Intro: Using Powertool Batteries As a Generic Power Supply for Other Projects
In this project, I will show you how to tap Ryobi powerpack batteries for other uses.
Why do this? Powertool batteires come with quality built-in protection, good quality chargers, parts are readily available (i.e. more batteries or chargers), and are meant for high amperage peak usage.
This should work with other brands if the equivalent parts are available, but I have not tried.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
What you will need:
- A ryobi power gauge, or a broken ryobi tool you would cut up and scavenge the connector from
- a soldering iron or torch (I always recommend butane torches for larger wiring)
- 14 gauge wiring or larger (I recommend the stranded core type you find in extension cord wiring, or even better, stranded sillicone wiring as I linked)
- #2 Phillips screw driver
- drill and bit to make a hole large enough for your wire.
Step 2: Tapping Into the Connector
Now you will need to open up the connector, drill some holes where the wiring will pass on each side, and also figure out which side is + and which is - (it is written on the battery, just look at how it snaps on).
Once that is done, solder on white\red wiring on the + leg, and black wiring on the - leg; and reassemble the whole.
Lastly, to make my life a bit easier when it comes to holding batteries on there, I also added a velcro strap that goes around the battery to hold it snugly to the connector.
Step 3: Use It!
When it comes time to use the batteries, there is an important point to keep in mind. The battery's protective circuit has an automatic shutoff if it is not used for about 1 minute to prevent short circuits / electrical fires. So when you are ready to go, pop them in and go. If they shut off, just re-seat them in the harness, or for the ones with the built-in power meter, just press on the green button to re-initiate them.
Here are a few examples of what I have done with this
- Replacing a powerwheel battery, gives the thing extra kick!
- I made a 36v e-bike battery pack; this did required putting 2 in series, but it burn out one of the LED indicators. Also, don't go above 2 in series, I am not sure the protective circuits in the batteries can go that high.
- Used a single tap as a generic battery connector that is used in my hot wire cutter setup
- Now that I have a dc-dc converter connected to a single battery adapter, I can use it for just about any project where I need low voltage DC power (under 50v)