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Universal power bank that accepts batteries of different types and capacities

Image credit: Hamza Robo

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jan 16, 2022
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A DIY universal power bank that accepts batteries of different types and capacities. Increase the cumulative power by adding whatever batteries you have available.
Chances are you have some old battery-powered technology laying around. Stuff like old cameras, power tools, laptops, etc. With the world increasingly becoming battery-powered, this will only increase. There will be broken electric scooters, toys, gadgets, etc.
Let people reuse whatever rechargeable batteries they have available and plug them into their universal/central power bank that:
  • stores some solar energy and makes it available at night
  • serves as an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for computers, etc.
Imagine a Mad-max type of post-apocalyptic world where everyone has to secure their own power with whatever they can get their hands on.
How it works
An inverter that takes multiple power sources of any type and transforms the cummulative power to the local standard 220 V (60 hz) or 120 V (50hz) depending on the area.
The inverter can be upgraded with additional modules that increase its cumulative power.
It would be great if the modules could be universal, to accept any commonly found battery type/capacity. If this is not feasible, we can have different modules for different battery types/capacities. They all plug into the same central inverter that controls discharging and charging to make it even over all batteries.
The central inverter knows what type/capacity battery is connected to each module. It monitors the health of each battery and taylors the charging method to specific battery types. A lead-acid car battery is charged differently from a Li-ion laptop battery.
Battery capacities
It wouldn't make much sense to use individual modules for small AAA/AA batteries. So the batteries of small capacities should be nested in parallels and series to increase their voltage and amperage that makes sense for a minimal module size. Housing for nesting small batteries would be made available:
Since these batteries would usually be old, the device should be able to test and point out which batteries are at the end of their life cycle and should be removed from the bank.
The modules step up/down the power as needed and the central software connects the modules in series or parallel to achieve the necessary output.
The device is connected to a power source (grid, solar, etc) that is used to recharge the batteries according to schedule/need.
Depending on your wishes, the device can charge different batteries/arrays at different times. It can spread the load to maximize the lifespans of individual batteries or it can "burn through" the short-living batteries faster, so that those can be removed from the bank.
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