What you need to know before trying the "Make Electricity" Experiments

Make electricity experiments is for students in grades 5th and up. Students need to have a good understanding of how electricity works before trying to produce it. Students must also have the basic skills and abilities of a normal person. They must be able to use tools such as knife, scissors, screw driver. This project is not recommended for people with physical or mental disabilities. If you have the necessary skills, but lack the basic knowledge of electricity and conductivity, please read this page and try the suggested experiments. These are pre-requisite for the make electricity projects. 

Light up a light bulb

You must be able to light up a small light bulb (included in your kit) with a regular 1.5-volt battery (Any size battery will work fine. The most common sizes are AA, C or D size). 

Try this:

  1. Screw the lightbulb into the base.

  2. Connect a red wire to one of the screws on the base.*

  3. Connect a black wire to the other screw on the base.

  4. Connect the red wire to the + pole on the top of a battery.

  5. Connect the black wire to the - pole at the bottom of the battery.

  6. The light bulb must light up. If it does not, check the connections and check the wires. Replace wires if needed.

*How can I do that?

If you are using connection wires with alligator clips on both ends, you can simply push the head of the alligator to open the jaws and hold the contact screw of the light bulb between the jaws. Alligator clips provides a relatively secure and fast temporary connection for your experiments. If you are using regular insulated wire, you must first remove some insulation from the ends of the wire for your contacts. Then loosen the screws on the base and place the bare end of the wire under the screw and tighten the screw.
Connections to the battery are simple touch. More secure connections with battery require a battery holder.

Measure Voltage

After you successfully light up a light bulb using a battery, then you can proceed to the next step and test your battery using a voltmeter.

Try This:

  1. Set your multimeter to DC Volts 2.5. At this setting your meter can measure the voltage of any Direct Current electricity up to 2.5 volts. 

  2. Connect the red probe of the meter to the positive (+ ) pole of the battery. 

  3. Connect the black probe of the meter to the negative (-) pole of the battery.

  4. Read the voltage on the meter at the row numbered from 0 to 250; however, remember that your actual reading is 1% of the apparent reading. In other words if you read 70 in 0-250 scale, it really means 0.7 in 0-2.5 scale.

If you can successfully read the voltage of a battery, then you can go to the next step and make your first fruit battery. The most important step after making a fruit battery is measuring the voltage. 

Do I need to understand Voltage and Current before trying the Make Electricity project?

If you want to be able to light up a light bulb, you must understand the voltage and current. Otherwise you can only show the production of electricity using a Voltmeter. 

In your kit you will have two different types of light. One is an incandescent light bulb with a screw base. This type of light require high current. The other is an LED (Light Emitting Diode) that requires high voltage.

If you don't know about current and voltage, read this:

Voltage and Current

Part of the reason why electricity seems so mystifying is because you can't see it. But such things as voltage, current, etc can be explained by imagining electricity in cables as if it was water flowing in a pipe. VOLTAGE is the "pressure of electricity", and CURRENT is the flow-rate.

CURRENT is measured in AMPS. If electrons are the atoms of electricity, you'd see six million million million of them flow per second for each amp of current there is. (electrons are very small - many household appliances have several amps as a working current).

Changing Voltage and Current

If you are using batteries as the source of electricity, then you must know that usually larger cells provide higher current. For example alkaline batteries in sizes AA, C and D have the same voltage, but C cells can provide higher current than AA cells. D cells can provide higher current than C cells.
To increase the voltage you may connect 2 or more cells in series. Connection in series means that you connect the positive pole of one cell to the negative pole of the other.

To increase the current, you may connect 2 or more cells in parallel. Parallel connection means that you connect the positive poles together and the negative poles together.

 

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