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How to start a fire with a battery [picture guide]

You're in the wilderness and need a fire. You only have a battery and aluminum foil. Furthermore, you'll now learn in 6 steps how to make fire with it.

from Martin Gebhardt | Survival | no comment yet | reading time 1 Min
Updated on 29 May 2023 39.102 views 96% found this guide helpful
How to start a fire with a battery [picture guide]

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Step 1: You need a battery, aluminum foil, and cotton wool or similar tinder.
  • Step 2: Cut the aluminum foil to create a narrowing. The current is forced to compress through this narrowing, generating heat.
  • Step 3: Loosen the cotton wool to make it more airy and easier to catch fire.
  • Step 4: Wrap the cotton wool around the narrowing of the aluminum foil, as this is where it gets very hot.
  • Step 5: Hold both ends of the aluminum strip to the battery. A small short circuit is created and it gets very hot at the narrowing. The cotton wool starts to glow.
  • Step 6: When the cotton wool is glowing well, blow some air into it. This ignites it and you have a fire.

You're in the wilderness and need a fire.

But you don't have matches or a lighter.

However, you do have a battery and aluminum foil.

Great. Because with that, you can make a fire.

Now you will learn in 6 steps how easy it is.

Step 1: The materials

Let's get straight to the point.

You need the following:

  • Battery (a phone battery works too)
  • Aluminum foil (e.g. from a cigarette pack or chewing gum)
  • Cotton wool or similar kindling

Reading tip: I have presented many types of kindling in my article "Collect and manufacture kindling".

Battery, Cotton, Chewing Gum Wrapper
Battery, Cotton, Chewing Gum Wrapper

Step 2: Cut aluminum foil

Electricity flows through aluminum foil because aluminum conducts electricity.

The aluminum foil must now be cut so that a narrowing is created.

In the narrowing, the current is forced to condense. This creates heat.

Cutting a narrowing from aluminum foil
Cutting a narrowing from aluminum foil

Step 3: Unravel cotton

In order for the cotton to catch fire well, make it a little more airy.

Crumbling cotton
Crumbling cotton

Step 4: Wrap cotton around aluminum foil

The aluminum foil will get very hot at the narrow point. This is where the cotton will catch fire best.

Now wrap the cotton around the narrowing.

Cotton around aluminum foil
Cotton around aluminum foil

Step 5: Hold it against the battery

Now hold both ends of the aluminum strip against the battery. A small short circuit is created and it gets very hot at the narrowing.

It may also get warm on your fingers. The cotton now starts to glow.

Cotton starts to glow
Cotton starts to glow

Step 6: The cotton burns

If the cotton is glowing well, blow some air into it. This will ignite it.

It worked, the cotton is burning.

Burning cotton
Burning cotton

Bonus: Video of the experiment

In this video, you can see how the aluminum strip starts to burn. It gets very hot at the constriction. The chewing gum paper starts to burn.

Learn even more about ignition methods and making fire by checking out my book "The Fire Primer".


How do you like the experiment?

Will you replicate it?

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE