Run any battery powered item through AC power.

Picture of Run any battery powered item through AC power.
Have you ever not had enough batteries for an object? Or have you ever lost the adapter for an object, and wanted to use it again? Or just want to make some cool sparks in your room?
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Step 1: Finding the right stuff.

Picture of Finding the right stuff.
So you're cleaning your room one day, and you find your old Gameboy, circa 1989. Some more searching yields a few cartridges, until you finally find one that's worth playing (I have Zelda as my example in this one). You flick the switch antd wait for the red battery light to shine.. and nothing. You flick it again. Still nothing. Pulling the cartridge out, you blow in there, hoping to clear out some of the dust, perhaps that was the problem. Finally, after opening the battery compartment door, you realize that either the batteries in there are dead, or they're missing. Still burning with the urge to play Link's Awakening, you set out on a quest to make the Gameboy work. With no batteries in sight, you must turn to alternative methods.

What you need:
- Gameboy (or any device that runs off batteries and has positive and negative terminals)
- Alligator clips (not necessary, any sort of wire will work just as well)
- AC adapter (I used a variable one, you can really use any adapter as long as the voltages match)
- Standard safety equipment (gloves if you're scared of being shocked, water as the sparks could cause a fire)
mattkenton5 years ago
I used this to equip my battery-only baby swing. In my opinion this thing was a battery company/baby equipment scam. So thanks for the instructable. Works great!
mark1018 years ago
Minimally you should include a DIODE in case of accidental reverse polarity. If you mix up the positive and negative, you will likely fry the electronic of whatever you connected to. It's about 10- 20cents for one diode to protect your stuff. Additionally transformers over time can (go bad) put out too much voltage/current, so check their voltages without a load and with the electronics connected and turned on.
Any recommendations/links to find the diode that you are speaking of?
This is basic electronics. A diode lets the electricity flow in only one direction. Usually diodes are used where AC alternating current/electricity is involved. In this cicuit it is DC direct current it is controlling, the diodes job is to stop an accidental positive and negative mix up. Any diode that can pass the ? 500mA current the item uses (the gameboy) can be used. You just put it in series (look up series if you don't know what series is) with the positive, or the negative power lead, in the correct powering up, the polarity of the item.
A diode is a good idea -- there's one built into the thing too ;) I know this from being a little kid and not knowing how to put batteries in properly :P
ok, not all electronic have the safety diode built in on their positive supply.
uzerzero (author)  mark1018 years ago
The adapter I used has a polarity switch on it, and I have switched the polarities many, many times and never had any problems with my electronics. But this is a good point, I'll add it into my instructable :)
medieval2147 years ago
U know that the original Gameboy TM, has a DC power in!
jabcoolman7 years ago
My device runs on 2 regular duracell batteries (1.5v I assume).

Would this 3VDC/500mA AC-to-DC Adapter work for my situation?

Or with this 3VDC/700 mA Regulated AC Adapter?

I mean, whats the difference really? I just want to power my device that runs on 2 AA batteries... but its expensive so I want to pick the right adapter!
There are two differences between the two items you mentioned... One, the regulated one has a higher current output. It is always OK to use an adapter that is rated for a higher current rating than the device it is powering, but the reverse is not true. (Think of current as the rate at which the voltage is used; the more you have to power, the more "juice" you need at any given time). Also, the regulated one is, well, regulated. The other one sits at 3V, but will probably have some noise in the signal. The regulated one will give a cleaner output, but either one should be fine, since most devices that come with adapters don't have regulated outputs anyway.
uzerzero (author)  jabcoolman7 years ago
If you REALLY must, go ahead and get the second one. It has a built in regulator, so it'll step itself down in case your device uses a draw of less 700 mA. But honestly, a set of batteries can't be more expensive than $18.99! Go ahead and spare yourself the heartache of breaking an expensive product, and just stick with some batteries. I only wrote this instructable as a proof of concept. There's really no need to go out and buy an adapter specifically for your product. Just use batteries. You could probably buy 30 of them for the price of one adapter.
Well, actually, I was impatient and went ahead and did this myself. My device works wonderfully with AC power now! Of course, it really is cheaper to run on AC than batteries, because my main goal in switching to AC is because the device needed to stay on all night long, every night... and batteries would become very expensive then! I even made a battery adapter for my device, so if I ever want to switch back to batteries, I can just plug them in. I basically took your idea of cutting and wiring the ends of the AC adapter, and instead used adapter-plugs (in my case, the M-plug from radioshack). This makes it much easier to switch out! Thanks for the help anyway!
oh also, i believe batteries are DC, so ac might screw something up :-\?
but! how would you do this with a dvd player (with circular plug) with out the circular plug charger!!? evil question! mu.hahaha
uzerzero (author)  !Andrew_Modder!7 years ago
Just hook it up to the battery compartment. If it doesn't take batteries, then you'll have to take it apart and find out which are the positive and negative leads (use a multimetre). Or, if you have an adapter plug that will fit the hole, you can just cut it apart and use those cables.
but my battery (and connector...duh) have 5 unknown connectors. lol i have no idea why, im guessing 2 or 3 are + rest are - :-\ but how would i do that!? Muhahahaha
uzerzero (author)  !Andrew_Modder!7 years ago
You'll have to look up a pinout on what is positive and negative. You probably won't be able to find an adapter for your DVD player though, since most are on non-standard voltages (8v, 7v, etc.) Chances are, the pinout is something like +, data, data, ground, -. But I have no clue.
I like this instructable. Gave me a few ideas for another application. THANKS!!
lemonie8 years ago
This doesn't tell us very much. Adapting the, no hang on, don't they have a 6v input socket? Please tell me what I should be learning from this.
uzerzero (author)  lemonie8 years ago
In case you lost the adapter. And don't have 4 AA batteries to waste. That's what this is for.
jakv58 years ago
Why didn't I think of that the last time I ran out of batteries??
0.775volts8 years ago
Don't use water on electrical fires. other than that this isn't a bad start. one tip, when you cut the plug off, leave a few inches of wire on it so you can strip it and use it again with something else. Also make sure that you're not destroying your siblings cd player power supply.
robonut6258 years ago
Good idea... until one of the alligator clips falls off in the middle of playing Zelda! lol
uzerzero (author)  robonut6258 years ago
Try wires, they can work a little better than alligator clips. I didn't have any on hand, so I used those.
Fenwick8 years ago
LOL, the dirty clothes on the floor. Very nice instructable, very simple yet useful.
uzerzero (author)  Fenwick8 years ago
The simplest instructables are the best :)
jnixon8 years ago
Pretty good! Are there any consequences to using only two battery terminals as opposed to hooking up all 4? I mean, will this hurt your device?
mark101 jnixon8 years ago
jnixon it only uses 2 connections, one for positive one for negative. the other two connectors just add/make the batteries go in series.