Replacing Batteries Safely with Vision Loss

By Gil Johnson

If you were to inventory every item in your home that runs on batteries, you might be amazed at how many types and sizes you need to keep everything in working order. TV remotes, smoke alarms, flashlights, portable CD players, toys and games, laptop computers, shavers, kitchen gadgets, cordless phones—these are just a sampling of battery-driven devices typically found in the average home. If you are visually impaired you may find it challenging to recharge batteries or replace them. You will find some suggestions below.

Recharging Batteries

Some of these can be recharged by plugging the device in an electrical outlet or cradle, without having to take the batteries out. Others have rechargeable batteries which must be taken out and placed in an external battery charger.

Replacing Batteries

Typically, however, a device will usually require one of six different sized batteries, which must be replaced regularly with the correct size and voltage capacity. These batteries (and some common uses) are listed below. You may want to purchase samples of each to familiarize yourself with their respective sizes and shapes.

  1. AAAs (small, thin tube shape; common in TV remotes)

  2. AAs (slightly larger tube shape; also used in many TV remotes, portable CD players, toothbrushes)

  3. C cell (larger, more squat tube shape; found in flashlights, toys)

  4. D Cell (largest of tube-shaped batteries; for flashlights, portable TVs, and stereos)

  5. 9 Volt (small, rectangular shape; found in smoke alarms)

  6. 6 Volt (square-shape, 2 to 3 inches per side; used in large portable lanterns)

The battery compartments on appliances and devices are usually found on the back or bottom side. With your fingertips, you should be able to locate a small latch that, when pressed, opens a small plastic door. Sometimes the door is held in place with one or more small screws that must be removed with a small Phillips screwdriver.

Once the compartment is open, use your fingertip or finger nail to push and lift up the used batteries. When removing AAA, AA, C, or D cell batteries, take note of which end is flat and which end has the round protrusion. The fresh batteries must be oriented in the same direction as those you're replacing or the device won't operate.

A 9 volt battery has two receptacles at the top end that connect to a small cap found in the compartment of the device. The cap snaps into the receptacles, holding the battery in place. One of the receptacles is slightly larger than the other and must be snapped into correct end of the cap for the battery to be connected.

Batteries in portable lanterns can often be reached by unscrewing the front part of the lantern and sliding the battery out. Sometimes the lens and bulb assembly are connected to the battery with clips, which must be removed then reconnected to the fresh battery.

If you have any home repair questions, comments, or advice, feel free to post them on our Home Repairs Message Board.

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