Introduction: Water Powered Calculator (Original)

Picture of Water Powered Calculator (Original)

This Instructable will show you how to make a very simple water powered calculator.
I built this because there was a time that we forget to buy a supply of AAA, AA, C, D and LR44
battery so I built this. It solve my problems so it might do the same for you too. Check out for more projects by: angelo10.

This is the original version by: angelo10

Please give the credits to me not for your selves. I saw people getting my pictures and telling  others that they made it. Please don't get all the credits!

Proud to be Filipino (pinoy) like Manny Pacquiao.

Step 1: Meterials You Will Need

Picture of Meterials You Will Need

You will need:
- A Calculator
- Carbon Rod/ Copper Rod
- A 1x1 Inch Aluminum Foil
- A Small Cylindrical Container
- Two 3 Inch Wire
- Multi Purpose Pliers
- Glue Gun

Step 2: Making Some Holes

Picture of Making Some Holes

Use a drill or a pointy object to make some holes located on the bottom and lower side.

Step 3: Adding the Carbon Rod (Positive)

Picture of Adding the Carbon Rod (Positive)

Glue the carbon rod  in place as the positive rod. The carbon rod is from a used AA battery.
Warning: Never open alkaline "it is messy".

Step 4: Adding the Foil (Negative)

Picture of Adding the Foil (Negative)

Glue the foil in place as the negative plate.

Step 5: Connect the Water 's Wires

Picture of Connect the Water 's Wires

Connect the wire of the water battery, and glue it so it won't leak. Positive wire connected to carbon rod while negative is connected to the foil / zinc.

Step 6: Disassembling the Calculator

Picture of Disassembling the Calculator

Disassemble the calculator with a screwdriver.

Step 7: Connect the Water Battery to the Calculator

Picture of Connect the Water Battery to the Calculator

Connect the water battery to the calculator. The carbon rod is positive while the aluminum is negative. Be sure to disconnect the solar panel.

Step 8: Assemble It Again

Picture of Assemble It Again

Put it back together again.

Step 9: Fill the Water Battery

Picture of Fill the Water Battery

Liquid Rating:
Water - Good
Water With Salt - Better
Vinegar - Best

Step 10: You Are Done

Picture of You Are Done

You are done. You just need to refill it a again after it run-out of power. Adding more water batteries would be better.


thecrazymagnetman (author)2012-08-03


shalo (author)2011-12-06

aside from batteries where can you find those cooper rods? pls help im so desperate :( and im from the philippines as well so if you a pls tell me:)

ASCAS (author)shalo2012-02-13

It's hard to find one, probably in construction hardwares, they usually call it copper tubing. I made another design of the water battery by only using copper wire and nails. My new version is more efficient, more powerful and uses mor common materials.

austinbro217 (author)2012-02-06

Nice job man! I am just starting to explore electronics at 15 years old, and you are an inspiration for me to keep with it!

ASCAS (author)austinbro2172012-02-06

Thanks! But what ever you do, never give up, specially when you fail. Use your failures as your guide and try and try again, later on you will succeed.

dagob (author)2011-12-29

What an interesting instructable! Thanks for sharing!
I think you should explaing why it works (scientifically)

Pranjal Joshi (author)2011-12-24

this is marvelous project...!!
bt u cn do better with carbon n zinc rod using general acids.. :) wel done

aschmois (author)2011-05-11

Great tutorial, my first try I had water leaking from everywhere and only a mere .3-.5 volts. Vinegar is NOT the best solution. I have tried and what seems to work best is Lemon Juice and Salt. (water and salt is still better than vinegar). The picture has two batteries in series which add up to a good 1.5 volts. However, for some reason I cannot get a light to turn on. My guess is that voltage reading stabilizes with a circuit, but the bulb cannot stabilize. Might also be the amperage not being high enough.

ASCAS (author)aschmois2011-06-11

Nice job. I recommend you to clean each carbon rod carefully, there's a lot of manganese sticked on it. Second both metals should not touch. Third if none of this work make 2 more of this in parallel

ASCAS (author)aschmois2011-05-28

Yeah (:D) try adding a joule thief powering a LED bulb. It should work.

jmcdermott (author)2011-04-30

silly matrix, inside duh

chaitanyak (author)2010-07-12

most innovative - yet simple thing i found today! Good job!

Dipankar (author)2010-07-10

How long does the battery work? Good Idea. Keep it up.

mathman47 (author)Dipankar2010-07-11

I think we have a good kid here. Now if he'll take after you.

Dipankar (author)mathman472010-07-12

Yeh! He's a bright kid. Hope he does well in life.

artworker (author)2010-07-11

Innovative. Nicely done! It's sad that teachers don't encourage these projects in school! Every student should know these tricks. 5*

saeidhaghighipour1376 (author)2017-08-25

Can we improve this to generatepower for other devices?for example a TV or a laptop.

Anirudh Ralhan (author)2017-01-27

Absolutely Amazing. You Rock. Made a great use of reverse electrolysis. A big Salute to you.

instructablenerd (author)2017-01-07

Do you glue the aluminum foil on the outside of the container??? Whenever I test it, the hole in front of the aluminum foil leaks water.

Pls help me!!!!!!!

denifnt (author)2016-06-16

Hey other applications aside from water powered calculator? Thaanks

angiecblg (author)2016-02-22

How did you do step 4 and step 5? I don't get it. I would like to do that also on my investigatory project. Please reply asap.. ?

angiecblg (author)2016-02-22

How did you do step 4 and step 5? I don't get it. Please explain clearer. I would like to do that on my investigatiry project. Thank you! ☺️

ista rita (author)2014-09-18

Its amazing!
anyway, can I use copper nail instead of copper rod?

ToXiCATOM (author)ista rita2015-06-22

Yeah. It's copper anyway.

mohd hashir (author)2015-06-04


SanjayK1 (author)2014-08-09

can you say where did you get the carbon rod? I made it with a graphite(pencil lead)but it doesn't work

samshim99 (author)SanjayK12015-04-20

I think you can get some out of c or d cell batteries.

ista rita (author)2014-09-18

Its amazing!
anyway, can I use copper nail instead of copper rod?

Georgewister (author)2014-06-15

I luv it!

You gave me an excellent idea to be used at the science fair project.

But will you allow me to use it?

mlee wei (author)2014-05-22

wow lol so nice but how many volts is dat

Himers (author)2014-03-20

How long does the battery last and how many volts does it generate?

ASCAS (author)Himers2014-03-21

2 weeks, as long as you keep it wet.

franceserikey (author)2014-03-07

Can i use insulated copper wire instead of bare copper wire?

franceserikey (author)2014-03-01

Can i use battery calculator instead of solar powered?

ASCAS (author)franceserikey2014-03-01

Yup! there's no difference I suppose.

franceserikey (author)2014-03-01

Can you pls send me a video on how to do the water powered calculator

ASCAS (author)franceserikey2014-03-01

Just replace the LEDs with a calculator :)

lteodoro (author)2014-02-09

What kind of wire is used for the Water Powered Calculator?

ASCAS (author)lteodoro2014-02-09

Bare Copper Wire :)

ABC2XYZ (author)2014-01-26

How many volts does it produces?Is it enough to light up LED.

ASCAS (author)ABC2XYZ2014-01-30

My new version produces 0.6v - 0.9v and yeah it produces enough energy to power an LED, with the help of an inverter circuit of course (joule thief). In fact I was able to make a flashlight out of it.

Click Me: Water Powered Flashlight

xMontyPythonx (author)2014-01-28

Okay will someone please tell me why it looks like there is cotton in there, and tell me when i put it in there, since i believe there is some in there when do i put it in, and do i need to replace it every time i need to recharge it, because when i made mine i did not use cotton i only followed the instructions and it is not working for me. Neither the aluminium foil or the carbon rod are touching each other, the negative wire is touching the salt water. Will someone please tell me what i did wrong. Also i am going to be charging a home made capacitor, but ,beside the point, it is not having any output. Please help

ASCAS (author)xMontyPythonx2014-01-30

The tissue paper became mushy because of its long exposure to water. A lot of people got this to work. Have you tried checking your battery's polarities? Try to connect a volt meter, check if the battery has an output.

xMontyPythonx (author)2014-01-29

i did not use cotton do i need to?

ASCAS (author)xMontyPythonx2014-01-30

No, I used tissue paper but you can use any type of porous material.

xMontyPythonx (author)2014-01-29

Why don't you answer my q's

ASCAS (author)xMontyPythonx2014-01-30

Sorry, it's exam week. I forgot to check my ible inbox for such a long time. After all, my studies are my priority :D

yimn (author)2013-12-01

Under what topic is this project related to? Thank you

ASCAS (author)yimn2013-12-02

Chemistry under Redox reaction :D

yimn (author)ASCAS2013-12-02

Thank you sir! Uhm Do you have any idea on how i can relate this project to the topic electricity in physics??

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi I'm Angelo! I am a 18 y/o college sophomore taking my majors in BS-ECE at the DLSU. I use my course as ... More »
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