Updated Jan-21-2011

How to change the batteries on Spykee, the robot.

Spykee came back to life when attached to a 12V portable battery.

Spykee came back to life when attached to a 12V portable battery.

In the video below, we hack into Spykee to attach new leads which will later allow for the connection of an external battery pack.  We also connect a multimeter to monitor the battery voltage.  We connect a 12V battery, charged with a solar panel, for testing.  Yes, Spykee works on 12V and could be off-the-grid!

VIDEO:  Verifying Spykee can run on 12V

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Next, we connected a new external battery pack that uses standard AA rechargeable batteries.  Nothing proprietary here.  We made the new battery pack and now Spykee is better than new. His new external AA battery pack has a higher charge capacity than the original pack that came from the manufacturer.  The original pack was rated at 1,800 mAh while my new home-made replacement battery is rated at 2,400 mAh.  The batteries I chose are Imedion Low-Discharge AA batteries made by Powerex.  See how it works in the video below.

VIDEO:  Spykee gets new battery pack with no tether.

Testing the Original Battery Pack

I tried freezing the original batteries that came with Spykee.  That improved the battery voltage, but was not enough of an improvement to get Spykee moving.

Spykee's original 9.6V NiMH battery

Spykee's original 9.6V NiMH battery

The video below shows the freezing process and how freezing increased the voltage of the batteries.

Results of Freezing Battery

VIDEO:  Freezing Spykee’s original batteries and Connecting to Charger

Disassembly of the original Spykee battery pack

When I took the pack apart, I found 2 bad cells and 6 good cells.  The good cells could be used for another project.

VIDEO:  Salvaging Spykee’s original batteries

I put the two bad cells into my battery charger.  One of them charged up.  That leaves me with one cell at 0 Volts.  I plan to surge it with my solar panel.  Spykee’s original batteries will live on in another application.



10 Comments

  1. Drew J says:

    Success! Thanks for the motivation to get my robot working again :) I used most of your instructions to get it going. My work and pictures here: http://webdrew.com/?p=116

  2. Earl says:

    That’s great to see your Spykee with functioning batteries again! I’m happy to see your pictures and feedback… thanks.

  3. NizZ8 says:

    Great post! thanks for taking a chance with 12v! thanks for the video’s and details!

  4. Earl says:

    Well, thank you for stopping by. Spykee is still working here. I took Spykee for a drive just last week. I’m still tinkering with him when I have time and have more mods in mind for him.

  5. Rob says:

    How do you recharge the batteries? Are you docking Spykee just like normal? Or do you remove the batteries and use a separate charger?

  6. Earl says:

    Since the batteries are off-the-shelf rechargeable AA batteries, they can be charged individually in a charger. The dead batteries can be removed from Spykee and swapped out with fresh AA batteries for short down-time. The docking station that came with Spykee is not needed.

  7. Mario says:

    Is it possible to still use the docking station that came with Spykee?

  8. Earl says:

    I do not trust the docking station design that came with my Spykee, so I would not use it. Is it possible, though? I suppose it is possible to use it, but will the batteries get charged right?

    I hope you will look at some of my recent posts in the top, right corner of this page. Peace!

  9. mpfproducts says:

    Hi! We offer batteries for the spykee robot. It is 2500mAh which offers much longer battery life than the original 1800mAh battery that comes installed in the spykee. here is the URL of battery product page that I am referring to:

    http://www.mpfproducts.com/8lmh-48aa1800-h-ma-battery-for-meccano-erector-870850-spykee-spy-robot/

    We offer a one year warranty on all batteries sold!

  10. DJfunky says:

    hey i wil try this option because my spykee got today a new battery pack it drive for 10 min and now it’s dead so i wil try this :) i hope it works if it works: thank you very much :)

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