Have an old Game Boy, portable cassette or CD player, or other gadgets designed to run on alkaline batteries, but hate buying disposable batteries? One solution is to switch to rechargeables. Another? Switch to USB power.

Of course, that second option is easier said than done. But a new Kickstarter campaign aims to make it a lot easier.

The ReVolt kit from a startup called MyVolts is designed to let you use a USB power bank or wall adapter with devices that were designed for AA, AAA, C, or D batteries.

Here’s how it works: the ReVolt system includes an adapter that looks like an AAA battery and which should fit into any battery compartment designed for that size. But it’s an adapter, not a battery. And there’s a ribbon cable that extends from the adapter and slides under the battery compartment door. On the other end of the cable is a DC plug that can be connected to a USB-to-DC power cable.

Have a device that uses AA, C, or D batteries? Just snap a set of size adapters onto the sides of the AAA-shaped adapter. Does your device use more than one battery? Just put a couple of dummy batteries into the device to complete the circuit: all you need to supply power is the main adapter.

The system also supports stringing together multiple devices, allowing you to power more than one gadget from a single power bank or wall charger. Depending on the power requirements of your devices, you may even be able to run them by plugging into a USB port on a laptop, tablet, or phone.

There are a few things I like about the ReVolt concept. It can cut down on eWaste and save you money by allowing you to keep using old devices without constantly buying new batteries. But it also has some down sides: the new power port is on the outside of your gadgets, making them a bit more awkwardly shaped. And if you opt to use a USB power bank instead of AA batteries, you’ve now got multiple things to carry around rather than one.

For example, my mobile recording kit for podcast production already runs from a USB power bank, but that’s partially because I have audio recording gear that can accept USB power. If I was using older gear that only runs on batteries, a couple of ReVolt adapters would come in handy.

Prices for a 2-pack of ReVolt kits start at about $36 for early bird backers of the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. You can also pledge more for kits with 6 or even 28 batteries and adapters. The kits are expected to ship to backers in July if the campaign meets its fundraising goal of $24,374 by June 26, 2021.

via GearNews

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  1. I would have found this useful in the 1990’s. Just like where those examples in their video came from.

  2. You can make your own cheap and easy battery replacements: Cut a wooden dowel [1] to length, e.g. 2″ long and 0.5″ in diameter for a AA battery. Stick two thumb tacks in the ends of the cut dowel, each with a thin wire wrapped around the pin, then connect the wires to the output of a cheap adjustable voltage buck-boost (step-up step down) converter module[2]. Cut a USB cable in half and connect the power leads to the input of the adjustable voltage converter module. Before inserting the spoofed battery into the target device plug the voltage converter module’s input into a USB charger and adjust the variable resistor on the module for the correct output voltage, which can be lower or higher than the converter’s input voltage. Now stick the spoofed battery into the target device and turn it on. This works for devices that need more that one series battery, just adjust the output voltage appropriately. See [3] for an up-scale adjustable USB buck-boost converter that comes with a case, heat sink, and backlit LCD display.

    References:

    36″ Wooden Dowels, various diameters. Qty.-1, 0.5″ dia., $1.46.

    https://www.michaels.com/36in-dowel-by-woodgrain-millwork/M10529354.html

    Buck-Boost adjustable voltage converter module. 3.8V ~ 32V input. 1.25V ~ 35V output. Don’t run this at more than 1.5-2 A output or it will over heat. Qty.-5, $10.99, $2.20 ea.

    https://www.amazon.com/XINGYHENG-XL6009-DC-DC-Converter-Power-Adjustable-Step-down/dp/B08PP1N8G5

    USB Buck-Boost adjustable voltage converter module. 3.5V ~ 12V input. 1V ~ 24V output. 3A max (don’t run it 3A for long).

    https://www.amazon.com/DaFuRui-Adjustable-3-5-12V-1-0-24V-Converter/dp/B07W552V84

  3. This is a really neat idea, and I definitely would have bought several of these maybe 10+ years ago. At this point, I’m almost rid of every device that requires AA or AAA batteries.

    This would have been really handy when I was stuck with a wall-mount garage door keypad that could only run on AAs.

  4. This is actually pretty great for wall clocks and anything else you usually set and forget until the battery dies.
    Otherwise, rechargeables have an obvious advantage in that you don’t have to worry about how to get the little cable to the outside of a device that usually completely encloses the cells.

    1. Agreed. The lithium rechargeable batteries I use have a much
      longer life than the usual NiMH rechargeables. The lithiums
      rarely need recharging, the only exception is the one that goes in
      the Microsoft cordless mouse, ir awwma ro nwws ewxhEFINF
      about once a month.