Making A Wall Power Adapter For A Digital Camera

Instructables user [txoof] was unhappy with the fact that Olympus didn’t manufacture a wall power adapter for the E-510 camera and decided to do something about it. The resulting new power adapter is described in this article. What it amounts to is a fake battery pack made out of plywood.

A 2.5mm DC power adapter is attached as seen in the picture above and the fake battery contacts are made with a thin brass or steel plate. According to the article, a steel soda can or bean tin works well for this.  Google sketchup with the slicer plugin is used to make slices of wood to be glued together in a “battery” shape.  Alternatively, something like this would be a good project for a 3D printer or CNC router.

Although there is nothing that revolutionary about this hack, it solves a problem that many people have with cameras or other electronics without a readily available wall power supply. This can be especially evident when trying to do time-lapse photography or other activities that need a long time span. For another hacked-together wooden camera project, check out this remote trigger built using plywood and air freshener components.

20 thoughts on “Making A Wall Power Adapter For A Digital Camera

  1. This reminds me of an old mod i did. I had an old JVC Hi8 camera and could not find a battery for it, so i hallowed it out and made an adapter so a Li-Ion battery from a new camera could be used to power the camera instead. work like a charm. I used cardboard as filler and 2 part epoxy to hold it all in place.

  2. Seems a bit of a kludge, why not use a gutted battery? Leave it open ended with a V-reg somewhere and you can power it from a 12V source and have a semi portable uber battery unit, depending on what size 12v battery you go for and still have the ability to hook it up to a wall wart.

    1. Obviously the best solution is to get an Olympus LBH-1. It’s a plastic shell made to hold some lithium CR123A. Simply rip out the guts and wire in your voltage regulator.
      In the state’s they’re dirt cheap. I can’t even find them here in Norway and the last time I checked, they were stupid expensive.

    1. Chet, to make it even nicer, it’s all hand cut plywood as I don’t have a jig saw way over here in the frozen north that is Norway. They’re wicked expensive!
      Hopefully the school I work for will get in a laser cutter for next term. That would make this type of project a snap!

  3. I like this. Canon wants $75 for one of thees. So I think im gunna give this a try. Also I was thinking another way would be to make a mold of a battery and fill it with plastic/wax or something and use that.

    1. I think that if you did a negative/positive with something like Fimo, you’d be all set too. Though all the dowel ideas are great too.
      The stores haven’t quite caught up with the DIY/Hacker/Maker culture in Stavanger yet. Sourcing silly things like dowels can be maddeningly difficult.

    2. I’ve got an adapter for my canon 450d, I think it was about £20 at the time, all it consists of is a gutted 450d battery (£3 off ebay) the vreg is hidden in the battery, this goes off to a cigar lighter so I can power it from any 12v power source. I’m going to make my own soon, with the Vreg external to battery unit and will hold a 2400mAH 12V rechargable pack and have a circuit built in for charging the 12v battery.

  4. It can get simpler. A piece of dowel of aproxx dia cut to length times number of cells plus brass #4 wood screws. Groove sides to run wire from end to end and to exit from the bottom, or just use the flat side and bury the wire in epoxy. All of this is hdwr store stuff, if not junk box. In this wxample the dowels and wire could be all that is needed, no glue.

  5. I personally don’t know anything about this camera, but following the instructable through it seems that the Olympus E-510 doesn’t use a custom rechargeable battery specific to that model, but use a battery holder that holds off the shelf CR123A(?) batteries. The builder said a new holder costs $60 where they live. One could hack the battery holder that came with the camera, but that hampers the portability of the camera. Evidently this camera owner needed an AC adapter for really long time lapse photography projects. Sometimes you need to RTFA(RTFI?), don’t know why I bothered to do so, after seeing this is a camera that I’ll never own. Before reading the instructable I didn’t know google sketchchup use plugins, and the slicer plugin existed. Looks like that could be handy.

    1. Doh! I should have known better. When I was closing tabs I noticed that the camera uses custom rechargeable battery, I overlooked it when it was at the bottom of the amazon page with the “dry cell” battery holder. With all things being equal, unless this builder didn’t have a dead rechargeable to hallow :) out, this build still makes sense, not that it matters on way or another.

  6. There are some fairly useful US$1k, Chinese mostly, milling machines that would quickly repay itself if you need to frequently make odd shapes.
    A lot faster and cheaper than those 3D printers for simple shapes.

    Somebody can also chime in about various craft mold making supplies that are also useful in these type of projects.

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