The Ryobi 18v LI batteries are fantastic. They have a lot of power are recharge quickly. I looked for other projects with these batteries and then thought about my Ryobi Lantern. I used 1 Aukey 4.8 dual usb car charger because it was so small.
Step 1: Items Needed
Ryobi Lantern - Duh!
10 Piece Enkay Star Security Bits - Amazon
Phillips Screw Driver
1 Aukey 4.8 Dual USB Car Charger - Amazon or Ebay
JB Weld Kwik
Wire, decent gauge
Step 2: Remove Case
The first step is to open the lantern. Ryobi must not want anyone opening this because they use Security bits and the screw holes are very tight. I found a 10 piece Security Star Bit set on Amazon for $10. This will allow you take the top off and the sides. You will have to remove a plug under the back label to remove a phillips screw. The plug can be seen in the photo.
You will also need to remove the phillips screws on the bottom, there is 1 in the battery terminal area and 2 in another recessed area. I hit my screw driver with a magnet to remove and install these screws.
Step 3: Install Charger
Sorry, I did not take pictures of the whole process, it is actually pretty easy.
There seems to be only 1 spot to install the car charger and that is to the left of center on the back panel. I used a drill bit to drill the hole and a grinder to get the hole size correct.
I then glued the charger in the hole using JB Weld. I put a bead of JB around the neck and once in the hole, I put JB Weld on the inside to take the wear and tear of inserting and removing USB cables.
I then put the 2 sides back together on the base to make sure the charger fit, it is a pretty tight fit. I let the JB Weld set up in that position and once it firmed up, I started the electrical.
Step 4: Electrical
My first attempt was to solder the wires from the battery terminal to the charger but it seemed to FRY the charger.
So I grabbed a second charger out of my wife's car!
Had a hard time removing the bad charger because JB Weld works very well, but with the new one in, I soldered the wires to the top of the battery terminals and ran the Negative wire through the negative contact on the car charger and wrapped it around itself for reliability. Test before moving on as it seems only 1 of the 2 negative contacts on the car charger power it. Once I found the negative contact on the car charger that worked, I marked it with a silver sharpie.
I then looped the Positive wire around the single post on the charger and used electrical tape to secure it. I covered all solder points with electrical tape just to be sure.
I did TEST before I rebuilt the lantern, lessoned learned.
The wiring is pretty easy because you can easily see the Red and Black wires on the battery terminal.
Step 5: Rebuild Lantern
If you removed the top and the lens, the lens needs to go back into the base before you bring the sides together.
Screw the sides back together, 4 Security screws and the 1 phillips for the side. Phillips screws are on the bottom.
Step 6: Finished
The lantern should light as before but you now have 2 very powerful usb ports. We tend to grab this lantern during a storm so having 2 usb ports on it is a bonus.
Charged 2 phones after the build and still had 75% of the Ryobi battery left. The build tool me a couple of hours after dinner.
Note on Ryobi batteries, Home Depot generally runs a sale on 2 of the Green tipped full size batteries a couple times a year, I find these batteries the best. I also find the Ryobi 18v tools work very well so I am pretty invested in this product line.