Please find me a brick to help me blink.
August 8, 2016 11:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to wire up our Burning Man bikes with rechargeable USB batteries as opposed to bulky, wasteful, PITA AA cell batteries. I'm having trouble finding something that will output the right voltage. Halp?

Currently, the LED tape that I'm using requires connection to these 8xAA 12v battery packs. This is an OK solution, and the LEDs look awesome on my bike, but man, I hate AA's with a passion.

In every other instance of my life, I've swapped out cell batteries for Ankers of various sizes. Unfortunately, none of the Ankers I have will give the right amount of juice - only 5v as opposed to 12v. The only Anker I can find that uses 12v is designed for full-on laptops ... in addition to being (a) out-of-stock and (b) expensive.

So: How hard can it be to find something that replaces a measly 8 AA batteries in a compact and rechargeable format? Any recommendations? Or am I (somewhat unthinkably) stuck in cell battery land for this one?
posted by mykescipark to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could you use eneloop batteries in those? We've been using the same 20 we bought at Costco for about 6 years now and they're awesome. We change the batteries in our remote controls less than once a year!
posted by notjustthefish at 11:44 AM on August 8, 2016

Have you looked into more specific 12v power supplies? Here's a random one on Amazon that looks to be specifically for LEDs. You could also pick up a 12v sealed lead acide battery, but then you'd need some sort of voltage regulator between that and your lights.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:45 AM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Would this work? It says it will work for LED strip lights. It was the first result when Googling "12V rechargeable battery pack."
posted by cabingirl at 11:47 AM on August 8, 2016

Ravpower makes a battery pack with a 12V output. You might need to rig up a connector, however.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:49 AM on August 8, 2016

Actually, your LED tape takes 9 to 14.8 volts, so I think you could wire it directly to a 12v battery. You can pick those up for under $20, or you can pay more to get a beefier one.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:50 AM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

This battery pack includes a toggleable 12v-19v output, so will work well for your needs. I keep one in the car as a portable jump-starter but have brought it on camping/boating trips for similar needs to yours.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:03 PM on August 8, 2016

I think you could probably wire up two Anker battery packs in series; should make 10v.
posted by gregr at 12:57 PM on August 8, 2016

Yeah, why not just get a 12v "gel cell" and a dinky charger for it off eBay or something? Those little 7.2 ah ones pack as much energy as about 35 AAs (very roughly, and probably more if your light rig is sucking hard on those AAs which it probably is) and it sounds like one of those would drive your lights directly no problem. They're cheap, and while lead-acid batteries are heavy that probably doesn't matter for this application.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:54 PM on August 8, 2016

I have a buck/boost converter I bought a long while ago that steps up/down from your input voltage to your required voltage. 5v to 12v should be no problem - check your current requirements though.

Unfortunately I am not sure where I bought it from. It's just a small PCB with two inputs, two outputs, and a potentiometer to choose what output voltage you desire.

Might be something to look out for.
posted by TrinsicWS at 4:56 PM on August 8, 2016

have you consdered just rechargeable batteries? they're great! I had a set of wireless headphones that tore through AAs like crazy, and I bought rechargeable energizers, and they both lasted longer in the device, and I still use them in different devices like 6 years later with no noticeable decline in quality.
posted by euphoria066 at 5:52 PM on August 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

12V Li-ion batteries are widely available. You can get something on Amazon for about $30 that should last 2-3 times as long as AA cells. Lead acid is heavy, get li-ion for your bike.
posted by ssg at 8:54 PM on August 8, 2016

AA NMIH batteries work well in this situation, you can get a holder that holds 10 cells and swap out the batteries as needed. These 12V light strips are often set up for auto use and have internal voltage control. Cars actually put out something closer to 13.5v. Get the higher amp hr models they will go for hrs.

This charger will charge them off your car battery.
posted by boilermonster at 11:44 PM on August 8, 2016

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