Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review: AA-D cell battery converters

D cell battery converters: but can the lil' AA take the strain?
A common complaint with the Nerf Vulcan EBF-25 and the Stampede ECS is the requirement of 6 D cell batteries to power them. This can be annoying due to 1) D cells cost more than AA's and are less likely to be lying around the house, and 2) 6 D cells adds a significant amount of weight to the blaster, which can be a bit of a strain for lengthy battles- or if the user is 7 years old.

"I just wish they'd run on ordinary AA's"... (insert dreamy music here)
An increasingly popular solution are these nifty AA-D cell battery converters; plastic housing tubes that allow you to use AA's in a D cell battery compartment. Sounded like a great deal I thought, so I picked up a few packs of these online for under 3 bucks for a pair of two and decided to give them a go to see how they performed.

The battery holders are a translucent plastic with a small hinge to open and close them. Once you pop one open, it's as easy as sliding in a AA battery with the right polarity direction and snapping the holder shut. They're not the strongest feeling things in the world, and I would suggest you to be relatively delicate with them as I doubt they're made to last for ages.

The first thing I noticed when I put them into my Stampede is how incredibly light the blaster now was compared to when I had the traditional D cell batteries loaded in the the compartment. Straight away, the weight was at par with the likes of the Longshot which I thought was pretty reasonable.

The second thing I noticed though, is how crap the performance was. At the end of the day, AA's might be the same voltage as D's, but they don't have the same amperage and won't last as long as a D cell.  It straight away felt like my batteries were near flat;sure it fired more than a dribble, but it wasn't fantastic. It sounded like it was struggling, although it's very likely to be because I was using cheap batteries (still have boxes of them from Catch of the Day I have to get through!) which I'm told don't hold their voltage well at all, so even though they were "fresh out of the packet" they were probably already not fantastic to begin with. An obvious solution to this, is getting higher capacity, better quality AA's; this would definitely help it along!! (Thanks to KW for this)

The other, is you can also purchase D cell converters that house TWO AA batteries, which should boost the amperage and while it won't be as light as the single AA battery housing, at least it'll last for longer. (you could take the batteries out completely and have a REALLY light blaster.. it just won't work. Which is kinda important)

If you're keen to try them yourself: (via Deal Extreme)

They offer free shipping, and they're as cheap as chips so by all means, give them a go. Or.. man up and just go with the traditional D Cells :)


  1. The blaster isn't THAT heavy is it? Rest it on your arm and it's all good!

    The performance is pretty good actually; better than I thought it would be. But I still love the Alpha Trooper hehe. Have you changed your preference yet Pocket?

  2. I don't mind the weight, but I thought I'd try something different:)

    As for my favourite blaster.. admittedly I've been spending a fair whack of time with the automatic blasters off late, but while I rate the Stampede and believe it's awesome, I'm still of the believe that the Alpha Trooper serves up the goods for me:)

  3. Dude, nice info but please ditch the cheap batteries 'cos those can't hold their voltage for nuts, just use proper branded AA batteries like Energizers or Duracells instead, or else the performance is naturally going to be sluggish and crappy. I've tested both and i can see the big difference between them.

    Also using 2AA-D converters don't up the voltage as they are in parallel, it just doubles the mAh so the batteries last abit longer.

  4. KW- But.. the box says they're high performance long lasting! Catchoftheday.com.au stand by them! :P

    Totally agree with you, and thanks for the info! Post has been updated accordingly:)

  5. since you've got the AA-D converters, you should try some 3.7v batteries from DealExtreme. They give the Stampede & Vulcan much better ROFs and give the Barricade more power (and noise). And since DX has free shipping, it's also cheap.
    I've got 3 for my Barricade & Stampede