Introduction: Harnessing Sound Power

Picture of Harnessing Sound Power

Everyone is talking about using solar panels and wind turbines to Go Green however those are far from the only sources of renewable energy; one that is almost never spoken of is sound.
Although it does take a fair amount of noise to generate a descent amount of electricity, if you think about it, say you were to harness all the noise from a football game or the hustel and bustel of a large city, by the end of the day you have a lot of power energy. And, while it is of course far from the solution to the plethora of climate problems that faces us--being as impractical and inefficient as it is--the notion of converting sound into electricity is nevertheless in my mind a very neat and fun concept to which very little attention is given.

The things you will need:

2 wires
1 volt meter
1 speaker (the bigger the better)

Step 1: Wiring the Speakers

Picture of Wiring the Speakers

The whole process it quite simple. The first step is to attach wires to your speaker. Your speaker may already have wires attached and if that is the case go right onto the next step.

Step 2: Hooking Up the Speaker

Picture of Hooking Up the Speaker

The next thing to do is to connect the your positive and negative wires on the speaker to the volt meter contacts and switch it on.

Your done!

Step 3: More

To increase its output you can place the speaker up against a speaker playing some music or if you happened to own a jet, you could strap it onto the engine and make some serious electricity!


dumaca (author)2017-09-26

I am a student, I live in a shared room and I recently bought a 3D printer. I have not been able to print more than a whistle (and that was the test print) because the noise tears down the peace. Soon I will build an enclosure which will keep most of the noise inside. And to further reduce the noise I will realize your project (because noise that is been transformed to electricity is less noise that will bother me and my roommate) but not with a speaker nor a microphone, as you tried and as the comments suggest, but with a piezoelectric sensor; and that is my suggestion to you. Thanks.

gmartin888 (author)2014-08-30

mmmm, it makes me think, how about collecting electricity from silence...meaning from sound waves that we can not hear...

helex (author)gmartin8882017-03-12

Mind blown!

Sagartoday (author)2017-02-21

Use microphone instead of speaker. Microphone is a transducer which converts sound in to electrical signals. I hope it will give better results. All the best!!

ShreejaD (author)2015-03-31

Well, i did it, and it produced around 4V , from a step up transformer that i fixed with the speaker wires. But the input was my voice rather putting up the speaker and also i attached a plastic funnel to it. Help me with modification so that i can harvest surrounding sound.

GokulS20 (author)ShreejaD2017-01-29

Hey ! I like what you did. I would like to know if you made any further progress.

MarcoL21 (author)ShreejaD2015-10-19

Hey do you think its possible to use a guitar as the input? the guitar is connected to an amp, then while playing, the sound from the amp goes to the generator-speaker, which in turn produces electricity to power up the amp. But before you turn it on you will need a jump start, like connecting a mic to the generator speaker to start the cycle maybe? I call it "The Portable Musician".

1_64phiGUY (author)ShreejaD2015-09-28

Ok. 1st. Chicks into electronics are cool ;). Old post. Maybe ur still tinkering... But I was thinking about the big pyramid in Giza (over 900 in Egypt alone. Every country has many many pyramids. So, since ENERGY is most important. Imho the "power plant" theory TOTALY MAKES SENSE. BUT NOT AC DANGEROUS HOT EVIL ELECTRICITY. DC TESLA STYLE. THAT HELPS HEAL THE BODY. BUT THIS IS ALL HIDDEN FROM MAINSTREAM.) MY POINT IS:::) IN THE GRAND GALLERY ARE NOTCHES, AS IF SOMETHING WAS THERE. LIKE A ROW OF REVERBERATEORS (CHRIS DUNNEL JUST CURIOUS. .. TY

MainaakC (author)2016-07-11


kellymartin0 (author)2016-05-03

This thought crossed my mind at a rock concert. Some serious sound vibrations are created at concerts, you feel it in your body. It would be awesome to figure out a way to recycle some of that energy into powering the concerts.

mansidak (author)kellymartin02016-06-07

Howdy kellymartin.
I also thpught the same and I created a prototype that actualy converts sound energy to electriv anergy and is far way formal than this one. I also got inspiration from indian weddings where a huge amount of music is produced so I thought to convert it to usable electricity. And I suceeded in it. Also I was able to light an LED with it! U can check it out by searching 'soundolectro' on you tube. :) Also mine one is efficient and more effective

Well, it obviously won't power the whole concert, but the lighting elements or the lights at a concert venue could use that power.

mchau2 (author)2016-04-14

hm... what about storage? i love the idea!

AshS15 (author)2016-02-25

great post - i was thinking "ear drums" :) , ear drums vibrate with sound and very sensitive, if you had lots of little "eardrums" by a road,l server farm, football stadium, train tracks etc with "ears" to funnel the sound in and linked them up in parallel...thought about it the other day then just came across this site - wishing you all the best in your projects!

surendrae (author)2016-01-19

sound is producing from a cinema theatre , near traffic signals, railway stations ,airdiomes, even in our hoouse sufficient amount of sound is coming through televisons, mixer, while we are talking sound is also generated , etc in our daily life by using these all pleasee give reply for my comment

why cant we use that sound to produce electricity

AlfredoB9 (author)2016-01-19

i know right i'm only 13 but it is just so intresting

techytrap (author)2015-03-03 (author)2014-12-11

smaller the wire on the voice coll better power look to fine tune the mic/ speaker to the earths tone because the earth rings like a bell.if u was able to do some things with the mics or speakers to get better results. if u could stretch the wire small as a atom this would be a free source of power,everlasting.... try smaller the wire on voice coil and super size the drum and make it hard like diamonds i believe this has already been done and cover up by the big corp.. dont try and get paid for the idea just share every ware. and higher from the ground will reflect alot from air o zone and other sound waves and make it go in to the device. also telsa,s vale will work with sound too not just air and water......... this is the answer ..........

arjunmenon (author)2014-05-15

I dont understand. How by connecting the speaker wire to a multimeter set in volts, will show a voltage?

rsingh79 (author)2014-03-30

can you light up a 1.5 volt bulb with this/how loud it needs to be to light up a 1.5 volt bulb

Applebohn (author)rsingh792014-04-05

You certainly wouldn't be able to do so the particular setup in this Instructable... but that hardly means it's impossible! I'd recommend trying to light an LED (as they have a very low power draw) and testing out a number of differently sized speakers for generating electricity. My intuition is that a large generator-speaker would be ideal, as it would have a corespondingly larger stroke (the amount the surface of the speaker rises and falls when making sound). If you give it a go, be sure to post your findings!

AlexxSolace (author)2012-12-19

I'm very interested in making sound energy sufficient enough to produce great amounts of energy. I was wondering is there a way to amplify the power produced from sound? If not do you think something like that could be built?

DoctorDv (author)2012-10-15


My science fair involves an idea similar to this. I am going to see how much electricity is produced by the speaker when "x" amount of decibels are provided. I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to which type of speaker I should use and if it should be big or small. Thanks for your help!


tatay66 (author)2011-09-10

Unlike one commentary this is a sound idea for the most part. Anybody who has a shake flashlight and a little electronics background knows you can reverse engineer most things. Try using a large paper plate as your sound collector. Also if anyone here has seen the exalted belt generator for 3rd world country use you should recognize the same electrical as the speaker here. So yes this would work in some functions if you rethink your uses. PS you can find that Ribbon generator on you tube. (be sure to observe this guy uses two coils from speakers to make this work)

meghatoks (author)2010-12-08

speakers emit sound ..... how do we get to gather it ???

Applebohn (author)meghatoks2010-12-08

Yes, speakers do emit sound but as is the case with all electromagnetic devises not only can they consume energy, i.e music blaring out a speaker or a motor spinning, but if done in reverse they generate power and speakers are no exception. This is the basic principle behind wind turbines and it too can--in theory--be applied in speakers to harness energy (although it is not nearly as effective). Read the instructable!

MaXoR (author)Applebohn2011-03-03

Doesn't sound travel better through water? What if water was replacing the air in this idea? Air is just a liquid when it comes to physics......

starplayer (author)MaXoR2011-08-11

Air is not a liquid mate, it's a fluid. Air and water are both fluids, but they aren't both liquids.

MaXoR (author)starplayer2011-08-11

You're right, I used the wrong word. Thank you for being ever so vigilant sir.

gmabe1983 (author)2011-07-30

also this idea was also used by Tesla to prove a point

Bando_Red (author)2010-08-26

How well do you think gunfire would work with this?

Applebohn (author)Bando_Red2010-08-28

Great thought, it never even occurred to me!!! With gun shots being so loud, all you'd have to do is set this device up at a large firing range and you'd be in business!!!!!! Yet sadly, as for tapping into all that energy wasted by firearms, it could be more difficult to do so than with say, an excited crowd at a stadium. Due to the fact that gunfire is typically is in short loud bursts, you would be left with incredible short, sporadic bursts in voltage. But hey, its still sounds perfectly doable. For starters you could add an inductor to your circuit in order to help create a more consistent voltage output and then all that's left to do is strap it to a machine gun and pull the trigger!!! :D

I think what you meant to say is a capacitor, not an inductor. Since you have an oscillating signal, an inductor would create high impedance until you had current flowing in one direction for a long period of time. A capacitor, on the other hand, would gain impedance as it collects charge and release that accumulated energy when the voltage drops.

snotty (author)Great Wight Ninja2011-07-12

A moving voice coil creates alternating current. Capacitors filter out AC electricity. You'd have to run the 'wild AC' from the coil through a rectifier before a capacitor would even out the current to cleaner DC.

Great Wight Ninja (author)snotty2011-07-22

Good point. I forgot about rectifying when I responded to this last year.

whoops, your quite right!

thereuters1986 (author)Applebohn2011-04-28

How about placing this in the engine compartment of a vehicle? Or on a larger scale, places of industry/vehicles that "generate" noise.

4sc4n10 (author)2011-05-01

Sometimes you have large signs printed on plastic fabric, mounted on sandows. Just add a voice coil and you've got a huge transducer !

morgangalpin (author)2010-11-01

Would using a microphone produce more energy than a speaker? Are they not designed to be sensitive to collecting sound? You might be able to collect a wider range of sounds. Maybe a microphone is just a speaker in reverse much like you've done here.

Here's a random link I googled:

I think the cone/funnel idea is an excellent one for increasing the sound collected by a single speaker. I would definitely expect it to increase the power output.

I'm going to try this today.

Super_Nerd (author)morgangalpin2011-04-27

Well it depends on what microphone you use some types of microphones only change resistance and do not convert sound to voltage...

hifatpeople (author)morgangalpin2010-12-04

microphones and speakers are built the same, the only real difference is that speakers are made of thick material and microphones are made of very thin material.

Speakers are thick so they can produce louder sound.
Microphones are thin so they can be vibrated easily (more sensitive to sound)

Applebohn (author)morgangalpin2010-11-03

That's a very interesting idea! I bet you're right, it would make perfect sense that a mic would generate more electricity than a speaker!

MaXoR (author)2011-03-03

LMAO.... you guys aren't stepping back to look at this whole theory..... all of you who think this has potential, will cry once they realize that even the most efficient set up like this, would be very watefull, and inefficient.

Don't get me wrong, I love this idea.... there is just a reason it's not being used today.......

omgitzstegman (author)2010-07-08

Cool idea, did you think about using a very large "speaker cone" attached to your speaker coil?

Applebohn (author)omgitzstegman2010-07-09

Na, hadn't thought of it, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. Focus the sound on the speaker... good idea!

omgitzstegman (author)Applebohn2010-07-15

I don't really mean "focus" the sound but more like a large rigid surface that you could even attach to the regular speaker cone. It would act like a larger piston to move the coil. BTW I'm not sure how you could rectify that AC into some useful DC for your LEDs. Good luck!

MaXoR (author)omgitzstegman2011-03-03

use a bridge rectifier, and run it through a smoother circuit. I run LED's off generated AC, converted to DC..... good as gravy!

mortso (author)omgitzstegman2010-08-06

I wonder about using a "bank" of speakers... several in series or parallel to capture the entire range of sound... several octaves in both directions from human hearing... placed into a busy "city" environment... I'll bet you could generate 24 volts and up to a couple of amps. Worth a try? How about a long "wire" mic next to busy trains and freeways? Or what about capturing the very rumble of the earth in ultra low freq piezos? the possibilities are endless. Mankind soon will be groping for such salvation technologies. I'll bet my 57 years on it.

MaXoR (author)mortso2011-03-03

sorry for another one.... Mankind will ALWAYS have to take the cost of harnessing such power, against the gains you receive. How much will they have to spend, to gain how much energy?! I like others on here would like to see a scaled up model put to actual tests. I doubt this theory would be anywhere near to an "answer" for our energy crisis.

MaXoR (author)mortso2011-03-03

I have a question.... where did you get your voltage math from? Just pulling numbers out of the....air?

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