Posted by John H. on May 20, 2012 | 14 comments

DIY vinegar battery lights LED for several days

DIY vinegar battery lights LED for several days

Always wanted to make your own battery? Homebrew electricity! Maybe you already heard about salt water batteries made from sea water, but this is something you can easily do at home in a few minutes. This homemade battery is based on two different metals suspended in an acid solution.

You’ll need two different kinds of metal, for example copper and zinc and some acid liquid.
The copper is the + and the zinc is the

vinegar battery diyThe electrons travel from the through the electrolyte (acid) to the + and creates an electric current.

You’ll have to gather:

  • a few plastic bottle caps
  • a few zinc coated nails (or strips of aluminum foil)
  • some (old) copper wire
  • vinegar

The copper wire you can get from for example an old (or new) power cord. You can do this with one, or -in my case- 9 bottle caps. Fill the bottle caps with vinegar (no vinegar? Try it with lemon, orange or apple juice or whole lemons). Doesn’t have to be to the rim.

nail copper vinegar battery

If you have stripped the copper wire from the power cord, cut it in about 2 inch pieces (about 5 cm.) and tie one end to a nail.

If you have 9 caps, repeat this with 8 other nails.

When you’re done, put one end of a copper wire in one cap, and the nail which is tied to it in another cap. Then take another nail and put the nail in a new cap and its copper wire with the nail from the first one. Don’t let the metals touch each other (it won’t electrocute you if it happens, there is hardly any current to produce any sparks).

You’re now basically wiring a serial battery. Every cap with a nail and copper wire is a battery! So now if you’ve done that, your battery is reading for use. So the first cap has a nail and the last one a copper wire.

If you have a multimeter, hook it up to see how many volts you’re getting. Now, mine showed a voltage of around 4 volts.

led light vinegar batteryNot enough to run your fridge with it unfortunately, but I found a LED somewhere from an old garden light and hooked it up.

It’s still burning after 4 days!

You can try making diy batteries with all kinds of stuff, I got 0.5 volts from buttermilk and icetea. Salt water also works. If you connect a Joule Thief to it you might actually charge a battery with this one!

UPDATE: Instead of vinegar I used water! Guess what happens

You find powering a LED boring or need an acid powered gift? Then you might be interested in this lemon powered clock on Amazon for just a few bucks!

14 Responses to “DIY vinegar battery lights LED for several days”

  1. nusrat says:

    Isn’t it too expensive??? Pls rply fast..

  2. Anonymous says:

    how long will it last?

  3. Ian.K says:

    how did you connect the led to the wire

  4. Stephen N. says:

    do I need to replace the copper and nails after 4 days to make it work again?

  5. Anonymous says:

    what is the role or work of vinegar in this circuit ?????????
    I need reply now .hurry up please

  6. Gil says:

    Would cleaning vinegar be a better electrolyte than white vinegar?

    • Harmjan H. says:

      Good question! Worth trying out. If there is a difference (more volts/amps), we have to find out what the difference is between the two vinegars.

  7. TJ says:

    Is it possible to make a unit large enough to power a house during a power failure? Would several cells be a better approach?
    How would one compute its size and that of the copper and zinc rods/plates?

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