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How to make a vacuum cleaner battery powered? (Luigi's Mansion Poltergust project) Answered

I'm thinking about making a functional Poltergust 3000 from Luigi's Mansion. The end result would basically be a back-mounted rechargeable vacuum cleaner with a toggle switch on the nozzle for at least "off" and "suck", although adding a "blow" option would be ideal to replicate as much of the functionality of the Poltergust as possible. The problem here is that I know very little about electrical work outside of basic on-off light circuits.

How do I figure out what kind of power source I'd need? I'd be buying a new vacuum for this project so it should have the tolerances listed in its manual, but I also have a multimeter handy for finding specific values. Also, if I am to add a "blow" option, would it be a bad idea to try and run the motor backwards so air blows out the nozzle? Finally, how could I make it's power supply rechargeable? Ideally I want for it to be able to charge up in a conventional wall socket.


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Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

1 year ago

Pretty much every vacuum cleaner blower out there, is a kind of centrifugal fan,


for which the air goes in, at the center of the fan, and goes out, at the perimeter. The Wiki article linked above has some pictures of this arrangement.

As a consequence of this, you cannot change the air flow direction, just by changing the direction the motor is spinning. The direction of air flow, is kind of built-in, determined by the geometry of the fan.

A "spool valve" is a kind of valve that can change the direction of fluid moving through pipes. Although it is probably impossible to find one sized for the moving air in vacuum cleaner hoses. I am kind of guessing you would have to build that part, somehow.

Also instead of buying a vacuum cleaner, I recommend buying a blower, with ports made to fit to pipes or hoses. Then you can do your air-flow plumbing with hoses.


For example, an air mattress inflator, is a blower of this kind. Typically the input and output ports have the shape, so you can swap the hoses from one port to the other, to make the air flow the other direction.

In contrast, a typical battery powered vacuum cleaner, has very strange shaped inputs and outputs. Many of these tend to be shaped like fish, with the input port at the mouth, and the output ports, maybe as gills on both sides of the body. I think that is a huge disadvantage compared to a pair of circle, or cylinder-shaped ports, that you can just stick hoses onto.

Actually, I have a few of these air mattress infltator-blowers in my junk collection already, plus some CPAP hoses,


because I seem to find CPAP hoses in dumpsters, pretty regularly. I am guessing those are some thing that people's medical insurance is paying them to throw them away, often unused, in the original packaging. The diameter of these CPAP hoses is smaller (around 1 cm or 0.5 inch) about half the diameter of a typical vacuum cleaner hose (around 2 cm or 1 inch)

I was contemplating building a functional, battery powered, vacuum cleaner, because I have this neighbor who wanted something to vacuum up insects from the plants in his garden. As part of this design, I was contemplating a clear plastic chamber, probably a 1-gallon glass, or plastic jar for the dust collection chamber, so that I could easily see the creatures, or things, that got vacuumed up.

My point is that I have already spent a certain amount of time day-dreaming about designs for a homemade, battery powered, vacuum cleaner, and I guess your question kind of gave me an excuse to share some of those ideas.


1 year ago

If you are buying a new vacuum, I would recommend buying one that is already battery powered an rechargeable.
The issue with running the motor backwards is that it will not filter the air, and will spit out everything you have sucked up. Most vacuums with a blow option have you move the hose to the outlet instead of reversing the motor. If this is just for a prop though you could use a cheap H bridge motor controller to reverse motor direction if you have a DC rechargeable vacuum.