Dewalt battery powered inventions

Hey gang, 1st time, long time.

I'm not very savvy when it comes to most things electrical, but have a question about (mainstream) rechargeable battery powered inventions.  In my case, Dewalt 18v batteries, but for arguments sake, it could cover a slew of rechargeables.

I have at least a dozen Dewalt 18v tools and accessories.  I've had most of them for years and only the 2 most well-used tools have failed (and been rebuilt).  So I love the reliability.  I 'round-robin' my 6 batteries (mix of the older style XRP and the new Li-Ion), I've yet to have a battery fail and all still hold a decent charge - the oldest XRPs are going on 7-8 years old.

I often use my (2) dewalt lights I have as light when the power goes out in the house or when I spend a few nights at the race track (tent camping, but not roughing it like out in the middle of the woods).  3-4 batteries typically do the job for a weekend.  I'm on the fence about buying a Dewalt (charging) radio, but it doesn't seem like it will charge via USB when it's running on battery power....

...which leads me to my main (ignorant) question: Why don't we see inventions that can be powered by main stream rechargable battery (reliable, safe, readily available, and owned by many people already)?

A couple examples include:
A device to charge small electronics via usb (Cell phone, tablet, etc).  Smart phones can do so many things now, being able to charge it with existing batteries would make them even more universal (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-cichon/radio-shack-ad_b_4612973.html )
A small fan, something pretty portable.  (yes, I know I could probably rig something up with my drill, but having a dedicated fan would be nice)
A small water pump.  (again, ignorance comes into play here)  Not sure what kind of pressure/flow rate is possible, but having it connected to my rain barrels to increase the pressure over my current gravity feed setup would be nice.  I'm not looking to pressure wash, just want to be able to have some more pressure. (minor update: An ebay search yielded one for sale, looks like I'm no pioneer here)
I should have wrote the others down, I recall having a few more ideas.

Any input from a knowledgeable person on the topic would be appreciated.

And for those that may argue that buying these devices and using standard batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, etc) would be a cheaper investment.  You're right! (IF you didn't already have a bunch of tool batteries, which is my point)


sort by: active | newest | oldest
Toga_Dan2 years ago

Here's my basic assembly. ~$12 USB fan (walgreens?) ~$5 cig-lighter to USB converter(Homedepot, or walgreens, or gas station?) ~$7 cig lighter (autoparts place up the hill) Although the cig-lighter to USB converter is marketed for 12v to 5 V, it seems to work fine at 18v. I ran this fan all night without burnin anything up. Be mindful of polarity on Batt. DeWalt doesn't bother to mark +, -, so I did (after frying one of those $5 V converters by hookin it up backwards)

Toga_Dan2 years ago

i just picked up a usb charger that plugs into a car's cigarette lighter. The thing is tiny. I dont think it has room for a transformer, chopping circuit, etc, therefore I think it has a zener diode voltage reduction. Going on this theory, I hooked it up with alligator clips to an 18v dewalt batt. Although the drill batt has 50% more voltage than the intended 12 car system, it runs a usb powered fan nicely. The fan speed seems identical to the speed it runs on with a standard usb charger.

JustLuckey (author)  Toga_Dan2 years ago

Toga_Dan, good to know. Do you have a pic or the make/model of the fan used?

Fri, Aug 22, 2014

The USB fan* draws 2.5 watts. Not much juice. 4 inch dia.

The automotive cigarrette-lighter-USB-outlet** is the smallest one I've seen. I reasoned that it doesn't have room for a chopper+transformer, so it probably has a zener diode. This diode will make 4.5v whether the input is 6 V, 12v, 18v... It might get fried at 24v. I don't know(yet) ;)


Record of mistakes on this project:

Although the fan ran nicely for about 1/2 hour yesterday, today I was out in the field, and didn't know the polarity of the dewalt batt. (no multimeter with me) I made a guess, and immediately burned out the USB converter by reverse biasing it (positive where neg oughta go and vice versa) Not a big deal. $5 Volt converter.

I wanted to know the polarity of USB ports. Didn't immediately find it online, so I stuck the probes of my meter into a pocket USB battery port (portable batt*** about the size of a pack of gum) Well, the probes contacted the rectangular shield that surrounds all 4 conductors. That batt no longer works. I'm guessing it has a built in fuse. $10 loss.


* USB fan by Living Solutions model # CT-DC5V4

** 12V-4.5 V converter: CE Tech model SMD48NA0001 (5V, 2.1A) It should be possible to run 4 of my fans on this.

*** Tzumi "pocket juice"

other makes and models oughta work too. In fact my prototype 2 (prettier +more robust) uses E-filliate Inc's item 141.0402 (5V, 1A) Works fine, although it's only rated to run 2 of my fans.


pics and maybe full -ible to follow. I would not recommend using this for charging a delicate high dollar phone, unless the exact output V is tested. A fan is a cheap, low dollar thing.

Toga_Dan2 years ago

On a home inventor scale, i do use those drill batteries for various stuff. I've launched rockets, activated air valves for air cannons, run trailer lights, run xmas lights, etc. One of the reasons I usually use Ryobi is the wide variety of tools that run on 1 battery type. I suspect the mfg will get around to some of the stuff you've mentioned, but it takes a lot of money to tool up for a new device. They think about return on investment.

JustLuckey (author) 2 years ago


Since you have been the only one to reply, thank you for that. And keeping with the 'be nice' comment policy, I will try to keep this positive. Please don't confuse the term proprietary and mainstream. One does not contradict the other (many Apple devices are good examples). If you visit most job sites, you will find cordless tools. Although the Yellow brand has a consistent market share, many other brands are often used. In fact, I can't think of too many homeowners that don't have one. Proprietary or not, that doesn't seem to stop many in the instructable community from turning an idea into an invention. But let me digress.

I did search for inventions and ideas similar to mine, but I admit, it wasn't completely thorough. Taking your advice, I continued my search and found an awesome invention helped by a kickstarter. I'm not here to promote any products, but if you google 'USB charger dewalt battery', you'll find my latest purchase and the invention that checked off my number one bullet point. I just hope they don't have the company coming after them.

...now off to search for a cordless tool battery powered fan and pump...

Thanks again for your post driving me to try harder, but next time, try not to shoot down other people's ideas so quick. It doesn't help promote the reason for this site.

If you want to call Dewalt battery pack main stream. They are not nor are any other battery powered tool battery packs. They are proprietary to their brand only. You try to mass market any devices or tools to use those batteries and you will have the company coming after you. But you can certainly find many DIY projects that use these batteries for a variety of things. All you gotta do is look for them.