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A very unusual air freshener that uses electrochemical generation of gas to push aroma liquid to a wicking material at a programmable rate. It creates a controlled smell silently for a very long time.
It uses a similar system to the industrial grease dispensers, where a button cell similar to standard zinc-air cells has been optimised for the generation of gas by depriving it of the oxygen needed for normal operation. When bridged with a resistor, it passes current and creates gas that can be used to pressurise chambers or depress plungers at a controlled rate. The value of the resistor sets the speed at which that happens.
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A recent video. I took a look at an automatic grease dispensing unit. And this this was really clever because you basically set this to the desired number of months 1 to 12. That you want this cartridge to last.

And it will then gradually squeeze the grease out over that time using electrically generated gas. It was very interesting and somebody mentioned they're air fresheners that do that too and i thought really and i went online and looked and found that rubbermaid sells the t cell t. Cell air freshener and it seems to use the same little cell. I also discovered that varta makes a gas producing cell that is specifically for the task.

But i'm still suspicious that they may actually be the zinc air hearing aid batteries. But i can't quite prove that yet experiments are currently in progress. So this device has basically a button cell with its negative exposed and it's positive connected to this outer shell here and when you sit it into the dispenser put your squeeze aside to open. It it comes the pack of screws and a little alcohol wipe for cleaning it before sticking it onto the wall double sided tape the curse of restrooms and inside is the uh.

A little spring in the middle that makes contact with the center contact negative. And then two outer connections that make contact with the positive and they go into a circuit board. And if i bring in a meter. Oh first thing i'll show you is that there is voltage across this little cell here so if i put the negative and negative positive the positive it says at 14 volts which is about the voltage of a zinc air cell.

This is a unused well it could still get its ceiling theoretically the science behind these is that these are zinc ear cells that require oxygen to actually operate. Which is why they have a little tab in the back as soon as you peel that off it exposes some air holes and the chemistry starts happening. But if you leave that tab on apparently and then pass current the voltage will drop quite a bit. But then it'll start producing hydrogen because it's being starved the oxygen needs the full.

Thing but i measure in this one about 1235. If i was to take the label off that it'd go up you want to see that don't you 1235. Take the label off to let the air in don't know how long it'll take there's just a few there's five holes in the back of that has a voltage 1235. One point three four one point three five it's shooting up now that it's got oxygen and if i was to starve of oxygen again by putting the label on again theoretically it would just use up that oxygen and then it would revert back into its dormant state.

But that may take a while and it probably need loaded do so anyway. I've got distracted away from it i think it is using technology based on zinc air cells. Now the resistance in here. Let's put this to the 20k setting and we'll put it across these two contacts because all it does is it puts a resistor across here and the value of the resistor determines.

How much current flows and therefore the speed at which the gas is produced. So i put the meter on here and with one the position. The switch is in the uh. What is it marked normal and light so normal is going to be the lowest resistance.

Probably it's 12. K. And the light will uh increase. The resistance to a level that uh.

It releases. The gas. Lure 2k theoretically you could modify that you could actually theoretically put in your own resistor and make this release the smell over a longer period of time. But i'm not sure how stable that would be let's pop.

The circuit board out is it just a couple of resistors hold on i'll bring it up i shall focus on that i shall zoom up oh still not really in focus is it no it's not gonna focus hold on focus on that no that's as good as you're gonna get two resistors that's all there is in it let's focus back down here. Because this is where it's all going to be happening anyway right here. So now let's take a look at the cartridge here. So it has an insert that there's a wicking material in here.

That is going to absorb the liquid and then gradually let it evaporate. There's also a wicking ring around here and you can also see some liquid in here. Which is odd. Because there must be a second reservoir because when you put this in it apparently punctures that from what i can see and once it's punctured.

It may lock or it may not lock. There's one way to find out um. But surely the liquid it's maybe. It's just prime the wick or is there a is it possibly escaping in some other way.

I'm not really sure or is it just pushed out a reservoir. How is it that it can mount up this way and work. And this way or this way it can work in all orientations. Without the liquid.

Just seeping out or the gas. Escaping. I'm not really sure uh. There's only one way to find out and that's to open.

It which is what we're going to do. But let's try it out first there's going to be stinky shmoo everywhere anyways. So i might as well try it out first. So.

The instructions of this say put this back in that you place this in and you press. It down. While you rotate it oh i can hear it bubbling uh. It didn't rotate is it supposed to rotate more than that it's definitely burst to seal uh.

I don't think that actually went to plan nope that didn't go to plan that did not go to plan that is not what there is it's rotated oh that is stiff. It is presumably cutting into the material. And now i'm guessing well how would it wick out if it's pointing up the way on a table that must be what that outer work is for but anyway. I'm going to leave this for a while to let it soak out and then we'll take a look at it uh.

So one moment while i let it do that okay the gloves are on and that means things are going to get serious let's open up can i just say that rubbermaid just for some reason makes me think of those uh rubber maid outfits that they sell on ebay for kinky people that's what comes to mind the smell is coming out of this now. I've actually had it open and closed again. We're not fully open not i've been saving that for right now. But i've taken a look inside the cartridge itself here and found that the the oil is working out.

But the little plastic inserts here that were supposed to be cut through by these spikes. It didn't quite manage it they're kind of there but they're not really they've just kind of stretched and not actually turn them maybe that was quite so quite hard to turn. But anyway. The little wick on the outside is uh mopping up some of the shmur.

Some of it has gone on to that not a lot has escaped so far let's open up and let let it all escape basically. That's why i've got the gloves on chemicals. So is this going to come off or is this sealed on is it using a diaphragm to squirt this stuff out or something else oh. This is going to be very destructive.

But that's okay you guys like when it gets destructive uh. Let's zoom down a bit. So we can actually see the destruction. In greater detail.

So let's pop that open as well. If this doesn't go to plan. And it's it doesn't feel like it's going to plan. It feels like it's crumbling into millions of pieces uh then i shall pause momentarily while i try and get it open and then show you what i find inside loud scrunching noises the microphone loves loud.

Scrunching noise. It tends to make that loud clack noise as its automatic gain tries to compensate for my violence. So it's getting there. It's not really getting there.

This is going to turn into one of these long videos you are welcome to skip forward to the to the action. Bit probably find there's some screw in the back that just let this liberate completely. But i do think it's glued in to keep all the schmoo inside it does seem like it is potentially glued. I shall keep prying at it some people say you should have skipped over that bit and others say no leave it in by letting you do the skipping that makes it easier this is glued on okay what if i do this this cannot liberate it better no this is making a huge mess.

Wow. This is such a messy thing. This is the point. I should probably pour the liquid out of it because otherwise.

It's going to end up an absolute apocalypse and keep in mind. This is a month's supply of chemical aroma in here so uh this is probably a bad idea. I shall pour it into the wicking material. It's probably too much the wicked material.

Oh. No it's not even coming out okay. I should be trying to keep this as intact as possible. He said.

Bursting it even more to uh try and find out uh how it works this is really well sealed on let's take a look at the other side this is all going to drain out. Now isn't it. The liquid must be in here is there some diaphragm system. Excuse.

Me. I'm just going to take a wee peek. In there's definitely a liquid. Well there may be a diaphragm system.

In there. But there is that thing. Oh is the liquid in the secondary chamber behind that and is it being pushed out uh in the middle. I think it might be hold on let's get a bigger screwdriver let's get something more destructive involved this is better right okay.

What do we have there's all the liquid. So how if it's vertically. How does it push and this is a diaphragm at the back of that but there's all the liquid. There's a little sort of valve thing.

That is kind of like sits over that and over that and kind of releases it in a controlled manner. It's about to release in a non controlled manner just one moment. Please i'm gonna get something to pour this very stinky liquid into i'll be back in a gif. Yeah.

That's messy. I've got it out it's actually spilled everywhere. I'm just gonna rinse this out whatever. It is i'm not sure if it's oil or it's uh or it's something else but i'm going to rinse it out so that i can take it apart.

With my fingers and not to get this chemical. All over my hands one moment. Please you know it's getting a serious tear down. But it's not just the gloves that the dremel comes out as well this is well sealed together.

Let's pry this apart. I'll zoom back down again. So we can share the magic together so this comes off. And there's a diaphragm so they've got a diaphragm and behind this diaphragm.

I'm expecting to see that cell right okay. So where's the knife let's go through the diaphragm. Oh quite a stiff diaphragm. I wonder what the pressure releases for this when the it's finished uh.

All the liquid and it's pushed this diaphragm hard against the surface does it pierce it and let out the pressure. There is the back of the battery. And it's got the b plus symbol on it that is it so the battery is venting the gas into here. It's filling the diaphragm up that's pushing the liquid.

It's got a little right there well i'm just going to draw this down. So you can see a side view of the mechanism one moment please job done let's explore so i shall zoom down onto this so we can explore it in detail. The unit has two chambers and a diaphragm in between them. And it's curved.

So that initially that diaphragm will start curved back the way. And it's full of liquid and over time that the pressure will build up on this side generated by this gas cell will push that forward. It isn't easy to get out. Though because there's a little plug in there just to stop all the liquid draining out.

And it is held in place by this front cap. Which is a little dimple on it there holding that little cap in place. And that means that it needs a bit of pressure to actually push out and squish past that when it does it goes into this other reservoir area. Which is perforated.

When you actually push it into the container. And that allows the liquid to dribble out onto the wicking material to generate the gas in this side. There's a little support here with an o ring in it let. Me actually show you this and the gas cell goes into the o ring.

Where is the gas cell. There's the gas cell. I've just stuck it to a bit of tape timber early so here's the gas cell here's the o ring here's the back of this area that had the sticker on it i've taken the sticker off to reveal that it's got sort of reinforcing ribs for the pressure. I wonder what happens when it gets up to maximum pressure.

There's a possibility that the diaphragm might get pushed against these fairly sharp bits of plastic. And it might perforate. It and let the gas out not really sure. But when they're assembling it they put this o ring in here and then they get the cell and with the positive down the negative up they push it into that and it sits down into the o ring.

Like that then they put this crimp on over the top and it does two things it makes a connection with the side of the cell for the positive connection and exposes. The center bit for the negative connection and that's shown here. There's the o ring. There's the cell going in there's the metal cover that covers it and then when you put it into the actual aroma.

Dispensing unit. There's a spring in the middle. That makes contact with the oh here it is with the uh negative and then these two other bits make contact the positive. And it's just a resistor across them so it's the actual action of the cell discharging.

But being starved of oxygen because uh if it is a lithium lithium. A zinc air cell then it needs that air for the proper chemical reaction. If you discharge it without that um. It generates hydrogen in this capsule not a lot of hydrogen just enough to squish the liquid out it could also be an actual virta gas generating cell.

Don't know they might just be bluffing or have they done special chemistry. I have tests in progress not that i'm going to be able to test this in any way. It would have been quite good uh actually just getting one of these putting the back off putting another cell in closing it up and then trying it out. But that's not going to happen now because i've taken it to bits.

But there we go that is it that's how that aroma unit. Works and the house is now stinking of marine freshness or their chemical interpretation of it. But interesting that also explains why it can work out that way that way or that way because ultimately the diaphragm can be pushed out in any direction. It's going to squeeze every last drop of that liquid out over time as the gas fills up so very clever.

Very interesting device indeed quite neat that it just over that period of time that you've set with just that resistor at the back with the switchable resistors that you can choose how long it takes to continually and evenly dispense that liquid out over a long period of time into this wicking material and then into the air. Very clever very neat indeed looking forward to seeing the other version of it which i've ordered which is much bigger so i shall hopefully make a video about that when that arrives in the meantime that is it quite an interesting thing.

13 thoughts on “Rubbermaid gas generating aroma unit teardown”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars lil bullet says:

    You should have used a tin opener ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Fang the Warrior says:

    Awesome how they used one thing for its aspect for an entirely different purpose ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    This video will be remembered for a long time,, at least to Clive it will be

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Olaf Elsberry says:

    This is bloody amazing.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gord Slater says:

    I really need to bottle and patent my farts ASAP

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Matt Jackson says:

    The name "Rubbermaid" always amuses me… conjures up images of French maid costumes made out of rubber… that sort of thing… (Edit: after playing it a bit turns out you were thinking the same thing…)

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Guy H says:

    But will it carbonate?
    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Ian Blows says:

    Dauntless Rubbermaid made High level Toilet Cisterns in the 1950s

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars webmonkees says:

    I've had to service a few air freshener machines, they'd been used past their normal use lately. Oh man, concentrated clean takes days to get back to stink. Disturbing is the solids that end up clogging the pump, which is why I was there as maintenance guy climbing into the rafters. Overwhelmingly fresh.. um..

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Me Here says:

    I'll say the same thing that I say about vapes: what a neat way to make something that should be extirpated from the planet.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mark Fiddament says:

    Arghh! My Nose!๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Josh Friesen says:

    Clive: โ€œYou guys like it destructiveโ€

    The sound of breaking plastic over a YouTube video is music to my ears.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mr Big Van Life says:

    Greeze ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Slikx666 says:

    Marine freshness? Salt water, rotting seaweed, seagull ๐Ÿ’ฉ, boat exhaust, pee left over from the drunks students and fresh fish 'n' chips.
    sounds great ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘

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