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What Is a Battery Eliminator?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A battery eliminator is a device that provides an alternate source of power to a piece of equipment normally powered by batteries. Such devices can replace batteries for radios and other portable appliances. Electronics stores often carry them, along with accessories. It may also be possible to build one for a specific application, for people who are comfortable working with circuits and electrical components. Guides for custom-built devices are often available online, particularly through hobbyist and enthusiast pages for various types of battery-powered equipment.

Connecting with a source of power like a wall outlet or a solar panel, a battery eliminator processes the power, and provides a connection for the battery-powered device. It is important to use an appropriate eliminator, as the voltages such devices are designed to use can be quite variable. Simply plugging battery-powered appliances directly into an outlet can be dangerous, as can using the wrong battery eliminator to convert voltage to a usable form.

One drawback of a battery eliminator is that it typically reduces portability. A device may be tethered to the wall with a converter box, or could become less portable because of an attached solar panel that cannot easily be moved. Such devices, however, may be useful for saving on expenses associated with batteries, or for powering equipment that uses a rare or outdated battery type that cannot easily be purchased on the open market.

The battery eliminator operates through the use of power conversion, and can step voltages up or down in addition to converting alternating current to direct current. The device should include specifications that provide information about its capacity and the type of power it can handle. It also shows the types of conversions it does; a nine volt battery eliminator, for example, may just replace nine volt batteries, while others may have adjustable settings for different voltages.

People may build battery eliminator equipment for various applications. This requires the use of a kit or some specialized components to successfully convert power for use with various electronic devices. It is important to be attentive during construction of battery eliminators and other components, to avoid errors that could cause serious problems. They need to be properly insulated, with all leads appropriately connected and controlled. It is also important to periodically inspect the wiring on any electronic device to check for signs of fraying, shorts, and other issues that might damage equipment or create health risks.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By miriam98 — On Oct 27, 2011

@everetra - I definitely need to save money on my batteries. This might do the trick.

At work I listen to my portable radio all day long. I don’t even use rechargeable batteries; I just never got around to getting them I guess. So I go through a whole pack of AA batteries every few months and think nothing of it.

I need to get one of these converters and just use them at work. Of course, that would be using company electricity, and I suppose I’d have to check in with the boss on that.

By everetra — On Oct 26, 2011

@NathanG - Yeah, I am not interested in zapping any portable electronics. I would definitely go with the kit.

I prefer the idea of solar power. I don’t know how many solar electric cells you would need to power up a nine volt battery. I don’t think it would be too many.

It would be ideal out on the beach, where many people listen to portable radios while they’re reclining in the sun. Your solar powered radio would operate until the sun went down at least.

I don’t think these things have chargers like big solar panel units, so you would pretty much be stuck with the sunlight only option. It’s like those light powered kitchen calculators – they only work with sufficient lighting.

By NathanG — On Oct 25, 2011

Back in the days when I played with electronics, I tried to build a battery converter device. It was meant to replace the nine volt batteries on my portable radio.

I forgot the importance of current conversion when building my converter, however; that’s an important part. So what happened was that even though the device stepped down the voltage from 110 volts (from the outlet) to nine volts, it managed to short circuit my radio.

It was nine volts, but it was still alternating current. That was more than a minor oversight. I was early into electronics at the time, and my zeal to build stuff was greater than my knowledge at the time. I would recommend you just buy a standalone kit if you want to build these things.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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