Battery packs for the Pixel Pole

This page is about information on what battery packs can be used with the Pixel Pole LED lights.

The Pixel Pole was designed to work with the common 8.4 volt DC Lithium Ion rechargeable battery packs that are available for powering bicycle lights. While usually meant for headlights, they provide a good voltage and plenty of capacity for the LED strips.

The Pixel Pole can be powered by as low as around 5v. The Arduino module as well as the LEDs run at 5v. In fact, I have a 5v regulator inside the module to supply power for the LEDs. I have tried it using a standard USB battery power booster and I know one purchaser of it intends to use it that way. It probably can be powered by a 12v nominal source, but I wouldn’t go too much higher. Extra voltage is wasted as it is converted down to a lower level.

With that range of options, I chose the 8.4v pack because:

  • I had several and have used them for headlights for several years.
  • They have a velcro strap and case that is very convenient to mount on a bike.
  • They have a good connector that is watertight.
  • They are rechargeable, not disposable.
  • They give good runtimes.

I wanted to be able to provide a complete package to those buying the Pixel Pole, but logistics get in the way. The first casualty was the flag pole. The cost to provide one flag pole was not insurmountable, but the shipping and packaging was. Since you can get one at almost any bike shop or Wal Mart, I left that up to the end user. Most people already have a flag pole anyway.

The battery packs were a different animal, though. To get a good price on the packs and chargers, I ordered them from China. The shipping ended up being equal to the cost of the parts.  You can order one item and they’ll give you free shipping, but order 15 and you foot the bill. Lesson learned.

And that lesson is, even though they might cost more domestically, you’ll save in shipping and shipping time, if you stick to home.

Here’s some examples of these battery packs I found easily by searching Amazon:

Here’s your basic battery pack and charger for $20 bucks. Looks like a nice nylon case with two straps.

When you just need the guts to replace some worn-out cells, this is a solution. About $6.50 with shipping. You can use your old case and charger.

If you need a spare charger, this is only $8.

Need more capacity to last longer, or maybe you want to use one battery for a headlight and your Pixel Pole, about $16.

A better quality battery with a much more waterproof casing. I use these myself. About $28.

An almost identical one for $20.

Here’s the cable you’ll need to power two lights from one battery. $10.

 Here’s a new idea. This pack will power your light and your cell phone at the same time. $26.

You’ll still need the AC charger, though. It doesn’t charge by USB.

   For $14 you can get a holder that you can put individual 18650 batteries into. Batteries are additional.

Standard batteries in many tactical flashlights, there are many choices available. This example is $13 for two.


Posted in Cycling, Tech Stuff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *