison, the radio was the only thing an inmate could own that required batteries. That meant for me, the window to the audio world was all I had to find comfort. If that meant catching an NFL game on the AM station, or some jazz station on a nearby college, or Christmas music on some Christian station, I needed that venue to escape.
All the more reason those batteries had to work. And if they did not, I had to know how much “juice” I had left on it. Many guys kept weaker batteries just for an emergency when they may really need them, but over time you may end up getting a handful of them. You’d have to know which is good, and which is not.
Thus the Drop Test.
I don’t suppose this idea was started in prison, I just found out about it when I was in prison. I didn’t have such a problem when I was in college because we had outlets and I could always plug something up and be good as new.
At home it was never a problem either, or anywhere else I can remember. But when you are in prison, your resources are at a minimum, so things just have to last longer. You just could not throw batteries away because you got fresh ones. Often times other guys would ask you for your older ones, rather than seeing you throw it away.
You know, even after all these years, I still have my old RCA radio somewhere in the attic. I don’t use it because frankly it was a piece of crap. DOC made us spend about $15.00 on a radio you could quite easily go to Radio Shack or any convenient store and pay about $5 to $7 for. Whoever cut that deal with the state made a boatload of money.
Anyway, that is what the Drop Test is about. Email me if you have any other questions about prison issues, and ask me about my books and other products at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com.
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