# Thread: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

1. ## Increasing the voltage of a battery.

For my physics project, I'm supposed to make an electromagnet that can raise/drop a paper-clip and the sum of all the voltages of the batteries I have used must not exceed 9 volts. Due to this, I feel as though my ability to create a functional project is lower than I originally thought. I was thinking of using a 4-5 volt battery for the electromagnet, and then another 4-5 volt battery to power a motor that will pull up/lower my electromagnet. Is there any way for me to increase the voltages on each of the batteries so that I can increase my project's ability to function?

2. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

You're going to need a transformer. Particularly a step up transformer, it shouldn't be too hard to make or buy one. Then again you should only need a 1.5V battery for the motor if you're using one of those little DC motors, and a paper clip should need THAT strong of a magnet to lift.

3. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Dunno if I can use a transformer with the materials I'm only supposed to use (breadboard, resistors, switches, non-magnetic copper wire, DC servo motor, iron nails, take, string, cardboard and wood).

4. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Iron nails and copper wire can make a transformer, it's basically two coils with a specific number of loops. Actually since you need alternating current for a transformer to work you're probably going to have to connect your battery to a motor, then attach the motor to another motor, then attach that to the transformer. Hmm, that seems like it would create a lot of loss. You probably don't need that much voltage to lift a paperclip anyway.

5. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Aren't you supposed to put the batteries in series on something to increase the voltage?

Don't quote me on that.

6. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Don't worry about trying to raise the voltage. Like Holypie said, it shouldn't be difficult to lift a paperclip.
Just coil many turns (maybe 50 to 100) of fine wire (eg 26 gauge) around one end of a big nail, or a few small nails bundled together.
Try with 3V battery. If not strong enough, add more turns of wire to the coil.

At above: Yes putting batteries in series adds the voltages together. But you don't need high voltage to drive sufficient current through some small hand-made coil.

7. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Also total voltage is limited. If he wants to squeeze as much voltage as possible out, he's going to need a transformer. Which won't work with DC. But yeah, unless you're lifting say, a hole puncher or something huge, you're not going to need that much power. Also wrap the wire tightly and neatly, that'll pack more wire into less space and get a stronger magnet.

8. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

DC motors should care less about voltage than amperage anyway, car batteries can turn over a car engine, and they're only 12V, but have 100+Ah capacity. If you need more power, just find bigger low voltage cells.

9. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

I'm butting in without much knowledge on the subject, but isn't the power generated actually Voltage*Amperage? A transformer simply exchanges one for the other while keeping the same power. We tend to use lower amperage & high voltage because it's less dangerous if someone comes in contact with it.

10. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Actually, less current and high voltage can be just as deadly and that is usually what kills (i.e. lightning has low current to voltage).

As for the starter, 9 volts is more than sufficient if all you are lifting is a paper clip. the strength of the magnet does not need to be enormous, you can pick up a paper clip with a flimsy fridge magnet, so the bulk of your power will be available for the motor. what you would need to do (as a start) is have one switch to turn on the magnet, then turn on the motor, then a third swith to control up and down for the motor. easy peasy.

11. ## Re: Increasing the voltage of a battery.

Having actually made electromagnets to lift paperclips I found that the material used for the core of the magnet had the most drastic effect on the strength of the magnet.

You can take 6 AA batteries and put them in a battery pack, which connects them in series. Each AA is rated for 1.5V, so all 6 gives you 9V.

So long as the batteries supply enough current for both your electromagnet and motor, and they should, you can connect the two in parallel. Objects in parallel have the same voltage.

I personally used a heavy steel rod for the core and wrapped it with 30 gauge magnet wire. I think I wrapped it a bit over 500 times, but I honestly didn't count. After a certain number of wraps you're just adding resistance to the wire without really adding any strength to the magnet. "Magnet wire" is just wire with real thin enamel on it instead of plastic or rubber.

Lots of other things can work, but of common materials iron is one of the most magnetically permeable.

Make sure that you're not putting too much current through the wire. After wrapping it around the core, measure the resistance of it with a multi-meter. You can google the expected maximum sustainable current of whatever gauge wire you're using. Voltage / resistance is amperage. If the resistance of the magnet is too low you can place a resistor in series with it to lower the amperage appropriately.

EDIT : And I just realized I'm two weeks too late. Balls. Hope you got something working.

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