Battery Operated LEDs

Battery operated Mini LED lights

We often get asked, "Can I run my LEDs on a battery?" 

If you want to have your LED light battery powered, the great news is you really have a lot of choices.  Because LEDs have such a low power draw there are plenty of battery types that can run your LEDs nice and bright for a long time. 

We also often get asked, "what's the smallest battery that can run an LED?"

To answer the small battery question, we have the cr1225 battery with holder.  This micro battery is only 

12.5mm or 0.5 inches across!  for size comparison, a penny is .8 inch so this battery is roughly half the size of a penny. and our battery can run 4 LEDs nice and bright as you can see from this picture of the tiny 1225 running 4 of our cool white chip sized LEDs.

The bigger coin cell, the cr2032 holder with switch shown here can run up to 10 LED lights nice and bright. This coin cell is a nice choice for its small size and great capacity

On the other end of the battery size spectrum, a pair of AA batteries can run 100 battery powered individual mini led lights for 4-5 hours!  That's a lot of lights! Or the AA pair can run a few battery LED lights non stop for several days. Larger Batteries such as AA or AAA or 9 volt will last longer before replacement is needed. And larger batteries can power more LEDs overall and also more types of LEDs in the same project. A bigger battery may not fit into micro modeling projects.

So Then... What option is best for your project?

 Battery Size:

Larger batteries can mix sold and flash and not have the solids flash along better than smaller batteries. And the 9 volt can run circuits such as our siren circuit or sequence circuit, and other circuits 

Smaller batteries such as our small or mini coin cells have the advantage of size.  Often, small projects do not need as many LEDs or types of LEDs.  In this case smaller batteries will work just fine. If you only need a few LED lights in your micro project then our smaller "coin cell" style batteries are a great choice for your battery operated mini led lights.

How Long do Batteries Last with LEDs:

When you are considering which battery type to use when powering the LEDs in your project it is useful to know the expected runtime of LEDs. 

We found that calculating runtime based on Battery Capacity, Voltages and LED Current Draw does not yield a very accurate number.  The reason for this is that Battery Voltage varies from fully charged to a lower value where light output is less than desirable.  With LEDs we observe that as voltage drops to a point where brightness is about 80% of the full brightness, the amperage draw is 50% of the fully charged battery.  At 80% brightness, unless you are closely comparing to a 100% brightness LED you would not be aware of the difference in brightness.

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

LED Lights with battery pack:

We have complete LED lighting kits that include a coin cell or AAA battery holder or 9 volt battery snap that include:

  • 1 to 5 lights
  • the battery holder
  • the on/off switch

Kits like our Chip Light Kit and Mini Lighting packet use our cr2032 holder with switch.  Kits like our Lighting package use either AAA or 9 volt holder with switch

If you are new to LED lights and want to light a small project these kits are an excellent place to start because everything is figured out. No "scavenger hunt" needed.

Just glue the lights into your project and then connect them to the battery holder.  Put the battery holder in the back or underneath the project and enjoy your nicely lit project!