Ricoh GRD AC to DC Power Supply

On my first instructable - i had a link to a youtube video that was a time lapse that formed part of the build guide for the lamps. 

I'd completely forgotten about the funny little attachment I'd built for doing the actual time lapse. I'd been planning a 4x4 trip into central australia and left my run a bit late to buy an AC to DC power supply for my camera. I rang every store in Melbourne but any that could get one would be up to 14 days. So stressing my head off I went and bought waaaay too many AAA rechargeable batteries with the plan of using them in my Ricoh GRD camera, and charging them off an inverter so I could do a time lapse of my entire driving trip through the desert. But in testing I could only get about 1.5hrs per set of batteries. Which meant pulling the camera off the mount in the car and changing the frame too many times for a smooth video.

What to do?????

I know! I'll build one!!!

Step 1: AC to DC Converter

Looking at the bottom of the camera I saw that it needed 3.8V DC. So I went down to the local electronics store and bought myself an adjustable AC to DC converter. I picked a 1500mA one as rechargable batteries have about 900-1300mA and a mate told me it wouldn't be an issue. (I'm not an electrician so don't quote me on the numbers! I asked people who would know and went with what they said).

Step 2: Build Fake Batteries

The next step was to figure out the best way to help my camera make contact with the power supply.

I had originally planned to use the shell of a proper camera battery with the circuit board that lives at the end of the battery with the terminals on it. The plan was to solder the wires to the back of the board and fill the battery shell with bluTack to hold it all together. But after an hour of soldering/unsoldering/soldering/unsoldering, i felt I needed to change tack.

So I went to the next obvious step. Build fake batteries.

Down to the hardware store to buy some dowel in the same diameter as AAA batteries.
Cut them to the same length.
Drill holes down the middle.
Insert the wires so that the exposed wire hangs out the end.
Insert a screw in to hold the wires in place.
Then solder the hangy outy wire bits onto the head of the screw.

On my power supply the wire with the white stripe on it was the active/positive terminal (as tested with a multi meter), so I marked it accordingly. (take note of the direction the batteries go into the camera to figure out which terminal should be which so that you know which side to run the wires out of so they're heading towards the little cord exit gate on the camera)

I had to use a dremel to carve out a little where the wires entered the dowel so the were flush with the top line of how long the batteries were, so that the door on my camera would close properly.

Lock the 2 together with some zip ties. Once again I used a dremel to carve out where they sat, so that they were more flush with the side of the dowel.


Make sure you test all your readings so that they are what should be going into your camera. This setup can be used for any cameras that take AA or AAA batteries, as long as you make sure you're getting the right kinds of power reading that your camera will need. If you are unsure about the power requirements of your camera or the output of your power supply then stop!!!! Then, go find someone who knows about the two, has a multi meter and can use it properly, and will prevent you from destroying a previously good camera.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Step 4: Combine the 2

Once you're sure your power measurement are all hunky dory. Chuck it in and see if she works.

The relief and joy when my camera fired up the first time was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now you can set your camera to do time lapses for as long as you like without ever having to think of batteries.


And if anyone uses this to make a cool time lapse, send me a link. I'd love to see it!



    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Build a Tool Contest

      Build a Tool Contest
    • Weaving Challenge

      Weaving Challenge

    2 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction


    Thanks for your explanation about the entire process. I just have a question about it, are you setting up the ac/dc converter output to 3 v.? is this enough for power on your camera? I mean, if the camera needs 3.8 v and you are just providing 3v. at the output, is this setup working fine?

    Thanks in advance!



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Amazing!!!Could be used for a lot more things apart from cameras!Rated 4.5*
    Have a look at my ibles as well!
    Thanks in advance!!!