how long can a AA battery last running 1 led?

If i was using 2 AA batteries, to get the 3v output required for an LED bulb, to power 1 LED bulb, how long can the batteries last? Please explain how I calculate that?

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  • n3qikn3qik Posts: 741Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: how long can a AA battery last running 1 led?

    To start, what type of AA battery are going to use?
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,249Super Moderators admin
    Re: how long can a AA battery last running 1 led?

    It depends...

    For example, if you have a 100mW (0.1 watt) 5mm white LED, and assume that each AA alkaline battery can supply 1 watt*hour (approximately 0.1 amp for 10 hours = 1v*0.1a*10h=1Watt*Hour)... Then

    2 batteries * 1 Watt*Hour / 0.1 Watt = 20 hours

    If you can use less light, for example 50 mWatt, then the batteries will last about 2x longer.

    Also, it gets more complicated. LED's are not linear devices... They typically need some sort of electrical circuit to limit current draw--especially with larger batteries (which can supply too much current and burn out the LED).

    So, for example, many of the cheaper LED flashlights will use 2-3 1.5 volt batteries and a resistor (in series with the LED) to limit the current through the LED. The resistor costs useful battery life because it prevents excess current by simply converting the current/voltage into heat.

    Better LED flashlights will use some sort of electronic circuit (technically, a "buck mode" or "boost mode" switching power supply). This gives you better LED light output regulation and is more efficient (and gives you longer battery life) than a simple resistor. Also these electronic circuits can give you other options, such as variable light output and SOS flashing.

    There are many small, high quality flashlights out there that you can buy--and some companies that can sell you ready made power supplies, kits, or you can design/build your own out of discrete parts or with IC's.

    Some flashlights:

    Arc 1 AAA flashlights
    Peak LED flashlights (multiple types)
    Fenix (very bright/multiple output AA and CR123 LED lights)

    For example, a Fenix L2D (2x AA battery with Cree white LED) can output:

    General Mode: 9 lumens (55hrs) -> 40 lumens (10.5hrs) -> 80 lumens (4hrs) -> SOS

    Turbo Mode: 135 lumens (2.4hrs) -> Strobe

    9 Lumens is equivalent to a small 1 LED flashlight (1-2 Lumen is a dim LED flashlight--useful for dark adapted eyes--such as the ARC brand AAA light) (bright enough to walk/run around with dark adapted eyes, read a news paper, etc.).

    135 Lumen is a very bright light--you can point it at a tree a 100 ft / 30 meters away like a small spot light and see raccoons/etc.

    Note that when you have a very bright/high powered light, you will probably need to use NiMH rechargeable batteries--Alkaline Batteries have high internal resistance and will not last as long because of the high current draw.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,514Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: how long can a AA battery last running 1 led?
    viruz5 wrote: »
    If i was using 2 AA batteries, to get the 3v output required for an LED bulb, to power 1 LED bulb, how long can the batteries last? Please explain how I calculate that?

    There are many types of LED lamps.
    drawn from http://www.superbrightleds.com/leds.htm spec pages:
    Red 2.2V
    Yellow/amber 2.0V
    Green 3.6V
    Blue 3.5V
    UV 3.7V
    UV with Phosphors=White 3.5V

    All of them have a different Vf (Voltage drop, Forward Direction), which, for best efficiency, you need an electronic circuit to regulate/produce. (buck/boost converter)

    After you chose an LED, and decide what current you want to run it at (higher current = shorter life) then you can calculate it's consumption, the converter losses, and the battery life related to the capacity of the batteries. I've seen AA ni-mh from 1400ma to 2200ma capacity.

    I can "invent" numbers, but they are meaningless till you have selected a LED and battery pair.
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