You may be planning to illuminate your space and are settling on battery operated LED lights.
Generally, LEDs don’t consume as much power as traditional light sources, making them ideal for pairing with batteries.
Additionally, they last longer, are easy to install, and have waterproof ratings.
The challenge, however, comes in when deciding the best battery for your LED lights.
Which battery is compatible? Which one lasts long? What should I consider when buying one?
If you have such questions, today’s article is for you. It answers all these questions and many more.
How To Select A Battery for Your LED Lights
(A happy customer buying a battery from a supermarket)
Selecting a battery for your LED lights is essential to ensure they last long. First, always match your LED lights to a battery of a similar voltage rating. For example, a 12V LED light strip should draw power from a 12V battery.
In such a manner, the lights shine their normal brightness, and you don’t risk frying the circuit when you overpower it. When using standard AA batteries, you can use a battery holder and create a bank of 8 batteries.
Remember, 8x 1.5V multiplies up to a total of 12 volts. Additionally:
- Calculate the LED lights’ power consumption. Manufacturers always provide the value in milliwatts or watts.
- Pick the battery type from the total power consumption of the LEDs
- Choose whether you want rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries, with the second option being better for long-term installations.
- Consider the environment, as some batteries are better for certain temperatures, humidity, or outdoor use.
Types of Batteries You Can Use To Connect Your LED Lights
(A lead-acid battery)
Your LED lights’ specific requirement determines the battery type to use. Here, we are looking at some popular battery options in the market.
Alkaline batteries are disposable energy sources that derive power from a reaction between manganese dioxide and zinc metal.
They get their name from the alkaline potassium hydroxide they use as electrolytes. Additionally, they come in various sizes, including AAA, AA, C, and D.
Rechargeable NiMH Batteries
Another option is nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries with a lower nominal voltage of 1.2V. Moreover, they have similar shapes and sizes to non-rechargeable alkaline batteries meaning you can use them interchangeably.
Lithium-ion batteries rely on the reversible action of reducing lithium ions to store electrical energy.
They have graphite as the negative electrode or anode, whereas the positive or cathode is a metal oxide. Interestingly, it is the most common battery in portable consumer electronics and electric vehicles.
Lithium Coin Cell Batteries
We use a bank of lithium coin cell batteries to power small LED setups that don’t drain much power. Common ones include CR2032 and CR2025 batteries in watches, calculators, and some remote controls.
They are bigger and more common in outdoor LED lighting applications that require massive wattages.
Generally, you will find them in most motor vehicles for their ability to provide the high current that starter motors require.
Steps To Connecting The Battery To LED Lights
(LED lights without diffuser)
Connecting your LED lights to a battery is a simple process you can accomplish with a few tools.
First, you’ll need LED lights, a battery, a suitable fuse, wiring, and a switch. The work of the fuse shall be to disconnect the LEDs from the battery in case of a power or voltage surge.
Moreover, ensure the power supply (battery) capacity meets the LED light’s demands, like voltage and current.
You mustn’t overpower your LED lights, as doing so will reduce their overall performance and lifespan.
Additionally, the Undervoltage of your LED lights results in low light output in some LEDs, while others won’t light up.
We use a 12V car battery for this demonstration since most home LED lights operate on a similar voltage.
First, look at the connection types on the power supply and LED lights sides for easier connection.
Afterward, disconnect the battery from other electrical loads drawing power to limit mistakes.
Next, connect a fuse holder between the switch and the LED lights before connecting the switch to the car battery’s positive lead.
Third, connect the negative terminal of the LED strip to the battery’s negative terminal. Switch on the lights and see if your connection works as you expect.
LED Light Battery Safety Precautions
(A technician installs a solar panel to charge a battery pack)
LED lights operate on low voltages and currents, primarily if you draw power from a battery.
Therefore, the most safety precautions will be to increase their lifespans and not because people around them are at risk.
Here are some safety precautions to adhere to.
Use Appropriate Power Supply
Ensure your power supply capacity matches the energy requirements of your LED lights in terms of voltages and currents.
Overpowering your LED lights may increase their brightness, but you will end up frying their circuitry.
On the other hand, providing less wattage leads to lower lumen output.
Install a Fuse or Resistor Between the Battery And the LEDs
Sometimes batteries may experience voltage spikes which may damage your LED lights.
Consequently, a safer approach would be installing a fuse or a resistor between the battery and LED lights.
A resistor dampens the excess voltage leaving the necessary amount to reach the lights.
On the other hand, a fuse disconnects the circuitry when a higher voltage than its rating passes through.
Don’t Mix Old and New Batteries
You must avoid mixing old and new batteries if you use a bank of non-rechargeable batteries
. The reason is that the old batteries will drain the new ones leading to a low-lumen output from your LEDs.
Dispose Of Old Batteries Properly
Batteries contain chemicals like sulfuric acid, which are harmful to the environment. As a result, follow your local regulations for proper battery disposal methods.
If possible, consider recycling programs for rechargeable batteries.
Can you light your LED lights with batteries?
LED lights operate on direct current, meaning you must power them using batteries. Furthermore, you can power them using a power supply unit that converts alternating current power to DC energy.
Remember, LEDs are semiconductor devices that transform electricity into light.
Like any other diodes and transistors, they don’t operate on AC power, and you shouldn’t plug them directly into an AC supply socket.
However, if you don’t have batteries, connect a converter between your AC mains supply and your LED lights.
Battery Operated LED Lights: How long will your battery power LED lights?
The duration that your battery will power LED lights depends on factors like its capacity, health, and energy requirements of the electrical load.
Generally, multiply a battery’s voltage by its amperage to get watts.
A 24V 250Ah battery gives avails you 6,000 watt hours.
Assuming your LED lights use 100W every hour, you’ll divide the total watt-hours by watts per hour to get 60 hours.
Battery Operated LED Lights: Are LED strips powered by batteries safe?
Typically, LED strips powered by batteries are safe as they don’t use high voltages.
In contrast, those that draw power from the main AC supply can be dangerous as they have a higher voltage.
If you power your LEDs using a battery, you need not worry if you adhere to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
However, poor installation and naked wires are dangerous as the positive and negative wires can touch, leading to a short circuit.
The short circuits are dangerous as they can cause sparks leading to a fire in your home.
You can power your LED lights for indoor or outdoor use in many ways. First, you can go with the various battery types that deliver DC power to your circuit.
However, if you use a battery, ensure its power output matches the LED light’s power requirement.
Additionally, you can charge your battery using solar or mains AC supply.
In the latter case, install a converter between the source and the battery. Lastly, maintain the light source to ensure they last long.