Can Stove Charger





Introduction: Can Stove Charger

Wood stove using soda can can be easily done. It is portable or can be made within 5 minutes.
In this project, we will add material that can generate power using temperature difference. It called thermoelectric generator/cooler. For this example, I used the thermoelectric cooler (TEC1 12706).

Let's proceed to the instructions.

Step 1: Prepare the Materials

* empty soda can
* peltier tile (TEC or TEG)
* heat sink
* cardboard or paper
* cable tie
* voltage booster 1volts - 5 volts input with 5 volts output.

* thick wire for stove support
* plastic bottle cap enough to shelter the power/voltage booster

Step 2: Prepare the Stove

Cut the upper part of the soda can.

Flatten the one side of the can to have good contact with the peltier tile.

Make holes 4 holes at the bottom and 4 holes at the top. Don't punch any hole on side where the peltier tile is located. To avoid burning of the tile while using the stove.

Step 3: Place the Generator

Place the peltier tile on the flatten side of the can. Take note, the hot side of the tile should be place on the side of the can. Hot side will recognize by the labeling of the tiles. The side with label is the cold side the other side is the hot side.

Place the heat sink on the cold side of the tile.

To support these parts, place cardboard or paper before placing the cable tie to tighten the peltier tile and heat sink. The cardboard will avoid the cable tie to contact with the can.

Connect the peltier tile to the power booster. The red wire connect to the positive and the black is to the negative.

Step 4: Add the Booster's Case

Cut the bottle cap to accommodate the power booster. Then place the booster.

Step 5: Add Stand Support

Place the thick wire between the two heat sinks as shown above. Then bend it to make the stove stable.

Now ready to burn.

Step 6: Ready to Burn

Fire the stove using paper, woods, tree stems, dry leaves or any combustible materials that fits in.

While the stove inside is burning, the temperature difference between the hot side and the cold side of the peltier tile is become higher. The higher the difference the higher the power it can generate. So that, charging of phone is possible.

Charge the phone or any gadgets with 5 volts minimum charging requirement.

This example, is less efficient due to small heat sink. The power generates only about 5 minutes as I observed.

Temporary solution is place a wet cloth or ice on the heat sink from time to time.

The permanent solution is to replace the heat sink with large size.

For better power use the TEG thermoelectric generator instead of TEC thermoelectric cooler. The TEG is designed for the power generation. And the TEC is for cooler. But either of these can be used.

* Can stove alone:
-> 5 volts regulated output.
-> 113 mA maximum current

* Placing ice to the heat sink:
-> 5 volts regulated output.
-> 187 mA maximum current.



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    21 Discussions

    I totally want to make one of these for camping? As someone with minimal experience with this kind of project, I am wondering.... Could this sort of project be adapted to mount to the side of a BBQ grill? I'm als thinking it could be attached to a metal heat conductor rod of some sort, and stuck into a camp fire?

    2 replies

    Quite late, but here goes:
    You can mount anything with enough wire! So, that'd work.
    If you want a heat conducting rod, keep it as short as possible. Get some type of copper, ideally. If not available, use aluminum.
    If you want to cool the heatsink better, it might be possible to use a small water reservoir; that'll keep it at 100C max.

    It might be better to get a small fire going, or use some coals, to charge the device. It's a lot more controlled.

    I did not try using rod for the heat side. But, I think it is possible to use that. Make sure that the end of the rod is attach to plate for efficient transferring of heat to the peltier tile.

    Greetings, Adriane!

    Great little project and, as others have pointed out, many people are looking for a way to create a 'poor man's' biolite cooker/camp stove.

    I am curious if you are able to swap out what you're using as the power-stepper and simply use a dollar store 'portable phone recharger', or a premade phone charging device or something or if you HAVE to have the stepper?

    Is there ANY other device one could 'salvage' a premade stepper as well?

    I am looking at ordering a couple CHEAP TEC's and build a simple setup for camping and it would rock to be able to have the unit have a manual switch: A. Charge the dollarstore charger. B. Use the dollar store charger to charge a phone AND/OR run the gasifier fan.

    All the best!


    1 year ago

    I simply MUST inquire about what peltier generator you have acquired for this project. I really thought it looked cool, and I am thinking about using something similar for a science project. Many thanks! P.S. Fantastic project! Danke für die tolle Idee!

    Great project! If you add a piece of copper (as a heat spreader) to the hot side, you could possibly also hold it above a candle to charge your device!


    The top heatsink is useless. Because it has no contact area with the TEC, it won't help to cool it off. Because it hinders airflow to the other (useful) heatsink, it might even perform worse because of it. Also, it adds a lot of weight. You'll probably see the same or better results without it.

    2 replies

    Thank you for the tips.
    Regarding the second heat sink on top of the other, I also thought that this is not useful. But, I tried to add and this helps to reduce the heat. its not efficient but in the absent of large heat sink I used this technique.

    Nice project. I agree with jelte1234 that the top heat sink should be removed. Also I would suggest orienting the remaining heat sink with vanes going vertically to allow for natural convection to cool the TEC.

    I really like Projects where you build something which otherwise costs too much money to understand the technology like here "Biolite CampStove".

    Thank you for this nice Instructable and the improvement Tips !

    1 reply

    You're welcome.
    Danke. Thank you too. Thank you for your appreciation.


    1 year ago

    Great ans simple demo!
    I d like to reproduce it with the kids, but the "power booster" is not at hand. Can you please give a link or more explanation, how to make/buy one?
    Thank you

    1 reply

    Thank you for appreciation.I just added a link where can buy the power booster module.

    Thank you for the appreciation and support.


    1 year ago

    Very useful in any power blackout... gud luck sir...

    1 reply

    Thank you for the appreciation and support.

    Thank you for the appreciation.

    Very cool idea!
    I wanted to know how many amperes you reached? If you can post measures here will be a add value for your instructional.