DIY Soda Can Battery


It may not be particularly useful to create some makeshift batteries out of soda and soda cans, but it’s a good introduction to electrodes and electrolytes as well as a welcomed break from lemons and potatoes. The gang at [Go-Repairs] lopped off the can’s lid and temporarily set the soda aside, then took steel wool to the interior of the can to remove the protective plastic coating. The process can be accelerated by grabbing your drill and cramming the steel wool onto the end of a spade bit, although pressing too hard might rip through the can.

With the soda poured back in, you can eek out some voltage by clipping one lead to the can and another to a copper coin that’s dunked into the soda. Stringing along additional cans in series can scale up the juice, but you’ll need a whole six pack before you can get an LED working—and only just. The instructions suggest swapping out the soda for a different electrolyte: drain cleaner, which can pump out an impressive 12 volts from a six pack series. You’ll want to be careful, however, as it’s likely to eat through the can and is one lid away from being dangerous.

Stick around for a quick video after the break, and if you prefer the Instructables format, the [Go-Repairs] folks have kindly reproduced the instructions there.

18 thoughts on “DIY Soda Can Battery

  1. Vinegar is an effective electrolyte for experimental wet cells, and is perfectly safe to use. It’s not as strong as other chemicals, but if safety is a consideration (think children’s school science projects) it is a good choice.

  2. bottle bombs can also be the remains of a meth lab.

    with the shake and bake 1 pot method becoming popular way to make meth but often the remains a.k.a bones can be even worse as it could be a bomb waiting to go off.

    so if you see any kind of sealed container where it does not belong or in a way that it dont belong dont mess with it rather call th police or 911 and report it and try to keep other people and pets away from the area until the police can arrive.

    when ever you eat a frozen dinner with green beans you get a small battery in your mouth.

    i suspect that if you have a tooth that has a thin wall or exposed root if you touch a spoon full of green beans and bean juice to the tooth you get some toothake i think that is a battery reaction.

  3. Not usually a “Carefull, You could put your eye out ! ” freak, but it this case I had to make a couple comments….

    Quote from HAD
    “The instructions suggest swapping out the soda for a different electrolyte: drain cleaner, which can pump out an impressive 12 volts from a six-pack series. Deep cycle batteries use strong acid and lead, so moving from relatively low-acid soda to a stronger acid clean makes sense.”

    Drain Cleaner (usually and aqueous solution of Sodium Hydroxice NAOH) has a pH of >13 (typical) = “Base”
    Battery Acid (H2SO4 used in lead/acid storage batteries) has a pH of <1 (typical) = "Acid'

    Terminolgy may seem insignificant but chemical reactions based on pH characteristics can be significantly different., Please do your homework before class….


    In the above article, both "battery acid" and "dran cleaner" are mentioned. Lest the unwary perform are inclined to perform some experiments on their own, here are the chemical reactions involved with both items and aluminum (AL)

    Aluminium dissolves in sodium hydroxide (Drain-Cleaner) with the evolution of hydrogen gas, H2, and the formation of aluminates of the type [Al(OH)4]-.
    2Al(s) + 2NaOH(aq) + 6H2O → 2Na+(aq) + 2[Al(OH)4]- + 3H2(g)

    Aluminium metal dissolves readily in dilute sulphuric acid to form solutions containing the aquated Al(III) ion together with hydrogen gas, H2.
    2Al(s) + 3H2SO4(aq) → 2Al3+(aq) + 2SO42-(aq) + 3H2(g)

    The hazards of the above reactions are twofold.
    1. Both reactions are chemicaly "vigorous" and may cause chemical burns from splash as the reaction elements exit the container. Alkaliine burns to the eyes in particular are much more difficult to treat than Acid burns.
    2. Both reactions produce copious quanities of Hydrogen which may ignite from the slightest ignition source (eg: a spark) resulting in thermal and/or chemical burns.

    Both of these scenerios are highly likely to result in a non-trivial bad day…….

    It is suggested (IMHO) that any experiments regarding the above hack be done wtth less reactive materials such as lemon juce or vinegar (pH2-3) on the acid side and baking soda or toothpaste (pH8) on the base side.

    Another interesting variation is a storage battery (requires charging) made from beer cans, salt water, and charcoal briquets. Coupled with a small photo-voltaic cell and some leds might make an interesting hacked flashlight to find your car keys after that beach based, beer and bbq blast…..

    (I’m just sayin’)

    1. Didn’t the professor rig up a battery of lemons to run their transistor radio? In one episode he said “in every radio receiver there is a transmitter” and rigged the radio to send CW.

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