Powering a robot with a macbook battery

When [Soo-Hyun]‘s friend had an Apple Macbook Pro battery that began to swell, his friend did the reasonable thing and donated it to be used in a robot. Now [Soo-Hyun]‘s kiwi drive robot is powered by a gigantic LiPo battery, giving it a huge range and a very fast top speed.

The defunct laptop battery that formerly powered a 15″ macbook pro is three battery packs of two cells in parallel, delivering 12.6 Volts. To get the power to the robot, [Soo-Hyun] etched a simple PCB that fit into the slot in the battery. A little bit of soldering later, and mounting the battery as a shark fin because of the 8×8 inch limitation of maze-solving robots, the power plant was complete.

Using a bulging LiPo battery probably isn’t the smartest idea (listen for the great line, “it got the camera and my face” at 4:08), but as long as [Soo-Hyun] keeps an eye on the battery as it’s charging, it should be alright.

Check out the video of the robot zipping around on 12.6 Volts after the break.


  1. conundrum says:

    Sounds like a good plan.
    Most of the time its only one cell which swells up, the others are normally OK.

    Marginally safer than taking the pack apart, but I’d be concerned about long term safety as swollen packs can rarely short out if they overheat during charging.

  2. noonevac says:

    that is the best use of a mac i have ever seen, i hope you just threw the other junk parts in the trash.

  3. Fallingwater says:

    How have others not commented here? This is very un safe – swollen LiPo packs can and catch fire, sometimes with no provocation whatsoever!

  4. Fallingwater says:

    Uh… perhaps I should watch the video next time. I hadn’t realized he’d snipped off the damaged cell. >_> sorry about that.

  5. Wilfo says:

    How long does it take the battery to discharge?

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