This is a neat idea that doesn’t seem to actually solve the problem it’s designed to. The Firearm Blog brought to our attention the Rifle Integrated Power Rail (RIPR). It’s pretty simple, a battery that provides power to rail mounted accessories through the rails. It seems like a novel idea since you’d no longer be required to carry additional batteries for every accessory on your rifle.
Of course there’s also the major downside; if the RIPR fails all of your accessories go down. This seems to eliminate and advantage considering the following:
We’re not that worried about a RIPR battery going tits up. You would of course carry spares with you. We’re more worried about the plug-in unit/rail (into which the RIPR battery is inserted) failing. If that goes down, you’re done–unless you have spare batteries for the individual accessories, of course.
So now you carry additional RIPR batteries as well as batteries for your individual accessories. That seems to add weight to both the rifle and your load out. Convergence is good in some situations and not so hot in others. Having a small portable computer in your pocket that can make phone calls, listen to music, browse the Internet, and act as a GPS navigator. The reason such devices work well is because losing all of those functions is a nuisance.
Convergence doesn’t work so well when redundancy is critical. For instance a RAID 5 array on a server prevents a system from dying if any single hard drive fails. RAID 0 on the other hand means your entire server will die if any single drive dies. The reason servers generally use RAID 5 is because having the entire system go down if a single drive fails is not acceptable. Once the system is down anything that relies on that server is now useless. The same would go for the RIPR, if it fails every power-using accessory on your gun dies. If these accessories include a flashlight or some kind of night optic requiring power your rifle is now pretty useless in the dark. Personally given the size of the RIPR and the fact that you would still need to carry batteries for individual accessories I feel it’s a solution in search of a problem.