Build A Power-Free Radio Using A Glass Bottle

One popular childhood project for many of us was building a crystal radio, but those radios still required a battery to run. MAKE Projects has come up with a newer version of this crystal radio that you can build with a bottle and no power source at all.

The project itself is very detailed, but like most crystal radio builds it isn't too difficult to complete. You'll need a variety of materials and quite a bit of wire in addition to a glass bottle to make it work. The upside to this project is not so much that you'll have an inexpensive, power-free AM radio for a few dollars (as you can likely buy one at a thrift store for less than the cost of these materials), but that this is a great DIY starter project to help you learn how to build your own technology.

If you've been looking to get into more complex electronics-building but have been a little intimidated, this is a great place to start. Additionally, it's a really fun project to do with your kids if you want to teach them these basics skills. MAKE also notes that AM broadcasting is slowly going away, meaning there's a limited time to partake in a project like this before it's forgotten entirely. Whether you want to build it out of nostalgia, to learn some new skills, or to pass skills on to the next generation, this is a fun and inexpensive way to do it.

For project details, hit up MAKE for the full how-to and parts list.

Bottle Radio [MAKE Projects]


    I hate to be a complete pedant, but I think you'll find that the very definition of a Crystal Radio is that it doesn't need a power source - it runs on the power received from the radio waves it picks up on its antenna. So this is not really so exciting as it may seem, the capacity to build a simple power-source free AM radio has been around for a very very long time :-)

    Still a good fun project for kids to do!

      I was going to say i was sure i built a crystal radio with my dad when i was 10 or so (around 20 years ago) and although i have a really bad memory, I am very sure there was no wired power source (eg came from the AM radio waves, which really amazed me at the time).

    Nothing new to see here. I was building crystal radios with wooden cotton reels, wire pulled from old transformers and an earpiece , nearly 50 years ago - and they weren't new then either!

    Exactly. Even wikipedia knows what's what.

    Yet another case of don't let the facts get in the way of a story.

    LOL at "MAKE Projects has come up with a newer version of this crystal radio" . Make Projects describe it as "Build a classic batteryless AM radio receiver". So how does "classic" become "newer version". Crystal radios have been made this way going back longer than any of us have been alive. If you are going to write technical articles then get the facts right and don't make things up just because it sounds good.

    My first crystal radio needed no power source, bout 27 years ago

    Yeah, my crystal radio didn't need any power as well, it was about 300 years ago

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