The digital camera I use runs on 2,000 AA batteries, though it uses only 2 at the time. But it eats through these things. It laughed at rechargeables. It cleared 8 batteries in its first day of service. I’ve read that sadly, that’s not abnormal. It’s a good camera, but the cost of batteries was going to render this project prohibitively expensive to operate.
There is no DC input adapter to use an AC power source with it, and my search for how to add one left me frustrated — the few walkthroughs I could find were good, but would require MASSIVE modification to the camera given its size.
So, I had this idea, put it together quickly, and it worked. The goal is simply to run the wire ends from an AC adapter to the contact points in the camera. Almost no modification to the camera [just enough to let the wires through], very inexpensive, and quick to make, simple, and effective.
I didn’t find any instructable or even blog written about this concept. I independently discovered and engineered the solution I will show you. There are likely better ways. Please tell me of your improvements in the comments. If this is your idea, let me know so I can credit you.
*** Obviously this will likely void your warranty. It is intended for devices WITHOUT an AC adapter socket. If your device has one, by all means use that.
Step 1: Tools Needed
AC Adapter (I used the universal kind. This turned out to be REALLY useful for me as I’ll explain later). An old one lying around that’s of the right voltage and amperage would be fine.
Batteries for the device you’re wanting to power. In my case, that’s 2 x AA batteries.
The device you’re wanting to power. In my case, a little digital camera.
A pair of small, short screws. Just about anything you have in your tool box will work.
A saw (apartment = handsaw, even though I want my circular saw).
Wire cutters / strippers
Dowel of proper diameter (this is on you. Also, it’s ok if it’s a little too small. It’ll work. Too big and you have to shave it or it won’t work).
Vice (or drill/drill press)
***** CAUTION ***** You’re not an idiot. You are dealing with electricity, sharp things, heavy things, and heavy sharp things that use electricity. Be careful. I didn’t hurt myself, and that’s saying something.
Step 2: Cut and Strip the Wires
Why did I cut the power cord first? Because once I did, I knew I couldn’t return it. Once I did, I’m in until I’m done.
Step 3: Measure & Cut the Dowel
To find the dowel size, I actually googled up an image of a battery showing all its dimensions. I took it to Home Depot, but also took a battery with me. I found a dowel the size of my battery. As I said, I used the battery to measure the dowel lengths. Moral? Don’t make things more complicated than necessary.
Step 4: Test Fit the Dowels
Step 5: Drill the Screw Holes & Thread the Wires
Step 6: Mark the Ends
Step 7: Wire the Screw and Drive It
Go ahead and drive the screw into the dowel. I used a manual screw driver for this and recommend the same for you. It doesn’t take long, you have a pilot hole, and you want fine control over how deep the screw sinks.
You’ll likely have to hold the batteries in place b/c the door will likely not close b/c of the wires. To solve this, I dremeled a small notch in the battery door to accommodate the wires without rendering the door useless. After all, I don’t want to hold these batteries in the whole time I’m scanning documents. Also, my modification was so slight that it’s barely noticeable and still allows the camera to take batteries. I expanded the camera’s function rather than change it.
Step 9: Final Thoughts
You shouldn’t get shocked, but you could. BE CAREFUL. Also, you shouldn’t get bitten by a snake in your car, but stranger things have happened. BE CAREFUL.
You can make C and D batteries and even AAA too. 9V make take a block of wood given the shape. If you’re making a device specific battery, engineer the most efficient way to get power to both the positive and negative terminals of the device so that the wires and contacts hold themselves while still allowing for the use of DC batteries later.
A table vice clamped to the kitchen counter works wonders. That’s how I did this project. Just be careful not to damage your counters.
Good Luck. Have fun. This project shouldn’t take long once you have all the parts. I expect to make some more of these soon, once I find something else that I need to be AC powered.