Using an DC Adapter for Battery Powered Device




About: Autistic person who's interests include utility cycling, recreational cycling, cycling safety, electronics, gardening, Arduino, and LEDs.

This Instructable will show you how to use a DC adapter instead of batteries. This will not only reduce battery expense and e-waste  but also provide consistent performance. Most battery device are used momentarily and draw up to a few watts so it will have little, if any effect on your electrical bills. Because this project uses bamboo, you won't need a lot of plastic.


Step 1: Cost Comparison of Power Sources

Based on the tables, electricity gives you more bang for your buck than alkaline batteries. AA batteries cost $330 per kWh and electricity costs $0.10 per kWh which is more than 3000 times as much!

Step 2: Materials and Tools

"Battery" Piece
Bamboo stake (available at garden centers)
DC adapter
Aluminum foil
2 pieces of bare copper wire
Markers to label the polarity

Conductor Piece
Bamboo stake (quantity depend on the number of batteries you are replacing)
Aluminum foil
One piece of bare copper wire per conductor piece

Wire strippers
Hot glue gun
Soldering iron
Sand paper

Step 3: Bamboo "Batteries"

The bamboo stakes in my garden perfectly fits AA battery holders. For the project, you will need to make one "battery" piece and at least one conductor pieces. They may be cut slightly shorter than the batteries and the ends should be filed.

"Battery" Piece
This is the most important piece to make for this project. To make the battery piece, cut a hole in the center length of the bamboo and arrange the wires as in picture 2. Loop the ends of the wires. The connector may be clipped and saved for other projects. To keep the wires from moving, you may use hot glue. Never let the wires touch!

Conducting Pieces
The conducting pieces may or may not be needed at all. They take the place of the other batteries. To make the conducting pieces, put the copper wires through the ends of each piece and loop the ends to keep them from falling out. Make sure their wires don't touch their neighbor's. If there is poor contact, you may fill the ends with aluminum foil

If you want, you can also make a USB Bamboo "Battery" by using a USB cable instead of an adapter.

Always measure the voltage before using it. They are usually 33% higher than stated when there is no load so it is safer to choose a lower voltage.  Make sure the adapter doesn't overheat.



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    5 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I did this once with dowels. I stuck thumbtacks in the ends for contacts after twisting wire around the shanks of the tacks. I taped the wires to the outsides of the dowels. I drilled a small hole where the lid fit the battery compartment. I didn't use an AC adapter. My setup used a 6V rechargeable burglar alarm battery on my belt to power an electronic camera flash that originally used 4 AAs. I got many times the number of flashes per battery dollar that way.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    4x1.5v = 6v. Why 9v?
    10.6v? messure the connection on the "battery" when the light is on.. it need's a load device.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This design needs a current limiting resistor to imitate the internal resistance of the cells you have in line.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes. You would have to jumper it but you don't be able to power it with more than one cell.