Source for 45 volt and 1.5 volt dry cell batteries?

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by W0BTU, Jan 29, 2011.

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  1. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was recently given a beautiful antique AM BCB receiver (Cockaday four-circuit tuner) by an uncle.

    30+ years ago, I got it running for him, using two 45 volt Burgess batteries and one (or two?) of those big tall "dry cells" or "ignition cells". Anybody know of a source for those batteries?

    Yeah, I could build a power supply, but I'm too lazy. :) Besides, the way my brain works, I'll lose interest in it after the first couple of days I use it.
  2. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can still buy the 1.5 volt ignition cells at Tractor supply. As for the 45 volt batteries, five 9V cells will do the trick. You can buy these in huge packs of 20 or more at Costco. I have made 90 volt batteries this way..
  3. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mike -

    The best resource would be the Antique Radio Restorers, that specialize the retoration of
    farm, DC battery and AC/DC receivers from the 1920s to the 1950s.
    The 45 V battery is a "B" cell, very common for battery radios of that era.

    California Historical Radio Society (CHRS) has battery eliminator circuits on file.

    6 V "A" cell eliminator

    45 V "B" cell eliminator

    eBay reseller: bat.guy sells cell packs built older battery antique radios.

    Photo of an Eveready 570 Large "B" cell (1931)
    Check with your local Batteries Plus retail stores

    Eveready 455 Battery
    Eveready 455 Battery, ~ $30 USD
    NEDA 201
    Battery Voltage: 45.0 Volts
    Battery Chemistry: Carbon Zinc
    Battery Type: Non-Rechargeable
    Battery Shelf Life: 7 - 10 Years

    The common EN6 1.5 V dry cell that I used in middle school ... and found in most Midwest hardware stores through the 1970s has recently been discontinued by Eveready.

    The modern reproductions that I have seen that are home-built are battery packs
    (like your modern rechargable power tool packs) built using 1.5 V "C" or "AA" cells with solder tabs.
    Building a 45 V battery using this method would require 30 cells (1.5 V).

    Attached photo is a dismantled 9 V battery cell which is
    made up of 6 "AAAA" cells (Quad A).


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  4. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh, Yeah! :) Thanks!

    I should have predicted that W9GB would help here. :) Thanks!

    I ought to take some pictures of that radio and post them here. It was built by Dr. Meyers (Myers?), a long-deceased professor at Bowling Green [Ohio] State University, likely before he graduated.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011
  5. KE3WD

    KE3WD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've simply snapped 5 common 9V batteries together end-to-end to run the 45 volt line. So far, current has not been a problem.

    I also use paralleled common D cells for the 1.5V, this can be done rather easily by using several single D cellholders wired in parallel.

    The neat thing about doing it this way is cost efficiency. We don't use these kind of radios but occasionally and the next time you pull it down off the shelf, those more expensive period correct bats and cells are likely to be kaput.
  6. W0BTU

    W0BTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    But, that'll change the sound! The receiver sensitivity! The way it operates! No warm, nostalgic, fuzzy feeling... not to mention that the old radio will reject that new stuff! ;-)

    Yeah, that's probably what I'll do. The current draw for four 01A's and one other tube can't be that much. That was my initial concern.
  7. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  8. KE3WD

    KE3WD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, if current ever was to become a problem, I'd just parallel two banks of 5 X 9Vs each...
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a Radiola AR-8-12 which is sometimes called a "portable VIII" that was made in 1924. This radio is a super heterodyne that is completely self-contained including batteries, antenna, etc. The only external device needed is either a pair of headphones or a horn speaker. I got the receiver in the late 1970s. Inside I discovered a 4.5 volt "C" battery with a code date of 1928. A friend of mine suggested that I actually check the battery, so, I did. That 50 year old 1928 battery was still putting out over 3.5 volts!

    They don't make things like that these days!

    Glen, K9STH
  10. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    As someone who has over 350 vintage radios Ive been a member of a few forums for decades and have been down the battery road many times.
    First of all they do not last long, especially the filament ones if you actually plan to use the radio. The life quality of cheap import 9V batteries is poor to worse. Next, even in the late 20's battery eliminators
    were popular once electrification came thru. Restuffing old batteries looks great for display and showing off but an AC supply is the way to go and there are many suitable designs on line.

    The audio, even with a proper set of headphones is of marginal quality at best so a more modern external amp and speaker helps very little. Horn speakers.....yuk! Just think of early recordings.
    Audio quality improved with every new model after about 1928 with the AC sets until its peak in the mid to late 30's.

    Have fun, you'll be hooked, one radio leads to 2, 4, 8, 16,etc! One of the current projects here is restoring a Radiola 60 chassis and PS and using a period correct SW converter for a few ham bands. Its an AC superhet with a 60kc IF and will mate with the pre 1930 transmitter already in process.

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
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