Instructables

Convert a Baby Swing from Batteries to AC (wall) Power

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Are you tired of changing the batteries in your infant/baby swing?

This instructable covers how to convert your baby swing to wall power, so you can just plug it in and not have to change the batteries.

It's designed so that you can choose wall power or batteries, depending on your needs.

This Instructable requires soldering--There are other instructables covering that if you need help learning.
 
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Step 1: Tools & Parts Necessary

Tools
Screwdriver(s)--Used to open up the motor/switch/battery housing
Wire Stripper/Cutter--Used to cut and strip the old and new wiring
Soldering Iron--Used to solder the new switch and wires to the existing wiring
Heat gun or Cigarette Lighter--Used to melt the heatshrink tubing

Parts
5 VDC Power Supply--I used an old cellphone charger. It needs to have a similar voltage output to the batteries in your swing. Count the batteries in your swing. Each one puts out 1.2VDC (Whether AA, C, D, ect). Obviously 9V batteries are a different animal. Mine used 4 "D" batteries, so I needed at least a 4.8VDC power supply.
Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) Switch--A small one from Raido Shack, etc. is fine.
Solder--Used to secure the new wiring
Heatshrink Tubing--Used to protect the solder joints
Epoxy or Super Glue--Used to secure the switch to the housing
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dolnhu2 months ago

Why is a machine used 3 C batteries is not working after replaced by 5v dc power supply?

The power green light turn on but non of the botton working. No sound, no vinration. Use 3 C battereis again then it working. Reverse the DC power from adapter, the motor running without swiching it on, no light , no sound. Correctted porarity from DC power supply, light, no sound, no viration no matter switch on or off. Replace different DC power supply, same result.

WrenchingPilot (author)  dolnhu2 months ago

How may mA does your DC supply produce? I've run into issues with some swings that need 800 mA+ in order to function properly.

I fit it by reduce the Volt supply from 5 VDC to 4.5VDC. The new circuit has volt regulator to stop power that over 4.5VDC. As long as the supply Amp capable for the acttual the Amp the device will draw or more then it is fine. You can use bigger Amp capacity power supply. Usually the machine is drawing about 150mA to 250mA. But it peak out at the start time up to 300mA.

dolnhu dolnhu2 months ago

The reason I reduce my voltage because 3 (C) batteries add up is about 3.6V-4.0V It's never get up to 4.5V, never and never including the brandnew battery.

hoehand11 months ago
Can I use a single pole double throw instead of double
WrenchingPilot (author)  hoehand11 months ago
Yes, just join the negative sides together (battery negative, power supply negative, baby swing negative), and join the positives via the SPDT switch.
wc91 year ago
I've borrowed a baby swing from a friend and can't make permanent modifications to the wiring. If I just connect the wires from the AC adapter to a pair of battery terminals will that work?
WrenchingPilot (author)  wc91 year ago
Yes, that should do it.
Worked perfectly. Just used some electrical tape to secure the ends to the terminals. A+ work, WP.
tomohern1 year ago
What is the amperage rating on your wall wart? The one I have is 1A and didn't seem to power the swing. I wanted to figure out how much bigger of one I needed to get to make it work. Thanks for the instructable!
WrenchingPilot (author)  tomohern1 year ago
I was using an 800ma unit. Hopefully you can find a larger unit. iPad chargers are typically rated at 2100 ma (2.1A), so maybe one of those would work for you...(assuming 5 VDC is what you are after)
So I tried to do this method of conversion with a jack and switch like Vsansg1. We got the jack installed and tested it successfully. Then we went to screw everything back together. Apparently we crimped the black wire and a yellow one (one to the speaker) with one of the screws (the long one to the left of the control switches). We've unscrewed it and repaired the wires, but it's no longer turning on at all. We've been testing the wires, but can't figure out what's causing it to not work.

If anyone has any ideas on how to fix this, we'd be all ears.
Thanks,
iconiu1 year ago
I tried to convert this Graco baby swing. http://www.amazon.com/Graco-Sweet-Snuggle-Infant-Soothing/dp/B005V9CUA8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1353867852&sr=8-6&keywords=baby+swing+graco

I used a 6V 1A adapter which worked for about an hour and then the motor burned out. Amazon says the battery life is only 3 hours. Duracel batteries say they have 18000mAh or 18 Amp hours in them. Thus this swing uses 6 Amps during the 3 hours that it's in use? If that's the case, I probably burned out the A/C adapter which in turn fried the swing. But eveyone here is using 1A adapters at 5 volts so something is no right with my math or this swing uses a lot more power.

The control panel is burnt as well as it aways has it's "on" light lit even when the switch is in the 0 or off position.
Thanks for the post. I honestly had no idea it was so simple to convert something from AC to DC--plus, I always try to go for AC because I just love Tesla. However, now I find myself looking around my house for things aside from my electric baby swing that I want to convert. You may have created a monster!
vsansg11 year ago
Thanks so much for the writeup, it was extremely helpful. Also thanks to jsgaillard's comments, which I also incorporated. I preferred the jack w/switch (Radio Shack p/n:274-1582 ~$3.99- I used size M to fit the LinkSys 5V 2A adapter I was using) and drilled a hole to mount, as the jack is circular panel-mount. See pic for my final result. Works perfectly!

Thanks again to the author and others with helpful comments. Hopefully I will never have to buy batteries for this swing again!
IMAG0811.jpg
jsgaillard2 years ago
Thanks to Wrenching Pilot for this awesome post - I just completed this on our 4 x Size D Battery swing with a 5 volt / 2.5 amp adapter from an old satellite radio receiver, and it works great. Just three comments, two on the procedure and one on one of the challenges reported below:

1) Instead of the DPDT switch, I bought a DC coaxial male plug and female receptacle. The receptacle has a DPDT switch built in, such that if the male plug is plugged in, it will draw the wall power, and if it is not plugged in, it will revert to the batteries. Hence no need for a switch and if you don’t want a wire hanging off of your swing you simply unplug the wall cord from the swing. I mounted the receptacle just above the battery compartment, and it mounts almost flush with the swing casing and looks great. Then it’s super easy to plug in the coaxial plug or pull out the coaxial plug as needed.
2) To "drill" through the plastic shell for the receptacle (or for the wire in these instructions) I decided spur of the moment to use the solder iron - the amount of plastic melted was small and it was easy to clean off of the iron when I was finished, and it was less messy that using a drill.
3) For the people who commented that when they hooked it up the motor and music started playing even with the switches in the "Off" position, you probably had the positive and negative feeds from the AC adapter switched and simply need to switch them to the opposite terminals - you might have noticed if you have a moving fish or animal mobile that it was running "backwards" - another indication that you've got them backwards. This is not a case of too much voltage being applied to the system.

Thanks again! jg
Can you point me to where you got your plug and receptacle? This is exactly what I have been wanting to do with my two swings.
kevinds2 years ago
I only comment on this old article because there are new comments on it already.

Batteries are 1.5 volts each, not 1.2

Recharable batteries are 1.2 volts, why if your device has 6 batteries, recharables don't allways work well because you are almost 2 volts low at that point.


2 Batteries 3 volts
3 Batteries 4.5 volts
4 Batteries is 6 volts

If your device uses 3 batteries, a 5 volt adapter should be ok for 3 and 4 battery devices.
Timmer122 years ago
I have the same swing and a 9v, 1a adapter. Is this too much voltage? I mean would this hurt the swing in any way? You mentioned too much amperage is fine, it draws what it needs - is too much voltage the same? Thanks!
No,

Too much voltage is bad, and can burn out your swing, a little bit extra voltage and it will swing faster, too much and you will burn out the motor or other parts.


Example Lightbubs are normally 120 volts, if you put in a little extra voltage, it will be a little brighter. Less voltage, will be more dim.

Too much extra voltage, and will just burn out the bulb.
WrenchingPilot (author)  Timmer122 years ago
I would be hesitant to connect a 9V power supply to a swing that normally gets ~5V.

It may work fine, it may burn something up as that's double voltage it was designed for.

Regarding amperage, a 5V ~1.5 amp would be great. More amp capacity is better.
The cell phone adapter you used, any idea what amperage it was? I found a 5v 850mA that I'm hoping to use instead of coughing up 25-30 for a new one with amperage above 1A. Just wondering if 850 may not be enough. Thanks again for your reply.
Just a note for anyone curious about amperage. I used the 5v, 850mA cell phone adapter. Works perfect, motion,music and mobile all being use at once.
curlyfry092 years ago
Hello, I have pretty much the exact same swing as shown in the pictures here. I hooked up a 5v, 1A converter and it didnt do anythinhg, so Then I switched it out to a 5.7v, 800mA converter and tried touching the leads to the battery terminals and the little animals immediatly started turning and wouldnt stop regardless of where the switch for that function was positioned, and when I turend it on to rock the animals would slow down but the swing wouldnt actually move, and the sounds dont work at all. Any ideas?? Am I short on amperage??
WrenchingPilot (author)  curlyfry092 years ago
Amperage shouldn't be the problem with a 1A supply. Other than making sure the wiring is correct (positive to positive, negative to negative), I don't have much to offer you.
Hey thanks, i figured out in the end that the motor is fried, found another post online saying to use the motor from an air wick fresh matic so 'i went and bought one and opened it up and I guess they changed them since then because there was no motor in it
sbednarek2 years ago
HI! Thanks for the great post! My only question about these kind of conversions, is do you need to be concerned with amperage? Understandably, you want to try to match the voltage of the combined 4 batteries to the AC supply, but what about amperage? As I understand it, a D cell battery has 1200mA hours, or 12 amps for an hour. I don't know if this means that batteries are 12amps? that seems high, and also cell phone adapters are usually less than an amp. Do I need to worry about this? Thanks!!
WrenchingPilot (author)  sbednarek2 years ago
Short answer, you want as much amperage as possible. So if you have a 4.5v DC @ 1 A, it's better than 4.5v DC @ 500 mA. The device will only draw the amperage that it needs.
bfeij2 years ago
I think the instructions were clear (anything that isn't to the reader, I would suggest you Google what you don't understand or ask someone for help).

What I would add is this when you have the DPDT (Double Pole Double Pull) switch and you have identified which side your going to put your positive and Negative cables on in a row, use the wires that was originally coming from your battery pack to the control as the wires going to the motor. On the one end you would have wires going to your battery pack, the other end wires going to your 5V (or whatever voltage you require) power supply and the center poles (originally your battery wires) going straight to your control panel.

This way you have full control whether you use batteries or AC power.


rsakamaki2 years ago
Great instructable. I have a question. I have a spare 5v 1.2A charger I want to use to power a baby mobile. The mobile uses 3 C cells. Could I simply splice the 5v in, or will that make it blow up/ die? If so, how do I step it down to 4.5v?
WrenchingPilot (author)  rsakamaki2 years ago
Ideally, you would get a 3.6V charger. You could try your 5V charger. It might work fine, or it might just work a bit different (too fast, music not right speed) or it might fry it. Stepping it down to 3.6V isn't ideal as using a resistor (or several resistors), to accomplish this leaves you in a bad place regarding failure. If the resistor fails, the voltage to the unit would go back to the 5V. Personally, I would try the 5V charger...
laguera3 years ago
I love this instructable!

I have this exact swing and the same exasperation with the repeated purchase of "D" batteries!

I do not know how to solder, however, so I probably won't try this at home. :-/

I have never seen a baby swing with an AC adapter and all the hand-me-down swings we got are battery operated. I looked for swings with AC adapters in local (Pittsburgh) stores and found none. My sisters actually didn't believe that they existed, and they almost had me convinced. We figured there had to be a law against them, because who would want a battery powered swing if plug-in swings were available?

Are you listening, Fisher-Price?! (Probably not. Sigh.)
My old swing was AC power or battery, but you could never find an AC adapter officially sold for it. I just went to radio shack and got one of those adapters you could change the voltage and the plug on..

It's a shame that they don't make both options.... It's probably a "safety" issue with having a corded product... they have to go through UL certification I think.. or something probably like that..
try the mamaroo baby swing. its actually a better swing all together. it is pricey but its a great swing.
vedder792 years ago
Hello, great instructions, my question is do I need this DPDT switch? My battery pack broke so I would just use wall power all of the time, can I just connect the cell charger right to the motor wires? Thank you..Mike
WrenchingPilot (author)  vedder792 years ago
Hi Mike

If you only want the wall power, then the DPDT is not necessary. It allows one to toggle between wall and battery supply.

So feel free to wire the wall power directly in.
zlange2 years ago
I had a 5V .5a adapter and it seemed too weak. So I swapped out for a 5V .7a adapter and it seems a bit better. I think that I might spring for a 5V 1.0a adapter, i bet that'll be about right. thanks for posting this DIY!
I have a baby chair that vibrates and it takes one d cell battery which means that it only takes 1.2 vdc. I have an old charger that puts out 5 vdc, should i get a charger that puts out 1.2-1.5 or can I use the one I have?
WrenchingPilot (author)  Crackclimber253 years ago
I would recommend seeing if you can find a 1.5 v charger. Tripling the voltage may not be friendly to the parts of the baby chair.

A "less than ideal" way to do this (without buying a lower voltage charger) is to use a resistor to drop the voltage. The downside is that your failure mode isn't ideal (the resistor fails/shorts and your electronics get full voltage), and it's not efficient (the resistor gets hot).

jkhan63 years ago
Great Instructions; loved it. But can this method be applied to a Wall Clock or any gadget that requires batteries only.

I have this beautiful large Wall Clock with music and lighting which turns on every hour and has a sensor that automatically shuts the music and lighting off at night or in darkness and back on in any lighting. The clock requires 4 C-size batteries and have changed them several times within just six months whilst taking clock off the wall and adjusting the time each time. Would appreciate the response. Thanks.
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