Much Like Cake, Solar Calculators are (Sometimes) a Lie

By Ian Morris on at

You trusted your calculator, and it lied to you. That little panel on the top there; it looks like it takes light and converts it to electricity - but there's a chance it doesn't. Instead, your solar calculator might be powered by a battery and nothing more.

A shocking, yes SHOCKING YouTube video details how some calculators that look like they're solar powered are nothing of the sort. Like most scandals, this all started innocently enough, with one man dropping a calculator and then wanting to work out why it was broken. The web of lies and deceit he uncovered will leave you questioning everything you ever knew.

The devil, as always, is in the detail. Look at your calculator; does it say "dual power" or "solar" on it? If not, then there's a chance that any solar panel is just a dummy cover, perhaps designed to make you feel better but ultimately pointless. Why would any manufacturer do this? Presumably, a lot of it comes down to making a wide range of products. Some with solar, some without. Why remake the calculator case from scratch for both devices when simply put a solar lookalike in the non-solar calculator? COSTS SAVED!

Ultimately this whole thing is a lesson in capitalism. It's probably a lot more expensive to place a solar panel in a calculator, correctly wire it up and manage the power from it than it is to just lob in a battery. Some of the calculators in the video didn't even really have an external way to add a new battery, meaning that the device will be discarded once the internal power source runs down - unless you open it up.

From a quick search of Amazon it was hard to find any calculators that might look like they are solar, but really aren't. Perhaps Amazon sellers are a bit more careful, but the video proves there are people who will gladly fool you into thinking you're getting something you're not. The world is a darker place once you know this. Have a great weekend BTW.


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