OK, so you have a project and now you want to power it off of a battery, how do you choose the best setup?

The two easiest cases are the extremes:

  • Is your project very power-hungry? Projectors, large sound systems, and motorized projects all draw on the order of amps of current! You'll want to go with lantern cells (one-time use) or lead acid batteries (rechargable). If you are planning to be somewhat 'abusive' to the battery (heavy-usage, running it down all the way) you may want to look at "marine deep cycle" batteries.
  • Is your project super-small, like an inch on each side? You're going to have to go with a lithium coin cell (one time use) or little lithium-polymer cells like the ones used for tiny RC planes.

Here are some other very popular cases:

  • Do you need to make a lot of these things? Go with inexpensive alkaline batteries in popular sizes.
  • Need to be user-servicable? 9V or AA size batteries are universal!
  • ~5V input necessary? 3 Alkaline (4.5V) or 4 NiMH cells (4.8V) will get you pretty close - check your circuit to see if it'll run at these slightly lower voltages
  • Making a 'rechargeable battery pack'? Use a battery holder from your local hobby/electronics/repair shop and stick with NiMH batteries, then recharge them with a high quality charger.
  • Want to replace alkalines with rechargeables? Test to make sure that the lower voltage won't make the device unhappy.
  • Need to stack batteries? Remember to stack batteries only if they have matching C and Ah capability, if you stack a 9V and a AA to make 10.5V the 9V will drain in 1/10th the time leaving you with 1.5V.
  • Want your rechargable batteries to last a long time? Use a high-quality charger that has sensors to maintain proper charging and trickle charging. A cheap charger will kill off your cells.

This guide was first published on Feb 16, 2013. It was last updated on Feb 16, 2013.

This page (How to Pick the Right Battery For Your Project) was last updated on Feb 13, 2013.

Text editor powered by tinymce.