Intro: Simple Circuits With Tinfoil, an LED, Tape and Batteries
As a teacher, I wanted to allow students to explore circuits similar to chibitronics and other sticker tape/led/coin battery systems. The main drawback is the expense of those kits. I've also found the tape is extremely sticky and once it gets put down it is almost impossible to move it. In the tutorial here I'll show you how to use scotch tape, aluminum foil, standard AA batteries and an inexpensive LED light used in many electronics kits.
Step 1: Begin Your Circuit!
In the picture above I've taped down the ends of two strips of aluminum. It's important to note that any place you have scotch tape will not conduct electricity. I've left the end by the batteries untaped, as you'll be taping that to the top of the batteries.
Step 2: Tape the Aluminum to the Battery
I've added an additional strip of aluminum to the circuit to make the connection from the positive aluminum strips to the negative side of the battery easier through the LED. Tape the longer wire from the LED to the aluminum strip.
Step 3: Connect the Aluminum Foil to the Positive Terminal
I've taped the aluminum foil to the positive end of the battery. Now all of the aluminum that is connected is "positive". Once you touch the short end of the LED wire (the negative) to the negative terminal on the battery the circuit should be complete and the light will come on.
Step 4: Complete the Circuit
Press the negative end of the battery down on the negative side of the LED (the short side) and the LED should come on. If it did not come on, double check to make sure you don't have the LED attached to the aluminum where it is covered by scotch tape. There are endless possibilities students could create with these simple (and cheap) materials. It's not as clean as some of the circuit kits but it's still functional and it is very cheap!
Step 5: Challenge!
Try to create a spinner with sections that turn the light on when the spinner touches them to complete the circuit similar to the picture above. It took me a while to get it to work consistently but it is possible!