Save the Planet and Your Pocket. $$ Convert Your Cheap P&S Digital Camera to Rechargable




Years ago, I bought a Dolphin Jazz 2.0 Megapixel Digital Camera.
It had good features and price. It also had an appetite for AAA Bateries. Not one to walk away from a challenge, i thought i would mod it to use a rechargable battery to stop wasting batteries. Unexpected Bonus is more shots and quicker flash recharge.

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Step 1: Parts and Tools

Racking my brain cos it was several years ago, but you will need:

Digital camera
Old Mobile Phone with a half decent battery
Plug ( to suit the socket )
Socket ( the inline kind with the plastic screw on cover )
Something to make a dummy battery
( I used aluminium machining bar cos i had it, but most metalic stuff will do. If you are stuck, use some rolled up aluminium foil)
One crimp connector (used to crimp 2 wires together inline.

Appropriate drill bit (just larger than the Plug)
Crimping tool
Soldering Iron

Step 2: Make the Dummy Bats and Mod the Camera

First make the blank battery out of some metal, the same size as the battery you are replacing.

Second, (and probably the most dificult part, Turn the socket into a fake battery (again, same dimensions as the original battery).
Stick the inline socket in the drill and rotate it in the sandpaper until it is down to the same size as the other battery you are replacing.
Next cut off the outer plastic from about halfway down the socket. Remove the earth terminal form the socket, and solder a fairly thick wire to the centre pin. Crimp the connector on the wire and cut some of its insulation off so it can become like the positive terminal of the battery the outside part of the socket will be the negative end of the battery.
Check the fit in the camera.
Take the drill, and drill out the negative contact on the battery flap. With the drill still through the hole, slide the flap shut so you create an elongated hole in the flap.

Step 3: Make the Battery Pack

Take the old moby, rip it open and get rid of anything you dont need. Really all you need is the battery holder part, and the pins which touch the battery terminals.

Find them and solder a wire to each (taking note of which is which). Run the cable out pf the phone ( drill a hole fi necessary) and reassemble the phone.

Connect the Plug to the other end of the cable, Positive wire to the centre pin, Negative to the outer pin.

Step 4: Assemble and Test

Insert the socket (fake battery) so that the negative end lines up with the contact you drilled out.
Put the blank dummy in the other battery hole, negative end down.

Shut the flap, insert the plug and switch on.

Fire off some shots. In my case i got many more shots, and quicker flash recharge.

End result, still a cheap camera, but now with its long life, rechargable battery it gets much more use.



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    15 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 2

    Nice project! I maybe misunderstanding something here. Could you make the dummy battery out of similar size wooden dowel and place a thumb tack in the end. Just thought of this, as I would not have a clue on how to make a metal dummy battery. :D


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I especially liked the way you provided external power access through the camera's battery compartment. In the absence of machined aluminum rod, an old battery covered in aluminum foil might work, no? Instant battery shape!


    Nice one, I did the same trick with a rechargeable MP4 player that keeked itself, the battery died so i used an old phone battery as a replacement, I could leterally fall asleep listening, wake up and it would be on then go for the rest of the day...

    10 replies

    I keep meaning to get a couple of resistors and make one of those crappy little pocket ones that use AAA's to run for a good while, I managed to get one to run direct from 3.7V it ran for six hours no problems, the volume was a little extreme, nearly doubled, then things started going wrong, the screen backlight died, the screen conked out, then it started getting hot, the music was still going, then it started jumping a bit and the whole thing dropped dead, however it was a valuable experiment in to how much abuse they can take...


    I just made sure I didn't charge it too long. I have used many charges and its still going. I don't use the camera ( small upgrade to a Canon 5D :) ) and only thought of it cos I was going through old stuff. You could easily use an LED in series to drop the voltage by 1.2 volts or so. (fully charged, Lithium Ion bats can be 4.2 volts!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Several diodes in series might not work well for a very low current device, btw. The voltage drop on a diode decreases at very low currents. Many modern devices have super low power standby modes, where current drawn can be measured in microamperes. The voltage of your diode dropped battery will go up significantly in this instance and could result in some screwiness. I wouldn't go too crazy with the diodes. A 3.7V battery can typically be safely dropped with a single diode to work in place of 2xAA, but I'd be more selective on which 1.5V devices I'd try a simple diode-dropped li ion cell.


    the ones I'm using are 3.7 so a drop of 2.2V is about right... however I'd just end up playing with the LED's...

    You know..... if your heart is set on monkeying about with LEDs then might you consider using IR LEDs? set in a ring configuration about the lens? Sure it will look all sorts of Frankenstined, and you couldn't travel to Boston or without having to endure the same cordiality that Starerisk did. But hey you can do night shots!

    Well I worked out that having an LED on it wouldn't be too bad... Also I like the idea of the camera anyway, someone did it already but doing an other one wouldn't be bad, I was thinking detachable ring of light for the edges...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You can buy LDO voltage regulators with a 3.1-3.3V output pretty cheap, and which have less than 50uA of quiescent current. But you can also just put a power diode in series to bring the voltage down to about that of 2xAA batteries.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Oh.. you were powering a single AAA cell device with a li ion cell? In some instances it would work fine, but that's never a good idea unless you know the specs of the circuitry... There could be a DC-DC converter that increases the voltage of the AAA cell in there.... and most of those can handle a range of inputs... but most of the time those two things aren't there, and you get a messed up device, like you found out. So you could use a 1.5V regulator with a low quiescent current for that kind of thing.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great way to repurpose a cell phone battery! It's just too bad there's nowhere to fit it in/on the camera. This Skype phone came with NiMh AAA batteries. The very first time it died on me after leaving it off the charger for a couple days (unused), I'd seen enough. I converted this 1-week-new, 100.00 phone to lithium ion without a second thought. And now I charge this baby once a week at most. I only turn it on when I need to make/answer a call, cuz my computer will notify me when I have an incoming call.

    battery conversion 001.jpg