50 Cent Coin Battery




In this instructable I will be showing you how to make a battery that can be made with common items found in your house. This is a very useful tool and can be used in everyday life for jobs as simple as lighting LEDs to charging your Ipod( if you "do the math"), and is easy to make and use.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

this is a list of the materials and tools you will need.


Pre- 1982 pennies

zinc(galvanized) washers( the same no. of washers as pennies)

vinegar( the type doesn't matter too much, but will affect the amount of voltage you get out of the battery)

cardboard( any porous material, such as paper, will work)


electrical tape



open container


spoon or stirring rod

Step 2: Mixing the Vinegar

Pour a small amount of vinegar into a container. Cut three cardboard pieces, roughly the same shape and size as the pennies you will be using. Soak them in vinegar, remembering to stir the mixture once in a while. after five minutes, remove the cardboard dots.

Step 3: Making a Cell

layer the following parts as shown: penny on the bottom, wet cardboard in the middle, and zinc washer on the top. repeat this pattern as many times as you like, depending on the voltage you want.

At this point, the battery is finished, but there are a few more steps in order to make sure that it can be used properly.

wrap the entire cell in electrical tape in order to keep it from dying out, but leave part of each end uncovered for wires. You should have a penny at one end and a zinc washer at another end. These two ends are positive and negative, respectively. hold wires to each exposed end, and tape the assembly closed.

Step 4: Final Tips

You now have a fully functioning coin battery, but before you use it, it helps to measure the voltage of the battery to prevent any future mistakes.

When measured, one coin battery generates just over half of a volt. That means that for every penny used, you can get half a volt of free energy.

These batteries are not made to last, as the vinegar inside will eventually evaporate and leave the cell dead. When that happens, simply replace or re-soak the cardboard, or take back your money.

Please favorite this instructable and leave a comment if you have a way to make this more AWESOME. Check out my other instructables and use that new-found energy in your hand.



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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Can you not use pre-1982 then post 1982 pennies since the pre are 95% copper and post are 97.5% zinc?

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    I like your instructible so please forgive my inquiries. You say post 1982 pennies.. to be clear, you are saying any pennies made between 1982 and now? Or were you meaning "pre" 1982 as in any pennies made between 1982 and whenever they started producing pennies? I would assume the older ones would work better since they have changed the composition of the penny though I thought that it has happened a few times by now. Do both era's work but one or the other works better? I suppose it's something to try out. Thanks in advance for any clarity you can offer.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry for the typo, i meant pre 1982 pennies. Typically both work, but pre-1982 pennies have more copper.