Miller- Penny Battery

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Okay, so I've looked around for an idea for an instructable. And I found one that I want to do my own rendition of, the penny battery. So this idea is not completely original, I'm not claiming it as mine. I'm just using the materials and methods that I think will be the most effective. My hope is to power and LED light or a small fan if possible. But if I make the led die, then I have sufficiently surpassed my expectations. Let's get started.

Step 1: Materials


These are all the things you will need. I will include my list as well as some substitutes that I've seen.

5-7 Pennies
Paper towels (I used shop towels, but I've seen everything from cardboard to cloth)
Lemon juice (salt or vinegar works too)
Sand paper
Tape-recommended
LED

Step 2: Sand Pennies


Take the sand paper and sand one side of each penny down til the copper is off that side and the zinc core is showing. Best method is to use your finger to move the penny on the sandpaper as far as I know. (Technically defacing currency is a federal offense or something like that, but I'm sure you won't get arrested over 6 cents. Besides, it's recycling so shut up.)

Step 3: Make Lemon Juice Solution

So, from what I can tell others have used salt water, vinegar water, well I'm gunna use lemon water. Lemons are more acidic than vinegar so I'm hoping it'll work better. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But I will use 3/4 lemon juice, and maybe put some salt in for good measure.

Step 4: Soak Paper Towels


Cut your paper towels or whatever you use into pieces about the size of a penny, you don't want the pieces to touch. I'd just soak them for about 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: Stack Your Battery

Start with a battery zinc side up, then put a piece of paper towel, then another penny same way as the first. It should alternate like this until you use all the pennys you want. 6 is the average I've seen, but I'm gunna try 7 just to see if I can maximize power. Or kill the LED for extra fun. The picture is showing how it works as a battery.

Step 6: Tape and Finish.

You did it!! You have made your own penny battery. And it hardly cost you a dime (BAD JOKE) Just tape it up if you wish to keep it together. You can also add an LED to make a flashlight,  use a multimeter to see how much voltage you get, or see if you can power a mini fan in the summer. Also, if you want to power something bigger or just see if you can make it better, try adding more pennies, it should create more voltage if it's an efficient design.

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    16 Discussions

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    Alex Mercer

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Aaah...... I know.... There is electricity because... the lemon contains acid. HE HE HE.... I will use acid....

    2 replies
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    tp.pa.12

    1 year ago

    Sorry to write this here, but there wasn't any place to comment on your only 1 battery hack. You need to change your picture of the battery holder, it is a series run, so doing the hack on a item that needs 3 volts won't work, you need to show a parallel holder where as the two batteries voltage is still 1.5 volt, so one battery would just not last as long.

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    khaw

    7 years ago on Step 2

    The "defacing currency" statute is always misconstrued. It's only a crime if your intent is to commit a fraud (i.e. tear the corner off four $100 bills, tape them onto a $1 bill, turn the whole stack into the bank for $500). See http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1405/is-it-legal-to-put-a-hole-in-a-quarter-and-sell-it for details.

    1 reply
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    FisherD1khaw

    Reply 2 years ago

    I want to introduce you to a fact that is not widely known. Until recently the government has made money off us when we have destroyed currency.

    The exception to is being the turning it in for scrap. They want the benefit of that.

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    mr_man

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Make sure the penny is dated 1983 or newer so you can be sure it has a zinc core.

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    saragorton

    7 years ago on Step 2

    i have tried your method but as i know it was a complete failure so i just used my dremel multie task tool

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    Greasetattoo

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable...
    Surprised they didn't make yours Featured! Hmmm

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    ttarler

    7 years ago on Step 3

    What the lemon solution is in chemistry is a salt bridge. All that matters here is that is an ionic solution. Since lemon acid is a weak acid it will not act as well as salt water, since there are less ions in the solution..

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    DrVanDoom

    7 years ago on Step 2

    I haven't seen this before so thanks! I'm guessing this will not work with a UK penny? They are made from copper plated steel.

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    MadScott

    7 years ago on Step 2

    NP. You're allowed to "deface" coins to make jewelry (or batteries) so long as you don't use automated equipment to do it.