ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Crystal Radio Instructions

Updated on April 17, 2014

Crystal Radio

Source

What is a Crystal Radio?

Crystal radio's were popular back in the early 1900s when the rectifying property of crystals was discovered and applied to radio receivers (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_radio). Since then the crystal component has been replaced by a diode.That's where the name "crystal" radio came from. Now-a-days a better name might be the diode radio.

So, why would anyone write a hub on making a crystal radio? Because it's FUN! They are simple to put together with items you can find around the house. They do not require batteries either. Their power comes from the radio waves picked up by a long antenna. There's something intriguing about being able to make something with household junk and pick up radio waves with it.

Let's get started. The following table is a list of everything you will need to build the crystal radio.

Parts List

Parts & Tools
Quantity
Purpose
Paper Towel Tube
1
This will be used to construct the capacitor.
Tape
1 roll
For attaching wires and foil
Tissue Tube
1
This will be used to construct the coil.
Magnetic Wire
1 spool
This will be used for the coil.
Wire (blue)
6"
This is connecting wires.
Wire (red & white)
12' (depends)
The red is will be ground and the white will be the antenna.
Glue (super or elmers)
1 bottle
Adhere objects to the board.
Piece of cardboard or wood
1 = 6" x 8"
This will be the base for the components.
Screws or paper fasteners
3 each
Fasten the connections

Helpful Tools

These are a few tools that you may, or may not, need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Wire Cutters
  • Drill
  • Drill Bit

Variable Capacitor
Variable Capacitor

Construct the Variable Capacitor

The capacitor acts like a magnet for electrons. Electrons collect on the outside foil, then move to the inside foil and back again, and again, and again. This one is called a variable capacitor because it will be telescopic, one piece sliding inside the other.

Here's how we make it:

  1. Take your paper towel tube and cut a piece of foil so it will wrap around it, about 7" by 5". Allow the foil to overlap itself.
  2. Tape it in place.
  3. Now take a piece of plain white paper and cut it so it will wrap around the paper towel tube. It should overlap itself.
  4. Cut another piece of foil so it is longer than the white paper, yet not as wide.
  5. Tape the foil at the ends to the white sheet of paper. Wrap the rest of the way around the tube, allow the longer end to overlap onto itself and tape to secure. Do not place tape on the length side of the foil, only on the ends.
  6. Slide the white paper with foil over the paper towel tube with foil. This is your capacitor.

Coil
Coil

The Coil

The coil receives the electrons from the capacitor and works with the capacitor by slowing down the electrons. The more coils, that you put on the coil, the slower the electrons will move.

Using the coated magnetic wire and the tissue paper holder, leave about a foot of leader wire and wrap the wire around the tube 100 times. For this I use super glue to hold the starting wire in place while I wrap the wire around the tissue paper. You can use tape or super glue, which ever works best for you. It's important to wrap the wire closely with as few gaps as possible.

Your Board Should Look Like One of These

Coil & capacitor on end or....
Coil & capacitor on end or....
coil & capacitor lying down.
coil & capacitor lying down.

Set-up the Base

You'll need something to put the parts onto. Let's construct a base.

  • A piece of scrap cardboard or wood will do fine. It should measure somewhere in the neighborhood of 6" x 8".
  • Now set-up where the connections are going to be. Using either three (3) small screws or three (3) paper fasteners attach them to the board, all three in a row. If you opt for a wood base then make sure you pre-drill the holes or the wood may split.
  • Attach the diode between the first and second screw/paper fastener.
  • Expose the wire, on each of the two wires of the earphone and connect them to the second and third screw/paper fasteners.
  • Attach the capacitor and the coil to the base board in a fashion convenient for you. Two different set-ups pictured.

Capacitor Wires

This is what it should look like.
This is what it should look like.

Add Wires to the Capacitor

Now it is time to attach wires to the capacitor.

  1. Take two pieces of wire about 6" long.
  2. Expose 1/2" wire at each end.
  3. Bend one end of each wire into the shape of a hook.
  4. Take a 1" piece of tape and tape the hook onto the foil at one end of the capacitor (the stationary foil).
  5. Get another piece of tape and tape the other hook to the other end of the capacitor (the sliding piece attached to the paper).
  6. Attach the other end of that wire to the third (3) screw/paper fastener.
  7. Attach the other wire from the capacitor to the number one (1) screw/paper fastener.

Coil Wires

Add the Coil

Now it's time for the coil to be attached.

  1. On the extra lengths of wire we allowed for the coil, scrap off the very ends to remove any enamel coating.
  2. Attach one end to screw/paper fastener one (1) and the other to screw/paper fastener three (3).

Ground
Ground
Antenna
Antenna

Final Steps

The final steps include attaching the ground and the antenna.

The ground can be attached to any source of ground such as water pipes under your sink, metal case of a computer that is plugged in, ground tong only on a plug, etc. The other end will attach to the third (3) screw/paper fastener.

The antenna needs to be long to give it the best opportunity to pick up sound waves. Hang it from the ceiling or across the room. Attach the other end of the antenna to the first (1) screw/paper faster.

Put the ear phone into your ear and slide the outer foil on paper, of the capacitor along the inner foil. The foil must overlap at all times or it won't collect the electrons. Listen carefully for any transmissions you can pick up!

How Many Stations Did You Pick Up

How many stations were you able to pick up?

See results

© 2014 Joanna

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)