Run Any Battery Powered Item Through AC Power.

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Have you ever not had enough batteries for an object? Or have you ever lost the adapter for an object, and wanted to use it again? Or just want to make some cool sparks in your room?

Step 1: Finding the Right Stuff.

So you're cleaning your room one day, and you find your old Gameboy, circa 1989. Some more searching yields a few cartridges, until you finally find one that's worth playing (I have Zelda as my example in this one). You flick the switch antd wait for the red battery light to shine.. and nothing. You flick it again. Still nothing. Pulling the cartridge out, you blow in there, hoping to clear out some of the dust, perhaps that was the problem. Finally, after opening the battery compartment door, you realize that either the batteries in there are dead, or they're missing. Still burning with the urge to play Link's Awakening, you set out on a quest to make the Gameboy work. With no batteries in sight, you must turn to alternative methods.

What you need:
- Gameboy (or any device that runs off batteries and has positive and negative terminals)
- Alligator clips (not necessary, any sort of wire will work just as well)
- AC adapter (I used a variable one, you can really use any adapter as long as the voltages match)
- Standard safety equipment (gloves if you're scared of being shocked, water as the sparks could cause a fire)

Step 2: Choosing the Right Adapter.

The first step is to find the right adapter for your project. I have two variable voltage adapters that I honestly have no idea where they came from. They each had a connector that ended in almost any sort of DC plug. If you managed to find one of these, cut the end off and peel the wires apart, stripping the ends. Adjust the slider for the proper voltage rating (6V for the Gameboy), and test it by crossing the wires, looking for sparks to indicate a connection.

If you couldn't happen to find a universal adapter like the one I have, then any other sort of AC adapter will work. You need to match the voltage of the adapter with the voltage of the product though. Some places to look for it's voltage are on a plate on the back, that lists its copyright date, serial number, etc. Next to almost all DC inputs there is a symbol which shows the polarization and voltage. Finally, you can just look at how many batteries the object takes and calculate the voltage of it that way. The Gameboy in this example takes 4 AA batteries which each put out 1.5V. 4x1.5=6. Now root around for an adapter that matches this voltage. Cut off the plug, and strip the ends at the end. Test to make sure that you have a connection (cross the ends and look for sparks)

Step 3: Wiring It All Up.

Now that you have everything, it's time to wire it all up. Without knowing much about the internal wirings, you have to play around with each of the battery connectors in the compartment. Clip an alligator clip onto each of the wires coming from the adapter, and then clip one end to a positive terminal in the Gameboy. Turn the Gameboy on (nothing will happen, obviously). Now take the other alligator clip, and touch it to each of the negative terminals until it turns on. Clip the alligator clips onto the terminals, if you can. If not, take some tape and put it there, or just run a wire from the adapter to the terminal and tape it down. Hopefully, everything should work. If not, then you have a problem with the Gameboy.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Once you've got it all working, you can enjoy limitless power from your originally battery powered device! There are many applications for this, from Gameboys, CD players, massagers, lanterns, almost anything that takes standard consumer batteries. So go wild, try it on all kinds of things.

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    33 Discussions

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    Zycain

    10 months ago

    Please please don't ever consider water when faced with an electrical fire, instead look to a proper extinguisher or a fire blanket and know where the nearest breaker is in case it doesn't trip itself off. be safe peeps :)

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    RhondaB68

    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Shouldn't an ac adapter work with ipads? I purchased one with multiple modes to charge an ipad with a broken charger. It doesn't work on either ipad I have.

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    aKolini_

    3 years ago

    Sir? I own a hair trimmer set that runs with rechargeable batteries and I also have a charging cable that comes with the trimmer.
    Battery is dead now but I can't use my trimmer just with the cord. Why? Any suggestions?

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    spoo51

    3 years ago

    Hands down the best gameboy game, and my personal favorite of all the Zelda games.
    Oh, and your instructable was useful, too. :)

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    mattkenton

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I used this to equip my battery-only baby swing. In my opinion this thing was a battery company/baby equipment scam. So thanks for the instructable. Works great!

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    mark101

    12 years ago

    Minimally you should include a DIODE in case of accidental reverse polarity. If you mix up the positive and negative, you will likely fry the electronic of whatever you connected to. It's about 10- 20cents for one diode to protect your stuff. Additionally transformers over time can (go bad) put out too much voltage/current, so check their voltages without a load and with the electronics connected and turned on.

    5 replies
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    mark101Habeas Corpus

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    This is basic electronics. A diode lets the electricity flow in only one direction. Usually diodes are used where AC alternating current/electricity is involved. In this cicuit it is DC direct current it is controlling, the diodes job is to stop an accidental positive and negative mix up. Any diode that can pass the ? 500mA current the item uses (the gameboy) can be used. You just put it in series (look up series if you don't know what series is) with the positive, or the negative power lead, in the correct powering up, the polarity of the item.

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    trebuchet03mark101

    Reply 12 years ago

    A diode is a good idea -- there's one built into the thing too ;) I know this from being a little kid and not knowing how to put batteries in properly :P

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    mark101trebuchet03

    Reply 12 years ago

    ok, not all electronic have the safety diode built in on their positive supply.

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    uzerzeromark101

    Reply 12 years ago

    The adapter I used has a polarity switch on it, and I have switched the polarities many, many times and never had any problems with my electronics. But this is a good point, I'll add it into my instructable :)

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    jabcoolman

    11 years ago on Introduction

    My device runs on 2 regular duracell batteries (1.5v I assume).

    Would this 3VDC/500mA AC-to-DC Adapter work for my situation?
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2049703&cp=&sr=1&origkw=3vdc&kw=3vdc&parentPage=search

    Or with this 3VDC/700 mA Regulated AC Adapter?
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2549413&cp=&sr=1&origkw=3vdc&kw=3vdc&parentPage=search

    I mean, whats the difference really? I just want to power my device that runs on 2 AA batteries... but its expensive so I want to pick the right adapter!

    3 replies
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    wizard722jabcoolman

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    There are two differences between the two items you mentioned... One, the regulated one has a higher current output. It is always OK to use an adapter that is rated for a higher current rating than the device it is powering, but the reverse is not true. (Think of current as the rate at which the voltage is used; the more you have to power, the more "juice" you need at any given time). Also, the regulated one is, well, regulated. The other one sits at 3V, but will probably have some noise in the signal. The regulated one will give a cleaner output, but either one should be fine, since most devices that come with adapters don't have regulated outputs anyway.

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    uzerzerojabcoolman

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    If you REALLY must, go ahead and get the second one. It has a built in regulator, so it'll step itself down in case your device uses a draw of less 700 mA. But honestly, a set of batteries can't be more expensive than $18.99! Go ahead and spare yourself the heartache of breaking an expensive product, and just stick with some batteries. I only wrote this instructable as a proof of concept. There's really no need to go out and buy an adapter specifically for your product. Just use batteries. You could probably buy 30 of them for the price of one adapter.

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    jabcoolmanuzerzero

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Well, actually, I was impatient and went ahead and did this myself. My device works wonderfully with AC power now! Of course, it really is cheaper to run on AC than batteries, because my main goal in switching to AC is because the device needed to stay on all night long, every night... and batteries would become very expensive then! I even made a battery adapter for my device, so if I ever want to switch back to batteries, I can just plug them in. I basically took your idea of cutting and wiring the ends of the AC adapter, and instead used adapter-plugs (in my case, the M-plug from radioshack). This makes it much easier to switch out! Thanks for the help anyway!

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    but! how would you do this with a dvd player (with circular plug) with out the circular plug charger!!? evil question! mu.hahaha

    2 replies
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    Just hook it up to the battery compartment. If it doesn't take batteries, then you'll have to take it apart and find out which are the positive and negative leads (use a multimetre). Or, if you have an adapter plug that will fit the hole, you can just cut it apart and use those cables.

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    but my battery (and connector...duh) have 5 unknown connectors. lol i have no idea why, im guessing 2 or 3 are + rest are - :-\ but how would i do that!? Muhahahaha