Picture of Shake-A-Can Generator
Shake-A-Can Generator.

Make a simple generator that will help show how electricity is produced.

A generator works because the magnets are exciting the electrons in the coil. The magnet moving back and forth creates alternating current (AC).  That is the electrons are moving back and forth through the coils and the LED (light emitting diode).  The excited electrons passing through the LED lights the LED.

This idea for our first instructable came from Jonathan Hare at http://www.creative-science.org.uk/gensimple1.html

Check out our website at catsscience.com

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
35 mm film canister
Thin insulated copper wire*
Magnets that just fit in canister**
Scissors or wire cutters

*We used 30 guage magnet wire

**Neodymium magnets work best but we were able to get the light to turn on with ceramic magnets (much cheaper).
Fearce11 year ago

If you want the LED to stay on for longer periods of time (perhaps mins) than

I would like to suggest this YouTube link , ENJOY

Cats Science Club (author)  Fearce11 year ago

Thanks so much for the video and comment. We have turned this into a flashlight using what we learned on instructables.com and some guess work. Our problem is just what was mentioned in the video. Our capacitor would discharge to quickly and we had to shake the can often to recharge the capacitor. We were and are very happy we had it working at all but now we are getting excited about it staying on even longer. Thanks!

You're very welcome!

That video is another example of the endless fun of electronics and related hobbies.

Once again Thanks to it's Author Afrotechmods


PressS11 months ago

its asuper and simple way to lit the LED with out any other device .simple to understand and prepare.

dddddd1 year ago

If you use 2 LEDs, connected in parallel (with the long wire on one connected to the short wire on the other, and then the short wire on one connected to the long wire on the other), instead of just one LED, you'll get twice the light.

It's a little simpler than wiring a bridge rectifier, but it's the same idea: One or the other LED will light, depending on which way the current is flowing.

Cats Science Club (author)  dddddd1 year ago

Have not tried this yet but it sounds like it would be pretty easy. Thanks for the suggestion.

It looks like you're using ceramic magnets. If you put a neodymium ball magnet inside the canister, You can wave another magnet in front of this and the led will light up without touching anything. If you attach that other magnet to a bike wheel, you can make a bike light that blinks without touching anything or shaking. If you look at my bicycle wheel windmill you can combine all these things. There is a product on the market you can find by googling freelights bike generator that does this same thing.

That would be cool to do. Great idea with the round magnet. We will have to check that out!

Awesome project. Check this one out on LED'shttp://www.instructables.com/id/All-You-Need-to-Know-bout-LEDs/

Victor8o51 year ago

Cool, maybe with a bridge rectifier with low power diodes (like schottky diodes) and a small capacitor you could power the LED more efficiently.

now if u put. a diode in there with somr recharge batteries. then yr light will last longer.

they use capacitors in shake up flashlights.

Cats Science Club (author)  astral_mage1 year ago

Thanks for the comment. Would you have a wire diagram for that?


Jan_Henrik1 year ago

very cool!

Very nice.
Thanks! This is our first Instructable!