The amazing potato powered clock! (well, amazing to my 5 year old and me)

A few weeks back I suddenly had an epiphany that my 5 year old son would be really impressed by a potato battery! So after a few failed attempts, last night I finally got a working electrolyte battery to power a clock. It was using a teaspoon of salt in a cup of malt vinegar instead of a few potatoes but was “impressive” nonetheless.

Vinegar solution battery

My first attempts didn’t work and I’m not 100% sure what was incorrect as I didn’t follow scientific method properly but I used:

2/3 lemons (not that fresh)  with galvanised nails and 2p coins
2-4 small potatoes with galvanised nails and 2p coins
sweet potatoes with galvanised nails and 2p coins

None of them worked but I was led to believe that the amount of fruit / vegetables used connected in series would provide sufficient voltage so now I’m pretty sure it was that the 2p coins didn’t contain enough copper. (I should have used pre-1992 coins as these are 97% copper).

Last nights effort was a malt vinegar and salt solution, some zinc plated screws and some copper plumbing scraps I found in my garage. I connected 2 ramekins of the vinegar solution (about 100ml in each) in series which gave me enough volts to power the clock.

Band Aid 30 helping to fight the spread of Ebola

Band Aid 30 received its world premiere last night during X Factor’s results show after only just being recorded the day before. The single can be downloaded for 99p and is helping fund relief efforts to fight the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

It has been 30 years since “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, written by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, was first released raising over £8 million for famine relief in Ethiopia. Stars such as Sting, Duran Duran, Bono and George Michael were part of the original ensemble.

Since then there have been two other versions. The 1989 version achieved less historical significance than its predecessor but did manage to hold the number 1 spot in the UK singles chart for three weeks. This version featured Bananarama (in a repeat appearance), Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue and Cliff Richard amongst others.

The next version to be released came in 2004, 20 years after the original, in order to benefit Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. Bono, Paul McCartney and George Michael were the only members of the original ensemble to lend their voices this time performing alongside Chris Martin, Sugababes, Robbie Williams and The Darkness, to name a few.

The line up for Band Aid 30 includes Coldplay, Bastille, Rita Ora, Paloma Faith, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, with Bono making his third contribution to a Band Aid recording. Lyrics have been tweaked in this version to reflect the current Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.

The single can be downloaded here.