Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Potato Clock Revisited.

A few months back I tried my luck at a potato powered LED but I never got the LED to light up.  Tonight with the help of another "science toy" we built a potato powered clock.   The product is from the same company that I built the Dynamo Torch from.  Its n from the company ToySmith, and its their 4M Green Science projects.   I have found the products locally, but I think I need to start getting them on Amazon because they are a lot cheaper.

Right out of the box it does not look like thier is to much to this project and I was worried that we would be finished within 10 minutes.    The box contains a LCD clock with wires, 2 zinc sticks, 2 copper sticks, a jumper wire, some tape, and directions.

You have to provide the potato for the project which I picked up this morning when grabbing some coffee.  I also picked up 2 lemons, and 2 apples to give them a try (they are shown on the back of the box).

I don't remember ever doing this when I was a child but it seemed easy enough in my head and I figured it would be some entertainment for my daughters in showing them that fruits can provide power for a clock.  Now to make the understand what electricity/power really is.

After opening the contents of the box this is what it contained:

Part one of the project (Potato) my daughter is holding one of the potatoes and as you can see the LCD clock is powered up.  Its pretty simple you have a copper stick in one potato and a zinc stick in the other which are connected with wire.  Then you have a copper and zinc sticks connected to the wires of the LCD.  You put the opposite stick in each potato, so the potato with the zinc would get the copper stick from the LCD and the copper potato would get the zinc stick from the LCD.  There you have it a potato powered LCD.

Next we moved onto lemons, with this one both daughters were helping out in the building and connecting.  Once again its powered up.

The third one was the Apple.  I only used one apple in this experiment.

As you can see we started to look for anything available in the kitchen.  We tried soda, vinegar, ketchup, apple juice, cranberry cider, banana, water, salt water, and a carrot to name a few of the items.  I for one did not know that you can make a battery out of all of these items.  I was waiting to see one not work but could not find one.  We continued doing this for about an hour so I think this project was well worth it and it exceeded my initial impressions on how long it would last.  Overall a great experience for my daughters and me.  The last photo is of the potato clock that we setup before bed to see how long it lasts, it has reset once, because the wire was loose when I moved it but it lasted for 5 hours.  I will check on the morning how its doing.