Introduction: Miller- Penny Battery

Okay, so I've looked around for an idea for an instructable. And I found one that I want to do my own rendition of, the penny battery. So this idea is not completely original, I'm not claiming it as mine. I'm just using the materials and methods that I think will be the most effective. My hope is to power and LED light or a small fan if possible. But if I make the led die, then I have sufficiently surpassed my expectations. Let's get started.

Step 1: Materials

These are all the things you will need. I will include my list as well as some substitutes that I've seen.

5-7 Pennies
Paper towels (I used shop towels, but I've seen everything from cardboard to cloth)
Lemon juice (salt or vinegar works too)
Sand paper

Step 2: Sand Pennies

Take the sand paper and sand one side of each penny down til the copper is off that side and the zinc core is showing. Best method is to use your finger to move the penny on the sandpaper as far as I know. (Technically defacing currency is a federal offense or something like that, but I'm sure you won't get arrested over 6 cents. Besides, it's recycling so shut up.)

Step 3: Make Lemon Juice Solution

So, from what I can tell others have used salt water, vinegar water, well I'm gunna use lemon water. Lemons are more acidic than vinegar so I'm hoping it'll work better. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But I will use 3/4 lemon juice, and maybe put some salt in for good measure.

Step 4: Soak Paper Towels

Cut your paper towels or whatever you use into pieces about the size of a penny, you don't want the pieces to touch. I'd just soak them for about 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: Stack Your Battery

Start with a battery zinc side up, then put a piece of paper towel, then another penny same way as the first. It should alternate like this until you use all the pennys you want. 6 is the average I've seen, but I'm gunna try 7 just to see if I can maximize power. Or kill the LED for extra fun. The picture is showing how it works as a battery.

Step 6: Tape and Finish.

You did it!! You have made your own penny battery. And it hardly cost you a dime (BAD JOKE) Just tape it up if you wish to keep it together. You can also add an LED to make a flashlight,  use a multimeter to see how much voltage you get, or see if you can power a mini fan in the summer. Also, if you want to power something bigger or just see if you can make it better, try adding more pennies, it should create more voltage if it's an efficient design.


author made it! (author)2017-02-05

Sorry to write this here, but there wasn't any place to comment on your only 1 battery hack. You need to change your picture of the battery holder, it is a series run, so doing the hack on a item that needs 3 volts won't work, you need to show a parallel holder where as the two batteries voltage is still 1.5 volt, so one battery would just not last as long.

khaw made it! (author)2011-04-05

The "defacing currency" statute is always misconstrued. It's only a crime if your intent is to commit a fraud (i.e. tear the corner off four $100 bills, tape them onto a $1 bill, turn the whole stack into the bank for $500). See for details.

FisherD1 made it! (author)FisherD12016-02-02

I want to introduce you to a fact that is not widely known. Until recently the government has made money off us when we have destroyed currency.

The exception to is being the turning it in for scrap. They want the benefit of that.

DestriyerOfTheDeadII made it! (author)2014-11-13

Heh. Kay Dudes your freakin me out here

PrzemysławM made it! (author)2014-10-20


mb inventor made it! (author)2012-09-03

how long will this run for?

Alex Mercer made it! (author)2012-04-17

Aaah...... I know.... There is electricity because... the lemon contains acid. HE HE HE.... I will use acid....

Alex Mercer made it! (author)Alex Mercer2012-04-17

and the pennies divide + and -

mr_man made it! (author)2011-06-25

Make sure the penny is dated 1983 or newer so you can be sure it has a zinc core.

Derek Vigil made it! (author)2011-06-06

How powerful is the 6 cents?

saragorton made it! (author)2011-06-01

i have tried your method but as i know it was a complete failure so i just used my dremel multie task tool

Greasetattoo made it! (author)2011-04-05

Great instructable...
Surprised they didn't make yours Featured! Hmmm

ttarler made it! (author)2011-04-03

What the lemon solution is in chemistry is a salt bridge. All that matters here is that is an ionic solution. Since lemon acid is a weak acid it will not act as well as salt water, since there are less ions in the solution..

DrVanDoom made it! (author)2011-04-03

I haven't seen this before so thanks! I'm guessing this will not work with a UK penny? They are made from copper plated steel.

MadScott made it! (author)2011-04-02

NP. You're allowed to "deface" coins to make jewelry (or batteries) so long as you don't use automated equipment to do it.

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