Top 5 Fun And Useful DIY Projects For Your Old Car DC 12 Volt Battery

September 01, 2016

what to do with old car batteries

Inside the heart of every electric enthusiast lies that DIY passion. Hence the reason why we are always dedicated to discussing simple DIY inspirations to fuel our creativity and we love to share.

Many seemingly useless or forgotten things can be used as the core for numerous DIY projects. However, in this article, we will be focusing on DC 12 volt car batteries. This item is fairly easy and cheap to get, and can power a lot of DIY electrical projects that are not only fun as heck , but also practical and useful.

A car battery can be useful both in its dead/depleted state and active state. However, for the sake of this discussion, we will only be focusing on active and working batteries. Without further ado, here are five awesome DIY ideas that makes good use of a working DC 12 volt car battery.

1. Power Source For DIY Robots

Building a robot is a fun activity for both children and adults, and contrary to popular belief, building one is not as hard as it seems.

You can power any 12-volt robot with an active car battery, but of course, the size of the robot must be proportionally bigger than the battery itself. After all, for robots, bigger is better, right? So it won't be a problem.

Many resources are available to start building your robot, and we have compiled some of the notable ones that will be useful for different levels of experience:

  1. A robot building guide for beginners.Although this tutorial doesn't use a car battery, this can act like a building block for your future projects. You can easily replace the AA batteries with a car battery if you desire by modifying the materials to be able to withstand the weight.
  2. The squirrel chasing robot uses 9 AA batteries wired in serial, and can easily be replaced by a car battery. This project can easily be done with a 3D printer. Check out the guide here.
  3. The lost-in-space inspired robot is big enough to carry an active car battery, and can be built with unused household items.

A very cool video about robot building from RoyPe'er.

After you covered the basics, your robot design should only be limited by your own imagination. Don't forget to send us a coverage of your DIY car battery-powered robot.


2. Use It To Build Your Own Car



image: rickharris,Instructable

If a group of small kids can build an electric racing car using 2 car batteries, surely you can do it!

This Instructables article covered how they built a racing car that can reach 30-40 MPH, not bad considering how cheap the materials are.

Here are some other notable similar guides and articles that might inspire you in the project:

  1. An episode of the famous Top Gear seriescovered how the guys built an electric car. Not only you can learn the basics from this video, this can also be an entertaining watch.
  2. Damian Rene from YouTube built an electric car complete with a solar power generator. He used Li-ion batteries in this projects, but you can simply replace it with your car batteries for a cheaper alternative.

Interested? Another group of students even built a better electric car than Tesla back in 2014.

3. Portable Lighting System

You can make a portable lighting for many kinds of use. Portable lighting for photography, camping, or emergency lighting comes to mind.

Here are a few examples you might use as an inspiration.

  1. 1.A guide to building a portable lighting for photography from Instructables. It is a 12-volt design so the AA batteries can be easily replaced by a car battery.
  2. 2. Similar guide in a video from Shane Deruise Photography
  3. 3. DIY Emergency Light project from Science&Technology Experiments.

Basically, any 12-Volt light bulbs can be powered with the 12-Volt car battery.

4. Portable Solar Power Generator


Now, this is a cool one. You can transform your car battery into a portable solar power generator.

Solar Burrito discussed the process in great detail, complete with components, inverters, and all the supplies you need for under $150.

A few other similar projects for comparison:

  1. A guide from an Instructables user claudiopolis for his version of the portable generator.
  2. This one is in a video form, from a YouTube user ImStricken06.
  3. Survivopedia covered a few different alternatives to the project, using different items ranging from a washing machine to a bicycle. Worth the read!

5. Car Battery Charger

Although not technically a project, you will need a way to recharge your car battery, or else it will not be usable after a while. Thus, this one will be useful for all other projects listed in this article.

Here are a few notable guides we found:

  1. Phil B from Instructables covered the process in a great detail.
  2. A video guide from Guidecentral English. Very simple and easy to build.
  3. Want a simpler alternative? Use your laptop charger to accomplish the process, covered by DIY Tech.

Let's Start Your DIY Project

DIY projects are fun, and can be a great way to exercise your creativity.
Don't forget to share your great ideas and DIY success stories with us; we will be glad to cover it here.

Once your project is set up, we recommend going green. Can be done easily by using a small solar panelto charge the 12V battery battery (aff.)

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