How to charge power wheels battery without charger

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Imagine your kid misplacing the charger for his/her motorized car? 

Yet, they want to go out and have fun with their buddies…

Well, your creativity can save you from the pestering (and the silent treatment) if you know how to charge power wheels battery without charger.

how to charge toy car battery

Here are some suggestions that can help you charge a ride-on vehicle when the charger can’t be found.

Let’s begin.

Solution 1: Charge with a car battery

You can rig up a connector and charge the power wheels battery with your car battery.

Nevertheless, you don’t want to burn up the poor battery so you need to check a few things before charging…..

Check the voltage: the first thing is to establish if the battery has the wanted voltage and that will depend on your vehicle- the older ones come with 6v batteries while the newer versions pack a single 12v battery.

Now, 12V batteries are designed to be charged with a maximum of 15 volts and topping this by anything beyond 2 amps could fry the battery.

The good news is that car batteries are within this range- they output a 10-15A charge (most cannot exceed 14.6 volts even when the engine is running). 

Identify the positive and negative connections: Also ensure that you can tell the + and – on the battery. That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

With the above confirmed, just hook the improvised connectors up to the battery posts and see how it goes.

That’s it- you don’t have any sophisticated physics neither do you have to remove the power wheels battery to charge with your car battery.

ProTip: For safety, be sure to monitor it and to connect a safe 2A trickle charger (hope you carry one) if the standard charge makes it hot up.

Solution 2: Charge directly with a power supply

Most lead-based batteries can be effectively charged directly from a power supply provided it features current limiting and adjustable voltage so your boy/girl may also be in luck if you have a functional power supply.

The first task is determining the charge voltage and then set the required voltage as well as the current limit.

For instance, to charge a 12-volt power wheels battery, you need to set the power supply at over 12V,2A to charge- the battery chemistry determines the maximum but it’s mostly around 13.8V,2A  (to attain full charge).

A similar scenario plays out for a 6-volt power wheels battery. Go over 6V,2A but limit the charge current if you have to overshoot the standard 6.8V,2A.

I recommend that you consider adding a resistor to be on the safe side just in case the battery fails to withstand the set current.

There could be variations needed in your case because power wheels batteries are not built the same but in general, this should help you charge seamlessly.

Having said that, you won’t take your eyes off the battery’s temperature, current, and voltage during charging unless you don’t mind losing the entire setup.


Solution 3: Make a home-made charger

What about inventing a simple ‘backup’ charger to use every time your little champion loses/forgets the original charger?

You surely can by following this straightforward procedure:

Tools needed:

  • Screwdriver.
  • Multi-meter.
  • Wire cutting tool.

Step 1: Gather the components

  • Laptop charger
  • Step down converter (DC to DC)
  • Alligator clips (2)

Step 2: Modify the laptop adapter

The adapter can’t hook up to the power hills battery in its current configuration.

So:

  1. Cut down the laptop’s adapter jack.
  2. With the cutting tool, remove the wire’s outer shield (Be careful not to mess the 2 wires enclosed by the cover).

Step 3: Connect the step down converter module

To make it simpler, let’s break up the process into two stages.

  1. Connect the step down module to the adapter wires

Note:  The red represents the positive and the black negative.

  1. Pick the module and first connect the red wire to the module’s positive (marked IN+).
  2. Next, insert the black wire to the negative (marked IN-).

Remember to tighten the respective screw terminals.

  • Connect the alligator clip

Similarly, the red alligator wire goes to the module’s positive (marked OUT+) and the black to the negative (marked OUT-).

The two are located on the other side of the board (opposite the IN+/IN- ‘terminals’).

Step 4: Final setup

Complete by implementing these steps:

  1. Plug in the adapter to the power and connect the 2 alligator clips to the multi-meter. As always, the black goes to the multi-meter’s negative lead and red to the positive.
  2. Next, set the required voltage reading on the multi-meter then turn the voltage Potentiometer (with your screwdriver) until the multi-meter reads 14 volts.

Note: The first Potentiometer is for voltage (V) and the other current (I).

  • Lastly, set the desired current reading on the multi-meter and likewise turn the remaining Potentiometer until the multi-meter reads 2 amps (you can opt to go higher if your battery capacity allows).

That’s all!

To use the charger, connect the alligator clips to the power wheels battery appropriately (red to positive and black to the battery’s negative).

How to charge power wheels battery without charger: Useful tips

  • Do not try to short circuit your battery’s supply terminals. It doesn’t work and could even cause an explosion.
  • Before charging the power wheels battery, examine the case for cracking and other damages which may cause the dangerous sulfuric acid to leak during charging.
  • Then, because you can encounter significant voltage/current as you experiment, wear the recommended protective gear including sturdy gloves.  
  • The other reminder I needed to put across is about storing the battery: Never store a completely discharged battery- it just won’t pull through the chilly winter months.

Final tips

As you might be aware, it’s important not to overcharge or undercharge the power wheels battery as that shortens its life.

The standard is 18 hours (6 Volt vehicles) and 14 hours (Super 6/12 Volt vehicles).

In addition, the battery should be upright when being charged.

Your owner’s manual has specific safety precautions for your vehicle and you should review them before testing how to charge power wheels battery without charger.

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