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Current produced by 3 AA batteries #5439022 05/26/20 06:21 AM
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MoneyJohn Offline OP
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I am aware that AA batteries are calculated in terms of Ah and not A, and volts, still is there any way to calculate how much current in A that 3 AA batteries can produce?

The details,

First, I don't have much understanding of electricity. I do not try to deal with any electric related stuff but this felt simple so I thought of trying.

Son has Snap Circuit sets that use 3 AA batteries. Now that he has a lot of time on hand and gets bored easily, he is running batteries like a set per 6 hours/day or so. He is using rechargeable batteries, still, I thought maybe it is easier to just put it on USB power using a phone power bank.

Did some YouTubing and found a guy using dowels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzruV5pH1RU Only difference is, he used a transformer and I chose to use a phone power bank. I was just focused on 5V produced by 3 batteries. I 'assumed' the current drawn will be dependent on the circuit. Snap Circuit didn't like these batteries and they didn't work (but worked with 3 AA batteries). Everything seemed OK so I tried in one of the LED lamps I had that uses 3 AA batteries. It lit up but soon one of the functions failed. It has On/Off/Auto setting. The auto setting has a motion-sensing sensor. Now it works on On but not on Auto. I opened up the lamp and smelled something burnt.

I am quite confused about why it stopped functioning and smell something burnt. Is it because the current was too high from the power bank (between 1-2.5A). And why the LED lamp works but Snap Circuit doesn't.

Any educated guesses?

(P.S. - I admit, many may not know what circuits I am talking about but I don't know how best I can put this question. Pls ask if any more info needed.)

Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439032 05/26/20 06:32 AM
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supton Offline
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3 AA's is 4.5V that will dip down to like 3V at end of life. 5V from a USB battery is likely 5V (it can be as low as 4.5V from a computer, especially when under load on a small gauge cable). And it'll be 5V until the battery is depleted.

I wouldn't think 0.5V would matter to the LED widget. I'm going to guess either infant mortality or poor design. Assuming that no one applied more than 4.5V (any chance your son decided that, if 3 was good then maybe 6 was even gooder?).

Edit: under heavy current draw the AA's will droop in voltage too. It's possible that any high current draw device in the kit may have been expecting that phenomenon, but the 5V bank was not dipping under load. So I suppose there is that effect.

Last edited by supton; 05/26/20 06:34 AM.

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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439095 05/26/20 07:56 AM
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terry274 Offline
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Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.


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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: terry274] #5439131 05/26/20 08:54 AM
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MoneyJohn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by terry274
Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.

Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.

Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439135 05/26/20 08:58 AM
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kschachn Offline
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Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.

What? If they are in parallel then they will be in parallel, not with one reversed. if one is reversed then that indicates they are in series unless there is some sort of funky wiring in the holder.

What voltage are you getting out of the pack? Batteries in parallel is somewhat odd for several reasons.


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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439144 05/26/20 09:10 AM
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supton Offline
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Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
Originally Posted by terry274
Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.

Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.

I think you mean they are physically parallel to one another. But electrically they are in series. If you remove the batteries and look at the tabs/springs you should see that the batteries go + to - and so forth.


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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439196 05/26/20 10:19 AM
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Quattro Pete Offline
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Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
Originally Posted by terry274
Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.

Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.

If you're getting 4.5V (3x1.5V) out of them, then that means they are in series, not parallel.


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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439233 05/26/20 11:01 AM
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djb Offline
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The Snap Circuit battery pack has a hidden 'PTC' (Positive Temperature Coefficient) resistor. That limits the current if there is a short circuit, which is a common occurrence.

The PTC resistor works by dramatically increasing its resistance when it heats up. That allow almost full voltage for typical loads, and almost full current briefly, but then the current is very limited until the load is removed and the resistor cools down.

Using rechargeable batteries in the supplied battery case is the easiest way to solve your battery usage problem.

We can talk about internal resistance and the complexity of how much current different types and brands of batteries can supply in different conditions, but that is of academic interest only.

Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439273 05/26/20 11:45 AM
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Basically that PTC is a really cheap way to power the circuit without the cost of a real voltage regulator. when voltage input is higher even .5 volts that PTC reacts to limit current but that extra voltage gets converted to heat inside it and puts the device above its temperature maximum. As part of powering circuits he needs to understand voltage, current and Resistance relationship. He should be encouraged to purchase a voltage regulator kit and bypass the battery pack to power his stuff. This is how the old timers would approach it and learn something along the way. just pulling a kit out of a box to see a light blink dosent really teach the fundamentals and how to resolve problems.

Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439274 05/26/20 11:45 AM
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MoneyJohn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Quattro Pete
Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
Originally Posted by terry274
Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.

Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.

If you're getting 4.5V (3x1.5V) out of them, then that means they are in series, not parallel.

Thanks,

As I said in the OP, my knowledge of electricity is zero. From the explanation, it looks that they are physically parallel but in series.

Originally Posted by djb

Using rechargeable batteries in the supplied battery case is the easiest way to solve your battery usage problem.

We can talk about internal resistance and the complexity of how much current different types and brands of batteries can supply in different conditions, but that is of academic interest only.

No, this pretty much answers the question. I will just get some new rechargeable AA batteries for him to use so that he will have a set always charged.


But I am still confused about what in the LED light circuitry blew that one of the functions doesn't work. I actually had high hopes because I was planning to go away from rechargeable batteries and replace all such lights with 5V USB power but now I am not too sure because of my lack of understanding.

Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439279 05/26/20 11:51 AM
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supton Offline
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Can you post a picture of the bad module? Open it up even. There is many ways to make a blinking light, and speculating about what blew won't get anyone anywhere.


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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439316 05/26/20 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
Originally Posted by terry274
Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.

Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.


I think you need to understand what it means by parallel or series first.

https://globalsolarsupply.com/wp-co...ecting-batteries-series-and-parallel.gif

Regarding to why USB power works but battery doesn't, it is likely because battery's current is limited much more than a USB power. USB power can be a much higher current depends on the "charger" you use, like, 2A. I highly doubt a AA battery in series can provide 2A unless lithium and connected in parallel.


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Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: PandaBear] #5439338 05/26/20 12:49 PM
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user52165 Offline
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Great God - whatever happened to science in the classroom? Like elementary school. mad

Re, the OP series vs parallel

Last edited by user52165; 05/26/20 01:11 PM.
Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439350 05/26/20 01:07 PM
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JimPghPA Offline
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Originally Posted by MoneyJohn
Originally Posted by terry274
Are the batteries in parallel or series? That would make a difference in the volts supplied.

Parallel. 3 batteries in parallel but the middle one with opposite polarity.







Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh





"First, I don't have much understanding of electricity." Well at least he got that part right.




Last edited by JimPghPA; 05/26/20 01:09 PM.

Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


JimPghPa

Re: Current produced by 3 AA batteries [Re: MoneyJohn] #5439452 05/26/20 03:11 PM
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SpitFire6 Offline
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Hi,
3 x Alkaline = 4.5v
3 x NiMH rechargeable = 3.6V

Are you allowed to run rechargeable cells in it?

There are 1.5V rechargeable out there in AA format. Costly & AHr is not great though

Cheers,
Iain.


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