Introduction: Ultimate Battery Management Station

Picture of Ultimate Battery Management Station

It seemed like half the time I went to that shoe box size plastic bin overflowing with batteries and their respective packaging, much of which was carelessly left behind and empty, I would find 3 of the particular size when I needed 4. Sometimes, I would find a dead battery in the box which was even more frustrating and I was amazed at how fast my family seemed to be going through batteries. I later discovered that my children were generously supplying most of the kids in the neighborhood with their battery needs. Not that I minded occasionally helping one of the kids get their toy up and going again, but I hadn’t meant to start a regular service.

There were some various battery organizers on the market and a few plans out there, but I wanted to create a battery station that not only organized my batteries, but provided a central and convenient charging station as well. I also wanted to be reminded when I turned out the lights at night if I had any batteries charging that needed to be unplugged. Therefore I created what I call a battery management station that organized my alkaline and rechargeable batteries, housed my chargers and cables, provided a central place to charge various batteries, and lit up to remind me that something was charging. It features a see through door so I can see how many batteries I have, power strip with USB outlets, storage compartments for chargers or cables, a small drawer for odd size batteries, a shelf to rest things on while being charged them and a battery testing meter.

Step 1:

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On this project I was utilizing materials I had laying around purchasing only a small piece of plexiglass, a power strip and a small light rope kit I happened to find on sale. First I cut the top and bottom frame members of the battery storage unit using 1x3. The top is cut to a length of 23 ¼” and the bottom is cut to 13”. I then mark off the location of the 8 vertical members cut to a length of 12 ½”. (Fig. 1)

Step 2:

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In order for the batteries to all line up at the front ofthe storage organizer, it is necessary to cut spacers that will fit in the back of the compartments. Utilizing small pieces of scrap, I used a thickness planer to achieve the correct dimensions but this could also be easily done with a table saw. (Fig. 2 & 3)

The spacing for the battery compartments is as follows with ¾” between for each vertical member. Also included are the thicknesses of the rear spacers.

· Alkaline D – 1 7/8” * no spacer * Capacity: 10

· Alkaline C – 1 1/2” * 1/2" thick spacer * Capacity: 13

· Alkaline 9 volt – 1” * 1/2" thick spacer * Capacity: 18

· Alkaline AA – 3/4" * 1/2" thick spacer * Capacity: 24

· Alkaline AAA – 5/8” * 3/4" thick spacer * Capacity: 38

· Rechargeable AA – 5/8” * 1/2" thick spacer * Capacity: 20

· Rechargeable AAA – 1/2" * 3/4" thick spacer * Capacity: 30

Step 3:

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I now needed to prepare the vertical members of the battery storage area starting with finger holes at the bottom. I used a quarter to mark the bottoms making sure to enlarge the 2 on either side of the D batteries. After rough cutting with a band saw (Fig. 4), I cleaned it up with a spindle sander. (Fig. 5 & 6)

Step 4:

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At the top of each vertical member, except for the one on the far left because it would be the outside frame, I used a ¾” forstner bit to drill a hole along the very top for the light rope to slip through. (Fig. 7)

Step 5:

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The far left vertical member would need to be mortised for the 2 hinges. This was achieved with a hand chisel. (Fig. 8 & 9)

Step 6:

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The far right vertical member needed to be mortised for a pair of magnets that would hold the door closed. This was also done with a hand chisel. (Fig. 10 & 11)

Step 7:

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One last detail for the vertical members was to use a ½” forstner bit to drill a shallow recess in the second to the right vertical member. This will provide clearance for the screw that holds the knob on the plexiglass door. (Fig. 12)

Step 8:

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The bottom of the battery organizer was beveled to provide access and easier removal of the batteries. I used a jointer, but a hand plane would easily do the job. (Fig. 13)

Step 9:

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At this point, the rest of the cabinet pieces needed to be cut. Left side of the cabinet below the organizer was cut from a 1x3 to a length of 6”. The right side 1x3 of the cabinet was cut to a length of 20” and a 1 ½” hole was drilled near the top to allow the plug from the power strip to pass through. (Fig. 14) A piece of ¾” x ¾” wood was cut to a length of 10 ¼” to serve as a valance hiding the light rope on the right side.

Step 10:

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The bottom shelf assembly was made from 5 pieces of 1x3 cut to a length of 4 ½” to server as the dividers. The 2 shelves are 24” long 1x6. I used a belt sander to round over the corners. (Fig. 15) Finally the back of the unit is a piece of ¼” plywood cut 24” wide and 24 ¼” tall.

Step 11:

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The last part that needed to be prepared was the door. The door is simply a piece of 1/8” thick plexiglass cut 13” wide and 11 3/4” tall. What appears to be the frame is really just some decorative trim. I mitered 4 pieces of half round molding to match the outside dimension of the plexiglass. I pre-drilled holes for the hinges and a few to attach the molding with screws, making sure to match some of the screw holes with the magnets. (Fig. 16) Finally, I pre-drilled a hole for the knob lining it up with the relief hole I drilled in the second to the right vertical member of the battery organizer. All of the holes except for the knob were widened with a countersink bit.

Step 12:

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After Sanding and painting, it is time to start assembly. Since I was using mostly screws and nails, I masked the areas where the parts would be in contact so the glue would be bonding to bare wood. I did not mask the back because I attached that with screws. (Fig. 17)

Step 13:

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I started by locating and screwing in the top shelf using #8 – 1 ½” wood screws. (Fig. 18) Since I was using a pneumatic nailer on finished material, I wanted as few exposed nail heads as possible. That is why I started in the middle and worked my way out.

Step 14:

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The lower left side and the right side were installed with the same screws through the back. Where the sides make contact with the shelf, I used glue and 18 gauge 1 ½” finish nails. (Fig. 19)

Step 15:

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Next I assembled the battery organizer separately by shooting nails through the vertical members into the back spacers in order to conceal a majority of the nail heads. I started with the right vertical member and worked my way to he left. The exposed side on the left did not have a spacer adjacent to it so no nail heads are visible to the side. The vertical members were also glued and nailed through the top and bottom. (Fig. 20 & 21)

Step 16:

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Once the battery organizer was fully assembled, I attached it to the back with some #8 – 1 ½” wood screws through the back and a few 18 gauge 1 ½” finish nail through the right side. (Fig. 22)

Step 17:

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The bottom shelf and dividers were then installed with screws and nails in the same manner as the rest of the unit. (Fig. 23) One of the dividers was deliberately sized to accommodate a small plastic bin l happened to have. This became a drawer for button type and odd size batteries. I also installed the light valance at the top right between the right side and the battery organizer.

Step 18:

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The door was assembled by with some #6 – ½” screws through the plexiglass into the half round molding. It is very important to pre-drill everything including the molding. I drove several screws at the location of the magnets to help hold the door closed. I also installed the small wooden knob and the hinges. (Fig. 24)

Step 19:

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The magnets were installed in the recesses carved out prior to finishing and the door was installed by attaching the hinges. (Fig. 25)

Step 20:

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The light rope was threaded through the holes in the top of the vertical members of the battery organizer and held in place behind the valance with some screw hooks (Fig. 26)

Step 21:

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I needed to reinforce the back where the power strip would be attached. I accomplished this by installing a piece of half inch plywood with #8 x ½” screws through the back. The mounting screws for the power strip were then attached. (Fig. 27)

Step 22:

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Some double sided tape was used to mount the battery meter. The light rope is simply plugged into the power strip so that when nothing is being charged and the power strip is off, the light is off. The unit is now complete and ready to sit on a table or be mounted to the wall. (Fig. 28) I have had the unit in place for several weeks and the improvement is dramatic. Just eliminating the clutter of that old battery box is just as rewarding as the functionality of the new battery station.

Rod Gunter is the Executive Director at Gunter Building Solutions and has over 20 years of experience in the homebuilding and cabinetry industries. Rod has been responsible for building over 200 homes above the $500,000 price point. Rod has trained large groups including all the major home centers on selling skills, construction techniques and sustainable natural wood products. Rod resides with his family in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Gunter Building Solutions owns WoodAirGrille.com which produces wood return air filter grilles and wood return air vents.

Comments

Sleepwalker65 (author)2017-07-13

Nice idea, but batteries last longer if stored in the refrigerator .

ionei (author)Sleepwalker652017-07-13

duracell clearly states that room temperature storage in a dry location is preferred. www.snopes.com reviews this urban legend with input from several battery companies.

Sleepwalker65 (author)ionei2017-07-13

Wrong. This is a chemistry 101 basic item. Batteries work on chemical reactions. Chemical reactions take longer at colder temperatures. Therefore your "urban legend" theory is out the window. Besides that, nobody wastes good money on Duracell batteries because they all leak.

ionei (author)Sleepwalker652017-07-14

I've degrees in chemical and mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley and 30 years experience in materials engineering and I've learned that things are generally more complicated than they appear, and that for every issue there is a answer that is quick, simple, and wrong ("chemistry 101": what you are referring to is characterized by the Arrhenius equation; I am well aware of it, but don't let my knowledge of one factor blind me to all the others). Since you already know more than Duracel, visit some other battery manufactures sites for expert response. I will not respond further and take away from this excellent Instructable.

JohnC430 (author)ionei2017-07-15

what kind of degrees do u have? Did you really major in both chemical and mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley?

Really? "I've degrees" should be "I have..."

SabinaCowan (author)JohnC4302017-08-20

Lol...he sounds pretty smart to me.

ionei (author)JohnC4302017-07-18

BS ChE 1983, MS ME 1985. Yes really, though sequential, not double major (that is beyond my capability). And not an English major, so the rule that you cannot use the common contraction is not allowed in that instance is not known to me; when I have time I will consult my "Elements of Style". Thank you for that valuable contribution to the discussion, though it seems more of an attack on credibility. Please do the research yourself: every dry cell manufacturer says basically the same thing, that RT, dry storage is best. In some cases (like EverReady) they say the cold in a refrigerator could damage the cell.

by that logic: You are just a bunch of chemicals , and chemicals works better when heat is applied , so you would become smarter if i put you in the oven?

The rate will of chemical reactions is a different thing than intelligence quotient. Thanks for playing.

diogosodre (author)Sleepwalker652017-07-13

The internet... I truly love it!

bhvm (author)2017-07-19

This is absolutely must have for gadget freaks!
Sadly Consumer devices are moving from standard AA & AAA formats towards far more propitiatory (And often less powerful) Li=ion batteries. Cameras are Notorious for this.

ptrobrn (author)2017-07-13

Very cool. but one question... Who needs that many 9 volt batteries?

My problem with batteries are these kids toys that require 3 AA batteries... why 3? Batteries are not sold in packs of 3!!!!!

WoodAirGrille (author)ptrobrn2017-07-13

Communication snafu between me and my wife and we ended up with more 9 volt batters than we will probably be able to use in the next decade.

9 V batteries are very useful for guitarist who use Boss or similar effect pedals! I get through a fair number of batteries.

JohnC430 (author)ptrobrn2017-07-15

haha. wait until they are older. their toys will require 8 AA batteries just for the toy and a 9V or 6 AA for the controller.

RayP42 (author)ptrobrn2017-07-13

LOL! Great point! You need to take that up with the same people who put 10 hot dogs in the package then only 8 buns in a package!

andrej (author)ptrobrn2017-07-13

buy 4 and while using 3 of them you can lose the 4th one so next time you buy another 4 pack.

ClaudioK3 (author)2017-07-15

May batery from laptop DELL have 11.1V Capacity 53WH,LI ion
Is it posible with 10 this baterry made USB charger!?
Claudio from Croatia city Of RIJEKA on the nordwest coast of Adriatiyc see

Thanks
C.

JohnC430 (author)ClaudioK32017-07-15

ClaudioK3 yes. but u dont need to have 10 of those. USB charger is 5 volts and ur battery is 11.1V so u need to buy a down converter to make 5 volts. u can buy on ebay for $0.75. And can also buy battery charger for LiPo for a very low price with USB connector

ClaudioK3 (author)JohnC4302017-07-15

John, thanks for mail,
Claudio

ajayt7 (author)2017-07-15

Good useful project

Dadelaus (author)2017-07-13

Nice design, have you considered a design that does NOT need wood working tools to construct? I live in an apartment, desparatly need something like this but at present have no access to those types of tools.

JohnC430 (author)Dadelaus2017-07-15

yeah, buy a few small plastic boxes and put each type of battery in a box. then put the boxes in a cardboard carton. Screw the power strip on to the outside of the box and screw the box to the wall adjacent to the wall socket. make a small compartment for the batteries that are being charged. if u do it nicely it will not look "Tacky"

WoodAirGrille (author)Dadelaus2017-07-13

I believe this can be built with dimensional lumber available at most home improvement stores and very basic hand tools. A drill, cross cut saw, chisel, hand plane, and a few others. Certainly can be done without the planer and jointer etc.

e5frog (author)2017-07-13

Nice idea, could be tough to grab a battery if there are too many stacked on top.

WoodAirGrille (author)e5frog2017-07-13

Good point, they have been known to stick once in a while, but drop down with a light tap.

WoodAirGrille (author)2017-07-13

Thanks for all the great comments! If anybody makes one, I hope you will post pictures, especially if you modified the design with you own ideas.

ve6cmm (author)2017-07-13

This looks great. I am going to build one for myself as I am always running out and forgetting to replace them. This by the shop door would solve that problem!

I do electronic design and repairs for a living and constantly running out of AA, AAA and 9V batteries. Not so much the C's or D's, which I haven't bought for quite some time.

This will really make it easy to see what is needed, and will also keep them from shorting out if just thrown in a box.

RayP42 (author)2017-07-13

Great idea. Really nice clean design.

Well done!

WNW1_ca (author)2017-07-13

Great idea, going to make it with some modifications as I am going through button batteries almost as fast and trying to identify those with small print is a hassle. So I also have also in my battery kit, tweezers, a loop, jewelery screw drivers, a watch backplate opener.

GTO3x2 (author)2017-07-13

Need to send out the warning about mixing rechargeables by nearly any parameter; capacity, type, use/age.

deluges (author)2017-07-12

That's really neat. Now the kids from the neighborhood know where to find them directly! Joke apart though, your kids seem kind hearted

DIYmechanics (author)2017-07-11

this is cool

TURBOTECHNOLOGY (author)2017-07-11

Great Idea..

Swansong (author)2017-07-11

I'd LOVE to have this set up in our garage instead of our plastic bin! I hope the kids stopped stealing your batteries. XD

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Bio: WoodAirGrille.com is part of the GBS family of Companies.  Gunter Building Solutions; LLC; or GBS; was founded in 2007 by Rod Gunter.  Despite being ... More »
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