Crystal Batteries Part 1 - January 15, 2014
Good day all! A good friend sent me an absolute treasure the other day. After doing a bunch of reading, to refresh all of the principles involved, I present to you the Crystal Battery. This is a great little home project, to create a battery that gives close to 1.5 volts. All of the things involved are things that are REALLY easy to get.
This site is proving to be an enlightening place to spend a little time. Some of the items in the 9 minute video are a little unclear. Such as the size of the copper cap used, or the diameter of the magnesium rod. There are links on the site that further explain some of the components. The anode rod ( Magnesium rod) is obtained from a hot water heater and it has a 1"/ 2.5 cm diameter. The standard length is about 32" (inches) or around 80 cm. The copper caps are around 2 1/2" diameter. ( I guessed a little on this because 2" diameter is not a very common size). I did a little digging and all of the salts involved are dirt cheap. Hardly anything required in the way of tools besides a measuring cup, a coffee grinder, a hot plate, a drill and a hacksaw. The following is a brief explanation on the process.
"Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical process in which one metal corrodes preferentially to another when both metals are in electrical contact and immersed in an electrolyte. This same galvanic reaction is exploited in primary batteries to generate an electrical voltage.
Dissimilar metals and alloys have different electrode potentials, and when two or more come into contact in an electrolyte, one metal acts as anode and the other as cathode. The electropotential difference between the dissimilar metals is the driving force for an accelerated attack on the anode member of the galvanic couple. The anode metal dissolves into the electrolyte, and deposit collects on the cathodic metal." -- Wikipedia
Basically the salts in contact with the magnesium and copper, create a voltage. The end result, as stated in the video, is a battery that is capable of producing a constant voltage of 1.4 volts. Capable of maintaining that voltage, without recharging, for YEARS!! Keep in mind that over time the magnesium will corrode, so it can not claim to be a permanent energy source. Although powering a light for a few years off of one battery is still a huge step in the right direction. Even more so when you consider the batteries you won't be throwing into a landfill. Overall cost to make around 20 batteries is approximately $100, just sourcing the parts and materials from ebay.
Crystal Batteries Part 2 - January 31, 2014
Good day all. In my last post I spoke about crystal batteries. The link to the lazerhacker page that featured the information has a couple of different construction methods. There is also some back up info such as a galvanic chart and alternate names for the chemicals involved. What is not really covered is how to apply them. That is the subject for today. The following link shows a sort of lifehack on how to get a 1.5 volt, AA battery to power a 240 volt light bulb for hours. In the comment section below the video, it is mentioned that the best results occurred with a 20 watt bulb, or lower. So, 240 volts at 20 watts gives an amperage of about 80 milliamps. Here is the link;
This circuit would require a bit of further modification to work with the crystal battery, since the AA battery and the crystal batteries are different sizes. One of the simplest ways to overcome this would be to use a couple of short lengths of wire to connect the crystal battery to the terminals for the AA on the circuit board. The other part that was mentioned was that instead of shorting the two connections on the circuit board with a clip, you could wire in a simple switch at that point. That being said, all of the components are present in an old lamp. The circuit and battery could be fitted inside of a lamp and voila, you have a lamp that doesn't need to be plugged in!
Another real option is to build enough of the cells to give a similar output to a car battery. You would need cells connected in series and in parallel to get the voltage and the amperage. Then use a power inverter to do things like power a light or a small heater. Hell, you could build one that was rated to power an electrical hot water tank! You could potentially even have a small unit in each room of your house that has a couple of sockets and a lamp built in! Further, I am exploring this application in a few ways. Such as using a larger copper container and a larger piece of magnesium (or multiple pieces in the same container), in order to determine some parameters for maximizing outputs.
As I have said, I am becoming interested in applying energy supplementation in small ways. In many of the larger devices I have been looking at, adapting an average home to employ some of these systems would require quite a bit more cost and effort than first thought would suggest. New wiring, power storage and installation of any given device would need to be tailored to suit every individual home. There is WAY more to freeing yourself from the power company than the 'plug and play' advertising campaign is suggesting.
The complete build process for crystal power cells.
Solid magnesium rod. Aluminum can also be used but will give a lower voltage.
Copper pipe cap.
Equal Parts of the following:
Potassium chloride - commonly known as salt substitute.
Hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate - commonly known as alum.
Sodium tetraborate - commonly known as 20 mule team Borax.
Magnesium sulfate - commonly known as epsom salt.
Reliance 9001829005 32-Inch Magnesium Water Heater Anode Rod
Great prices on magnesium here: http://www.mcssl.com/store/gallium-source/magnesium-metal