Introduction: Experiment Power Boost Battery Operated Vehicles

Picture of Experiment Power Boost Battery Operated Vehicles

Learn how to power boost your battery operated jeep, car, motorcycle, 4 wheeler. or any other battery powered kids vehicle.

This Instructable will show how to convert your 12 volt operated kid vehicle to 24 volts. With a fun experiment, we will also answer the question...

Travel FASTER!

Does doubling the voltage/power double the speed of the of the vehicle?

Through a series of trials, we will show the speed increase after modifying the power supply from 12 volt to 24 volt.

Before continuing, understand that you follow this instructable at your own risk. Manufacturers design these toy vehicles for 12 volt power. By boosting to higher voltage you are at risk of burning motors and more importantly risking safety of the rider.

As a matter of fact, I tried this 2 years ago when my son was probably too young to handle the speed increase while taking turns. Well, he rolled his machine! Luckily it happened on a soft grass surface. I immediately removed the second battery until now.

Read on to see how to upgrade your vehicle's power supply and have fun with a little experiment.

Step 1: History

Picture of History

As with any interest there is a community out there with your same interest. What I will show is just one of many different modifications you can do to your battery powered vehicle. Human natures says MORE POWER! And we want to go FASTER!

If you are really interested in modding your toy check out Modified Power Wheels. People really get creative with there toys!

My son is now 8 years old. I purchased this 4 wheeler when he was 4 years old. He has loved riding it and just recently started losing interest. His loss of interest was due to the speed. He was just becoming bored with it and ready to sell it. From the manufacturer these vehicles will move 4-5 mph on a full charge. I then asked him if I could make it faster would he want to keep it. His answer, YES!

Okay then... let's make it faster.

We will show how to make it faster and see the results of doubling the voltage power supply.

Step 2: Manufacturer Recommended Battery

Picture of Manufacturer Recommended Battery

As mentioned earlier, most of these cars are designed to run on one 12 volt battery. The two most popular manufacturers on the market are Peg Perego and Power Wheels.

If you own one of these you will notice my 12 volt battery wiring harness and battery looks quite different than the manufacturer batteries and connection.

This is because I am not about to pay $50-$70 from the manufacturer, for a 12 volt battery that I can buy for $25 from a battery supply house. So, once you have burned through that original battery or want to purchase a second back up battery, watch this video. The video will show how to get that connector out of the original battery and start saving money on batteries.

Step 3: Battery Booster Supplies

Picture of Battery Booster Supplies

Assuming you have already modified your wiring harness connection to accept after market batteries, you will need the following to convert from 12 volt to 24 volt.

  • (2) 12 volt / 12 amp batteries. Buy them on Amazon or elsewhere online.
  • 16 awg wire. Length will depend on where and how you decide to mount your 2 batteries. We only needed a 10 inch length.
  • (2) terminal connectors
  • Wire Strippers
  • Terminal Crimps
  • 12 volt battery charger.

To start... be sure that both batteries are fully charged with a battery charger of your choice.

Step 4: Make a Series Circuit Wire

Picture of Make a Series Circuit Wire

We will need to make one additional wire to connect the two batteries in Series to sum the voltage of the two batteries together.

After you have decided how you will set the batteries in your vehicle, cut a wire long enough to connect the two batteries. We needed a 10 inch length of 16 awg. wire.

  • Strip each end of the wire.
  • Attach a female connector to each end.
  • Crimp the connectors on.

That is all you need to connect the batteries. One simple wire.

Step 5: Test Wire Connection and Voltage

Picture of Test Wire Connection and Voltage

When you use multiple batteries together you have the option of wiring them in Series or Parallel. This project calls for wiring in Series. By wiring in Series the voltage of the batteries is summed together while keeping the amperage/current the same. So by wiring these two batteries in Series we now have a 26.4 volt power supply with 12 amps. Greater voltage will mean FASTER SPEED of your vehicle.



1. Use the wire you made to connect the negative of battery 1 to the positive of battery 2.
2. Connect the positive of battery 1 to the positive probe of your volt meter.
3. Connect the negative of battery 2 to the negative probe of your volt meter.


If you connected correctly, and have your volt meter set correctly, you should now see the sum voltage of the two batteries. Note that the sum is 26.4 volts. Yes, this is greater than 12 + 12 =24. A fully charged battery will charge to about 13 plus volts.

Now that you have this wired and tested. All you will need to do is remove the meter probes and install into vehicle and connect positive to positive and negative to negative from vehicle to batteries.

According to Wikipedia.

In a series circuit, the current through each of the components is the same, and the voltage across the circuit is the sum of the voltages across each component.[1] In a parallel circuit, the voltage across each of the components is the same, and the total current is the sum of the currents through each component.

Step 6: 12 Volt Connection

Picture of 12 Volt Connection

As a reminder, this shows our vehicle battery compartment with only one 12 volt battery installed under the seat. Note that it is a horizontal placement. Really no room for a second battery.

You may have to get creative and modify your vehicle in some way to fit two batteries.

Luckily for us, all we needed to do was turn the batteries on end to fit under the seat.

Step 7: 24 Volt Two Battery Setup Vehicle Connection

Picture of 24 Volt Two Battery Setup Vehicle Connection

As mentioned, no need to modify the vehicle in this case. Both batteries set perfectly in place on end.

  1. Insert batteries bottom to bottom on end with terminals facing up.
  2. Connect open positive vehicle connection to positive of battery one.
  3. Connect open negative vehicle connection to negative of battery two.

Step 8: 24 Volt Two Battery Setup Series Connection

Picture of 24 Volt Two Battery Setup Series Connection

We have connected the batteries to the vehicle. Now use the Series connection wire you made to connect the two batteries. Connect the positive to negative of the batteries.

Your circuit is now complete. You are ready to go FASTER!

But, how fast will you go?

Step 9: 12 Volt Run

This video shows the speed of a 100 ft. run on pavement. Approximate time to complete the run is 16 seconds.

Step 10: 24 Volt Run

Here you will see a significant different in speed to complete the 100 ft. run at approximately 9 seconds. Quite a difference.

Step 11: Experiment

Picture of Experiment

The question we are trying to answer here is...

If we double the voltage from 12 volt to 24 volt will the speed double as well? Can we complete the 100 ft. run in half the time with a 24 volt power supply?

Let's have a little fun and run an experiment.

With some basic tools and rudimentary techniques we try to find the answer.

Supplies

  • Note pad and pen to record data.
  • Stop watch to time it takes for vehicle to travel 100 ft.
  • Measuring tape to measure 100 ft. distance.
  • Chalk to mark start and finish line.
  • Cell phone or other video recording device... just to show the difference in speed.
  • 150 ft. flat and paved runway.

Step 12: Experiment Collecting Data

Picture of Experiment Collecting Data

In our "scientific" experiment we ran a series of runs and timed how long it would take for the vehicle to travel 100 ft. As noted on our data pad...

V= voltage being used. This was either 12 or 24 volts

D= distance of 100 ft. for all runs

T= time it took to run the 100 ft runway.

Start= type of start. A stop start was from a stopped position with the understanding it takes time for the vehicle to get to full speed. A running start was timed from start to finish with a 30 ft. head start before the starting line to get the vehicle up to full speed. The reason we added the running start is because there was significant tire spin on a stopped start once we went to 24 volts. This tire spin would obviously skew our "scientific" results.

Refer back to previous steps to view video of 100 ft. run with 12 volt and 24 volt power supplies.

Step 13: Experiment Results

Picture of Experiment Results

After analysis of the data sheet we can conclude...

  • With a 12 volt power supply the vehicle will travel approximately 4.5 miles per hour with a 70 lb. passenger.
  • With a 24 volt power supply the vehicle will travel approximately 8.4 miles per hour with a 70 lb. passenger.
  • There is a 76.54% increase in speed starting from a stopped position.
  • There is a 87.56% increase in when testing from a running start.

From this data we can conclude while there is a significant increase in speed, doubling the voltage of power supply will not double the speed.

But, that 8 year old that was getting bored with moving at 4.5 miles per hour will now enjoy moving ALMOST twice as fast!

We hope others find this Instructable useful to upgrade your motorized toy. Have a little fun with math and your son and daughter and run the experiment yourself.

If you have more to add or found and error in our research and data collection and calculations, please share.

Thanks for viewing and give a VOTE if you feel worthy!

DIYWATERDOG

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Comments

DiyWaterDog (author)2017-07-13

OH!!! and with tire spin on pavement you will wear out the plastic tires much quicker.

DiyWaterDog (author)2017-07-13

I think the biggest worry with the durability will be the gears. With the doubled voltage you can get a whole lot more tire spin on pavement and wet terrain. Time for doughnuts!

clothier_bruce (author)2017-07-13

First off, the voltage rating on a DC motor is pretty meaningless. You can run a 12V motor on twice, three or four times it's rated voltage. The voltage rating is conservative: it's the voltage at which it will run all day without overheating. At a higher voltage you run the risk of overheating, but most toys get intermittent use and you could always fix an in-line thermal fuse. One option is to use three 6V batteries (18V). There are so many battery types and sizes you could try all sorts of things, provided you can cram them in the available space. If the toy is old, then you can get brutal with it and hack the bodywork about to achieve your goal. If it goes much faster than before, he isn't going to worry about it looking a bit naff

ThamerK1 (author)2017-06-22

That's a really great Idea. I've always thought that this could ruin the motor.

and is this correct:


  1. Use the wire you made to connect the "negative" of battery one to the "negative" of battery two.
  2. Connect the "positive" of battery one to the positive probe of your volt meter.
  3. Connect the "negative" of battery two to the negative probe of your volt meter.
DiyWaterDog (author)ThamerK12017-06-22

Thanks for the catch on the typo. I have corrected the wording above.

Yes there is a chance you can burn out the motors by upping the voltage. Considering we have gotten 4 good years of use out of the motors, its time to make it more fun for the older kid. We can always get second had salvaged motors online if needed. I truly would not power boost a brand new vehicle right out of the box. These are way to expensive to burn out new motors.

Nice write up! This makes me wonder if there are 24v motors available that you could swap out if you end up burning yours, and if those 24v motors would give you closer to the almost double speed you are getting. You could also set up this 12v vehicle with a "turbo" button that gave it a shot of 24v only when the button was pressed.

Not sure if there are 24 volt motors, but maybe 18 volt. But if there is, most anything new and second hand can be found at Modified Power Wheels http://forum.modifiedpowerwheels.com/ I'm sure I will be able to find a wiring diagram there somewhere to switch between 12 and 24 volt and "turbo" with a momentary button switch from 12 to 24. I have a couple older model jeeps that I might try to fix up and try the turbo with.

3366carlos (author)2017-06-25

Did you try the batteries in parallel? More current should give more power/speed without stressing the motor. Nice project.

gravityisweak (author)3366carlos2017-06-27

Connecting the batteries in parallel would allow you to run it for twice as long at 12v. It would not provide any increase in speed, just duration.

Thanks for the confirmation. I thought I had read that somewhere before.

DiyWaterDog (author)3366carlos2017-06-26

No I have not. Will give it a try.

3366carlos (author)2017-06-22

good job. Add a turbo charger next.

random_builder (author)2017-06-21

Nice idea! I love the "need 4 speed"! So funny...

Yes... at some point we all have a Need for Speed!

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