Using a Car Battery as a Power Source for Time Lapse Camera

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by stooky, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. stooky

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    First of all, my apologies for not really knowing too much about DC electronics, despite 2 years of engineering waaaaay back.

    I have a time lapse camera. you can find the manual here:


    Near the end of the manual (page 23) it indicates what the required input power is:

    (9V - 12V DC 250mA)

    I bought their Solar Panel to keep this thing powered, but it is just NOT cutting it. Especially right now with -30C weather.

    Can anyone assist me in building a contraption that would allow me to power this thing with a car battery?

    The other alternative is to buy a couple of Eliminators from Canadian Tire (I have one already)


    Then purchase a plug-in DC adapter or a lighter-style DC adapter.



  2. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    You probably don't want to use a car battery car batteries are designed to supply a large amount of current over a short period of time. It needs to provide enough power to turn an electric motor that turns your whole engine over.

    You need something that provides a comparatively small amount of cureent over a short period of time.

    A better choice would be an SLA or similar rechargeable.
  3. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    I find it interesting that the power sources are either four "AA" batteries, or a 9v to 12v 250mA adapter.

    I'd be willing to bet that the camera consumes a good bit more power when running on a "wall wart" than it does when running off AA batteries.

    Spinnaker's steering you in the right direction; an automotive battery wasn't designed for deep-cycle use. They will fall apart inside very quickly if you try to use them for such duty. Deep-cycle batteries have a different plate design than auto batteries do.

    Still, if you allow a deep-cycle battery to become discharged more than 50%, it will have a very short life. The shallower you discharge them, the longer they will last.

    But, back to the battery vs wall adapter aka "wall wart" question - you need some way to monitor the power consumed when on batteries vs when it's on a wall wart supply. Once you get those numbers, it will be a lot easier to make a decision as to whether powering the camera from a 12v battery via the adapter would be better, or using a switching regulator to step the voltage down to 6v efficiently and powering it via the AA battery pack connections.
  4. debe

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Looking at the specs the camera runs on 6V DC. If you want to run ext power you use a converter which will step 9--12V DC down to 6V DC @ 250ma to power the camera. Personaly i would use a car type plug in converter to 6V hooked up to a gelcell battery. There is plenty of car type of phone chargers that put out that type of current @ 6V dc. I use one to run a navman GPS in my car.