AA Alkaline Battery Holder

A battery holder for AA alkaline cells descends directly from the NP-BX1 version:

Astable Multivibrator - Alkaline Batteries - solid model - Show layout
Astable Multivibrator – Alkaline Batteries – solid model – Show layout

The square recesses fit single contact pads on the left and a “positive-to-negative conversion” plate on the right, all secured with dabs of acrylic adhesive:

Alkaline AA holder - contacts
Alkaline AA holder – contacts

Although the OpenSCAD code contains an array of battery dimensions, it only works for AA cells.

The recess on the far left is where you solder the wires onto the contact tabs, with the wires leading outward through the holes in the lid. The case needs an indexing feature to hold the lid square while gluing it down.

Alkaline cells cells do not have current-limiting circuitry, so a low-current PTC fuse seems like a Good Idea. I initially thought of hiding it in the recess, but the Brutalist nature of the astables suggests open air.

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

// Astable Multivibrator
// Holder for Alkaline cells
// Ed Nisley KE4ZNU August 2020
/* [Layout options] */
CellName = "AA"; // [AA] -- does not work with anything else
NumCells = 2;
Layout = "Case"; // [Build,Show,Lid]
Struts = -1; // [0:None, -1:Dual, 1:Quad]
// Extrusion parameters - must match reality! */
/* [Hidden] */
ThreadThick = 0.25;
ThreadWidth = 0.40;
HoleWindage = 0.2;
function IntegerMultiple(Size,Unit) = Unit * ceil(Size / Unit);
function IntegerLessMultiple(Size,Unit) = Unit * floor(Size / Unit);
Protrusion = 0.1; // make holes end cleanly
inch = 25.4;
//- Basic dimensions
WallThick = IntegerMultiple(3.0,ThreadWidth);
CornerRadius = WallThick/2;
FloorThick = IntegerMultiple(3.0,ThreadThick);
TopThick = IntegerMultiple(2.0,ThreadThick);
WireOD = 1.7; // wiring from pins to circuitry
Gap = 5.0;
// Cylindrical cell sizes
// https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battery_sizes#Cylindrical_batteries
CELL_NAME = 0;
CELL_OD = 1;
CELL_OAL = 2;
CellData = [
["AAAA",8.3,42.5],
["AAA",10.5,44.5],
["AA",14.5,50.5],
["C",26.2,50],
["D",34.2,61.5],
["A23",10.3,28.5],
["CR123A",17.0,34.5],
["18650",18.8,65.2], // bare 18650 with button end
["18650Prot",19.0,70.0], // protected 18650 = 19670 plus a bit
];
CellIndex = search([CellName],CellData,1,0)[0];
echo(str("Cell index: ",CellIndex," = ",CellData[CellIndex][CELL_NAME]));
//- Contact dimensions
CONTACT_NAME = 0;
CONTACT_WIDE = 1;
CONTACT_HIGH = 2;
CONTACT_THICK = 3; // plate thickness
CONTACT_TIP = 4; // tip to rear face
CONTACT_TAB = 5; // solder tab width
ContactData = [
["AA+",12.2,12.2,0.3,1.7,3.5], // pos bump
["AA-",12.2,12.2,0.3,5.0,3.5], // half-compressed neg spring
["AA+-",28.2,12.2,0.3,5.0,0], // pos-neg bridge
["Li+",18.5,16.0,0.3,2.8,5.5],
["Li-",18.5,16.0,0.3,6.0,5.5],
];
function ConDat(name,dim) = ContactData[search([name],ContactData,1,0)[0]][dim];
ContactRecess = 2*ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_THICK);
ContactOC = CellData[CellIndex][CELL_OD];
WireBay = 6.0; // room for wiring to contacts
//- Wire struts
StrutDia = 1.6; // AWG 14 = 1.6 mm
StrutSides = 3*4;
ID = 0;
OD = 1;
LENGTH = 2;
StrutBase = [StrutDia,StrutDia + 2*5*ThreadWidth, // ID = wire, OD = buildable
FloorThick + CellData[CellIndex][CELL_OD]]; // base is flush with cell top
//- Holder dimensions
BatterySize = [CellData[CellIndex][CELL_OAL] + // cell
ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_TIP) + // pos contact
ConDat(str(CellName,"-"),CONTACT_TIP) - // neg contact
2*ContactRecess, // sink into wall
NumCells*CellData[CellIndex][CELL_OD],
CellData[CellIndex][CELL_OD]
];
echo(str("Battery space: ",BatterySize));
CaseSize = [3*WallThick + // end walls + wiring partition
BatterySize.x + // cell
WireBay, // wiring bay
2*WallThick + BatterySize.y,
FloorThick + BatterySize.z
];
BatteryOffset = (CaseSize.x - (2*WallThick +
CellData[CellIndex][CELL_OAL] +
ConDat(str(CellName,"-"),CONTACT_TIP))
) /2 ;
ThumbRadius = 0.75 * CaseSize.z;
StrutOC = [IntegerLessMultiple(CaseSize.x - 2*CornerRadius -2*StrutBase[OD],5.0),
IntegerMultiple(CaseSize.y + StrutBase[OD],5.0)];
StrutAngle = atan(StrutOC.y/StrutOC.x);
echo(str("Strut OC: ",StrutOC));
LidSize = [2*WallThick + WireBay + ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_THICK), CaseSize.y, FloorThick/2];
//----------------------
// Useful routines
module PolyCyl(Dia,Height,ForceSides=0) { // based on nophead's polyholes
Sides = (ForceSides != 0) ? ForceSides : (ceil(Dia) + 2);
FixDia = Dia / cos(180/Sides);
cylinder(r=(FixDia + HoleWindage)/2,h=Height,$fn=Sides);
}
//-- Overall case with origin at battery center
module Case() {
difference() {
union() {
hull()
for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1])
translate([i*(CaseSize.x/2 - CornerRadius),
j*(CaseSize.y/2 - CornerRadius),
0])
cylinder(r=CornerRadius/cos(180/8),h=CaseSize.z,$fn=8); // cos() fixes undersize spheres!
if (Struts)
for (i = (Struts == 1) ? [-1,1] : -1) { // strut bases
hull()
for (j=[-1,1])
translate([i*StrutOC.x/2,j*StrutOC.y/2,0])
rotate(180/StrutSides)
cylinder(d=StrutBase[OD],h=StrutBase[LENGTH],$fn=StrutSides);
translate([i*StrutOC.x/2,0,StrutBase[LENGTH]/2])
cube([2*StrutBase[OD],StrutOC.y,StrutBase[LENGTH]],center=true); // blocks for fairing
for (j=[-1,1]) // hemisphere caps
translate([i*StrutOC.x/2,
j*StrutOC.y/2,
StrutBase[LENGTH]])
rotate(180/StrutSides)
sphere(d=StrutBase[OD]/cos(180/StrutSides),$fn=StrutSides);
}
}
translate([BatteryOffset,0,BatterySize.z/2 + FloorThick]) // cells
cube(BatterySize + [0,0,Protrusion],center=true);
translate([BatterySize.x/2 + BatteryOffset + ContactRecess/2 - Protrusion/2, // contacts
0,
BatterySize.z/2 + FloorThick])
cube([ContactRecess + Protrusion,
ConDat(str(CellName,"+-"),CONTACT_WIDE),
ConDat(str(CellName,"+-"),CONTACT_HIGH)
],center=true);
translate([-(BatterySize.x/2 - BatteryOffset + ContactRecess/2 - Protrusion/2),
ContactOC/2,
BatterySize.z/2 + FloorThick])
cube([ContactRecess + Protrusion,
ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_WIDE),
ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_HIGH)
],center=true);
translate([-(BatterySize.x/2 - BatteryOffset + ContactRecess/2 - Protrusion/2),
-ContactOC/2,
BatterySize.z/2 + FloorThick])
cube([ContactRecess + Protrusion,
ConDat(str(CellName,"-"),CONTACT_WIDE),
ConDat(str(CellName,"-"),CONTACT_HIGH)
],center=true);
translate([-CaseSize.x/2 + WireBay/2 + WallThick, // wire bay
0,
BatterySize.z/2 + FloorThick + Protrusion/2])
cube([WireBay,
BatterySize.y,
BatterySize.z + Protrusion
],center=true);
for (j=[-1,1])
translate([-(BatterySize.x/2 - BatteryOffset + WallThick/2), // contact tabs
j*ContactOC/2,
BatterySize.z + FloorThick - Protrusion])
cube([2*WallThick,
ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_TAB),
(BatterySize.z - ConDat(str(CellName,"+"),CONTACT_HIGH))
],center=true);
if (false)
translate([0,0,CaseSize.z]) // finger cutout
rotate([90,00,0])
cylinder(r=ThumbRadius,h=2*CaseSize.y,center=true,$fn=22);
if (Struts)
for (i2 = (Struts == 1) ? [-1,1] : -1) { // strut wire holes and fairing
for (j=[-1,1])
translate([i2*StrutOC.x/2,j*StrutOC.y/2,FloorThick])
rotate(180/StrutSides)
PolyCyl(StrutBase[ID],2*StrutBase[LENGTH],StrutSides);
for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1]) // fairing cutaways
translate([i*StrutBase[OD] + (i2*StrutOC.x/2),
j*StrutOC.y/2,
-Protrusion])
rotate(180/StrutSides)
PolyCyl(StrutBase[OD],StrutBase[LENGTH] + 2*Protrusion,StrutSides);
}
}
}
module Lid() {
difference() {
hull()
for (i=[-1,1], j=[-1,1], k=[-1,1])
translate([i*(LidSize.x/2 - CornerRadius),
j*(LidSize.y/2 - CornerRadius),
k*(LidSize.z - CornerRadius)]) // double thickness for flat bottom
sphere(r=CornerRadius/cos(180/8),$fn=8);
translate([0,0,-LidSize.z]) // remove bottom
cube([(LidSize.x + 2*Protrusion),(LidSize.y + 2*Protrusion),2*LidSize.z],center=true);
for (j=[-1,1]) // wire holes
translate([0,j*LidSize.y/4,-Protrusion])
PolyCyl(WireOD,2*LidSize.z,6);
}
}
//-------------------
// Build it!
if (Layout == "Case")
Case();
if (Layout == "Lid")
Lid();
if (Layout == "Build") {
rotate(-90)
translate([CaseSize.x/2 + Gap,0,0])
Case();
rotate(-90)
translate([-LidSize.x/2 - Gap,0,0])
Lid();
}
if (Layout == "Show") {
Case();
translate([-CaseSize.x/2 + LidSize.x/2,0,(CaseSize.z + Gap)])
Lid();
}

11 thoughts on “AA Alkaline Battery Holder

    1. Halfway around the planet, of course!

      The linkies should (barring link rot) take you to the Amazon pages, although eBay / AliExpress will surely let you trade off time and money.

      1. I neglected to order the press-in oiler fixture when I got that gear for my Enco 9 x 20 lathe. Ordered it July 5th, and the email says it should actually be delivered Real Soon Now. I was getting ready to do an insert with a tap for a sealing screw; if I ever need to replace another oiler, that’s what would be likely.

        6mm O.D., and nobody in the Western Hemisphere produces one in small sizes. Sigh.

        1. nobody in the Western Hemisphere produces one

          That’s true of nearly everything I buy: all of it comes from China: electronic parts, mechanical fittings, manufactured objects, whatever. Very few were ever available in stores and I’m reluctant to pay several middlemen to stock a shelf with the items they think might be sale-able.

          I don’t like the result, but can’t see any way out of it.

  1. I buy the AA batteries for toys and such either at the dollar store or – similar quality – HF-tools coupon offers.
    And, no surprise, they do have kind of a current limiter built in. And once you drained them to about 1.4V, an even more sophisticated circuit kicks in that drops the voltage when under load. – Marvelous.
    But there are Li-Ion in AA form. Maybe a PTC fuse and a diode (for voltage drop) would make a dummy AA, so I could use it as 2xAA serial.

    1. It’s amazing what crappy chemistry can do as a current limit! Bonus: a free capacity limit, too!

      I’ve been impressed with AmazonBasics house-brand batteries, if only because I’m reasonably certain they’re not counterfeit junk.

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