Well, it's been a while since I have posted, because... actually, I don't know. But, while traversing the Great Information Superhighway, I stumbled upon this amazing article on powering a Raspberry Pi off 8 AA batteries and a 12V car-to-USB adapter. Since I had the materials and have wanted to get a battery pack set up for various projects, I tried the idea. My Raspberry Pi was not functional, however, as it had somehow self-destructed its memory card again and had weird errors that I couldn't make heads or tails of. After playing around with the car charger, I discovered that the polarity of the leads connecting to the tabs of the charger does matter. I tried testing for voltage on the USB end of the charger, and something started smoking and smelling bad. Then, I noticed that my clip lead had come undone, because it had melted! After reversing polarity, I got the whole thing working!
I was able to power a USB keyboard light using my hack. As you can see in the image, I have a four-pack of AAs, a two-pack, and another two-pack, all in series. The clip leads connect to the tabs of the 12V car-to-USB charger, and then the USB light is plugged into that. Next, I need to figure out my misbehaving Raspberry Pi and try this battery pack!