Converting Battery Operated Accessories to Electric

The Basics:

Most of the accessories run on either two or three AA batteries.

 

Each battery is 1.5 volts.

 

So…the accessories require a total of 3 to 4.5 volts depending on the number of batteries it takes.

As intimidating as lighting them may seem, you may remember sticking your tongue onto a 9 volt battery at some point?  You’re dealing with a voltage that isn’t even that strong.

 

The Process:

 

I buy the PowerLine multi-use AC adapter from Walmart.

 

They’re about $15 each.  I run multiple accessories to one of these units (I’ll explain that process in the video this weekend), so you do *not* need one adapter for every single accessory.  However, for ease of explanation here, we’ll only go through connecting one adapter to one accessory.

 

The adapter will come with about seven various mini plugs that are made to attach to the end of the cord – you will not use them.  Set them aside or throw them away, your choice.

 

The end of the cord (where the adapters would plug into) you will need to cut off using wire cutters or a box knife.

 

That will leave you the part that plugs into the wall and then cut off wires at the opposite end.

You’ll split the cut end of the wire down the center and carefully pull it apart – you’ve probably done the same sort of thing with speaker wire in some point in your life.  Although I could be dating myself.

 

As you split it apart, one half will be solid black.  The other half will be black with a white stripe running down it.  The side with your white stripe is the positive wire (versus the negative).

 

You’ll need to skin each side of the wire a bit – again using the box cutter and along the same lines you would have done with the speaker wire.

 

The part that plugs into the wall will have a Voltage Selector button.  You’ll set it to the voltage you need.  Obviously, do not plug it into the wall until everything is connected!

 

The Christmas Tree Lot (one of my favorites!) uses two AA batteries, so requires 3 volts to light up.  If I were working with something that required three AA batteries, I’d up it to 4.5 volts (1.5 x 3).

I’m a neat freak, so I like keeping things tidy.  I drill a small hole in my battery cover to slide the wire up through.  You certainly don’t need to do this.

 

You may notice the wires in the picture going into my Christmas Tree Lot are red and white.  That is because, as I mentioned, I’m running multiple accessories to a single adapter so I need additional wire.

For ease of this explanation, pretend my white wire is the black wire with the white stripe (positive) and my red wire is the solid black wire (negative).


In the battery compartment, you’d stick the batteries in opposite ways.

Look at that compartment.  One end will have a thin, metal strip that connects each side.  The other end will not.

More information than you’ll want to know, the power flows through making a U shape.  Positive down to negative, over to positive, and back up to negative.

That thin metal strip is what makes the underside of the U.  We’ll be connection the TOP of U – or the end that isn’t connected by the metal strip.

 

You’ll connect the wire – where you have scraped the ends clean – into the battery compartment.  Again, on the end NOT connected by the metal strip.  Notice below, the end I'm connecting the wires two are not connected by the metal strip.

Here's a better look at the end that DOES have the metal strip, simply to ensure you see it.

Simply hang negative wire through the coil (red in my picture) and pinch together.

The positive side I bend into itself to make a little circle.  I cut a small wooden dowel as close to same length as a AA battery as I can.  Since the positive side is flatter with no spring, I insert the dowel like a battery to keep the wire pressed against the connection.  In the photo above, I haven't pinched the white wire in with the wooden block yet.

 

Again, this reads as far more difficult that it is.  It takes under ten minutes to do.

 

Disclaimer:  These are simply my suggestions on how to connect the lights via electricity without having to use batteries.  Should you somehow injure yourself on the box cutter or set your village ablaze, I’m not responsible.  Also proceed at your own risk and do not do anything you are not comfortable with!