Will a potato battery power an RC car?

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amj64
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Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:08 pm
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Will a potato battery power an RC car?

Post by amj64 »

We have used your kits in the past with great success.

My son wants to buy the potato battery kit and use potatoes to power an RC car. Before we purchase, can you please advise whether potatoes can even provide enough energy to power the car?

If not, he needs to come up with a new science fair project, and fast! The problem is he got the idea approved by his teacher without really researching beforehand the feasibility of the project.

I am trying to help him with his research and everything we have read so far talks about potatoes (or lemons, etc) powering a buzzer or a light, but not an RC car.

You advice and feedback is greatly appreciated!!
HowardE
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Re: Will a potato battery power an RC car?

Post by HowardE »

The scientific approach would be to build the potato battery, measure the output and see whether it's enough to replace the battery in an RC car. You've already done some research so I think you know the answer - unfortunately a single potato won't come close to replacing an RC car battery pack. A potato is the rough equivalent to a single AA battery, more or less.

You might help your son learn a bit about series and parallel circuits and maybe you can come up with a way of making this work. If you made smaller batteries out of fingerlings and smaller pieces of metal, and connected a bunch of them together, might that work? You should be able to make a project of figuring what it would take to power the car from potatoes. Exploring is part of science and even if the experiment fails, it's still a valid experiment.

Howard
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