Introduction: Beer Can Battery

Let's make Elvis dance on electrickery created from a Beer can battery.

This is a step up from the potato battery. It uses vinegar as the electrolyte and larger copper and aluminum surfaces. These should result in more current and maybe enough to get a bit of movement happening with Elvis shaking his hips.


2 empty beer cans (375 mills)
2 thinner cans (250 mills)
Copper sheet (obtained from an arts supply store)
Absorbant material (kitchen cloth)
3 alligator leeds

Step 1: Prepare Outer Cans

* Cut the tops off 2 empty beer cans.
* Trim with scissors.

Step 2: Prepare Inner Cans

* Remove the covering from two thinner, 250 mills drink cans. This can be done using a scourer, the black ones are more agressive than the green ones. The scourer was obtained from a hardware store. The aluminum needs to be exposed so electrons can flow from it to the copper plate.
* Wrap the prepared can in a paper kitchen towel and then an absorbant cloth. I rinsed the cloth in water before wrapping it around the can.

Step 3: Insert Cans

* Round the corners on a sheet of copper and then wrap around the cloth and can (sharp corners could puncher the outer can). Then wrap another kitchen towel. The copper sheet was obtained from an art supply store and cut to cover the can.
* Insert the wrapped up can into the outer beer can. The inside of the outer can has a thin layer of plastic on it. This acts as an insulator.
* Pour in some vinegar between the 2 cans.
* If you find the inner can floats, weigh it down by filling it with water.

Step 4: Connect the Cables

* Connect 3 alligator leeds to the cans.
* Connect a leed between pair of cans - from copper sheet from one pair, to the aluminum tab on the other pair.
* Connect another leed to the non-connected copper. Connect the final leed to the aluminum on the other can. Look at the photos, you will be able to work it out.
* If you happen to have a multimeter, check the output voltage and current. I was getting 0.95 volts and about 4 milliamps.After about 24 hours this has reduced to .67 volts and 3.6 milliamps the voltage was no longer enough to make Elvis dance. Then half a teaspoon of Baking Soda was added to each can - volts and amps didn't change much, but when half teaspoon of salt was then added, volts increased to .73 and milliamps increased to 15. Quiet an increase. Elvis began to dance again.

Step 5: Elvis

Elvis was being powered by a small solar panel...He would only dance in strong direct sunlight. The plan is to see if he can move using power from the beer can battery.

* Connect a couple of leeds to the solar panel using a soldiering iron.
* Cover the solar panel, Elvis will soon getting power only from the beer can battary.

Step 6: Elvis Live

* Connect the Leeds from the battery to Elvis.
* Marvel as Elvis shakes his hips.
* He has been dancing away on beer can power for more than 12 hours now and shows no signs of slowing down.

Step 7: More Power

After making Elvis dance, more beer can battery cells were added in series to see what else could be powered.

* Red laser - took 8 beer cans though a 6 pack made it shine.

* Red LED took a 4 pack.

Each cell was generating about .5 volts and 5 Milliamps. At the beginning 20 Milliamps was briefly recorded.

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