Portable Battery Powered AC/DC Power Source




Why buy a portable power source that may cost over $150 when you can make your own for under half the cost.
This 'ible will show you how you can, for under $60, make you own portable power source that will be enough to power a small tv, converter box, and charge your phone all at once.

Disclaimer:  Working with batteries can be dangerous, especially if you have no past experience.  If you have any information on how to make this project safer or better, please tell me.

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Step 1: Gathering Materials

You will need:
two (2) 6 volt lantern batteries (with the caps);
                      1 small roll of electrical tape;
                      about 12 inches (1 foot) of speaker wire (it doesn't need to be heavy duty);
                      1 12 volt DC car cigarette lighter (with leads) (NOT ACTUALLY FROM A CAR);
Wire cutters/strippers
     Optional: AC/DC inverter (try to get something with 100 watts or lower so that it doesn't go right through the batteries)(this is only if you want to use a household appliance like a converter box or small tv that doesn't use batteries. Do not attempt to use a lamp)

Step 2: Tape the Batteries Together

Simple. Just do as the picture shows, placing the batteries next to each other with the terminals facing up, and tape the whole thing together like in the picture.  (The position of the terminals doesn't matter)

Step 3: Wiring: Step 1

Cut about 1 foot of regular speaker wire.  Strip about 2 inches from each end. Then coil up the ends and put them into 2 of your battery terminal caps.

Step 4: Wiring: Step 2

Put the caps onto the terminals and twist clockwise.  Make sure to put one cap onto the positive terminal of one battery and the other cap onto the nagative terminal of the other battery.  Note: It might help to turn the second cap, along with the wire, counter-clockwise before putting it on the terminal.

Step 5: Wiring: Step 3

If needed, strip the ends of the leads for the 12 volt cigarette lighter.  (First you may want to find out which wire is positive and which one is negative.  To do this, unscrew the cap on the bottom of the main body and look at where the wires are soldered.  The one soldered to the center is positive and the one on the outside is negative.)  Then, like before, coil up the ends and put them into the remaining 2 battery caps.

Step 6: Wiring: Final Step

Like we did earlier, place the caps on the terminals, making sure to match up the positives and negatives.  Twist clockwise. 

Step 7: Taping the Terminals

Tape the terminal caps down so that they will not come untwisted.  They probably wouldn't anyway, but just to be safe, you should.  You can tape them however you think will work best, but remember, you might have to take it off once the batteries die.

Step 8: Using an Inverter

In case you don't know how to use an inverter, this is basicly how.  You plug the inverter into the cigarette lighter.  If there is a light on it, it should turn on.  Then you plug any household appliance into it.  (Make sure the wattage of the appliance is less than that of the inverter.  If it is more, you will blow the fuse in the inverter.

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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    How would i make it small enough to build it into a lap desk?


    ok, so might be a silly question, but how hard would it be to add perhaps a second plug and perhaps a couple USB or mini USB ports/plugs to this unit? (granted larger batteries may be needed i suppose) as well as to inputs for charging the batteries.. such as a plug for patching in a solar panel and a direct to outlet plug?

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Does it have to be a cigarette lighter or can I use a regular 12v outlet for a car? The ones that aren't meant for lighters


    7 years ago on Introduction

    here is an even better idea if you want a rechargeable power source and want it to last a little longer im thinking about 2x to 3x longer may be more and are willing to deal with a few extra pounds go out to your local fleet farm and spend about 17 bucks depending on the size and get a rider lawn mower battery it will be 12 volts so you will only need one and then hook it up the same way use it till its dead and when your done recharge it and its good to go now if you want something to last alot longer and have access to an old boat battery use that and you should be able to run what every you want off of it if its less than 100 watts for about 4 to 6 hours maybe even 8 depending on the condition of the battery


    8 years ago on Introduction

    ok, so i made this today and it worked great. Had no problems and here's what i found:
    the batteries lasted about one hour and 15 mins before it turned off. now my AC/DC inverter has a cut off built in. which means that when the batteries reach a certain point a alarm goes off and then in a short time it auto shuts off. so i could've had more time if not for that.
    what i was powering was a A/v signal sender as shown in this link http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2799800

    which drawn 12v cc at 300ma its a small unit.
    i hope this helps.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    They also make 6v lead acid rechargeable batteries in exactly the same format as you show. They are widely used in game cameras.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Can you provide some stats?  How long does it last under draw from charging a phone, or charging a laptop (while off) etc. What is the top draw, mA or A?  This is cool, I just want to know more details on how useful this may be and for how long.  Too bad they don't make inexpensive rechargeable 6v lantern batteries. :)

    1 reply
    Doom Microi0scan

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Goto walmart and get 2 6v rechargeables in the drivable toy car section.
    They work the best for the money.