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Unusual timekeeping


Good idea

We couldn't set the time

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:


Value for Money

Educational ValueExcellent

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Potato Clock

Little Miss likes science experiments so was keen to try this out.


Before we started we were keen to find out how this worked as it seemed a tad unbelievable that a potato could make a clock! We found out that a potato battery is a kind of electrochemical cell and an electrochemical cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy. In the potato battery, there is a transfer of electrons between the the galvanized nail that will be inserted into the potato and the copper wire that will be inserted another part of the potato. The potato conducts electricity, yet keeps the zinc ions and copper ions separate, so that the electrons in the copper wire are forced to move (generate current). Complicated stuff but I suppose it will work…


Children (and adults) can:

• Create a timepiece using vegetables
• Explore the nature of green energy
• Learn how to wire up a simple circuit and how batteries work


The experiment comes in a box with a large picture of a potato clock on the front and some information about the experiment on the back. Inside the box we find full instructions as well as: digital clock with wires, pots, connecting wire, transparent tapes, as well as copper and zinc strips. The only thing needed for the experiment which are not included are the potatoes (two required) The items in the kit are all good quality and its good because I don’t have to go out and buy extra equipment because potatoes are almost a household staple.


The instructions to make the clock are fairly easy to follow since they are a collection of large illustrations with an explanation next to the picture.

I am not going through the whole making of the clock but basically we have to make a circuit with a copper and zinc plate in each of the potatoes and then both attached to the clock. As soon as we followed these clearly explained instructions the clock did light up and we saw the numbers.

Once we see the numbers its time to set the time on the digital clock. There are two buttons on the side of the clock and these are pressed to change and set the time. This is where we encountered problems and regardless of how many times we read and re read the instructions and the trouble shooting section we could not get the clock set at the correct time.


It is suggested that the experiment is suitable for children age 8 years plus, and I would tend to agree with this. I think its better done when children are quite competent readers and when they are able to begin to understand some of the science behind the making of the clock.


Available online, on various sites, we bought ours at Toys R Us. The clock ranges in price from about £4 up to £10 but check out postage charges.


The making of this clock certainly filled yet another wet afternoon, after we had investigated the theory behind it and set to with the making of it. The fact that we couldn’t get the clock set was disappointing but I don’t think Little Miss was too concerned because she knew she would dismantle it because she wanted to try the theory out using different liquids and fruit and vegetables. One of the most surprising was that the clock worked using soft drinks instead of potatoes!

All the equipment except the potatoes were included which meant we didn’t have to go shopping- always a plus.

An educational and fun experiment.

Thanks for reading

Daniela xx

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Comments about this review »

Novabug 03.05.2012 20:44

Reversing this process, you can make a Gerkin light bulb. A wee bit dangerous though... :)

catsholiday 03.05.2012 20:08

I have heard that these didn't work too well with potatoes!

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Manufacturer's product description

This is the ultimate eco-friendly clock that's fun and interesting. You won't need any electricity because the pota...

Product details

MPN 4365
EAN 4893156032751
Manufacturer Science Museum


Listed on Ciao since 23/03/2010

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This review of Great Gizmos Green Science Potato Clock has been rated:

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