MULTIPLE BATTERY HOLDER -- for Electrical Experiments





Introduction: MULTIPLE BATTERY HOLDER -- for Electrical Experiments

About: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home from discarded nylon fishnet and cement.

This battery holder will handle 1, 2, or 3 AAA batteries. It can be made longer to handle more.

In the same way that a clothespin spring forces the tip of the clothespin shut, it forces the handle end apart. This outward pressure is used to keep the wires held firmly against the battery terminals.

PVC pipe comes in different diameters. 1/2" PVC is the right size for AA batteries. 1/2" CPVC (for hot water) is the right size for AAA batteries. I haven't tried this idea with larger batteries. With bigger pipe, the clothespins would eventually be proportionally too small to work.


The wires are attached to the shortened leg of the clothespin through two small holes. The long leg sticks through a hole in the bottom of the pipe and helps hold the clothespin firmly in place. The short leg exerts pressure against the batteries.

If you don't have a tiny drill, you can hammer in and remove a 3/4" finishing nail to make the holes. Sometimes the wood splits. Sometimes it doesn't. To avoid splits, you are probably better off making the holes before you cut off the extra wood.


Now that you have the clothespins, make the holes in the pipe to fit them.

To make the rectangular holes, you need a hand saw and an X-Acto knife. It also helps to have a vise to hold the pipe while sawing and cutting.

Structurally, the weak points in this design are the bridges on either side of the top and bottom holes. Try to not make the holes larger than necessary, to leave as much material in the bridges as possible. Also, if you only want a holder for a particular number of batteries, eliminate the holes in the middle. That will leave the pipe stronger and save you some time.

Your clothespins may not have the same measurements mine do, so you will have to calculate your own distances between holes. Put one clothespin in hole #4. Then set the batteries next to the pipe and imagine where the other clothespin has to be to exert the correct pressure. Too far apart and there will be no pressure. Too close and the batteries will not fit. Both clothespins have play. I had to open both clothespins to get the batteries loaded. Once loaded they are firmly held.

Remember that the small bottom hole at #4 is turned around from the others. Holes 1, 2, and 3 give you options for moving the second clothespin, thereby accommodating different numbers of batteries. One clothespin always goes in hole #4.


To attach the wires to the clothespins, first disassemble the clothespin, if it is not already apart. Clothespins come apart easily by sliding one half sideways out from under the spring. Strip the insulation off the wire, run it through one hole and back through the other. Twist the end around the wire.

To reassemble the clothespin, it is easiest to start by lifting the spring a little with your fingernail. Slip the wedged end of the clothespin under the spring and push until the parts snap together.


Loading the batteries involves some dexterity opening the clothespins and loading the batteries at the same time.

I tilted the holder vertically, so gravity helped. Squeezing the bottom clothespin let the batteries fall a little farther, allowing the second clothespin to be inserted over top of them. Note how both clothespins in the picture are forced open by the pressure. This is the kind of tight fit you want. It applies maximum pressure to the batteries.


The tester proves the circuit is complete.

If your wires do not make good contact with the battery terminals, you can get some vertical adjustment of the pins by rounding off the square ends inside the pipe. That will let the clothespins and the wires drop down a little.



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    Nice I have the same multimeter, (old school) still works great. Doodado

    Hot Damn ! Thats a good idea !
    I've needed this kind of thing for a long time ! Thank you.

    Beautiful design!

    When compelled to use a nail or brad for "drilling" small holes in wood, splitting can be minimized (but not eliminated, unfortunately) by placing the brad point-up on a hard surface (the anvil on the back of most bench vices is perfect) and gently tapping it a bit flat with the hammer. A blunted tip tends to "plow through" the wood fibres, chopping them off, rather than "wedging between" and spreading/splitting them like a sharp tip tends to do.

    No guarantees, of course, but generally speaking...

    "The Dr."

    1 reply

    Second that - nicely done and well photographed!


    Great Idea! I have also taped wire directly to the terminals in a pinch. First you strip and cork screw about 1/8 inch of wire. This acts in a tension or spring like manner aiding in the contact of the wire to the battery terminal. After getting both wires attached wrap another peice of tape around both terminals to assure the tension. It works great and I have used this methad many times. Thanks!


    Great idea. I like the "time lapse" showing how to cut out the holes.

    that's a really clever battery holder, a bit big, but i'm thinking that you can make something similar with only the springs, so it could be smaller...

    3 replies

    The pipe is what does the holding. How would you hold the batteries without the pipe? The only way I can think of to make it smaller would be to lay the batteries side-by-side with some sort of bridges to connect the terminals. Hm-m-m-m, an alternative idea brewing.

    i know that thats what holds the battery's together, my sugestion was to lose the clothespins and only use their springs, then you'd have a near minimum size...

    Without the wooden parts, you lose the advantage of leverage you have for fighting the strength of the spring. You also lose the way to hold the spring units in place, by inserting the wood in the holes. Play with a clothespin. I don't see it, but if you find a way around these problems and can just use the springs, let me know.

    For step two, it would be MUCH easier if you used a dremel. just my two cents :D otherwise, very clever. :D 5*

    1 reply

    The dremel could work, but the hand tools work fine, also. Most of the work is done with the hand saw and goes pretty fast. Trimming with the knife goes fast. With hand tools, there is less noise, no electricity consumed, and there is less chance of the tool getting out of control and cutting wild. The straight cuts are easy to make precisely with the saw. Dremels are useful tools, though, I'll agree.

    This would be good for those AAAAs you can get out of some 9V batteries.

    1 reply

    I'm not familiar with those batteries. You might need smaller pipe, perhaps the bodies of ball point pens. The clothespins might be proportionately too large to use in the same way with smaller pipe.

    If I made a compacter, better for final project type battery holder based off this idea, can I post an instructable? I'll give you credit of course :D

    1 reply

    Thanks for asking. I'd appreciate credit for what you borrow, and I'd like to see you get credit for your original improvements. Go for it.

    Really clever idea, and easy to remember for when needed !

    1 reply

    That's one of the more clever things I've seen on here in a while, and useful! Great idea for a test bench situation when you don't want to buy a power supply.