The Potatoes Of DOOM

Over the years, the 1993 classic Doom has gained an almost meme-like status where it can seemingly run on anything. Everything from printers to smartwatches has been shown off running the now-iconic first level of Doom. Looking to up the bar, [Equalo] set out to run Doom on potatoes. However until we develop full biological computers, he had to settle for running Doom on a device powered by potatoes. (Video, embedded below.)

As we’ve seen with other hacks before, potatoes are a decent power source that just requires potato, zinc, and copper. Some have attempted to make it easier to scale potato power and others have focused on making the individual potatoes more powerful. The biggest obstacle when working with potatoes as a battery is that even though each potato can put out almost a volt, the current is laughably small.

The lack of current is what drove [Equalo] to dramatically scale up the typical potato battery. With a target device of a Raspberry Pi Zero requiring around 100 mA at 4.5V, this means he needed over 700 potato slices. After boiling hundreds of potatoes and with a bit of help from friends and family, the giant potato battery was constructed, and we can’t help but marvel at the sheer scale and audacity. The challenge of scaling up a potato battery is that by the time you’re wiring up the 400th potato, your first potato has already started to corrode.

Next time you’re looking for some inspiration for a monumental task, perhaps watch the tale of [Equalo’s] giant potato battery and remember what can be accomplished with some determination and a hundred pounds of spuds.

Thanks [Mike] for sending this one in!

26 thoughts on “The Potatoes Of DOOM

  1. I should have thought that the “almost a volt” was provided by the zing/copper couple, not the potato.

    And I should have thought that Hackaday knew its bit of chemistry better !

  2. Disappointing. He isn’t running Doom, as TI calculators do not run Doom. They run a fan-made raycaster program that people happen to call “Doom” in order to garner attention based on the name, but it is unequivocally not Doom.

    1. nDoom on the Ti Nspire. (Not sure if the calculator would need less power than a pi ) I guess a real answer would be to find a (barely?) powerful enough micro-controller with as small power need as possible…

  3. I don’t understand why he didn’t build a jig for this. A piece of plywood with all of the nails poking through and wired appropriately, upside down and sticking up like a bed of nails. Then he just needs to pierce a bunch of potatoes onto it rapidly for some quick assembly of a new set.

  4. It is just a zinc/copper battery. He could have used salt water as the electrolyte. As mentioned before, the potatoes have nothing to do with the power. It is just a damp environment high on ions.

  5. 4.5V ? We’ve run the rPiZ off a single LiPo battery with 4.2V down to 3.3V where the device drops out. We did that going directly into the 5V GPIO pin and not the microUSB connector.

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