Homemade 4AA/8AA/12AA Battery Holder

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Old-Lumens
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Homemade 4AA/8AA/12AA Battery Holder

This is a project that I have wanted to do (and tried to do), for several months now. It has bitten me in the butt many times, but it has never worked out. This time I think it's close enough to post, but it's still a hack job.

I started out wanting to make a 4AA battery holder for Maglites that have been bored out. Well, until I got to the point where I could bore out a Maglite fairly easily, it wasn't really worth doing. I tried a 3AA version a couple times, only to fail and since 3AA holders are readily available, it was easier to just rework them, than to make new ones.

Now that I can bore Maglite bodies, a 4AA holder has become a necessity and since I made my wooden drill press, it's something that is can be done.

This holder is not a 4AA. It is an 8AA (4S/2P) holder, but the basics are the same for 4, 8, or 12AA.

To begin with, I must say that this was a real bear and I do not want to make these except for my own Maglite builds. This thing took the better part of two days and I am still not satisfied with it. I feel if you need a 4AA holder, it is best to wait and buy one from one of the vendors on CPF. Their holders are made well and well worth the bucks.... But, if you want to tackle something like this, here's how I did it.

First of all, you will need a drill press. Without one, don't try it. The holes that have to be bored, have to be precise and you cannot do that with just a drill and will power. I know, I have tried and tried and tried.

Next is the plastic rod stock, to make the end caps out of. I bought 1-3/8" 6/6 Nylon stock from Drillspot. I got it with free shipping. Drillspot is one of the few places offering free shipping on many items. I used Nylon because rods made out of it have tight tolerances. Some of the other plastics have rather large tolerances in diameter and I needed the OD to be very close to the specified 1-3/8".

The rest of the components consisted of 5/32" brass tubing & 5/32" copper tubing,(from a local hobby shop),   1/8"x7/8" aluminum pop rivets (from amazon, I couldn't find them locally in this size),    0.010" copper sheet (from a local hobby shop)  and some gold plated springs (from CNQG).

1a

I did not use the rubber grommets shown. The aluminum template I made from aluminum sheet bought at a local hobby shop. (which has just gone out of business because they can't compete with the Chinese hobby kings). I won't have a resource for this stuff any more unless I want to pay higher prices for shipping.

I purchased a CMT brand 15mm Forstner bit online. That is what I used to bore the holes for the batteries. This CMT bit is very high quality and worked well. I just cut off 2- 12mm thick sections off the nylon rod stock and bored the holes with my drill press, using the template. (which is still not perfect, as seen in the photo). One hole is more outboard than the rest. 

 2a

 

Then I drilled the 5/32" holes for the brass support rods and the center hole for the copper positive rod.

3a

 

 After that, it's a matter of cutting out the copper contact plates and soldering the springs and copper tube in place.

 3a

 Since this is a 4S/2P holder, the positive and negative points both end up in the bottom (negative end cap), so I used the center copper tube to bring the positive back up through to the top.

 

4a

 

5a

 I did not try to cut perfect rounds. I just cut out the pieces in hexagon (straight cuts), shape and sanded the edges to smooth them out a little. It's not rocket science. When I soldered the springs on, I just tinned the whole contact and set the springs on and flowed them in place. Much easier to heat it that way, than to mess with each spring.

 The copper and brass rods are a tight fit, but I wanted to make sure the brass rods would not pull out, so I used the pop rivets in the ends, to help keep them in place. Here's some shots of the completed holder. The contact plates are epoxied to the plastic.

b1

Inside the bottom (negative) end.

 

b2

 Outside of the bottom (negative) end.

 

t1

Inside of the top (positive) end.

 

t2

 Outside of the top (positive) end. I am not sure what I want to do for the positive contact yet, so I left it as is.

 

Here's the finished holder with eneloops in it. They were charged a week ago.

done

 I read 5.23 volts from my cheap meter.

 

That's about it. One thing I forgot was the shrink wrap to go over the center tube, but I don't think it's a problem as long as the batteries have good sleeves on them.

This holder is bound for TJ. I only wanted to try one and see if it would work. He can test it out. I'm done with it now. I am still hoping to find a source for 4AA holders. This thing took way too much time and money to make and it isn't anything I really want to use. It's just a homemade hack.

 

-Justin

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jacktheclipper
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Nice .

Cool

Hill
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OL,

Outstanding job!! This was a true DIY project since you had to MAKE the drill press first even before attempting the battery carrier.

I tried (and failed) to do this with hand tools. It was impossible to get enough precision to make me satisfied. The holder you created looks great, don’t beat yourself up too much that it isn’t perfect.

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Unkl Ian
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Nice work, as always.

It would be possible to make the end pieces by casting them in resin.
All you would need is a nice pattern.
Smooth-on has the necessary materials and info.
http://www.smooth-on.com/

That would speed up that part of the process,
for anyone wanting several pieces.

scaru
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Nice! Much better than I could ever do. 

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Awesome effort. Again very inspirational. Your making me feel guilty. Must get out to the shed.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

ChangchungLeds
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You must make a bath and put it in sell, very well done…

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ruffles
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Nice work as always. Thanks for sharing.


 

Loris
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Great to see a different design, I’m going to have a go at doing this very soon, slightly different design, hope it works.

As far as off the shelf 4AA holders, have a look here:

link

Minimum quantities are a bit high, may be able to send a sample tho’.

Old-Lumens
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Loris wrote:
Great to see a different design, I’m going to have a go at doing this very soon, slightly different design, hope it works.

As far as off the shelf 4AA holders, have a look here:

link

Minimum quantities are a bit high, may be able to send a sample tho’.

Yes, (1,000pcs), I contacted them and told them that I only need a small amount. I asked if they had a reseller that I could go to. They answered and said I could go to the website and order a small quantity there. I went and no deal. I wrote them again, no answer. I even tried Ric at CNQG to see if he could get some, no reply.

I do not know why someone is not reselling some of this stuff. Guess because the demand is just way too low. If I could get my hands on some of those, I could just rework them with copper sheet, but I just cannot find a source for a dozen or so.

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scaru
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I am currently talking to them and it looks like I will be able to purchase smaller quantities, will update later. 

Update: They will let me purchase in small quantities but shipping is 45 dollars. 

Update2: If shipping by regular china post the price would be 28 dollars for shipping. The good thing is it seems that the minimum order quantities do not apply. They do not have any dealers either. 

Old-Lumens
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scaru wrote:

I am currently talking to them and it looks like I will be able to purchase smaller quantities, will update later. 

Update: They will let me purchase in small quantities but shipping is 45 dollars. 

Update2: If shipping by regular china post the price would be 28 dollars for shipping. The good thing is it seems that the minimum order quantities do not apply. They do not have any dealers either. 


That’s why I was hoping Ric at CNQG might stock them. He could sell them at a profit on CNQG and we wouldn’t have to pay the high shipping. Someday maybe.

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scaru
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I wish Ric would stock them. It seems that the shipping is flat rate so if he were to buy a 100 of each kind it would be much more reasonable. I may end up buying some anyways and if I do I will send a few to you. Not sure though.