Simple project that could be costly

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by TooRisky, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. TooRisky

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    4
    0
    I found this site through researching and think this is the place to get a trusted answer... I do research here in the PNW, mostly at night with a pretty expensive 3rd gen. IR monocular which just eats up batteries. I would like to know 2 things.

    1) Is it possible to remove the 4 AA batteries, and wire in a permanant power power supply.

    2) What is the voltage of the 4 AA's..1.5 or added 6V and the amperage, to purchase the needed transformer/converter (DC of course).

    The batteries stagger + and -, so I would assume I tie all the + and then all the - into the 2 +/- input leads.

    Now I have 12VDC and Inverted 120VAC power to work with, but would really like to keep on the DC side of things...And of course if this is just a pie in the sky idea, please let me know for the IR device was not cheap...

    Thanks allot in advance...

    Steve
     
  2. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,648
    2,346
    Hello,

    How are the 4 AA batteries placed in the monocular?
    It would be good to know if there are voltage taps between the 4 AA batteties.
    Normaly I would say the total voltage is indeed 4 X 1.5 Volts = 6 Volts.

    Is the powersource available 12 Volts DC?
    In that case you could take a DC/DC converter to make 6 Volts out of it.

    Greetings,
    Bertus
     
  3. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    Hi Steve,
    Welcome to AAC. We have a pretty good group of folks on here.

    First of all, what is the manufacturer and model number of your IR monocle? It really helps a lot to have documentation available.

    Secondly, do you have a multimeter, and can you measure the voltage output from the battery holder at the monocle's +/- leads? While it is likely that it will be 6v, making assumptions could be expensive.

    Alkaline AA cells generally measure 1.5v when they are new.

    Can you use NiMH batteries? Your owner's manual should state whether these are acceptable; if so, it would be a low-risk and low-cost alternative to using alkaline batteries.

    How long does your monocle operate on batteries, and exactly what type and brand batteries have you been using? This information is important to establish power usage of the monocle, and what you might require using an alternative power source.
     
  4. TooRisky

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    4
    0
    Hey guys/gals and thank you for your quick reply's...

    Well the IR Monocular is made by iGen it is an iGen NV20/20

    I have a multimeter, but the batteries are set into the device so that you would have to take out the batteries to accuratly measure, defeating the purpose, but will give that a try in a sec., Now would I go accross any + to - to see the voltage or try one end or the ether meaning not measureing inbetween batteries.

    I run non-rechargable Duracell Coppertop Alkaline in it now (1.5V), this unit run's only AA type batteries.

    I am getting between 3-4 hours on a run of batteries, changing them out is not only costly, but Murphys Law seems to follow me at all times. In my research with my luck, things will start happening and at that critical time, the batteries would start to fade and die. My window of oppertunity is so fast I just cant take the chance of missing it.

    The battery placement is as such.

    Forward end of the monocular, looking at the bottom side

    - +
    + -
    - +
    + -

    Rear end (eye piece)

    Thanks guys...I will check on the voltage....
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2010
  5. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    OK, I found an owner's manual online:
    http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/opticsplanet/igen-owners-manual.pdf
    It contains the manufacturer's address and telephone number.

    Excerpt from the manual:
    That means they really want 6v coming in.

    I suggest that you contact the manufacturer directly about this, particularly if it is under warranty.
     
  6. 3ldon

    Active Member

    Jan 9, 2010
    82
    3
    If it runs fine on NIMH then consider using NIMh batteries, they may even last longer due to lower internal resistance than alkaline cells.

    If you want to go with a dc-dc converter, consider using the 12volt to 5 volt converter found in external hard drives, they are typically better than 70% efficient. You might even get lucky and find one that you could dremmel off the usb side of the board and stick it inside the monocular.
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Looking at the manual it didn't cover where the batteries, and how they are mounted.

    Can you trim a notch where the battery cover is? My thought is to allow two small wires to feed out of the case to deliver power. This may be totally unacceptable, but I've had similar thoughts with other devices, using dowels with thumb tacks to replace the batteries, and putting wire under the thumb tacks.

    Once you have external power leads you are more than half way there. You could use an external SLA battery, or whatever you wanted.
     
  8. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    I'm afraid that if our OP makes any modifications at all to it, that his warranty will be void. :(
     
  9. HarveyH42

    Active Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    425
    5
    One year warranty... Might not be an issue anymore.

    Wooden dowels and thumbtacks work great, used it when i was in college, many years ago. If you are worried about modification of the cover, consider an alternate covering, until the warranty expires. There is a low-temp plastic, Polymorph, which you can mold with your hands. Maybe track down a replacement cover some place, but probably expensive to buy.

    You will only need two dowels, so you'll have room of two batteries in the case for a small regulator circuit, or just a socket, for a power plug. Once you get that set, you can hook up a meter, and see what your current needs are, then choosing a big enough battery is easy. Would guess that you would like to keep it portable, and small.
     
  10. TooRisky

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    4
    0
    Hey I first want to thank you all for outstanding ideas...I was wondering if I would have to fill the gaps for the batteries, the dowel idea would certainly fit the bill.

    I am sure that the unit is still under warrenty, but the battery compartment is such that I would be able to at least experiment with this idea and confirm that it will indeed work before any "body mods" are done. This way if I screw up and the unit does take a hit, I can revert to my dark side and play dumb when confronted by the 'Warrenty Police"

    Now is where I my electronics knowledge starts to fade...will I have to worry about amperage, I have decided to go with a transformer and come off inverted 120VAC from a huge tug boat deep cell...(Long Story). We know the voltage is to be 6VDC...Now what would be the amperage ???

    You guys are great...

    Thank you very much

    Steve

    PS...What gauge wire would I be using to simulate the battery (dowel idea) and the power supply....
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Get something very regulated, I assume 6V. Being batteries current isn't too much of a problem. I would estimate over ½A is overkill.

    You can get wall warts that are regulated. It should state this clearly on the wall wart. You can also make a simple regulator with a LM317, I've done it using epoxy putty to seal the unit in, leaving the metal from the package exposed to dissipate heat.

    You'll need a wire gauge strong enough to handle abuse, current isn't an issue.

    Something like this perhaps. Pay attention to polarity!

    [​IMG]
     
  12. TooRisky

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    4
    0
    Ok thanks all...Bill I went and found a 6VDC @ 500mA regulated power supply for this project...at the same time I got schooled on what exactly a regulated power vs unregulated power supply is, so it is a double win for me.

    Now is the matter of wiring it in which I will wait on untill I get the power supply along with taking some pics of the project as a visual for assistance...

    Thanks from all the folks at WASRT...If you are courious as to what we are researching and the reason behind this project please take a little time and see what we are doing at www.wasrt.com

    Steve
     
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