Introduction: Build Your Own Batteries!

Picture of Build Your Own Batteries!

Have you ever wanted to make your own batteries? I will show you how to make one using ordinary household items.The batteries are very small, and to power bigger things, You may need to make more and connect them.

Batteries. Needed for just about every electronic project, electronics revolve around them. But think about it, What happens once they lose their power? You throw them away, just like all 7 billion of us on earth. These batteries are building up in our landfills, so I set myself to find out how to reuse them.

It all started when I saw that instructables was holding a Green Electronics contest, I thought to myself, "What could be more green than DIY Batteries from everyday parts?!?!? This project is very environmentally beneficial, as it takes a dead battery and turns them into a new one, preventing the creation of electronic waste. The possibilities are endless on this concept (stronger batteries, tiny batteries) and just think of what it would be like if everyone on this planet was able to recycle old batteries. If you think this is a good idea, please vote in the green electronics contest.

To Build this, You will need

  1. Water
  2. Carbon Rod
  3. Zinc strip
  4. Wires
  5. Empty spice container
  6. Hot Glue gun
  7. Salt
  8. Something small powered by small batteries
  9. Thats all you need to make your own battery!

I will teach you how to get a carbon rod. Foil can be used as a substitute for the Zinc strips

Step 1: Get Carbon Rod

Picture of Get Carbon Rod

To get a carbon rod, You can take apart a non alkaline battery. Generally the batteries will say "super heavy duty" or "heavy duty" Never Ever take apart the one that says Alkaline.

These kind of batteries are known as "Dry Cells" and They work by converting chemical energy into electricity. Most of the time they consist of a Carbon Rod (what we need) surrounded by moist electrolyte paste. Heres the parts in a dry cell.

Anode (Negative): Zinc

Cathode (Positive ): Carbon coated with MnO2

Electrolyte: Mixture of plaster of Paris, Ammonium Chloride and Zinc Chloride

To take it apart, You need to use needle nose pliers to peel off the outer layer of the battery Next use a knife to cut off the top of the battery. Once its off, you will see the top of the carbon rod, slowly pull until the carbon rod is out.

Step 2: Foil

Picture of Foil

Now your going to need your Zinc strip (anode)

I used aluminum foil, which will work the same as a a zinc strip. What you need to get a sheet of foil about 5x5 inches. Fold it Hotdog style and then roll it up so its around the same size and length as the carbon rod.

Step 3: Drill Hole

Picture of Drill Hole

Drill a whole the size of the carbon rod so it fits snug. Place the carbon rod into one of the hole leaving about 1/2 an ince sticking out from the top

Now do the same for the foil strip

Step 4: Glue in Place

Picture of Glue in Place

Glue the two rods in place using the hot glue gun. Seal the two holes so no water can pass through. Also glue the two wires to the tops of the rods sticking out

The carbon rod is now +

The foil is now -

Step 5: Your Done!

Picture of Your Done!

Fill the spice jar with a salt water mixture and place the lid back onto the spice jar. You are now done. The signal is very weak, But if you make more and connect them, you can make them stronger.

Just think of the limitless possibilities you can create with your own batteries. Not only do they work, they also reuse old dead batteries, preventing the creation of electronic waste.

If you enjoyed this instructables, please vote for this in the Green Electronics contest.


SHOE0007 (author)2017-07-17

I meant I removed the electrodes cleaned them and protected them from further oxidization.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-07-17

It lasted 1 hour before the battery started to drop. I think it the nickel corroding a bit. To save the expensive electrode (Nickel). 1 hour it went to 0.55 constant a lot better than just titanium and copper with potassium bisulfate.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-07-17

Hello I am experemting around with a simple Nickel plate and titanium alloy that generates up to 0.5 volts max 0.88 volts and low micro Amps. I add 25 g potassium bisulfate, 20.5 g calcium chloride and 650 ml approx of tap water. KEEP IN MIND THIS GENERATES SOME CHLORINE GAS!!!

futuretesla120v (author)2017-04-21

how long does it last

AidanD12 (author)2017-03-04

Is there an easy way to make it more powerful

MohammadA231 (author)2016-04-01

Great :)

IbrahimH23 (author)2016-03-15


innerhealer108 (author)2015-09-18

Are these rechargeable...?

RyanF0ley (author)2015-05-08

is there a way to make the battery way stronger. PLEASE RESPOND

Craft-it-now (author)2014-10-10

Sounds like a good way to recycle!

heathbar64 (author)2014-06-11

Hmm, nice and simple. Couldn't you use a piece of zinc from the shell of the old dry cell?

Constructed (author)heathbar642014-06-11

Yes, But that's more work to fit in inside. I just tried to make it as simple as possible

Constructed (author)heathbar642014-06-11

Yes, But that's more work to fit in inside. I just tried to make it as simple as possible

jde vega (author)2014-06-09

uhhmn... anyone knows how long this battery last and how many volts it can generate can i even light 1 led? plss.. answer

Constructed (author)jde vega2014-06-09

Normally around half a volt. To light a LED you might need to make a couple more

szahreddine (author)2014-05-24

it is close to the idea of a galvanic cell

panic mode (author)2014-05-11

it would be nice to post some performance data

Constructed (author)panic mode2014-05-11

Yes I know, I also really need to buy a multimeter

SamuraiGoose (author)2014-04-29

Nice, I'll try with a pencil lead.
I've made batteries using pieces of lemons with 2 screws on them copper & steel for example, even powered a red LED connecting them on series.

Constructed (author)SamuraiGoose2014-05-05

Tell me how well it works!

mykiscool (author)SamuraiGoose2014-05-04

I used pencil lead also when making a test electrode for a hydrogen generator (so that it won't wear off like metal). An issue is that it is hard to remove from the pencil without breaking it. I was able to get a little bit out. I used a razor blade to remove as much wood from around the graphite as possible.

dhanhurley (author)2014-05-04

Hi, Try using colloidal carbon in the electrolyte (easy to make)(Industy has been using this for years),it will improve the charge.Ciao.Dhan

arthurdent (author)2014-04-30

Galvanized nails(Coated with zinc), aluminum foil, and bare copper wire can also be used to make very-low-voltage batteries.

ianmcmill (author)2014-04-29

Nice and easy. The guys at walking dead should know this.

Anyways, if you exchange the "salt water" with a saturated washing soda solution you might get some more "power" out of it.

Constructed (author)ianmcmill2014-04-29

Cool! I have to try this

petrolon (author)2014-04-20

Um... So you ripped apart a battery to make a less powerful battery.

Anything in the name of science.

thewriterben (author)petrolon2014-04-20

Um, lets hear a better idea for use of a dead battery. And let's assume it's already had any residual charge harvested via jule thief.

AuralVirus (author)thewriterben2014-04-20


yours sincerely a typo fascist *(we are many)


thewriterben (author)AuralVirus2014-04-29

Thank you for that! I'm ashamed of my typo and am glad somebody noticed and said something about it. Kudos to you.

Constructed (author)petrolon2014-04-20

Yes. I didn't have any carbon rods and I was showing everyone where you can find some. If you have some you dont need to take the battery apart

ty520 (author)2014-04-26

It would be beneficial to propose an alternative source for a carbon rod - a bit silly to take apart a battery to make...a battery

Constructed (author)ty5202014-04-27

I took apart a DEAD battery to learn how it works and made a new one. You have a better idea for old batteries?

Also, you can use pencil lead if you want.

jcastrillon restrepo (author)2014-04-23

Hey, great instructable

Just a quick doubt about the non alkaline batteries, i have rechargeable AA batteries but it doesnt say anywhere if it is alkaline or not. Do you think i can use it?


I'd just google the brand, should be an easy way to determine it's components.

If it says something like "super heavy duty" or "heavy duty" it probably has a carbon rod. As for the rechargeable battery im not sure... I would just wait until your sure its safe to dissect.

Can't you just get the carbon rods from pencil graphite?

Yes, but it wont be as strong

mmiles12 (author)2014-04-26

The salt water is just a conductor, not the source of the current. The voltage is generated by the reduction of zinc and the oxidation of carbon.

arthurdent (author)2014-04-21

There was at one time for sale, a "water" powered digital watch. What it was was a standard digital watch with built-in compartments that had bits of two different metals in it. Adding water to the watch produced. just enough current to run the watch.

Mikumiku747 (author)arthurdent2014-04-25

I had a calculator that worked in the same way. The great thing about it is that the battery part was removable, so maybe if I can find it again I could use it for something?

kalboon (author)arthurdent2014-04-22

haha, I actually had one of those watches, got it when I was 7 at a mall in Pennsylvania, i cant remember the last time i encountered someone else that had seen or owned one, i had it for years, it eventually died lol

arthurdent (author)kalboon2014-04-22

The last I saw of those watches, they were in a novelty mail order catalog years ago. I don't know if they are still being made and sold.

Constructed (author)2014-04-24

That would be cool, but what about everything living in the ocean????

twighahn (author)2014-04-23

I want a rechargeable battery

Constructed (author)twighahn2014-04-23

Change the salt water.....

Thermo Nuclear Boy (author)2014-04-21

I made it! it worked very well for the first few days and it blasted away over night


thundercookie (author)2014-04-21

this is going to be my next school project if you let me use it f course


Please Vote for it in the contests!

brass90 (author)2014-04-21

Hey lets think really big, get a derelict ship paint it with zinc, then charcoal some large trees ands float all that vertically in the great salt lake utah run some energy transmission lines, n zap...

About This Instructable




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