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ACsault and Battery

Convert your DC battery device to wall AC
  [vote for,

Motivation: I am discouraged at the increasing number of continuous draw DC-powered devices that are designed to consume alkaline batteries, far from a renewable natural resource. Clocks are a perfect example. I received a grandfather clock as a gift last year, it consumes 4 D- cell alkaline batteries every 6 months. It came with no AC adaptor, nor offers a DC power input jack.

Sure, I could download specs for an AC/ DC adaptor and soldier one together myself, but perhaps I know very little about electronics; or just would rather not deal with rectifiers, transformers, filters, and building a switching circuit.

My solution (and I was surprised my search-engine-foo located no such animal) is a retrofit kit for battery operated devices. The kit includes:

1) an AC-to-DC brick and AC power cable with selectable voltage output - These are widely known to exist. It will accept automotive-style mini-atc blade fuses to help prevent disaster, and several low- amperage fuses will be provided in the kit.

2) collection of battery "blanks" for use on devices that take multiple batteries - Essentially, this is a piece of steel in the shape of a battery that will short + to -. I know something that achieves this goal was baked in some toy car I remember from childhood, alas I could not find a link. Perhaps it is lost technology.

4) battery "feeders" for each standard cell size (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V), and DC power cable - Similar to a blank, it is just a piece of HDPE in the shape of a battery. Only instead of shorting + and -, it provides 3.5mm jacks to connect the DC power cable to the brick. This fake battery is the center of the idea.

5) a user manual - RTFM! It will explain the difference between parallel and series, how to calculate the voltage required by your device, and why not to use blanks if the batteries in your device are wired parallel.

Use case: The user, Carla, is a quality assurance representative for a company that sells custard-filled hullaballoons. She has an alarm clock that takes two AA batteries in series. After removing the biodegradable packaging from her new "ACsault and Battery", she inserts one "blank" and one "feeder" into the battery slots of the clock. She then connects the DC power cable from the feeder to the brick and sets it to 3.0 volts output. After plugging the brick into the wall, Carla's alarm clock will be drawing electrical power from a much more efficient source. She can choose to leave the battery door off the clock or mod it to accept the new cable.

ed, Dec 21 2006

Wikipedia : Power supply http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_adaptor
This typically involves converting 120 or 240 volt AC supplied by a utility company (see electricity generation) to a well-regulated lower voltage DC for electronic devices. [ed, Dec 21 2006]

Wikipedia: Battery Eliminator http://en.wikipedia.../Battery_eliminator
What this class of device is usually called. [jutta, Aug 07 2007]

Amazon: AA battery eliminator, $32.99 http://www.amazon.c...ology/dp/B000PT0SZ8
Plugs into 110 or 220V. Not as flexible as this idea, though. [jutta, Aug 07 2007]

AA, 9V Cell battery eliminators http://www.qcavioni...ators.php?cat=20500
As mentioned by one of their customers in e-mail - thanks! They have a 110V option; just ask for it. [jutta, Aug 07 2007]


       This would lead to that every little electrical device occupying a power outlet, leaving nowhere to plug in the vacuum cleaner. Personally, I would use rechargeable batteries.
angel, Dec 21 2006

       Maybe use only feeders and no blanks - then it doesn't matter if they're fitted in series or parallel. Whether this would lead to a profusion of low-powered devices occupying plugs is up to the user (and the marketing department); I have only a few items that would need this. [+]
david_scothern, Dec 21 2006

       // Yeah, ed, what angel said. Buy Rechargeables. //   

       My first paragraph mentions this is targeted at constant-drain devices that rely on alkaline batteries. Put a NiMH battery in a clock, and it will be running slow within days. I believe rechargables are best used in switched devices.
ed, Dec 21 2006

       Rechargable batteries usually have less power, and lose the charge quickly. I bought a bunch of them, in different flavors, for a while, and never use them anymore.   

       There are flat power cables around, so it may be possible to work this idea without breaking battery-compartment covers.
baconbrain, Dec 21 2006

       Great idea!!   

       If you want to avoid breaking battery compartment covers, another option would be an inductive coupling.
TerranFury, Dec 21 2006

       This idea is great. It seems though, as mentioned, you'd have more wall-wart adapters. I myself have used such a device (to power capsela, wires and wooden dowels). It seems that the idea is not new.   

       Bun anyway!
wolstech, Dec 22 2006

       I worried this would be just another lame pun idea, but now I see that the lame pun is the frosting on a moist mouthwatering cake of an idea.
bungston, Dec 22 2006

       Oi, you're making me hungry.
david_scothern, Dec 22 2006

       Is it possible that the transformer could be packaged in a AA sized feeder cell (which could be nested inside larger covers) so as to remove the wall-wart?
wittyhoosier, Dec 22 2006

       Underwriters Laboratories would likely reject a design where the user plays with 110v AC supply leads. Moreover, crispy customers would not be happy customers.   

       I was envisioning the power lead into the feeders being male. Female makes more sense from a safety perspective. Perhaps my design needs more detail on how that connection should be made.
ed, Dec 23 2006

       To keep this idea halfbaked (instead of mostly-baked), and to solve the wall-wart problem, I propose the following design modification:   

       The transformer and fuse circuitry shall be located within the battery compartment of the target device instead of an inline or socket-mounted brick. Ventilation provisions shall be made (read: holes shall be drilled) in the target device to prevent overheating.
ed, Aug 07 2007

       [ed] I know the toy car with the battery blank you speak of. It was a slot car. Battery powered all plastic slot car.   

       And your idea is good for a product, for lazy (electrically ignorant) people that havent herd of alligator clips. Alligator clips trumps everything in this idea, sorry. Just get a switchable transformer (radioshack) and a set of alligator clip jumpers and your in busniess.
evilpenguin, Aug 08 2007

       A grandfather clock really should be driven by a pendulum.
LoriZ, Jul 07 2010

       If it was driven by a pendulum, it would not run for very long.
pocmloc, Jul 07 2010


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