Understanding Batteries

for hunting and

Outdoor Electronics

All hunting electronic devices depend on batteries to power them. Most devices the outdoorsman will be concerned with other than those needed by the vehicle that gets him on location will be powered by cells of from 1.2 volts to 24 volts max. The basic battery cell will produce 1.5 volts if it is a lead acid, mercury or zinc-carbon or Alkaline based, or 1.25 volts if it is Nickel Cadmium, Lithium or Nickel Metal Hydride.

Most devices from flashlights to radios require the use of more than one cell in series to operate because they require a higher voltage than 1.5 or 1.25 volts. For instance most cameras use 3volt cells. By the same token all higher voltages sush as 6v, 9v, 12v and etc. are multiples of the single 1.5 or 1.2v cell packaged together to achieve the end voltage. For instance a 9v cell consists of six 1.5 volt cells, a 15v consists of 10 cells.

Mystery of Voltage Verses Power

From the above discussion we see that if we string together three 1.5 volt cells we get a 4.5 volt drop across the (series.)

3 ea 1.5 v batteries seriesed

The arrangement shown in the sketch would work well for a 3volt flashlight bulb, add a forth 1.5 volt cell to get six volts.

As shown from the sketch above a 9 volt batt. can be constructed by connecting six one time use or rechargeable 1.2 -1.5 volt ni-cad cells in series The end wires can be terminated on a snap connector and tape or package in a rectangular box and it is ready to replace a standard 9 volt batt. Remember the red wire of the snap connector attaches to the positive (+) battery end and the negative (-) attaches to the black wire. Battery holders that hold from two to six single cells can be found at local electronics retailers such as Radio Shack. Imagine how much more field life can be created by using two four "C or D" cell holders (eight batteries) than a single 9 volt batt.

This procedure can be expanded to fit any pre-packaged voltage needed.

Cell Power

The individual cells can be made using any size batt. such as common AAA, AA, C, and D cells. They can also be made in the form of buttons or half size AA' for instance. The important thing is that the output voltage always stays the same but the amount of power stored varies with larger volume. Automotive batteries are power rated in the unit "AMP Hours", small batt's. are rated in "milliamp hours". For reference:

An "AAA" Ni-Cad may store around 250 mah whereas a "D" size from the same manufacturer may store 4400 mah. Big difference in field run time.

Cells can be combined in parallel as shown in the next sketch to provide more power, i.e. the batteries will provide the same 1.5 volts for a period of six times times as long as a single cell.

6 batteries paralleled

You can combine more than one higher voltage battery in the same way. If you have a 12 volt requirement and can not find a 12 volt cell you can series eight 1.5 volt cells or two 6 volt batt's. If your 9 volt battery is only lasting 5 days in your game feeder application and you need two or three weeks in between trips to the lease use six "D" cells seriesed instead. Or for even longer operation between charges or changes, series two six volt lantern batteries. 90% of all electronic devices have a working voltage range of from six to twelve or even sixteen volts.

You see there is no real mystery about battery use. You can mix and match to get the results you need as long as voltages are the same. See the

battery replacement page for more information about soldering leads to batt's. and how to save a bundle replacing power tool battery cells.

If you are using rechargeable nicads, alkalines or nickel metal hydrides instead of single use zinc-carbon types there are things to be aware of which will extend or shorten rechargeable batteries lives.

9 volt to 6 volt conversion

Many nine volt powered devices will function very well on six volts. By using a nine volt batt. snap fitting, wired as shown to a 6 volt lantern battery. The functional life of the device can be extended tremendously. This means you can leave your trail camera or trail monitor out for weeks.

You might have a hunting electronics device powered by a single 9 volt cellĀ  but you need to extend the life in the field and the 6 volt conversion shown above is not an option because you checked and the six volt lantern cell voltage is just too low. A good option would be to double the existing nine volt battery life by adding a second or third nine volt cell in parallel as shown below, in fact any number of cells can be jumpered together to extend the life in the field to any time you need.

9 volt battery doubler

Rechargeable cells are expensive and for longer life always use a quality charger.

To use multiple cells without having to purchase a multi-batt. box wires can be soldered to connect the cells together then bundled in zip lock plastic pouches and taped for water resistance.

Power packs for power tools which are used around the house and to build stands, feeders and cabins have a finite life. When they reach the end of their life you can replace your old rechargeables and save as much as 50%.

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