Power a TV Remote with Copper Coins

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Well actually copper-coated zinc coins, to be honest. Because if pennies were solid copper, they would cost more than their value, and Dad might have to pay more tax. Other versions of this experiment call for the copper coating to be sanded off to reveal the zinc core on one side. We are going to be smarter and use aluminum foil instead. Besides, we can power a TV remote this way, not just an LED with a dim glow.

Materials You Need

  • 10 shiny new pennies – if tarnished clean with salt and vinegar
  • A few sheets of dry kitchen towel borrowed from Mum’s kitchen
  • A roll of transparent ‘sellotape’ just like ones that you use at school
  • A piece of fresh cardboard with 9 penny-size circles cut out
  • A bowl of vinegar large enough to soak the cardboard circles
  • A piece of folded kitchen foil with 9 penny-size circles cut out
  • A multi meter set to read DC current less than ten volts
  • An LED light bulb, plus two cables with crocodile clips on one end
  • Any TV remote control with the battery cells removed

Now watch this cool video that shows how to power a TV remote with these everyday materials.

You Just Repeated History

You have just reproduced the original battery. Check this link out to a description of Alessandro Volta’s voltaic pile. But you used copper and kitchen foil as the electrodes instead, and vinegar-soaked cardboard for the electrolyte.

This is really cool stuff and it looks so simple. However, it did not come easy for Alessandro Volta in 1799. He had to work this out all by himself. We hope we inspired you to invent something new yourself. You already know how to power a TV remote when the batteries are flat, or gone missing because you borrowed them for a toy you forgot somewhere


Alessandro Volta: Father of Modern Battery

How to Use a Multi Meter to Measure Electricity

Preview Image: Universal Remote

Video Share Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIHfUJu3aKo


About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard Farrell

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