Instructables

The Tiny Lemon Battery, and other designs for zero cost electricity and led light without batteries

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Hi, you probably already know about lemon batteries or bio-batteries.
They are used normally for educational purposes and they use electrochemical reactions that generate low voltages, usually shown in the form of a led or light bulb glowing.

These batteries usually use 3-4 lemons to barely light up a led.
Good designed ones use just one lemon, but are still very limited and I never show breakthrougs or innovations in the design.

I'd like to share with you some of my designs for something different.

They use a few DROPS of lemon juice. The Smallest uses just 1 DROP, and you have to look carefully to see it with naked eye, and still you can build it in a few minutes with scrap materials.

The lightest weights half a gram - 0.5g.

They light up a 3.5V, 35mA white Led for at least 1 hour.

After 1 hours (more or less depending on climate) the lemon juice evaporates.
It is like a natural timer. If you want more light, just put other drops of lemon juice.

These cells can be re-used for many, many times before oxidizing makes it unusable.

Now I'm showing how to make in less than 10 minutes some of my Lemon battery designs, all with scrap materials you have around house and zero cost.

We will make the Smallest lemon battery first. They are REALLY small. And they work! Try by making one yourself.

After that I'll introduce you to the flower lemon battery design, in which you light up the led by watering the flower (with drops of lemon juice).

Finally, we will see other different designs for making a battery out of ordinary materials.

I hope you will enjoy them.
A little step toward being green will be you using these designs instead of buying a battery to light a led or to make an emergency flashlight ;)

You will be able to make light out of almost every material, and you shalt never be in the darkness anymore ;)

If you will like this instructable, please vote it for the Epilog Contest!

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have fun!
 
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Star3167 months ago

Hey! nice tutorial really helped me out :D but could you send me videos of how to do it so its easier to do it thanks! BTW good job!

zubair0018 months ago

I hope you won the contest my friend. These are undoubtedly the best voltaic cell batteries one could find online. I have a question for you:

Do you think you can possibly demonstrate a 5volt 0.2Amps battery (in effect a phone charger) using zinc+lemon juice + copper on a bigger scale.

As I understand, its not how much lemon that's important but the surface area of the two metals exposed to it and the distance between them (more surface area and less gap being better) and each cell giving about 0.7 to 1 volt.

So if you maybe have a big copper foil and zinc sheet/plate and chop them into manageable size sandwiching with a tissue-paper soaked with lemon juice. Connecting about 6 cells in series and the rest in parallel for maximum current generation. One more thing I would like to add is, an electrolyte is only its best at set a specific concentration. Above that it doesn't help. So maybe you don't need it to be pure lemon juice and if you mix a little bit of water to it, it wont hurt, :-)

It would be amazing if you could come up with a compact design that can
charge a phone even if slowly using just a lemon or two :-)

I don't get how you do the 1st flower, which battery design do you use? and can I just hot glue it together?
kthao11 year ago
Is it possible to make a video tutorial because im having trouble and REALLY want to make this
weeladalah3 years ago
Can i add the joule thieft to increase the lemon battery voltage?
No. Joule thief relies on low voltage / higher current, transformed in higher voltage / lower current. This lime cell won´t source currente enough to be rised in the transformer, the current output wouldn´t light a led.
weeladalah - Build it, take pics...let us know!
madaeon (author)  weeladalah3 years ago
You can try, but I think it won't work, because you get about 0.7v from each cell, but a very low current. if you need more volt just put in series more "cells".
jim_20003 years ago
How much current are you getting out of these batteries? I made one with copper wire and steel wire and saw about .1ma. I need more current
tsagert3 years ago
Nice write-up. I like reading the details of the other parts, thanks for having a video, too.

5-stars from me.
twighahn3 years ago
wats the black spot on the cpa lemon battery?
solarmatrix3 years ago
This idea works very well. I made a single cell using a large gal spring covered in tissue then wound with copper. It feeds my Joule Thief very nicely. thank you for the idea.
read through the thing again and finally made up my mind. Oh, and please respond to your comments... please?
madaeon (author)  nutsandbolts_643 years ago
Hi, sorry for not answering before, you should get fron 0.5 to 0,9 volt from each "cell", have you been able to solve your problem?
It appears that I've been using the wrong electrolyte. You see here, in my country, our lemons are small, cheap, but small, and I don't go out that much. Could dish washing liquid (instead of gel) work? Are there any other electrolytes I could use (aside from vinegar, it is very inefficient)? By the way, for your long lasting LB, you could use the palugraph battery and stick them in series then put them inside. I say this because look at its efficiency, simplicity, ease of construction, availability of materials etc. You can stack 10-20 of them for high volts. 10 PG's will be 6 and 20 PG's = 12 volts etc. According to my math here that is... although 5 PG's is good enough for 3 volts (for one LED). To solve the "Oh no it dried out!" problem (for the palugraph), you could use those little green boxes of yours to keep them contained. Haha, I was also thinking if you can pressurize it! It won't be worth it since it'll last for a few weeks anyway... or maybe.... never mind. Please do answer the questions above. 
dude, calamondins are stronger than lemons, use the smallest and greenest one u can find, the firmer the skin, the better.
roger that... did you just make a codename for a fruit?
it is really called calamondins,
SUCCESS!!!! THANK YOU!!! by the way I lengthened the zinc-plated wire to 2 cm to compensate for the copper winding-deficiency. If all goes well my pile of LED's will be lit up shortly... At least now I know what to do with my spare wire... like I said, "THANK YOU!!!"
dombeef3 years ago
Wow, nice job!
weeladalah3 years ago
Btw i really love this instructable ;)
raged5 years ago
Where'd you find the zinc wire? I can't find it anywhere.
DIY-Guy raged4 years ago
Try using a "hot dipped" galvanized nail. The "hot dip" method of galvanizing nails gives a thicker surface of zinc (compared to the "electro" galvanized nails.)
.Unknown. raged4 years ago
Those really old batteries; not 'heavy duty' or 'alkaline', but something like 'standard duty'. These are usually carbon zinc, and you can tear them apart for zinc
madaeon (author)  raged5 years ago
it is iron wire, it has a zinc coating for making it sotronger i think, and you find it in supermarkets or diy shops, even small ones like near where i live ;)
oh d@mn. I only got less than a volt with one.... In fact, I got like 0.01 of a volt. After reading through the whole thing carefully, I have deduced that I need to close those gaps. Question: Could I use vinegar?
Now I know what to use those moniegold containers for....
Unit0424 years ago
That is amazing handiwork on step 4 picture. I knew the copper and zinc plated iron and acid electorlyte trick for powering small stuff, but this....
It's quite well-done!

Are the cells rechargeable? Iimagine making a string of these in series, giving them their lemon juice, and encasing them in heat-shrink tubing (to prevent evaporation) then, I would have a custom battery pack as small as I want... wow!

...If the zinc-iron electrose is not rechargeable, maybe I could substitute a carbon rod (ie pencil 'lead'). I'd only get voltage from the copper half-reaction, but it may be electrically reversible...

Unit042 Unit0424 years ago
Whoops, I made a few typos...
"Iimagine" is supposed to be "Imagine, and "electrose " is supposed to be "electrodes."

If only I could directly edit my posts...
p4trick955 years ago
you mentioned using it as an emergency flashlight. if by chance you dont have lemon juice, could you make one that runs on saliva? i believe it is an acid and it is probably the best available liquid in an emergency. sounds disgusting, but if these will work off of one drop of lemon juice, a big gob of spit should d the trick ;)
PKM p4trick954 years ago
I would suggest soaking the tissue in lemon juice and letting it dry before assembling the battery.  That way, you just need to add water for it to start running, and yes, I think a drop of spit would do. 
hanna142204 years ago
Will someone please explain to me how this is made? im a little confused. I'M DOING THIS FOR A EXPERIMENT FOR SCHOOL.
there is no need to yell, and if you read through it carefully again, you will find out how it works.
xantov5 years ago
It works good!
Thanks u author
hackerkid5 years ago
i made a nice thing with this battery gave it to my gf with her name glowing with leds .. she lovd it showing it 2 everyone ... thnx dude
could you show us a picture? It sounds cool
hackerkid5 years ago
he he brand of battery is energizer any1 can read that :D
lol! I agree!
kdude635 years ago
Where are the directions to make it!?!?!
WioWao5 years ago
oh well i just got some magnesium at school from the teacher. How do i vote for you in the Epilog Challenge?
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