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Make Flickr photo pool member gl3n writes with his penny-powered LED from MAKE 07 – “After finding out that you can make a 1.5 volt battery out of 13 dimes, 13 pennies, 13 paperclips, some salt water and an ice cube tray, of course we had to try it. It works! “Link.

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From the pages of MAKE:

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. gschoppe says:

    I don’t know about 2000, but pre 1983 pennies should work much better than post 1983 pennies.

    before 1983 pennies were almost pure copper.

  2. airship says:

    Yes, the cutoff year is 1983, not 2001. That’s when the mint made the transition from almost-pure copper pennies to almost-pure zinc pennies. Big difference when you’re making a battery. :)

  3. LasVegas says:

    Actually, pennies prior to 1983 were mostly bronze. To clarify; Pennies were pure copper until 1837, bronze to 1857, copper/nickle to 1864 and again bronze until 1983 other than during WWII. Pure copper pennies were made in 1943 from the spent cases of war bullets and are relatively rare. Nearly all other pennies from that year were made from steel coated with zinc as a measure to save the copper for bullets. Modern (post 1982) pennies are copper coated zinc.

  4. LasVegas says:

    Correction about the 1943 copper pennies… Apparently they weren’t struck from shell casings as I was told, but were the result of left-over brass blanks from the year before remaining in the hoppers and were therefore brass like all the others.

  5. LasVegas says:

    Correction about the 1943 copper pennies… Apparently they weren’t struck from shell casings as I was told, but were the result of left-over brass blanks from the year before remaining in the hoppers and were therefore bronze like all the others.

  6. phx1138 says:

    During 1980 & 1981 they started using Zinc-Cores in pennies. If you your’re not sure if your 1980 or 1981 has Zinc, flip it in a quiet area and listen for it to ring off your fingernail as it spins in the air. The Zinc-core pennies had a duller ring and it doesn’t last long. A penny mostly Copper with no Zinc will ring loger. Pre-1981 pennies are roughly 75-80% Copper and the rest is Nickle. As Copper & Nickle prices fluxiuate, the US Mint would use more than the other depnding on what was more econmic for that minting.

  7. phx1138 says:

    During 1980 & 1981 they started using Zinc-Cores in pennies. If you you’re not sure if your 1980 or 1981 has Zinc, flip it in a quiet area and listen for it to ring off your fingernail as it spins in the air. The Zinc-core pennies had a duller ring and it doesn’t last long. A penny mostly Copper with no Zinc will ring longer. Pre-1981 pennies are roughly 75-80% Copper and the rest is Nickel. As Copper & Nickel prices fluctuate, the US Mint would use more than the other depending on what was more economic for that minting.

  8. phx1138 says:

    During 1980 & 1981 they started using Zinc-Cores in pennies. If you’re not sure if your 1980 or 1981 has Zinc, flip it in a quiet area and listen for it to ring off your fingernail as it spins in the air. The Zinc-core pennies have a duller ring and it doesn’t last long. A penny mostly Copper with no Zinc will ring longer. Pre-1981 pennies are roughly 75-80% Copper and the rest is Nickel. As Copper & Nickel prices fluctuate, the US Mint would use more than the other depending on what was more economic for that minting.

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