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Breaking The Three Laws
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    Breaking the Three Laws is dedicated to discussing technically challenging ASIC prototyping problems and sharing solutions.
  • About the Author

    Michael (Mick) Posner joined Synopsys in 1994 and is currently Director of Product Marketing for Synopsys' FPGA-Based Prototyping Solutions. Previously, he has held various product marketing, application consultant and technical marketing manager positions at Synopsys. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the University of Brighton, England.

Designing an Electrochemical Cell

Posted by Michael Posner on November 1st, 2013

A couple of folks complained that my last blogs have been a bit long and boring. (Boring! Me?) So I would like to start this week and apologize to all my 5th Grade readers, I’ll try harder in the future to use smaller words and more pictures.

The good news is that this week is one of those weeks were I don’t have anything specific to talk about in respect to FPGA-based prototyping, hurray I hear you say.

I designed a electrochemical cell last week and while this sounds like a project for super science boffin’s (English Slang) it’s actually the fancy way of saying I made a battery from potatoes

I really enjoyed making this battery, it was very educational and it visualizes the basic principles of electricity generation in a battery. For those who do not know the potato does not generate the electricity it only provides a key element to electricity generation in a battery, the electrolyte.  You need metal to push into the potato to make the connections and generate the electrochemical reaction. I used copper wire for one and a zinc plated nail for the other. The potato does not directly produce electricity. The chemical composition of the potato (electrolyte) when combined with the zinc and copper (electrodes) causes a reaction between them which releases positively charged and negatively charged ions resulting in the flow of electricity.

In my setup I am powering a small LED. To get this LED to light I needed two strings (series connection) of potatoes in parallel. The strings connect + Copper to – Zinc to increase the voltage. The two sets in parallel increase the overall current the battery generates. The LED was still bright after 5 days of continuous use.

Talking of LED’s  I kinda went mad on LED usage this week and used them to make a spooky light for our Halloween pumpkin

Super scary right!

As I was on a roll I then created my Halloween costume out of LED’s as well. Can you guess what I went as this year?

Yep, a very trendy stickman. (I may have got this idea off the internet but you must admit I totally supersized it)

Happy Halloween!

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