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Thread: Batteries

  1. #1
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    Batteries

    I have something I have been wondering about lately. We already know electricity doesn't work in places that have high concentrations of wizards, but what about devices that run on batteries? Do you think these devices would work any different?

    And as for the cameras we see in the books, if they don't run on batteries, what was used before them? And how did the flash bulb work?

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  2. #2
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    I would think that small battery-run devices such as watches would work, since Harry is referenced as checking (and eventually breaking) his watch all through the books.

    However, I don't think that Muggle cameras would work around Hogwarts, less for reasons of battery-poweredness and more for secrecy. It wouldn't do to have some Muggle photographer accidentally snapping a shot of a wizarding school, now would it? I would think it likely that someone like Colin, who was obsessed with photography, would buy a new camera in Diagon Alley anyways.


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    In GOF, Hermione says that walkie talkies won't work and neither will 'bugs'. (They're wondering how Rita is getting information.) They're not plugged in, and in our world work on batteries. I think you can safely say that batteries don't work at Hogwarts.

    As far as the camera goes, Colin is obsesssed with taking pictures, but doesn't he use a magical one? I thought that's why he was so eager.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Olivia
    I would think that small battery-run devices such as watches would work, since Harry is referenced as checking (and eventually breaking) his watch all through the books.
    It's very possible that as the watch was bought for him by the Durselys that it's not a battery operated watch. He probably had to wind it on. I still have one of those .... somewhere.
    Last edited by Equinox Chick; 06-20-2011 at 07:39 PM.
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    It's very possible that as the watch was bought for him by the Durselys that it's not a battery operated watch. He probably had to wind it on. I still have one of those .... somewhere.
    Yes, it's definitely possible, but since Harry broke his watch in the lake during the Second Task I'm more inclined to think it might have been electric. I mean, if it had been a wind-up one, couldn't he have just wound it up again and fixed it that way?


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  5. #5
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    Yes, it's definitely possible, but since Harry broke his watch in the lake during the Second Task I'm more inclined to think it might have been electric. I mean, if it had been a wind-up one, couldn't he have just wound it up again and fixed it that way?
    No, wind up watches were just as susceptible to water as battery operated ones. More so, probably, because you couldn't get waterproof ones. The works inside wouldn't work when wet and then rusted. It was very expensive getting them repaired. I remember being told off for forgetting to take my watch off when swimming. *sigh*

    They were also badly affected by magnets/random.
    Last edited by Equinox Chick; 06-20-2011 at 08:01 PM.
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  6. #6
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    No, wind up watches were just as susceptible to water as battery operated ones. More so, probably, because you couldn't get waterproof ones. The works inside wouldn't work when wet and then rusted. It was very expensive getting them repaired. I remember being told off for forgetting to take my watch off when swimming. *sigh*

    They were also badly affected by magnets/random.
    Really? I didn't know that. That's actually pretty cool. Thanks, Carole.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Apollonious View Post
    However, I don't think that Muggle cameras would work around Hogwarts, less for reasons of battery-poweredness and more for secrecy. It wouldn't do to have some Muggle photographer accidentally snapping a shot of a wizarding school, now would it? I would think it likely that someone like Colin, who was obsessed with photography, would buy a new camera in Diagon Alley anyways.
    I think old-fashioned Muggle film cameras would work just fine at Hogwarts. Colin said that his pictures would move if he developed his film in a special potion, which suggests that his film and the camera were indeed mundane. That doesn't explain the flash bulb, but as Karaley Dargen mentioned, that was probably a magical modification.

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  8. #8
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    A battery-powered device is still a device powered by electricity. The batteries merely convert chemical energy into electrical energy. What makes the thing go is still electricity, hence wouldn't work. When they talk about things that wouldn't work in GOF, they almost exclusively talk about small things – bugs, walkie-talkies – that would probably run on batteries, and Hermione says that they won't work. In my opinion, we can very safely assume that whether it has a plug or not doesn't make the difference.

    A camera can be a box with a hole in it, basically. But we know from the description of Colin's camera that it's more like an old-fashioned, first half of the 20th century kind of camera. As far as I know, your camera only needs electricity to power anything automatic (ie autofocus, autoexposure, ...), the flash, and to advance the film roll. My mum still has an old camera without any automatic features, which means that you manually set the distance of the object you want the focus to be on, set the light exposure, etc, and then when the picture is taken, move a little thingamob with your thumb to get to the next frame on the roll film. The only thing that uses battery here is the flash, and I should think that wizards can come up with a way to make a bang and a light...
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Tim the Enchanter

    I think old-fashioned Muggle film cameras would work just fine at Hogwarts.
    And I agree, if it was old-fashioned to the point of not needing batteries. However, Colin's camera is described as being a normal Muggle camera of the early nineties (CoS 96, US hardback). That would almost certainly include batteries. I wonder if, because it's a wizard using it and not a Muggle, and a camera is a relatively simple device, this lessens the effects the magical atmosphere of Hogwarts would usually have on it.


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