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  1. #1
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    Batteries for Boom

    It seems there was some discussion of this in 2008 - 2009, but not much in the way of reports of actual battery use. Aside from using spare laptop batteries, has anyone tried other battery configurations, and was this successful? I have done some research on battery technologies and I am willing to share it if anyone here is interested, but first wanted to hear from anyone who has already tried running their Boom on batteries. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iPhone's Avatar
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    DeWalt 18VDC cordless batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by jmang View Post
    It seems there was some discussion of this in 2008 - 2009, but not much in the way of reports of actual battery use. Aside from using spare laptop batteries, has anyone tried other battery configurations, and was this successful? I have done some research on battery technologies and I am willing to share it if anyone here is interested, but first wanted to hear from anyone who has already tried running their Boom on batteries. Thanks.
    Hello and Welcome to the Forum.

    NOTICE/WARNING: Doing or trying this is at ones own risk and will void ones Boom Warranty. It is highly recommended to use some type of fixed polarized plug on the battery side and a proper DC plug for the connection to the Boom.

    I have been using DeWalt 18VDC Cordless Drill Batteries to power my Boom remotely. I like using these batteries because the Boom doesn't have to charge them because the drill comes with a quick charger. Plus I have many spare batteries so its a simple battery swap to stay portable while allowing the quick charger to charge the battery just removed separately.

    I have made a DC pigtail with a Boom DC plug on one end and a polarized fixed plug to match the DeWalt battery connector on the opposite end. By going to this much trouble, it is impossible to cross wires or accidently switch polarity. The DC pigtail allows me to just change the battery while allowing the fresh battery to connect quickly. The removed battery is completely stock again and easily plugged into the quick charger. The Boom end of the pigtail remains in the Boom so AC can't be applied without first removing the battery source and it is simple to pull the plug just as it is with the AC supplies DC plug end to go back on AC Mains without any worry of damage to the Boom or DeWalt battery pack.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks iPhone. I recall you did post info about the power tool battery previously.

    Would you share on what battery technology the DeWalt battery is built and its amp-hour rating, if available? Also, about how may hours of use do you get with the battery, and can you give the terminal battery voltage---the voltage below which the Boom does not operate properly?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    I'm interested too

    more accurately a friend of mine is. (Got a new Boom as a replacement for a Logitech ipod dock that died a bit early, imagine that!)
    He wants to bring the boom to the garden in the summer, so he'd need to run it on battery.
    Any info that can help him not fry the precious device will be greatly appreciated.
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  5. #5
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    OK. First, I should reiterate the disclaimers: using any power supply other than the one supplied with the device voids the warranty and may harm the device. Please also note that I have not purchased or used any products from the vendors mentioned, and I have no other relationship with them. Therefore I do not recommend or endorse them or their products. I present them only as examples that might meet your needs.

    Having said that, use of a rechargeable battery power supply that is properly wired, of the proper voltage, energy capacity (a/k/a watt-hours or Wh) and charge/discharge characteristics with the proper battery charger according to the right charging procedures should power the Boom successfully and not cause it any damage.

    You can find that the Boom takes 12 volts (12v) at a maximum current of 2.5 amps (2.5A) by looking at the AC power adapter that comes with it. So our battery supply should have the same characteristics or better.

    There are several types of rechargeable batteries available but not all of them are well suited to power a Boom. Here's a quick summary.

    - Lead-acid batteries, including "gel cells" and other so-called sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries and "car batteries". A 12v SLA battery could be used to power the Boom. If you have a spare 12v car battery or UPS battery that can produce a sustained 3A output (a little more than the Boom requires for safety reasons) it should work. But I would not suggest running out and buying one without considering the other options. Lead-acid batteries have some important drawbacks including they are big and heavy compared to other rechargeables, are slow to recharge (8 - 12 hours is typical) and have shorter lifetimes in terms of the number of times they can be discharged and recharged than other types.

    - Nickel family batteries including NiCd and NiMH. These are probably the most common types, at least until the advent of rechargeable Lithium batteries of various types. (There is also NiZn or nickel-zinc technology which is a available from a single manufacturer, and which I would not recommend over the NiMH types.) NiCd batteries are available, but they are being largely replaced by NiMH because they are subject to the "memory effect" where they lose their ability to recharge fully and they contain toxic metals that present environmental hazards. NiMH batteries are a good choice because they can be recharged fairly quickly and through many cycles. Their one big drawback is that they lose their charge even when not in use at a quicker rate than other types.

    - Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) and Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) batteries are most frequently used in cell phones and other devices where higher energy density is needed. Higher energy density means more power from less mass. Li-Ion and Li-poly types have the highest energy density but they also have a serious drawback - they can catch fire and explode if not handled properly. These batteries may become unsafe if they are recharged too quickly or too slowly, or they are externally and/or internally damaged. They can also become unsafe due to manufacturing defects in the cells themselves and/or their assembly into battery packs (remember the Sony laptop battery packs that caught fire in some Dell and other laptops a few years ago?)

    - Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries have recently hit the market and may eventually replace the other rechargeable lithium types in many applications, mainly because they are not as sensitive to abuse and far less likely to self-destruct. Their energy density is not as high as most Li-Ion and Li-Poly types, but they offer perhaps the longest life-spans, with claims of over 2,000 charge/discharge cycles possible.

    So how to power the Boom? We need 12v but NiMH (and NiCd) batteries only provide 1.2v per cell and Li-Ion, Li-Poly and LiFePO4 types from about 3.2 - 3.6v per cell. If we connect multiple battery cells in series (positive pole to negative pole) the voltages add, so we can use 10 NiMH cells in series or about 4 Li-types in series. This means we will need a battery "pack" if we don't use a single monolithic SLA battery. Some radio control (RC) enthusiasts assemble their own battery packs for their model planes, cars and helicopters, but it should not be necessary to do so for powering the Boom. However, some of the options I will identify do require some DIY.

    Options 1 & 2: BatteryGeek.net sell two fully built Li-Ion battery packs that appear suitable for powering the Boom. Their "5-12-50 Portable DVD Player Battery Pack" provides 12v at up to 3A with a 50 Wh capacity. The price is $99.99. Based on numbers found in this forum the Boom runs at about 7 - 8 watts typically. Thus this pack should run for around 6+ hours per charge. It comes with its own charger and an assortment of connector tips. If you decide to order any of the solutions here, you must make sure they come with a 5.5mm OD 2.5mm ID barrel connector to plug into the Boom's power jack. The other option from this vendor is their "9-12-66 Super Long Life Portable DVD Player Battery" which sells for $129.95 and provides 66 Wh, about 1/3 more juice than the other model mentioned. BatteryGeek.net have received mixed reviews and you should Google these for more background. Why am I mentioning Li-Ion technology products after pointing out how dangerous they can be? Since a complete package including a charger is offered here there isn't much likelihood that you will inadvertently overcharge the batteries or charge them too fast if you use the supplied charger (I'm assuming that BatteryGeek.net's engineering is sound, of course) and you are getting the cells built into a housing that should protect them from incidental physical damage.

    Options 3 & 4: BatterySpace.com sells quite a variety of batteries and battery packs, in fact they seem to be a unique resource in this area. Virtually all the other battery specialists I found online carry batteries and battery assemblies designed for particular devices (laptops, cell phones, etc.) and/or name brand and generic individual batteries. Only BatterySpace.com appears to carry a wide variety of battery packs of various voltages, power ratings and battery technologies. Their "Customize LiFePO4 26650 Battery: 12.8V 6.6Ah (84Wh, 25A rate) in Aluminum-Box with PCB & 5.5x2.5 Male Barrel Connector" ($100) and "Smart Charger (3.0 A) for 12.8V (4 cells) LiFePO4 Battery Pack, 110-240VAC, UL / CE listed" ($21.95) provides more power for around the same money as the higher-priced BatteryGeek.net alternative. But it does require some DIY, the connector on the charger must be installed by the user. (Don't be put off by the slightly higher voltage, the Boom has internal voltage regulation that will handle it.) BatterySpace.com also has a NiMH battery pack and charger package, "NiMH Battery Pack: 12V 5000mAh + Smart Fast Charger for Laptop IBM, Sony Toshiba etc." that includes barrel connectors for $69.95, but the battery pack is only shrink-wrapped. Housing the battery pack in a protective case is left to the user.

    With these alternatives I've tried to include what appeared to me to be the best values involving little to no DIY. I did not include URL references to the product pages because these may change, as I found with another post in this forum that mentioned a BatteryGeek.net product URL that was broken, apparently because that particular product was subsequently discontinued.

  6. #6
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    After writing the above novelette mentioning two possible sources of batteries that might be suitable for use with the Boom I realized that I wasn't entirely satisfied with either one. Too costly, too much DIY, not mainstream products, not enough positive user feedback. I just didn't feel like risking the investment of money and time in a solution that didn't have much of a track record.

    Searching the Web again I found the Tekkeon MyPower auxiliary Li-poly battery line. Surprisingly these didn't show up in my prior searches despite apparently being on the market since 2007-8 and being available from multiple major on-line resellers. There are several versions of MyPower that should be suitable for powering the Boom, as mentioned below. I chose the MP3450 which at about $100 online was the least expensive choice.

    After several months of use I can say that the MP3450 has worked quite well powering my Boom, with a couple of minor issues. In normal use I've found my Boom will play about 5 - 6 hours on a charge. The recharging time for the battery is 4 hours.

    There are two caveats I have found. The first is not the fault of the battery. When the Boom is connected to a power source it draws power whether turned on or off. So, I found if I leave the MP3450 connected to the Boom and turned on (it has its own on-off switch) the battery drains within about 36 - 48 hours even when the Boom is played only about an hour per day.

    The second issue is the way the voltage is set on the MP3450. To set the output voltage the battery pack must be powered on but disconnected from the load, and the previous voltage setting is lost when the unit is turned off. So when you turn the MP3450 on (after turning it off previously to avoid unwanted discharge) you must disconnect it from the Boom in order to set the voltage.

    If this sounds unacceptable there are two other MyPower battery packs which may work better for you. The MP3750 is similar to the MP3450 but has automatic voltage detection, and therefore may be able to automatically set the right voltage for the Boom when turned on. The MP3450i is an "industrial" version of the MyPower battery pack which uses mechanical (DIP) switches to set the voltage. Thus once you set it for 12 v it will stay there regardless of being powered off and on. In fact, it might prove rather inconvenient to change voltages frequently on this model. The MP3750 costs around $10 more than the MP3450 and the MP3450i is about $25 more. All three models provide about the same amount of energy per charge.

    With their multiple voltages and multiple adapter plugs you can also use the MP3450, MP3750 and MP3450i to power or charge other portable electronics like cell phones, portable DVD and music players and computers. I'm happy with my MP3450 as it lets me listen to my Boom just about anywhere, like a true boom box, and would suggest it as a portable power source for any of numerous portable devices whose voltage and power requirements are compatible with its operating range.

  7. #7
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    I'm a little confused, one person claimed to use an 18V battery from a DeWalt drill, but the boom apparently operates at 12V. Not doubting anyone, just wondering if it can just handle the over voltage.

    I don't have a boom to look at, but there is a screen you can get to on the radio which shows the input voltage from the wall adaptor, and the radio reads 18.264V (Quite the accurate reading.. Although the radio does have an optional battery pack, its damn near impossible to find in my area.

    Ok, this is about the boom not the radio. If the thing runs at 12VDC, and it looks like any solution will have a separate battery, why not just buy a $50.00 car booster pack which always have a cigarette lighter socket on them, then rig a cig-lighter-to-barrel connector and your done. You can get the car booster packs anywhere. I think even the smallest booster pack has a 7Ah battery, I have one I got for $70.00 which has a 22Ah battery in it or 154 Wh. Sure its huge, but you "can" carry it and it would probably power the boom forever.

  8. #8
    Senior Member pfarrell's Avatar
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    Batteries for Boom

    On 01/22/2011 09:25 PM, gibbs wrote:
    > I'm a little confused, one person claimed to use an 18V battery from a
    > DeWalt drill, but the boom apparently operates at 12V. Not doubting
    > anyone, just wondering if it can just handle the over voltage.


    Yes, the beta units were shipped with 18v power supplies. The production
    units use 12v. Only downside is that the 18v power supplies can cause
    the electronics to warm up to the touch.

    At least one of the folks using a 18V power drill battery was one of the
    key engineers behind the Boom's sound.


    > Ok, this is about the boom not the radio. If the thing runs at 12VDC,
    > and it looks like any solution will have a separate battery, why not
    > just buy a $50.00 car booster pack which always have a cigarette
    > lighter socket on them, then rig a cig-lighter-to-barrel connector and
    > your done.


    That would work, as would any cheap invertor that can deliver an amp or two.



    --
    Pat Farrell
    http://www.pfarrell.com/


  9. #9
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    I'm a new Boom user and found a nice solution for this. I keep the Boom at my bedside, but yesterday afternoon I decided to make some risotto and wanted music in the kitchen. So, I unplugged the Boom, moved it to the kitchen, and used a Celestron "Power Tank" battery pack that I bought to use with a telescope. It turns out that not only did the battery pack work great, but the DC adapter for the telescope works perfectly with the Boom! Four hours later it was still going strong.

    I really like the ability to sync players together so that the same music is playing everywhere. I'm going to have to get at least one more!

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Rechargeable Pack for Boom

    I just recently got a Boom. I did want to be able to run without being tied to an AC outlet (in the backyard, etc.). On the suggestion above I got one of the Tekkeon myPower ALL plus MP3750 units. Everything is working great. I get about 6-7 hours from the battery pack. Pack charges in about 4 hours.

    Purchased from B&H Photo, NY. They are running an $80 discount until the end of May 2011, making it $109.95 (sorry for the time-bound/sensitive content). No affiliation to me - I'm not hawking anything. Seems like a good deal if you are considering an option to run from a rechargeable battery pack.

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