Can You Run LED Lights Off A Battery? (A Quick Guide)

LED lights are often located in odd positions around our home. It is easy for LEDs to access power outlets when they are fitted behind television screens, or along the floor molding. 

However, when located in unconventional locations such as under cabinets, within basements, or under sinks.

Getting LEDs connected to power from these locations is often tedious. 

In addition, if you are marketing LEDs, you will need a movable power source. This will make it easier for you to showcase the features of your LEDs to potential buyers. 

The alternative power source that comes to mind is a battery cell. 

Batteries are convenient, and they can be purchased easily. Battery cells produce clean energy. They remain cool and quiet when operating.  

Based on the many benefits of battery cells over other power sources, the question: Can batteries be used to power LEDs?, has been raised multiple times.

The answer to the question is yes, if you can get the right type of battery for the LEDs you wish to Power.

Powering LEDs With Batteries (Things You Need To Know) 

The term LED means Light Emitting Diode. Once a voltage is applied to a LED bulb, it immediately glows. The fact that high powered LEDs such as the fancy LED torches with extremely bright light beams exist, is enough proof that LEDs can be powered by batteries. 

The only problem is that LEDs love to consume current. If they are exposed to an excessive amount of current, they will keep absorbing the current until they eventually burn out.

When Powering your LEDs with batteries, you need to have resistors in place that will moderate the amount of current that is made available to your LEDs. 

If you do not moderate the amount of current made available to your LEDs, it will eventually blow up. Batteries are great for LEDs, because they do not supply a dangerous amount of current. Hence, if you are new to the world of LEDs, it is best if you start with batteries. 

Determining The Required Resistance For Your LEDs 

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As stated earlier, the ‘d’ in LED stands for diode. What this means amongst other things is that current is meant to flow in a single direction. You need to remember this when connecting you LEDs to a battery. 

Current flows from the positive side (anode) to the negative side (cathode). What this means is that a wrongly placed LED can stop your entire strip from working. However, all you have to do to solve this problem is flip the LED around. 

Now, it is important that you add a resistor to your circuit before you power your LEDs using a battery.

Failure to do this might cause your LEDs to blow up. The first thing you have to do in order to determine the required resistance for your LEDs is identify the typical forward voltage, and the maximum forward current. 

The maximum forward current is usually around 20mA for basic LEDs. The typical forward voltage on the other hand is the maximum voltage required to make a LED bulb light up. 

The value of the typical forward voltage varies between 1.7V and 3.4V depending on the color of your LEDs. Once you have identified the values for your maximum forward current, and your typical forward voltage, you can obtain your resistance through the following steps:

  • Identify the source voltage; this is the voltage of the battery cell. 
  • Subtract the typical forward voltage from your source voltage. 
  • Divide the answer you got from step two by the maximum forward current. You answer for this step is the required resistance. 

Once you get the right resistor for your circuit, all you have to do is connect your LEDs, battery and resistor in a series circuit. This should power and maintain your LEDs. 

Connecting LED Strips To A Battery

The most important thing to note when connecting a battery is that current flows in only one direction within your LEDs. It flows from the anode though to the cathode, it will not flow the other way around. 

Both the battery and the LEDs have positive and negative terminals. When connecting a battery to your LEDs, it is important that you connect the positive end of your LED to the positive end of the battery, and vise versa. 

The resistor should be placed between the positive end of the battery and the positive end of the LED light. If you can’t figure out the appropriate resistance for your LED lights, go with 330 ohm resistors. This is the required resistance for most LEDs. With this simple guide, you will be able to set up and power your LEDs using battery cells. 

Technological Advancements In The Use To Batteries To Power LEDs 

If you find the guide given above a bit too complicated, there are a couple of LEDs that are designed to operate on batteries. Although batteries are clean, and convenient sources of energy, they run out fast. 

As a result, batteries have been limited to basic lighting needs such as powering torches, and security lamps. Despite these basic tasks, batteries powered lamps often burn out in the middle of the night. And the batteries for torches have to be replaced or recharged intermittently. 

The case was not different when batteries were applied to LEDs. Although, batteries supply limited power to LED lights, which prevents the LEDs from burning out, they still need to be replaced or recharged consistently. 

Today, a couple of advancements have been made in battery technology. With these products, you don’t have to worry about connecting the right resistors, or ensuring that all your LEDs are connected in series. All you have to do is purchase and install. 

Some of these products will be discussed below:

Outdoor Spotlights

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The first technological advancement we will be considering is a product by an outdoor product line of Mr Beams.

We will be considering the MB360 which operates on three D-cell batteries. The company claims that a single set of MB360 can power LEDs for 40 hours. 

This battery can power LEDs that deliver as much as 40 lumens of light for a whole year.

The product was designed as a means of enhancing safety and security. It comes with terrific motion sensors which stay lit for at least 30 seconds after motion is detected. This battery powered LEDs go for $25 each. 

Ceiling Lights

You know how you open up a fridge and it lights up? That’s exactly how these lights operate, and the best part is they are powered by batteries.

Although they are called ceiling lights, they were designed as closet lights. 

These lights operate with motion sensors. They light up when you approach your closet, and turn off about 30 seconds after the last motion was detected. 

Entertainment LEDs 

The batteries discussed above have a fixed lifetime. While that may be okay for some, others prefer more flexible options.

Hence, we are going to discuss rechargeable battery based products that are available in today’s market. 

The best part of rechargeable products is that they can be charged during use. This means that you can enjoy an uninterrupted supply of LED lighting with these bulbs. 

The best rechargeable product in existence was produce by the Philips hue lighting brand. They battery powered rechargeable LED is called the Hue Go. It costs about a $120. 

Philips says the Go product has a battery life of around three hours and takes half that time to charge.

Philips could certainly have increased that run time with a larger battery at the expense of size and cost. 

Time will tell whether consumers will find Hue Go a useful addition to their homes. The belief is that users who appreciate LED lights will enjoy Philip Hue Go. 

More Battery Powered Products

There are far more battery-powered lighting products on the market than we can cover here.

Many are still on the low-quality side and meant for specialty applications. But many can also fill a need in a much simpler manner than installing AC-powered lighting.

Retailer Costco has sold under cabinet LED light bars from a company called Megabrite, and those lights are also widely available online. The bars can be mounted with screws or even double-sided tape under kitchen cabinets, in shelving units, and in entertainment centers. A motion sensor can automatically trigger the lights.

Fulcrum Products sells a selection of battery-powered SSL products including undercabinet lights and round puck lights intended for various uses. The company also offers outdoor porch lights and pathway lights.

Right now, Costco has some LED lighting in stock from Capstone that is motion activated and can be placed in closets or other places. The mechanical design allows rough aiming of the sensor and the LEDs.

Longer term, Capstone has some ideas about how to use battery-powered lights to make sure that residential lights stay on when the power goes off.

Conclusion

LEDs can be powered by batteries. This article has a DIY section. You can used the information to connect your LEDs to a battery.

If you don’t feel like putting up with the stress involved, there are a multiple battery powered products you can choose from today.