"World Electric Fan" eBay cell adapters

N8N

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Well, there's been some talk about these and they certainly are economical compared to the (very few) other options out there... if you don't know what I'm talking about, there's an eBay seller in China that is selling parallel 3xAA to D and 4xAAA to C adapters for about $6 each shipped. I wanted to get my hands on some, and dropped the guy a message. We negotiated a slight discount for six of each - I wanted to use four of the AA to Ds in a Mag-Lite as I pretty much never use that light, but having extra AA NiMHs around and neatly stored seems like a good idea - and this just seems like a good item to have around, maybe not for everyday use but as an emergency type item (I hate to use the word prepper, but still...)

Seller was straight up and good to deal with; we worked out a deal and I sent payment on the 10th, and a box showed up in my mailbox this morning (the 19th) all the way from Guangdong. It blows my mind that I can get stuff shipped economically in 9 days from halfway around the world...!

OK, so what do I think of them? The plastic seems sturdy and well molded, the metal bits look like plated steel, about .009" to .010" in thickness (32 gauge?) as measured by my trusty Hazard Fraught dial calipers. They are magnetic, so if they are stainless it's a non-austenitic type, and they just don't *look* like stainless. (I know, real scientific.) The shininess looks like flash chrome or shiny zinc to me.

I really only have one major quibble about both adapters and an additional one about the Ds. On both adapters the negative end contacts are made of a single piece of sheetmetal folded around the end of the adapter. However, the way it is constructed, unless the thing is ultrasonically welded together, the current from all cells has to travel through one fold of sheetmetal or else travel through a connection which is just two pieces of metal pressed together. The positive end does not have this issue as the way it is constructed each tab that is folded over serves one cell. I may destroy an adapter later (and hopefully put it back together again) to satisfy my curiosity about this, but at this price point I'm seriously doubting that they went to the trouble of ultrasonically welding them. If I can pick up some flux at Radio Crack I may try soldering to provide a better path for the current (I'm guessing that if it is even possible to solder this stuff that I will need more flux than the little bit that's in your typical rosin-core 63/37.)

My quibble with the D adapters is similar; the C adapters don't use springs but the Ds do, and again, those appear to make connection between the spring and the plate simply by mechanical contact. I don't know if soldering those is possible or if the springs would lose their temper... again I may try one though just for grins.

This is probably not a concern to someone who is not using these in demanding conditions, but I know my audience here :)

The Cs are working fine with some Duraloops in one of my old Task Force flashlights; I have not tried the Ds yet because I'm actually still running break in cycles on the latest batch of cells I got. They physically fit however.

I'll take pictures later and follow up with my findings if I take apart one of the negative contact assemblies. Going to go get some grub and see about getting some flux...

In any case this may not be a good daily use item unless I find that I can solder them together for a more positive connection, but as an emergency use item they seem like really freakin' handy things to have around, for not much more than the Eneloop C and D sleeves while providing you much more flexibility and potential runtime. In any case these are about 1/3 the price of the Titanium Innovations adapters and I don't think that they even make one for C cells, so if you want a product like this this is what you get, I suppose.

An enterprising soul with a lot of free time, some good snips (or a water jet table) and some sheet brass might be able to "hot rod" these for high current apps, I would think?
 

N8N

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Ain't done took 'em yet, you don't get this sexy by not eating.

I'll definitely get some prelim pics posted today; not sure if I'll get to the destruction or not.
 

N8N

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OK, preliminary photos:

IMG_20130919_160906_369_zps6277dfb3.jpg


These are the C cell adapters.

IMG_20130919_161001_306_zpsf1525bbf.jpg


Attempting to show detail of the inside of the positive end.

IMG_20130919_161346_499_zps7873bbe8.jpg


Even loaded with cells, the overall diameter of the assembly is determined by the plastic housing; in this case about 1.020". Nominal size of C cell is 26.2 × 50mm and 1.020" is 25.91mm, so these should work in any device conforming to nominal dimensions.

IMG_20130919_160948_952_zps6b3bf480.jpg


Here's what I wasn't totally nuts about in regards to the construction of these adapters. You can see that the round metal contact for the negative end is folded over and heat sealed at four pins to the plastic body. It's not clear in the picture but there are four points where the metal of the part inside the adapter wraps around; the one farthest from the camera in this shot is the actual connection between the sheet of metal forming the contact inside the body for the actual cells is connected to the sheet forming the outside contact. I'd like to think that the other three points are ultrasonically welded or otherwise securely electrically connected but again, at this price point I kind of doubt it. I'll take one of the extras that I bought, shave the plastic pins off, and try to unbend the contact later and confirm or deny that assumption. Also if they are not ultrasonically connected, I'll see if they take solder and if so solder them up when I put it back together (hopefully without destroying it.) As you can see from the other pictures though, this is only an issue on the negative end, not the positive end. On the positive end, the round piece forming the outside contact just has four tabs that poke through slots in the plastic body and are folded over to make contacts for the four positive buttons on the cells. I wonder why that design was not used for the negative end? That would use less metal and you would think would be a better design.
 
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N8N

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Similar shots for D cell adapters

IMG_20130919_160706_636_zpsf4f6a41f.jpg


IMG_20130919_160737_679_zps8dcfd8a9.jpg


IMG_20130919_160825_776_zps0deccda2.jpg


IMG_20130919_161426_900_zps1ad4efe1.jpg


Nominal D cell size 34.2 × 61.5mm, 1.294" = 32.87mm, again should work in everything

My apologies for the poor quality photos, I'm using my cell phone and I can't seem to figure out how to light things properly to get it to take good detailed photos without being all washed out... hopefully you get the idea of what these look and work like however.
 
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N8N

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After I posted the pics, I noticed that one of the C adapters that I used for the pics had some of those heat formed pins that didn't look like they were really grabbing the metal; I stuck my fingernail in there and sure enough the metal is just folded over. Worth trying to solder for a little less resistance on a 3W light? I can try it...

Edit: even with a little additional flux, I can't get whatever the plating is to take any solder... the plastic started melting slightly and the solder would just ball up on the tip of my iron. So that's a no go... so I guess here ends the review, I'm still going to use them, any specific questions that I didn't address please ask as like I said I have extras I can pull them out and look at anything in particular on which you might want more info...
 
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N8N

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Hi Chris,

The ones that I got are currently listed as eBay items 181152170832 and 181152172524, I ended up doing the transaction off ebay but he still has them up so clearly he's got more... I like the ability to use the maximum amount of cells possible if I have to/have the cells, and I can still use fewer in each adapter if I'm in a pinch.
 

ChrisGarrett

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Hi Chris,

The ones that I got are currently listed as eBay items 181152170832 and 181152172524, I ended up doing the transaction off ebay but he still has them up so clearly he's got more... I like the ability to use the maximum amount of cells possible if I have to/have the cells, and I can still use fewer in each adapter if I'm in a pinch.

Cool, thanks, I'll go back and look.

Just remember, with that many cells, you'll want to make sure that they're balanced pretty closely. You don't want any of them reverse charging on you.

I looked at the Tenergy, AccuPower and PowerEx D size batteries, as I need 12 for my two 6D MagLites and 8 for a 12v fan, for hurricane season, but that's like $300 worth, so that's not happening.

Then I looked at at least 8 of the genuine Eneloop D spacers and while only $20/8, they only take one cell and ehhh...runtime on the fan will suffer.

I ended up just sporting for some new Duracell D batteries, so I'm covered, but I'm a rechargeable guy and those rub me the wrong way.

Chris
 

N8N

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agree completely, these are an accessory for those who are cognizant of what they're doing and not the average consumer.

I've got two of the C adapters running with Duraloops - and those are mismatched (four and four - capacity is the same but different production dates) and I know it, but they were what I could get from Target. Maybe I will go through my remotes and pull Eneloops from them to get a better matched set. The D adapters will get Imedions all from the same batch from Thomas Dist. so no worries there.

I don't know that you will really save money as a pair of Tenergy D cells is about $18 and an 8-pack of AAs isn't going to be much less (you can't really buy a 6-pack) but it's the flexibility that makes me think these are cool. Loaded with Imedions I probably have a real 7000 mAh D "cell" whereas a Tenergy Centura is 8000 mAh so if you're going for runtime this isn't the plan either.
 
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