Glacial Energy Blog

How to Make a Clock Powered by a Potato

Are you looking for a fun scientific experiment that you can share with your kids? One of the simplest and most interesting experiments you can try is to make a potato-powered clock. This might sound like something out of a mad scientist’s lab, but it really works! Best of all, it’s easy to do and you are not going to need much to do it. The first thing that you have to do is assemble all your supplies.


The Supplies You Need

Always make sure that you have everything you need before you begin. Here’s a handy checklist that will ensure you are ready to go.

  • Two potatoes
  • Two galvanized nails
  • Two short pieces of heavy copper wire
  • Three alligator clip/wire units
  • Sharpie
  • An LED clock that uses a 1 or 2 volt button type battery

These supplies are very inexpensive and easy to find. A stop to the grocery store and the hardware store should just about do it. Some stores will have kits with everything you need except for the potatoes.

Creating the Battery

The first thing to do is take the clock, open up the battery compartment and, if there is a battery, remove it. At the site where the battery connects to the clock, you will notice a positive symbol and a negative-terminal.

Write #1 on one of your potatoes and #2 on the other potato. Insert one of the galvanized nails into each of the potatoes, and then take your two pieces of copper wire and place one in each potato as well. Make sure that you put the copper as far from the nail as you are able to get it. Next, you should use an alligator clip/wire to connect the copper wire to the positive terminal in the clock. Do the same thing with the negative terminal next.

As unbelievable as it might sound, this is actually going to provide all of the power that your clock is going to need. You will see the LED display come on and you can even set the clock now!

This is a great experiment to help the kids learn more about electricity, and to get them excited about science. Once you set up your potato battery for a clock, it can even be fun to experiment with other items to see what else it might be able to power. By getting your kids excited with these types of experiments, it can help to develop a lifelong love of learning.


Image courtesy of 4M Toys by Toysmith.

About Glacial Energy: Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost-saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting:



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