Popular Video: AA From 6 Volt

The key to this is the opening frames – the video is provided by Gag Films. Still, with over a million views, I’d expect quite a few people have tried this:

6V Lantern Battery

At yet another of those cheapo “how to” sites is a video and brief description on how hack a 6V Lantern Battery:


The batteries you get out of the lantern battery are a non-standard size, and clock in at 1.58 volts – this is very close to a D battery which has 1.5 volts. They may be of a non-standard size, but two equal the same length as three D batteries placed end-on-end. So for any gadget that uses D batteries in one line – large children’s toys or perhaps a flash-light, these could be a cheapskate solution. Note: the flat end is the positive end.

iRobot Battery Repair

As you probably know, I have a couple of iRobot vacuum cleaners (here we call them “hoovers”). And of course as soon as they are out of warranty (1 year), the batteries start losing their longevity. This unfortunately makes them as useless as an iPhone that lasts 30 minutes. The poor little vacuums can’t even clean one room, let alone an entire floor! Rather than forking out for new ones every year, I took a look online and found some solutions:

  • Over at Instructables is a simple 17-step fix. That sounds like a lot, but the steps are all quick and easy to achieve. Step 4 informs us that the iRobot uses 12 sub-c sized  NiMH batteries, while step 8 has a great secret – you can replace dead cells with AA batteries!
  • If you can’t be bothered with the DIY tech aspects, you can just grab a third-party replacement pack by searching for “iRobot battery kit”. One site made me laugh, it said color may vary!

One more Digicam battery

If your digital camera uses custom lithium-ion batteries then all should be good. But if it takes regular AA size batteries, and you have been buying them off-the-shelf or using rechargeables, than you might be interested in a technique that gives you more shots per battery set.

Digital cameras are unable to accurately determine how much power is left in your AA batteries. Instead, it will take an educated guess and then be so overly cautious that as much as 50% of your battery’s power will be unused. To see if this is the case, stick the “dead” batteries in a torch or something and see how much longer they last.

One guy figured that attaching a 3rd battery will make all 3 last longer. The explanation is long-winded (er, I mean very detailed), but it is something to do with voltage. After much effort, he may have saved some $$ but he ends up with a butt-ugly camera!

Getting Graphite from a 6 Volt Battery

Most battery hacks involve getting lots of small batteries from big batteries. Here’s a nice change, from Ig Nobel winner Theodore Gray. He needed some graphite so he extracted it from a 6V lantern battery:

The graphite isn’t pure, but at roughly $1 per rod it is cheaper than buying it via the usual channels. Not that Gray should care…

Snopes (kinda) disproves battery hacking

Yes, the video the folk at Snopes investigated is a fake, or a “fool’s errand” as they call it. But they fall short of saying that all battery hacks are hoaxes:

Exactly what’s inside 6-volt lantern batteries can vary a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer; they typically contain four individual cells that can be extracted (opening up a battery is not a recommended procedure), but those cells aren’t necessarily batteries that would be of much use to the ordinary consumer.

Likewise, 9-volt batteries also contain individual cells, but again those cells aren’t necessarily batteries of a kind that the typical consumer would have much use for.

It basically depends on the manufacturer. So make sure you only open batteries that you know contain useful smaller batteries. Otherwise you are wasting your time.

iPhone Power Saving

Everybody knows that iPhones eat through battery life. Like most ultracool modern devices, you have options that can be switched off or down. Here are 1o that will save heaps of battery life for your iPhone (or most othr smartphones I reckon):

1. Reduce screen brightness
2. Turn off WiFi and WiFi scanning.
3. Turn off 3G
4. Tun off GPS
5. Turn off Vibrate, especially in games
6. Download stuff (especially media) when attached to your PC
7. Set Autolock to 1 minute – this shuts down the screen quicker
8. Less graphics. 3D games for sure, but anything else that pushes the graphics chip
9. Turn off push email  – unless everything has to be now now now
10. Recharge more – it doesn’t have to be done at home, can happen in your car, at work, from a PC

Swiped from Gizmodo.

Recalibrating Laptop Batteries

Your laptop battery migh not actually be on its last legs. Try this remedy (well-known, but provided by the NY Times):

1. Like most people, you probably recharge you laptop before it hs totally run out of juice
2. Go into the Power Management section of Windows
3. Turn off all forms of Power Management, like screensavers or hibernation
4. Fully charge it
5. Run your latop from the battery until it runs out of battery power
6. Charge it one more time

This will give it the most charge possible, and might just save you from buying a new battery. Might work for mobile phones as well.

C-to-D adapter

This is a very basic hack, and only works for folk who have American quarters. If you need a D size battery, but only have C, then adding up to 6 quarters to one end will let you use the wrong size. Don’t expect the same performance or longevity, but it will work.

12 Volt Battery Hack

These batteries – depending on brand  – actually consist of a stack of watch batteries. Break open the packaging to get button batteries at a bargain price!