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How long can I run a wifi highspeed modem on an AAA battery using RCA cables? Answered

After seeing a hack where someone used RCA audio cable to hook up an AAA battery (either alkaline or NiMH) that would run a television set for a few minutes, I was wondering if the same could be done with a wifi highspeed modem. Two concerns are whether the simplicity of the materials might allow the battery to damage the modem and how long the battery would power the unit before running out.

There is a video of the television set procedure here.

The primary reason for using a hack like this would be its simplicity, availability and low expense of materials. The purpose would be to be able to power the modem long enough to grab and reply to vital email and other social media messages in short bursts using a wifi device (such as an iPod) in the event of a power outage. This, of course, is dependent upon whether the landline phone/highspeed internet is still accessible during a power outage.
Two other questions that arise is whether connecting two AAA cells in this fashion will increase the length of time the unit can be powered significantly and whether the increase in power would cause damage to the unit without any other materials and equipment.


The first thing to note is there is no such thing as a free lunch. A TV needs 120V, not the 1.5 from a battery.

There is basically not enough energy in the 1.5V battery, at a useful level, to do anything like power a router.

Electricity becomes "dangerous" mostly when the voltage you have can push enough current through your heart to kill you - we generally reckon to not need precautions below about 50V

So, even running a smaller device such as an AC radio or modem or clock would still need a higher voltage than an AAA battery?

With the recent ice storm, I lost power for only 32 hours and being that my agency pays me monthly, I had absolutely no resources to put towards some sort of UPS ($$$) or power back up until later. I would have only needed 10 minutes three or four times a day to get my work email. I was interested in the length of time one could power the modem as there were others in my area, including my clients, without power for a week. I still had to work so getting my email was important. All my other comforts were taken care of so the email access was the most important. Building some sort of power backup for very little money and be reasonably easy to put together would be of interest. I have a 1.8W solar panel but I don't think that would work very well in winter.

I hope you really don't believe that video because if you do you are in for a big disappointment. That was a spoof he was not running a TV on a single 1.5 volt battery.

If you still believe the video I have a map to the lost treasure of Black Beard you can have for $1,000,000.oo

The only route to the lost treasure of Black Beard happens to be across a bridge you can buy off me too....

Sweet, I own the toll booth on that bridge, looks like we're all going to make money here.


You're not going to even see a led glow on your modem with 1 AA batt altho you will have better luck with 10 wired in series. (most modems run of 12V dc)

Howdy tenant. We need to talk about your rent.....

Howdy Pardner.

.. about the rent... ummm, I built a cash Trebuchet to fling the money down your way and the notes dont go far enough, like not even out the booth window, and the coins just shoot about everywhere. So if you've had coins bouncing off the roof that was me. :)
I should have a better version built by next year so you might be getting the coins by then at least.

Well, so much for the "be nice comment policy." I'm just learning about this stuff and knowing that mishandled electricity can be dangerous, I am hesitant to try anything before asking some detailed questions as I have done here. I would have got more out of someone saying that the video was a fake and some honest suggestions with accurate information instead of insults and idiotic comments.

Thank you to those who made the attempt.

After watching the video I noticed that the tv was slammed against the wall and the cord was coming out of the remaining space completly straigth, so, combined with the fact that I don´t believe it would work I say the video is fake. However feel free to try. The worst case scenario you would just empty out the battery, as the tv won't suffer any damages.

have you seen the car battery hack? its powered by like 1 million dollars worth of AA batteries. If the voltage of the modem is the same (12V as the car battery you could power it better.

The video is obviously a fake. Notice the cord is coming from behind the cabinet but they don't show that the cord is actually attached to the TV in any way.

There is no way to power the modem with a single AAA battery. Check the power adapter for the modem and see what it says the output is. Chances are it 12VDC. I've seen some that require 15VDC. So if you want to run it off AAA batteries for a short period of time then you would need 8 or more batteries in series.