Two Letters Re: Lantern Battery Disassembly

On Saturday 22 September 2007, you posted a web link from T.A. in Indiana for a video on how to take apart a lantern battery and get 32 AA batteries out of it.

I tried that with a heavy duty Ray-O-Vac and it had four cells approximately the diameter of C cell batteries but longer. Before people stock up on 6-volt lantern batteries thinking they will break down for AA batteries, they need to disassemble the brand they intend to buy to see how it is put together. The battery in the video appeared to be a bargain brand and that may be the difference. – Bill N.

This is a hoax. You cannot fit 32 AA cells inside a lantern battery, they are slightly too tall. What you will find inside a 6V lantern battery are 4 large 1.5V cells tac-welded together in series (they look like elongated D cells). Here is another video for you.

Note: When possible, always assemble cells with the current rating needed in series for the desired voltage. Having battery cells in parallel leads to power flow in-between them during discharge. Unless the cells are exactly the same, differences in capacity make the strong cells feed the weak ones, and so the capacity of the total battery is less than what it is rated. If you have to connect cells in series/parallel for needed discharge amperage, disconnect them as soon as possible, and do not charge in that configuration. This is especially true for sealed or non lead-acid cells.
My battery knowledge is from working as an engineering/research tech for a battery firm. – JB

JWR Replies: My apologies for posting the link without first trying this “hack” myself. From what I’ve read recently, the battery configuration varies, depending on the maker and vintage of the lantern battery. Traditionally, they used four Type “F” cells, which look like extra-long C-cells.