A Guide to Battery Powered LED Lights
Until LEDs were available few people lit up their models as conventional lights are hot enough to destroy or warp models. Now with the advent of LEDs your models can really come to life. Not only are LEDs cool running, but they are available in vibrant colors, and take little energy. Because LEDs draw so very little power it makes sense to use a battery to light them up. Battery-powered LED lights are a really great choice for your dioramas, vignettes, and other arrangements.
This guide will help you understand what battery-powered LED lights are, how batteries and LEDs work together, and help you choose the best ones for different projects.
What Types of Batteries Are Compatible With These Lights?
Our battery-powered LEDs can even run on coin cell batteries that are really great for hiding in extra-small spaces. Don't worry—if your project requires a particular battery, we have a matching battery LED solutions.
Smallest Batteries for Battery Operated LEDs
Because of their small size, coin cells are generally used in small applications. They work great for any of our LED lights.
A CR2032 battery can operate up to 10 LED battery lights with full brightness. This coin cell is ideal for its compact size.
Even smaller than the CR2032 battery, the CR1225 battery is the tiniest 3 volt coin cell option. A coin cell holder fits tiny CR1225 batteries that are 12.5mm (0.5 inches) across, and these small batteries may power up to four LEDs at full brightness.
One limitation of running your project on a coin cell battery is that you should not mix steady LEDs with flashing, flickering or other non-steady LEDs. Doing so will likely result in the steady LEDs oscillating in brightness.
Largest Batteries for Battery Operated LEDs
3-volt DC wall adapters are nice if you do not want to run on battery all the time. Iif you have other things like circuits in your project that requires more than 3 Volts our 12-volt DC adapters will be able to handle the job. If you have a model train or a dollhouse, you may already have a power supply, we have lights for those types of power supplies as well, our Universal LEDs work great with Dollhouse and Train Transformers.
AA batteries are a versatile option for powering a group of LED lights. AA are great for their long run time between battery changes. And the AA is really the way to go for projects with a lot of lights or for projects you want to run for a long time, and their ability for running many lights for days and days. AA batteries will last longer than smaller batteries since they have a higher capacity. So, if your display is running 24/7, or has a lot of lights in the buid, it'll last much longer on AA batteries.
If your project can get by on a smaller battery than AA batteries, you can downsize to save some space.
AAA batteries, like AA models, can power numerous LEDs at once. They work best for medium-sized projects and offer a lot of bang (and light) for your buck. Both AA and AAA batteries are 1.5 Volts. Our battery holders holde 2 batteries to provide 3 Volts to the LEDs, so they will run the 3 volt LEDs we offer exactly the same. The AAA has less capacity than the AA meaning it will run the LEDs a little less long.
But, AAA batteries are smaller than AA batteries and sometimes a bit less expensive at the store too. So if you’re looking to better hide your power source, AAA batteries are the way to go.
9-volt batteries are useful if you have circuits that require 9 volt such as our police siren, sequence flasher or quick flash alternator. 9 volt batteries are also compact and enclosed. There are also rechargeable 9 volt batteries that operate at about 8 volt that can still run our 5-12 volt LEDs.
The Benefits of Using Battery-Powered LED Lights Over Other Lighting Options
LED lights have several benefits that make them better than traditional lighting options: They never need replacing, don’t get hot, and are long-lasting, and perfect for everyday use. LEDs draw very little power too, so they will not run down your battery quickly. LEDs can run on batteries for hours or even days, especially if you use one of our many switches or motion sensor to turn them off when not in use.
The best part is that LEDs use standard household batteries instead of specialty batteries. So, choosing an LED light will save you money since you can use batteries that you probably already have at home.
Batteries allow you to use and show off your models in locations where power is not available, or when it is inconvenient to run a power cord. At events where you want to show of your models for judging or just have lighting for your booth, battery operated LEDs are a great option. Also models often look better without a cord leading to them.
Some functions where battery operated LEDs are needed include:
- RC vehicles
- Lighting in Pine Car Derby vehicles
- Light in Costumes
How to Choose the Right Battery-Powered LED Lights for Your Needs
Choosing the right battery-powered LED lights depends on what you're using them for and your desired brightness. Here's what you ought to consider.
Space Available to Hide Your Batteries
Battery packs are an unavoidable part of battery-powered LED lights. However, the less space required to house your batteries, the better.
Small batteries are the way to go if you plan to build a costume or prop for Halloween or other times when you need to really hide the battery well and comfortably. Any of our LEDs from our biggest to our smallest can easily be powered by coin cell batteries a little thicker than a nickel.
Number of LEDs in Your Project
The number of LEDs in your project is one of the most significant factors when determining what type and size of batteries you'll need for your LED light project. Coin cell batteries are convenient, but they won't power more than 1-10 bulbs at a time. AAA and AA batteries will power many more LEDs, but these can sometimes take up more space than you have to spare.
If you want to power many LEDs, you'll need large batteries. AA batteries offer the highest current output and the best energy density of any battery size, although they may not fit inside small models.
Types of LED LightsLEDs can create different effects to serve different purposes, whether you need steady ambient lighting for a model or glowing armor for a cosplay creation. These are some of the options you can find at Evan Designs.
Solid-Steady Lit LEDs
Solid-Steady LEDs give off a constant light. They're great for task lighting and general ambient lighting, especially if you have a lot of them operating simultaneously. They're the most common and inexpensive LED lights you can find.
Flashing LEDs alternate between on and off, providing either a blinking or a strobe effect. These are great for Halloween costumes, haunted houses, and spooky effects. This type of LED light can be either a single unit or as part of an entire strand. Flashing LEDs come in multiple colors and can be programmed to flash at specific intervals or in light patterns.
Rather than flashing or blinking, flickering lights give off a seemingly random, flickering light pattern. These are great for simulating candlelight or spooky lighting, torches or engine exhaust on spaceships. There are lots of ways to use flickering LEDs!
Circuit-Driven LEDs are the most advanced battery-powered LED lights you can buy. These LEDs have an custom circuit board. Evan Designs features LED kits to simulate aircraft lighting, emergency lights, police flashers, and a variety of other special effects.
Of course, the amount of time your LEDs will stay on depends on how many lights you have and what type of battery you use. For instance, a single blue LED with a coin cell battery may only light for a full day — but it's perfect for short-term projects that you show off occasionally.
A single Flashing Red LED with AA batteries could shine continuously for 6 months. LEDs don't draw much power, so as long as you have the right batteries, you can have LEDs running for a long time between battery changes.
When you're deciding which batteries to use first choose the battery voltage that matches the requirements of you LEDs. For most projects except those using specialized circuit 3 Volt Batteries are recommended. For small projects you can use a coin cell type battery if you limit your LED count to 10 and you do not mixed steady lit LEDs with other types of LEDs. When connecting too many LEDs to a Battery the battery's voltage will drop, and it won't provide enough power to illuminate your LEDs completely.
For an understanding of battery life we did a test of (10) 3mm Cool White LEDs on several Common Battery options. We stopped testing when the light output was about 75% of full value. Below are the results:
|9 Volt Battery with our 5-12 Volt LEDs||24 hours|
|AAA Batteries with our 3 Volt LEDs||30 hours|
|AA Batteries with our 3 Volt LEDs||80 hours|
|CR2032 Coin Cell with our 3 Volt LEDs||3.5 hours|
You'll need to take into account brightness as well as battery life. For example, a single LED with a coin cell won't fill a big space with light, but you can put more of them together and have a perfect amount of light for your small space.
Using Battery-Powered LED Lights in Different Applications
Battery-powered LEDs are great for far more than lighting up your models. They’re an excellent tool for lighting up small spaces, such as model train sets, dollhouses, craft projects, book nooks, sci fi models, costumes and even kids' toys.
When you're selecting your battery-powered led lights, consider the space you need to light and for how long you’ll need them. Even a single coin cell can provide enough power for a small nightlight, while two AA batteries will power up an entire strand of steady-lit LEDs for many hours.
Consider dimming options to allow you to adjust your project’s brightness rather than being stuck with a single brightness level.
Batteries are very useful for small Christmas lights, decorating for Halloween, or designing an outfit for a cosplay competition. Our premium battery-powered LEDs enhance faux snow effects, give life to glass vase arrangements, and add a little extra holiday cheer to your decades-old holiday decorations.
You can develop riveting battery-powered LED ideas for your projects with just a little creativity. And if you need a little inspiration to get you started, check out what some of our customer-hobbyists have shared in our project galleries and on our Facebook page.
Many people worry about mixing up which battery goes with which lights. Here at Evan Designs we work hard to make that part easy for you. And we review every order that gets placed to make sure there are no battery incompatibilities to worry about.
Best Projects for Battery-Powered LED Lights
There are all sorts of creative projects you can accomplish with battery-powered LEDs.
Modeling Train Sets and Locomotives
Train sets provide a great opportunity for using battery-powered LEDs to create realistic lighting effects. Just add some steady-lit LEDs in your locomotive and place flashing LEDs in the cars behind it, and you've got a train that looks like it's approaching in the darkness—even when it's standing still.
Model Cars, Spaceships, and Rockets
Looking to add a realistic touch to your model cars, spaceships, and rockets? Aviation enthusiasts can add this RC aircraft LED circuit that includes navigation, strobes, and interior lighting. We also feature die-cast police lights and sirens, also conveniently battery-powered to make your vehicles come to life.
To create glowing costumes that have a realistic look, consider attaching battery-powered LEDs and Fiber Optics to the edges of hats and coats. You can hide away the battery pack in a pocket or clip it to the outside of your costume. Our flickering and glowing LED kits are perfect for this type of project.
With a little creativity, you can come up with some really cool battery-powered LED ideas for your projects. And if you need a little inspiration to get you started, check out what some of our hobbyist customers have shared on our Facebook page.
Check Out Our Hobby Led Tutorials for Detailed Instructions
The only limit on what you can do with battery-powered LED lights is your imagination. For either casual or special applications, Evan Designs has the perfect light for every space and holiday project.
Check out our tutorial section for detailed how-to guides and other ideas you can try with your battery-powered LED lights. When you've finished your project, tag us on Facebook so we can see what kind of designs our fellow hobbyists are making.
Explore Battery Powered LED Lights
If you are new to battery LED lights and want to light a small project, then these kits are an excellent place to start. Just glue the lights into your project and connect them to the battery holder. Put the battery holder in the back or underneath your project, and enjoy your nicely lit model. Browse our site and find the perfect battery operated LED lights and other lighting solutions for your projects today!