Quick Tip: How To Make A 5 Minutes Battery Pack

Flickr user Raw Sniper (aka ak Photographie) just sent in this great tip on creating a quick and dirty battery pack using an empty battery case and a few pieces of metal.

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This can come in handy if you want to power a strobe from external power (or if you just need a 6V pack). So if the strobe goes weak, you just replace the external pack without fiddling with batteries.

If you use this as a system, you can keep a few in the bag, and once a pack is drained remove the batteries from it so you get a nice system to tell charged packs from empty packs (which will literally be empty).

The nice thing about this cell is that batteries are still charged individually using the same charger you already use. You can use this with regular batteries or with rechargeable, which end up being both cheaper and environment friendly.

To create this battery pack you will need five little metal strips (or thickly folded tin foil), 2 wires and strobe connectors (which RawSniper salvaged from an old hard drive connector, but a radio shack connector will do).

batterie pack

  1. Place the batteries so they interchange in polarity
  2. Use three thin metal strips so they connect the batteries in serial
  3. Place the other two metal strips to provide contacts on the first and last batteries.
  4. make a small slit so the wires can go through the box.
  5. Attach the end terminals to the wires.

You are done in under 5 minutes :)

Of course, if you need a bigger battery pack you can either concatenate 4 cells packs or build an 8 pack.

P.S. if it is about constant power for the long run, try building an External Flash Power That Will Last Till Hell Freezes or Making a DSLR Battery Run 4 Times Longer

  • Chris Wilkinson

    NiMH batteries are 1.2v, so 4×1.2 = 4.8V. You’ll need 5 NiMH cells for 6V.

    You can buy pre-wired packs at radio controlled hobby stores that only require modifying the connector end. See https://www.greathobbies.com/productinfo/?prod_id=TACM2020

    Far less messing around.

  • Vase Petrovski

    Great post,
    But I’m thinking something else:
    Is this is possible with Lead acid battery 6v ?
    If it is possible does anyone knows what is the connections for the Nikon SB26 at the front?

    • ngiardina

      I have made a similar pack with a 6V sealed lead acid battery, a small plastic enclosure and a couple of DC jacks from Radio Shack. Basically, wire the battery to the DC jack, install the DC jack in the side of the enslosure. Then wire the same DC jack to the two battery contact points inside the flash. Then connect the two DC jacks with a cord that you can make from anyhting (I used a guitar cord).

      On a Sigma 530, it last all day. Over 1000 flashes. No problems. You can even add a belt-clip to the enclosure and use it for event work.

  • david d

    As the previous commenter stated, using a battery holder with the springy connections built in will be more reliable than using a plastic case as detailed here. Moreover, for the 8 pack, a battery holder is certainly cheaper than the Amazon link to the plain plastic holder.

    Where are the pinouts for the flash power connections documented? .

    • fabianbono

      I ask for the same information, picture shows connection to power socket on YN flash, but that connector is for high voltage!! so, how do you connect the pack to the flash unit?

  • vinterchaos

    proof read your article :P

    • http://www.diyphotography.net/ udi tirosh

      let me know what I missed. I’ll fix it right away.

      • Toast

        week instead of weak

        • http://www.diyphotography.net/ udi tirosh

          no wonder the speller did not pick it up. Thanks for the fix.

  • JoshNYC

    i dont see how this is better than 4 AA inside?

  • Robert Miler

    I kinda like it, but I don’t see the benefit. but if you were to use c or d batteries in a battery box, it might be worth the effort. on a mildly unrelated note, does anybody know the voltage coming from the battery pack that runs the flashpoint 320m strobe? I don’t know if it is worth $100 if I can make one cheaper.

  • Rick

    I see the value of this as an emergency fix but to use this as a regular means might cause clients to question your professionalism. I also wouldn’t want to try to get this past TSA as that could lead to a conversation that ends with a rubber glove going places you really don’t want one to go.

  • G

    2. use three thin metal strips so they connect the batteries in SERIES.